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Posts Tagged ‘House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’

Georgia Politics Set to Explode Over Obamacare

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Victory in the Partisan Battle over Obamacare May Lead to Heighted Political Acrimony at a State Level in States Such as Georgia

While national politics continue to churn after the historic passage of Obamacare on Sunday and President Barack Obama’s signature on same yesterday, some states are showing signs of exploding into partisan warfare over Obamacare, notably including the State of Georgia.  In Georgia, Attorney General Thurbert Baker has tonight officially refused to join in with over a dozen other states that have filed federal lawsuits against President Obama regarding the unconstitutionality of the individual mandate in Obamacare:

ATLANTA – Georgia’s attorney general won’t sue the federal government over the controversial health care bill President Obama signed into law yesterday.

Attorney General Thurbert Baker, a Democrat, announced his decision in a letter to Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue, who had urged the state’s top lawyer to file the lawsuit. Nationally, more than a dozen states are questioning the Constitutionality of the law, which requires all citizens to have health insurance.

“While I understand that the new law is the subject of ongoing debate here in Georgia and around the nation, I do not believe that Georgia has a viable legal claim against the United States,” Baker said in his letter to Perdue. “Considering our state’s current severe budgetary crisis, with vital services like education and law enforcement being cut deeply, I cannot justify a decision to initiate expensive and time-consuming litigation that I believe has no legal merit.”

But, Baker’s decision not to sue doesn’t mean Georgia won’t file a lawsuit. Perdue could decide to proceed with a lawsuit without Baker’s cooperation, a number of media reports indicate.

“His refusal to participate doesn’t preclude us from moving forward,” Perdue’s spokesman Bert Brantley said, according to a report on WXIA-TV’s Web site. “We’ll make a decision on how to move forward and whether that means Georgia filing a lawsuit on its own, going by itself, or whether we join other states that have already filed.”

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue (R-GA) Is Examining His Options Tonight As Attorney General Thurbert Baker Officially Refuses Perdue's Request for Baker to File Suit on Behalf of the State of Georgia to Allege Obamacare is Unconstitutional

As noted above by the Atlanta Examiner, and a local TV station report, Governor Sonny Perdue (R-GA) is examining his options to override Baker’s decision to pass on a lawsuit against Obamacare.  The heightened GOP pressure on Attorney General Thurbert Baker may be the first major shot fired in a new GOP plan to strategically use Obamacare to “nationalize” state-level races in states where Obamacare is particularly unpopular, such as Georgia.

Most immediately, Perdue is planning on holding a news conference with former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich tomorrow morning to explain why Georgia Republicans feel it is important for the State of Georgia to join in the multi-state litigation challenging Obamacare’s constitutionality. Additionally, state House GOP members are looking at Articles of Impeachment for Baker as “there is a movement inside the House to suspend the rules and introduce Articles of Impeachment against Baker for failing to uphold his oath of office.” PeachPundit has the details late this evening of the hardball being played by the GOP over Baker’s defiance of Governor Perdue’s request:

The resolution had around 30 signatures and things were moving forward. Apparently, the sponsor agreed hold off until legislators meet with Gov. Perdue in the morning to further discuss options.

The basis of the Articles of Impeachment are that Baker has violated Article V, Section 3, Paragraph IV of the state Constitution and OCGA §45-15-35, both of which direct the Attorney General to take on matters of the state in court at the direction of the Governor.

Impeachment of a public official would take a simple majority in the House, but a 2/3 majority in the Senate.

Complicating matters somewhat is the fact that Thurbert Baker is also engaged in the contested Democratic primary for Governor with former Governor Roy Barnes.   Baker is presently a heavy underdog in the Democratic primary against Barnes, while GOP Gubernatorial candidates Karen Handel and Nathan Deal are slightly ahead of Barnes by 3 points each in recent polling while GOP Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine is tied with Barnes and GOP State Senate President Eric Johnson is behind Barnes by 2 points.  Baker trails all GOP candidates by a large margin and is far behind Barnes in the Democratic primary race.  Accordingly, Baker needs to shake things up to have any chance to become Georgia’s next governor, and he may have chosen Obamacare to make his move considering the dramatic rejection of Perdue’s request this evening.

Just resigned US Congressman and now full-time GOP Gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal has been trying to take advantage of the situation, urging his supporters to contact Baker by email, phone and fax to urge Baker to file suit as noted in the Atlanta-Journal and Constitution:

Republican candidate for governor Nathan Deal, freed from his Washington job, has passed the office number, fax number, and e-mail address of Attorney General Thurbert Baker to supporters, urging them to call and demand that Baker join a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new health care law.

Baker, of course, is a Democratic candidate for governor. It’s fine sport to bait a rival.

