"It's one of those deals where you've got to look out for Arkansans first," said Beebe. "We've got to take care of Arkansas. We can't depend on the federal government to take care of us."
But one of the more critical conversations, according to Beebe, came not from a colleague but from a friend regarding concerns over the controversial legislation.
"Steve Womack is a good friend of mine. We've been friends a long time, before he went Congress. We've been friends since his army days as a colonel with the National Guard, and he and I talked on the phone, and that was some of his concerns," said Beebe of his conversation with the congressman from Rogers.
"[Womack] said: 'Don't trust us. Don't trust the federal government.' I said: 'We don't. We don't'," laughed Beebe, who explained that "triggers" had been built in to the legislation that if the federal government fails to hold up their end of the bargain, the contract with the state is void."
"So, uh, [Womack] referred to that as 'exit ramps', which I've taken to use his term," Beebe added. "[Womack] said: 'If you're satisfied -- if y'all are satisfied that you've got sufficient exit ramps to get off if we don't' -- meaning 'we', the federal government -- 'don't do what we say we're going to do...that's fine.' And so, his approach was, 'don't trust us'. I agreed with him."
The actual idea of those so called "triggers" came from Arizona's governor, Jan Brewer, explained Beebe.
"She was one of the first people to approach the whole idea of an automatic cutoff if the feds changed anything, in terms of what they agreed that they were going to do," said Beebe. "We're going to take care of ourselves, and if they breach any part of the agreement, we're through."
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