Gov. Dave Heineman has renewed his threat to veto the prenatal bill even as the legislature prepared to take a final vote on the measure this afternoon.
The Unicameral this afternoon approved LB 599, which would extend Medicaid coverage to the prenatal needs of expectant mothers, including illegal immigrants. The legislature approved the bill 31-15, one vote more needed to override a veto.
The governor rejects claims by supporters that the bill is pro-life, supporting an unborn child that will become an American citizens upon birth. Heineman disagrees.
“It is about illegal immigration. It is about fairness,” according to Heineman. “Nebraskans are telling me, ‘You know what, I pay my taxes. I obey the laws and now you want to use my hard-earned tax dollars for illegals.’ They object to that.”
Heineman has been adamant in his opposition to the bill. He says he does support extending Medicaid coverage to the poor, but insists that coverage must be restricted to United States citizens.
“Now, I want to very clear. I support prenatal care and, in the case of the illegals, it could be done by churches, private charities, private individuals, but don’t use taxpayer funds,” Heineman says.
The bill has passed the first two rounds with just enough votes to override a gubernatorial veto. Legislators gather this afternoon at the Capitol to take a final vote on the bill.
Heineman says he will veto it and then work to sustain the veto.
“I want to do everything I can to convince them not override us. I would ask them to listen to the people of Nebraska,” Heineman says. “I think, as the governor of this state, the person who travels this state more often than anyone else, I have a pretty good sense where Nebraskans are at. And, again, it’s on the use of taxpayer funds for illegal immigration.”
The legislature had scheduled to meet for the final day of the 60-day session tomorrow. Speaker Mike Flood of Norfolk has postponed the final day until next Wednesday, the 18th, so the legislature can consider any overrides of the governor’s vetoes.
AUDIO: Gov. Dave Heineman threatens to veto LB 599 during news conference [1:10]