Deal, of course, has recently come under an ethical cloud for his involvement in state contracts for his salvage business, and Deal also started a mini-firestorm in national GOP politics in early March by attempting to resign from the House of Representatives before the all-important House Obamacare vote on Sunday, with the Wall Street Journal suggesting that Deal was resigning to avoid further developments in the House Ethics Committee probe into his salvage company. After that, GOP House leader John Boehner (R-OH) personally appealed to Deal to stay on to cast a vote against Obamacare, and Deal quickly reversed himself and voted against Obamacare and then immediately resigned Sunday night. Accordingly, the aggressive push by Deal may be in part an attempt to exorcise those earlier missteps on the Obamacare issue.

Georgia Democratic Attorney General Thurbert Baker Tonight Rejected GOP Governor Sonny Perdue's Request For the Filing of Suit To Allege Obamacare is Unconstitutional

For his part, AG Baker told the AJC Monday night there is no Constitutional violation emanating from Obamacare as the supremacy clause clearly authorizes the statutory language, foreshadowing tonight’s formal rejection of Perdue’s request:

“We’re not interested in political gamesmanship in the office of the attorney general. We’re not interested in making political points. The role of the attorney general is to follow the law, and where we feel there have been violations, we need to address it….

“There’s a little thing called the supremacy clause. Federal law supercedes state law. And so I’m very interested in knowing, at least from those who think there’s a basis is, at least what they think the basis is.

Baker has also pointed to the money that would be expended by an Obamacare suit, money Baker claims would be wasted.  It appears that “every GOP candidate in Georgia” is pressing hard on Obamacare, attempting to “nationalize” every statewide race in November 2010 with the unpopular Obamacare, while former Governor Roy Barnes is staking out ground as critical of Obamacare in contrast to his opponent AG Baker, as notes the AJC:

And Democrats, just like in the old days, suddenly find themselves worrying about being tied too closely to a president and a ruling Washington regime.

Gov. Sonny Perdue has been eager to help. “It is imperative that current candidates for elected office publicly state their plans to either support the Obama-Pelosi legislation or fight for the people of Georgia,” the Republican governor declared, shortly after the Sunday night vote.

Perdue has loudly pressed Attorney General Thurbert Baker, a Democratic candidate for governor, to challenge the constitutionality of the health care law.

But so far, Baker and other Democrats haven’t risen to the bait.

Every GOP candidate in Georgia, down to your half-hearted handshaker for county land surveyor, has generated at least one press release vowing not to rest until the health care law is undone.

But Democrats — particularly those seeking a place on the November ballot — have been much more cautious. Many have been here before, and understand the game.

In health care, as Perdue recognizes, Republicans have an issue that could nationalize every statewide race in Georgia.

Baker, the attorney general, rejected the governor’s lawsuit challenge on Wednesday. “This litigation is likely to fail and will consume significant amounts of taxpayers’ hard-earned money in the process,” he wrote in reply.

Former Gov. Roy Barnes was the most critical. “This health care bill is a failure of leadership on both sides. It’s what’s wrong with Washington and it’s what’s wrong with the state Capitol,” Barnes said. “My greatest disappointment is that the insurance companies were not regulated further — which means the special interests won.”

It may be that Baker considers a highly publicized fight over Obamacare with Perdue the best move he can make in his effort to make up ground in the Democratic primary against heavy favorite Barnes, especially as Barnes is lukewarm at best regarding the Obamacare package. A high profile fight with Perdue over Obamacare would also surely please President Obama, and Baker may be counting on drawing Obama into the Democratic primary by eliciting a statement of support from Obama for Baker’s refusal to file suit, as well as perhaps garnering a surge in donations from Obama’s liberal base. Indeed, Baker may believe his expressions of public backing for Obamacare will move some of the liberal base of the Democratic Party in Georgia into his column in his contest against Barnes.

Beyond the politics, it is highly questionable, under the Georgia Supreme Court’s ruling of Perdue v. Baker, whether AG Baker as chief legal officer for the State of Georgia can legally ignore a direct command from the Governor, as occurred here over the requested Obamacare lawsuit.  Perdue v. Baker was decided by the Georgia Supreme Court in 2003 pursuant to a prior fight between the Attorney General and Governor related to the 1965 Voting Rights Act.  Late Wednesday, in reaction of Baker’s official snub, Perdue’s spokesman noted that Perdue may find a way around Baker’s resistance “citing the voter ID law and the water wars with Florida and Alabama.

The Republican Governor was out of town Wednesday, but spokesman Bert Brantley told us they will challenge the federal health care plan with or without Baker’s help.

“His refusal to participate doesn’t preclude us from moving forward and we’ve done that on a number of cases,” Brantley said, citing the voter ID law and the water wars with Florida and Alabama.

“We’ll make a decision on how to move forward and whether that means Georgia filing a lawsuit on its own, going by itself, or whether we join other states that have already filed,” he added.

As for the cost, Brantley says the governor has already heard from several lawyers willing to take the case for free.

