Schwarzenegger, Núñez See Shared Fate on Health Care
The political future of Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles) increasingly relies on the outcome of a ballot measure to rework California's term limits law and his ability to negotiate a health care reform compromise with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), Anthony York, editor of Capitol Weekly, writes in a Los Angeles Times opinion piece.
Núñez likely will need the governor's endorsement to win voter approval of the term limits initiative, but Schwarzenegger is withholding support to win concessions from Núñez on health care reform, according to York.
Pointing to Californians' previous rejections of health care ballot initiatives and a budget deficit projected at $10 billion in 2008, York writes that Schwarzenegger, conversely, will need help from Núñez, as well as labor unions, to win support for a proposed ballot initiative that would fund the overhaul of the state health care system.
However, York argues that "Núñez could be ousted as speaker" and lose "his bully pulpit to campaign" for health care reform if voters defeat a February 2008 ballot measure to rework California's term-limit rules for lawmakers.
According to York, if Núñez loses his speakership, the governor would be left "as the face of a (health care reform) campaign relying heavily on unions and other Democratic-friendly groups while confronting stiff opposition from many business groups."
The "more [Núñez] inches toward the governor on a health care plan, the more he risks losing the financial support of unions in" a ballot initiative campaign, "which would be crucial for passage," York writes (York, Los Angeles Times, 12/9).