Last week democratic senator Robert Mendez (NJ) introduced a bill to legalize online poker and pass the tax proceeds to fund part of the health care bill that is currently in congress. Recent studies estimate that by legalizing and taxing online poker, the government would raise $64 billion over 10 years, which would pay for about 7.5% of the entire cost of the proposed health care reform.
Sounds great, right?
Well, it would if Mr. Mendez wasn’t being shunned by all of his buddies in congress.
You may remember the recent debacle in which Joe Wilson yelled out “YOU LIE!” during Obama’s address of a joint session of congress when Obama said that the new health care reforms will not cover illegal immigrants. I think it would be safe to say that most Americans support the notion that our public health insurance option should not be available to illegal immigrants who are not paying taxes.
Apparently Senator Mendez is not most Americans. Mr. Mendez has taken a stand, and will not cooperate with fellow Democrats to pass the healthcare reform bill UNLESS it is guaranteed to cover illegal immigrants as well.
This highly unpopular position is not making the New Jersey senator any friends in congress… and friends is exactly what he needs to get his piece of online poker legislation passed.
That’s why, after a mere 6 days on the floor, the bill was rescinded by Senator Mendez due to a lack of support by fellow senators and because “adding online poker legalization to the bill would add another contentious issue” to an already controversial health care reform bill.
Pass healthcare reform AND legalize and tax online poker in ONE bill? Apparently, this would just be far too efficient for this congress.
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