Although the Georgia General Assembly did not pass a constitutional amendment “that would have declared Georgians immune from the reach of the federal health care law” as the Senate came just short of the 2/3 vote required, it is possible that the General Assembly could consider legislation to modify and/or clarify the powers of the Attorney General to prevent the Attorney General from abusing his authority, as the state House GOP clearly believes Baker is doing now by refusing to file suit.   Arguably, the Perdue v. Baker decision prohibits the Attorney General from ignoring lawful commands of the Governor such as the Obamacare lawsuit request, and new legislation may clarify the issue as the Obamacare debate intensifies.

Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich Is Set to Appear with Governor Perdue Tomorrow Morning in Front of the Media to Argue that the State of Georgia Should Proceed to File Suit to Contest the Constitutionality of Obamacare

The Gingrich-Perdue press conference tomorrow morning on why the State of Georgia should challenge the constitutionality of Obamacare in federal court may be the start of the Georgia GOP’s “nationalizing”  strategy regarding Obamacare and state races.  Additionally, the presence of national political heavyweight Gingrich, who may be attempting to build support nationally for a possible 2012 campaign by becoming engaged in the Perdue-Baker fight over Obamacare, is sure to add to the focus on Georgia as perhaps the first state in the union to reflect the new hardened, partisan atmosphere existing nationally after the passage of Obamacare.   We may also be observing the first major state-level skirmish of many to come in the states where the GOP has decided to pursue a strategy to “nationalize” state-level races around the issue of Obamacare.

All told, it appears that the statewide political scene in Georgia is about to break out into all-out partisan battle over Obamacare. Talks between the state House GOP and Perdue before the press conference tomorrow morning with Gingrich and Perdue may determine whether impeachment proceedings move forward against AG Baker in the Georgia House of Representatives or other legislation related to the AG’s powers. Starting tomorrow, in the wake of tonight’s official rejection by AG Baker of Perdue’s request to sue, Georgia may become the first state to truly experience the same sort of brass-knuckles partisan warfare that has dominated national politics for over a year regarding the Obamacare initiative.

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Senior Democrat Dingell: Obamacare Prepping “to Control the People” by 2014

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Senior Democratic House Democrat John Dingell, seen here with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Former President Bill Clinton, Has Stirred Controversy with his comment that Obamacare will "control the people" by 2014

Senior Democratic House Congressman John Dingell (D-MI) made some incredible admissions on WJR 760AM, a local Michigan station, on Tuesday morning in response to a question from local radio host Paul W. Smith.   Smith asked, starting at about the 6:00 point on the tape, if the leftist rhetoric is correct that tens of thousands of Americans die per year because of a lack of health insurance, “are we are ready to let 72,000 more people die” between now and the implementation of Obamacare in 2014.  Dingell then shockingly responded as follows:

“We’re not ready to be doing it.  But let me remind you, this has been going on for years. We are bringing it to a halt. The harsh fact of the matter is when you’re going to pass legislation that will cover 300 [million] American people in different ways it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people.”

Basically Dingell is saying there is so much to do to prepare the massive new federal health care system that the Democrats are “not ready to be doing it” now and four years are needed to prepare to launch the new system by 2014. Indeed, Dingell explicitly states that the Democrats need the next four years to prepare the “necessary administrative steps” to bring Obamacare online “to control the people” of America. Such commentary by such a senior Democratic insider is truly discomforting to centrists and independents, as well as some ideologues on both sides.

Further, it is quite revealing to hear the senior Democratic member of Congress, someone who was a featured speaker at the Democratic House leadership press conference on Sunday night after the historic passage of Obamacare by a 219-212 margin, make these admissions as GOP critics have been condemned harshly by the establishment media and many Democratic politicians for making claims similar (if not less sweeping ) to what Dingell admits here. Dingell’s frank admissions may spur another round of political acrimony between the Democrats and Republicans regarding the “big government” aspects of the Obamacare legislation and the plans for implementation as the Senate reconciliation debate begins.

Dingell then goes on to condemn the GOP just after the quote above for “not helping“, “carping and delaying” and “contributing nothing to this.” Perhaps the GOP is happy to have nothing to do with the wacky Obamacare scheme, as described by Dingell, to “control the people” after four years of preparing the “necessary administrative steps”. Considering the legislation is now the law of the land, and the “necessary administrative steps” referred to by Dingell are unknown outside of the close-knit Democratic power structure, Americans now need full disclosure of what exactly the Democrats have planned “to control the people” via the federal government’s newly minted comprehensive health care reform law.

Dingell's Comments Regarding Obamacare's Goal to "Control the People" by 2014 Have Invoked Comparisons to the World Envisioned by George Orwell in his classic book, "1984"

Indeed, Dingell is part of a small group of Democratic politicians that are the insiders as to the true intent of the massive 2407 page long bill, receiving one of President Obama’s 20 signing pens he used to sign Obamacare today and further described by Obama-worshipping Newsweek as the biblical figure Aaron, who was the brother of Moses (Obama’s role as cast by Newsweek) and who played a critical role to get to the “promised land” of nationalized health care:

If Obama is the Moses of the new health-care law, Dingell is the Aaron—except that, unlike Aaron, he’s happily alive to reach the (incremental) promised land. “There is a certain satisfaction,” said Dingell as he kept an eye on the TV.

Dingell’s own father was a New Deal Democratic congressman and champion of a New Deal–style national health-care system, a bill he first introduced in 1943. When Dingell took over the seat from his late father in 1955, the old man’s bill was in the hopper—but never voted on. The son introduced a similar bill every year, starting in 1957. Every year, including this year. The new Obamacare law is far different from—and short of—that government-run New Deal vision.

But it’s fair to say that Obama and the Dems wouldn’t be where they are today (for good or ill, depending on your politics) had it not been for the efforts of Dingell over the years. In his youth and then heyday as a committee chairman and party leader, he helped pass Medicare in 1965—Nancy Pelosi used his ceremonial gavel on Sunday night—and every other expansion of health-care law and legislation.

Further, Dingell played a key part in pushing the winning block of anti-abortion swing votes, led by Bart Stupak (D-MI), to vote for Obamacare:

“Mr. Dingell had a piece of me (Saturday) for quite some time,” Stupak said.

Stupak said the dean of the House of Representatives was chief among a group of Democratic leaders who put pressure on him to reach a deal with the White House so he would switch to a “yea” vote on the bill.

Once it passed, Dingell’s Democratic colleagues acknowledged his long push for an overhaul of the nation’s health care with a standing ovation Sunday night.

Dingell called the final outcome “a long stride forward” in achieving his career-long goal of national health care coverage.

“I’m very, very happy,” said the beaming 83-year-old Dearborn Democrat, who got to bed well after 1 a.m. Monday but was up early to do his first TV interview at 6:45 a.m. A flood of TV, radio and newspaper interviews followed, underscoring how much credit he is given for helping the Democrats score the legislative victory.

Considering Dingell’s critical role in drafting and obtaining passage of Obamacare, as described by Newsweek and others, and the insider knowledge he must therefore hold regarding the “necessary administrative steps” planned by the Democrats to ramp up Obamacare so as “to control the people” starting in 2014, one can only hope that the establishment media awakens from its celebratory stupor and does a serious investigation as to what exactly the Democrats have planned for this country between now and 2014 so that the American people are fully informed and able to make appropriate decisions in November 2010 and 2012 at the ballot box. Should the Dingell interview end up disappearing from WJR 760AM, a copy can be found here on this site.

UPDATE: Ed at Hotair links over and wonders if Dingell’s crazy statements about Obamacare being designed to “control the people is a “Freudian” slip.

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CBS News Defrauds America, Rigs Poll To Show Obama at 49% and Pelosi at 11%, Reid at 8%; CNN Shows Obama at 46%/51%, Proving CBS’s Fraud

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

CBS News Has Defrauded American by Manipulating its Polling Data to Show Much More Favorable Results for President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party

In a breathtaking display of journalistic and polling malpractice, CBS News tonight released a poll that substantially reversed its unweighted findings which showed an all-around collapse of Democratic poll ratings by manipulating the actual findings of its poll.   Amazingly, even with this untoward, obvious manipulation of the data obtained by the CBS News pollsters, the poll still showed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at 11% favorability/37% unfavorability [-26%], while Senate Leader Harry Reid clocked in at 8%/23% [-15%] and President Barack Obama at 49% approval/41% disapproval [+8%].    Here is the evidence of CBS News’s unforgivable manipulation of its polling data, with the unweighted numbers on the left and the “weighted” numbers on the right:

Total Respondents                     1059                                   1059
Total Republicans                      272 [25.7%]                     235   [-37, now  22.2%]
Total Democrats                         355 [33.5%]                    396   [+41, now 37.4%]
Total Independents                  432 [40.8%]                   428   [-4,  now 40.4%]

Incredibly, and in what must be the intentional placing of a thumb on the scales to avoid a shocking embarrassment of its favored President and Democratic Party, CBS News took its unweighted polling sample that had an 8% partisan ID edge for Democrats (which is a realistic finding compared to other polling, see below) and then “weighted” their data to show a completely fraudulent and unrealistic 15% partisan ID edge for Democratic voters over Republican ones – adding 7.4% to the partisan ID edge for Democratic voters.   Keep in mind that President Obama, at a time of record turnout for the Democratic base, a depressed GOP base and with independents breaking Obama’s way by double digits, won the 2008 election by only 7%.    Yet CBS is claiming tonight that the Democrats own a full 15.2% partisan ID edge over the Republicans amongst the American people, despite the indisputable slide in Obama’s popularity, as well as that of his party, since that historic election night.

No one in the polling community, other than CBS News, deigns to claim that this 15.2% partisan edge anything other than fantasy – even senior Democratic strategist James Carville’s left wing Democracy Corps polling shows only a 7% partisan ID edge for Democratic voters [38%-31%], while NBC/WSJ shows 9% partisan ID edge for Democratic voters [32%-23%] and Fox News’s polling shows just a 3% partisan ID edge for Democratic voters [40%-37%]. Based on those three, well-respected pollsters, CBS News’s unweighted data showing a 7.8% partisan ID edge for Democratic voters [33.5%-25.7%] appears to be a reasonable sample of the actual electorate in America.  For reasons known only to CBS News, they then decided to take that representative sample of the electorate and stand it on its head by essentially padding all the numbers in their polling by 7.4% in favor of President Obama and the Democratic Party by creating a fantasy-land 15.2% partisan ID edge for Democrats.

By doing this, CBS News was able to make the ridiculous claim that President Obama’s approval on the specific issue of health care is rising now:

Overall, Americans are critical of the President’s handling of health care, but his approval rating on this issue has risen in the last month. Now, 41% approve, up from 35% in February; but still more, 51%, disapprove. More people have disapproved than approved of the President’s handling of health care since November.

As shown above, CBS News claims that President Obama’s approval on health care policy has “risen” by 6% from 35% to 41% – yet their manipulation of the polling data via “weighting” actually shifted the numbers by 7.4% in President Obama’s favor, more than the alleged rise in President Obama’s health care approval. Regarding Obama’s overall approval, CBS News again claims that Obama is “up” from last month:

Americans’ rating of the overall job President Obama is up slightly from last month: 49% now approve, compared to 46% last month. President Obama’s approval rating has hovered at or slightly below 50% since December.

The 3% rise in Obama’s overall approval crowed about by CBS News, from 46% last month to 49% now, is also fully eviscerated by the intentional manipulation of the polling data engaged in by CBS News by “weighting” the partisan ID advantage to increase the Democratic advantage by 7.4%, from the unweighted 7.8% to the weighted 15.2%. Taking the unweighted data, President Obama actually lost a few points in approval this month, continuing his downward trend into the low to mid 40% range. By adding 7.4% to the partisan ID edge for Democrats, CBS News was able to obfuscate this continuing decline and actually claim that Obama’s approval was on the way “up”.

On the issue of health care reform, even with the manipulation of its data, CBS News reported that Americans oppose Obamacare by an 11 point margin, 37%-48%:

As the health care bill headed to its Sunday night vote in the House of Representatives, nearly half of Americans said they disapproved of it, while 37% approved. Among those opposed to the bill, a third strongly disapproved.

Of course, the results would look much worse if it were not for the addition of 7.4% to the Democratic partisan ID edge by CBS News’s disgraceful manipulation of its own polling data.

Did CBS News Anchor Katie Couric Trade Disgraceful Manipulation of CBS's Polling Data for Exclusive Access to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel over the weekend?

One possible explanation for this disgraceful behavior by the allegedly neutral CBS News is the access being provided to CBS News, and specifically to CBS anchor Katie Couric, by the leaders of the Democratic Party. Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, gave an exclusive interview to Couric over the weekend – a much sought-after interview that certainly helped CBS’s ratings. Trading access to prominent Democrats for intentional manipulation of polling data, as appears to be the case here, is serious journalistic malpractice and all objective, independent observers of American politics must immediately condemn CBS’s behavior.

One could possibly expect an avowed partisan like James Carville to engage in such misrepresentations of polling data, however, it is the allegedly neutral CBS News who has disgraced itself with its undeniable, and unforgivable, manipulation of its polling data. CBS News is trusted by millions of Americans to be an objective, neutral source for both the news of the day and polling data, and this disgraceful manipulation of its polling data, in exchange for exclusive access to Democratic leaders, surely undercuts any confidence Americans may have that CBS News is actually an objective source of information. The fact that the duty to expose CBS’s journalistic malpractice falls to a tiny centrist blog like this one is a sad commentary on the state of the American media today. Centrist and independent Americans can only hope that the rest of the establishment media investigates this undeniable manipulation of polling data by CBS News to determine if CBS did indeed rig its poll for access to White House officials.

UPDATE: CNN’s release of polling, over the same period as the CBS News sample, showing President Obama at 46%/51% approval conclusively proves that CBS News is guilty of intentional manipulation of its polling data to distort the actual preferences of the American electorate at this time.  Such behavior by CBS News calls into question its status as a news organization at all.   CNN’s polling:

For the first time, a CNN poll has found that a majority of Americans disapprove of President Obama’s job performance.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Monday, 51 percent of respondents disapprove of Obama’s job performance and 46 percent approve of it…

Obama’s approval rating has dropped steadily each month since December, when it was 54 percent. His highest approval rating in a CNN poll was 76 percent in February 2009 shortly after he took office.

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CBO: Obamacare = at least $109 Billion in Deficit Spending Over 10 Years; UPDATE: Former CBO Director: Obamacare Deficit will be $562 Billion over 10 years

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

The Establishment Media's Failure to Debunk or Even Question President Obama's False Claim of Deficit Savings from Obamacare Reminds Some of the Society Described by George Orwell in his Classic book, "1984"

In explicit contradiction to the establishment media’s reporting over the past two days, the CBO has in fact reported that the Obamacare bill will result in an increase in the deficit spending of the United States by at least $109 billion over the next 10 years. Instead of reporting this indisputable fact, the media has been pushing the Obama and Democrat line that Obamacare will “save” $138 billion over the next 10 years in deficit spending versus present projections as if it was the gospel truth.

The big problem with that reporting, and Obama’s claim that Obamacare will be “one of the biggest deficit-reduction plans in history” is that the CBO has explicitly reported that when the “doctor fix” is enacted, the $138 billion in paper “savings” disappear and a $59 billion dollar deficit over 10 years is created by Obamacare over 10 years:

You asked about the total budgetary impact of enacting the reconciliation proposal (the amendment to H.R. 4872), the Senate-passed health bill (H.R. 3590), and the Medicare Physicians Payment Reform Act of 2009 (H.R. 3961). CBO estimates that enacting all three pieces of legislation would add $59 billion to budget deficits over the 2010–2019 period.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Obama have promised to push through a “doctor fix” immediately after the passage of Obamacare. In fact, the promised “doctor fix” was used by President Obama and the Democrats to purchase the American Medical Association’s support for Obamacare as reported by Politico back in July 2009:

In the bill, Democrats provide $245 billion to eliminate an annual shortfall in payments to doctors under Medicare. Democrats resolved this annual headache, in large part, to win crucial support for the bill from the American Medical Association. That money currently counts against the overall costs of the bill, but Democrats have introduced legislation that would remove remove this obligation from federal deficit.

Obama and the Democrats then removed the “doctor fix” from Obamacare to game the CBO scoring shortly after the CBO released its initial scoring of the bill which  properly showed an increase in deficit spending. Removing the “doctor fix” meant that the present CBO scoring includes an unrealistic 21% immediate cut in doctor fees in its projections, hence resulting in the illusory CBO number of $138 billion in paper deficit “savings” that the establishment media and President Obama are so happy to falsely repeat ad nauseam. In reality, as noted by the CBO’s letter excerpted above, the real CBO score is a deficit of $59 Billion over 10 years.

In addition, the CBO also has explicitly stated that another $50 billion over 10 years in federal spending will be required to administer the massive new federal entitlement programs to be created by Obamacare:

In its March 11, 2010, cost estimate for H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), as passed by the Senate, CBO indicated that it has identified at least $50 billion in specified and estimated authorizations of discretionary spending that might be involved in implementing that legislation. The authority to undertake such spending is not provided in H.R. 3590; it would require future action in appropriation bills.

As noted by the CBO above, the legislative language does not include authority to “undertake such spending” so the CBO did not score it in the recent releases. However, the CBO does clearly state above that “at least $50 billion” in federal spending will be required to implement Obamacare, meaning that combined with the inevitable “doctor fix”, the CBO’s own reporting holds that Obamacare will result in at least $109 billion in new deficit spending over the next 10 years.

Somehow it takes a tiny centrist blog like this one to clearly report these publicly available facts, and the establishment media, including the AP, CNN, MSNBC, CBS, USAToday, NYT, WaPo, ABC, and Politico all completely failed to report these facts when reporting on the illusory $138 billion in paper deficit savings reported by the CBO. In fact, all of those “news” organizations explicitly report that Obamacare will reduce the deficit as if it is fact while failing to even mention the “doctor fix” (which results in a $59 billion deficit) or the administrative costs (an additional cost of $50 billion) that the CBO itself has explicitly reported on.  Sadly, this $109 billion deficit over 10 years is just the tip of the iceberg, as President Obama and Congressional Democrats have, according to Obamaphile NYT columnist David Brooks, stuffed the legislation with gimmicks and dodges designed to get a good score from the Congressional Budget Office but don’t genuinely control runaway spending.”

Here is a list, from the NYT Brooks column, of the “dodges and gimmicks” which were used by Obama and Congressional Democrats to create the illusory $138 Billion in paper deficit savings from Obamacare:

There is the doc fix dodge. The legislation pretends that Congress is about to cut Medicare reimbursements by 21 percent. Everyone knows that will never happen, so over the next decade actual spending will be $300 billion higher than paper projections.

There is the long-term care dodge. The bill creates a $72 billion trust fund to pay for a new long-term care program. The sponsors count that money as cost-saving, even though it will eventually be paid back out when the program comes on line.

There is the subsidy dodge. Workers making $60,000 and in the health exchanges would receive $4,500 more in subsidies in 2016 than workers making $60,000 and not in the exchanges. There is no way future Congresses will allow that disparity to persist. Soon, everybody will get the subsidy.

There is the excise tax dodge. The primary cost-control mechanism and long-term revenue source for the program is the tax on high-cost plans. But Democrats aren’t willing to levy this tax for eight years. The fiscal sustainability of the whole bill rests on the naïve hope that a future Congress will have the guts to accept a trillion-dollar tax when the current Congress wouldn’t accept an increase of a few billion.

There is the 10-6 dodge. One of the reasons the bill appears deficit-neutral in the first decade is that it begins collecting revenue right away but doesn’t have to pay for most benefits until 2014. That’s 10 years of revenues to pay for 6 years of benefits, something unlikely to happen again unless the country agrees to go without health care for four years every decade.

There is the Social Security dodge. The bill uses $52 billion in higher Social Security taxes to pay for health care expansion. But if Social Security taxes pay for health care, what pays for Social Security?

There is the pilot program dodge. Admirably, the bill includes pilot programs designed to help find ways to control costs. But it’s not clear that the bill includes mechanisms to actually implement the results. This is exactly what happened to undermine previous pilot program efforts.

Sadly, none of the above-listed “dodges and gimmicks” are referenced anywhere in any of the establishment media reporting over the past few days regarding the explicitly false Obama claim that Obamacare is “one of the biggest deficit-reduction plans in history.” Instead of reporting these facts and challenging the President’s clearly false claims of deficit reduction from Obamacare, the media has abdicated its traditional watchdog role as the 4th estate in American society and wholly endorsed the explicitly false claims of President Obama.

As it stands right now, the vote in the House tomorrow appears to be very close and could go either way. One can only wonder if wavering Democrats would be reacting differently if the media was actually doing its job and acting as a watchdog instead of a lapdog for the powerful politicians who run the federal government. Americans can only hope that their elected congresspeople who will vote tomorrow on perhaps the most important bill in decades have this public information for their consideration as they decide whether to vote to pass Obamacare into law.

UPDATE: Former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, director of the Congressional Budget Office from 2003 to 2005, confirms CentristNet’s claims last night in his NYT column outlining the dodges and gimmicks included by the Democrats to obtain the explicitly false claim of $138 billion in paper deficit “savings” and concluding that Obamacare will actually result in over a half a trillion of increased deficit spending over the next 10 years:

ON Thursday, the Congressional Budget Office reported that, if enacted, the latest health care reform legislation would, over the next 10 years, cost about $950 billion, but because it would raise some revenues and lower some costs, it would also lower federal deficits by $138 billion. In other words, a bill that would set up two new entitlement spending programs — health insurance subsidies and long-term health care benefits — would actually improve the nation’s bottom line.

Could this really be true? How can the budget office give a green light to a bill that commits the federal government to spending nearly $1 trillion more over the next 10 years?

The answer, unfortunately, is that the budget office is required to take written legislation at face value and not second-guess the plausibility of what it is handed. So fantasy in, fantasy out.

In reality, if you strip out all the gimmicks and budgetary games and rework the calculus, a wholly different picture emerges: The health care reform legislation would raise, not lower, federal deficits, by $562 billion.
Finally, in perhaps the most amazing bit of unrealistic accounting, the legislation proposes to trim $463 billion from Medicare spending and use it to finance insurance subsidies. But Medicare is already bleeding red ink, and the health care bill has no reforms that would enable the program to operate more cheaply in the future. Instead, Congress is likely to continue to regularly override scheduled cuts in payments to Medicare doctors and other providers.

Removing the unrealistic annual Medicare savings ($463 billion) and the stolen annual revenues from Social Security and long-term care insurance ($123 billion), and adding in the annual spending that so far is not accounted for ($114 billion) quickly generates additional deficits of $562 billion in the first 10 years. And the nation would be on the hook for two more entitlement programs rapidly expanding as far as the eye can see.

The bottom line is that Congress would spend a lot more; steal funds from education, Social Security and long-term care to cover the gap; and promise that future Congresses will make up for it by taxing more and spending less.

The stakes could not be higher. As documented in another recent budget office analysis, the federal deficit is already expected to exceed at least $700 billion every year over the next decade, doubling the national debt to more than $20 trillion. By 2020, the federal deficit — the amount the government must borrow to meet its expenses — is projected to be $1.2 trillion, $900 billion of which represents interest on previous debt.

The health care legislation would only increase this crushing debt. It is a clear indication that Congress does not realize the urgency of putting America’s fiscal house in order.

This is the sad truth of the Obamacare package that is due to be voted on by the House of Representatives just a few hours from now. Democrats continued to make the explicitly false claim that Obamacare will be a “historic” deficit reduction package on all the Sunday shows, and the establishment media continued to second their false claims and refuse to even mention any of the obvious gimmicks and dodges used to create the false paper deficit savings reported by the CBO last week. Should Obamacare pass, the intentional fraud engaged in by President Obama and Democrats regarding the deficit “savings” issue will be seen as one of the most egregious examples of explicit misrepresentations made by federal officials, and sanctioned by the American media, in the history of this country.

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Hope for Obamacare Opponents? Stupak-Pelosi Deal Collapses For Now; UPDATE: NBC and Politico Report Pelosi Says No Deal

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

Pro-Life House Dem. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), seen here with President Obama, apparently stated this morning that he is "finished with Pelosi"

In what may be the most encouraging sign for opponents of Obamacare since the 222-203 House vote in favor of the “Slaughter Solution” (which “deems” the Senate bill “passed” without an up or down vote), Democratic congressman Bart Stupak (D-MI) has cancelled his 11AM press conference and told some House GOP colleagues that any deal regarding abortion language with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has collapsed:

Two pro-life GOP members close to Stupak tell NRO that any Stupak deals are off. They just spoke with him and they said he’s finished with Pelosi. They rejected his enrollment corrections proposal.

It appears that the potential Stupak-Pelosi deal regarding strict language to eliminate any federal funding of abortion services in Obamacare has been scotched by pro-abortion House Democrats who reacted with outrage that Pelosi was even discussing such a deal with Stupak:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday evening met with a visibly angry Pro-Choice Caucus amid rumors from Democratic aides that the Speaker was working on a last-minute deal with Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) to give his abortion language a separate vote.

Leadership aides, including those in the Speaker’s office, would not comment, but a senior Democratic aide directly involved in the abortion debate said Pelosi appeared to have agreed to give Stupak a vote on an “enrollment resolution” offered by Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), a key Stupak ally.

Cutting against any hope for Obamacare opponents is the opinion of longtime non-partisan political veteran analyst Larry Sabato, who tweeted that

This will be a spectacular weekend as spring is sprung. Don’t waste it watching media counts on health care. It’s over. Bill will pass House.

The news that the leader of anti-abortion Democrats in the House, Bart Stupak, may be “finished with Pelosi” provides a bit of hope for opponents as most vote counts for Obamacare include at least half of the dozen or so anti-abortion House Democrats that have followed Stupak’s lead on this issue in the past, such as the first vote in September 2009 on Obamacare in the House.     However, Fox News and others are reporting on the air that Stupak’s spokeswoman is stating that talks are “ongoing” so whether a deal is to be struck between Stupak and Pelosi is anyone’s guess.

Regardless of your opinion on the all-important, historic vote to be held tomorrow on Obamacare in the House, Americans should make their views known to Congress by calls to their representatives both today and tomorrow as the last few hours expire before perhaps the most important vote in the House of Representatives in many decades.

UPDATE: Moments ago, NBC News reported via twitter that there will be no deal between Pelosi and Stupak regarding more stringent language to stop federal funding of abortion:

Speaker Pelosi (D-Calif.) says there will be no additional abortion language in health care bill to placate Rep. Bart Stupak (D–Mich)- NBC

Politico adds the following confirmation that Pelosi has chosen to cease all negotiations with Stupak and try to find 216 votes another way:

Anti-abortion Democrats renewed their threat to sink an overhaul of the nation’s health care system Saturday, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi decided not to give them a separate vote that would have implemented a strict ban on federal funds subsidizing abortion.

House leaders chose not to give Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) a vote on making the anti-abortion fix to the bill and will instead try to muster the 216 votes needed to send a health care overhaul to the president without his help, a Democratic aide confirmed.

Pelosi said Saturday that she plans to allow no changes outside of a possible leadership-written manager’s amendment.

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It’s OVER: Obamacare to Pass on Sunday as Dems Lie About Deficit Savings; UPDATE: Dem Memo Instructs to Lie About $371 Billion Dollar “Doctor Fix”

Friday, March 19th, 2010

President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brag today about the coming successful vote to pass Obamacare on Sunday

The largest federal government intervention into the US economy since FDR, and the most substantial legislation on health care policy in American history is set to pass the House of Representatives on Sunday, as a test vote on the floor of the House passed with 222 votes (6 to spare) on Wednesday, meaning Obamacare is all but certain to also garner the 216 House votes it needs on Sunday to reach President Obama’s desk.

As noted by many last week, the vote yesterday essentially green-lighted the use of the “Slaughter Solution” to pass the Senate Obamacare bill through the House of Representatives. The Slaughter Solution is a procedural trick which allows the House of Representatives to avoid an actual up or down vote on the special interest and pork laden Senate Obamacare bill.

Right now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is in front of the media crowing about her success in finding the votes and being able to pass the comprehensive health care measure which will avoid “job-lock” based on the fear of losing health care coverage. Pelosi also repeated her wholly false claim that Obamacare will create 700,000 jobs “almost immediately” and her companion fantasy claim that Obamacare will reduce deficit spending by “1.3 trillion” over two decadesl and over a hundred billion in the next decade.

Both of these wholly false and misleading claims rely on future Congresses not waiving certain onerous “revenue raising” measures such as the “cadillac tax” on health insurance policies, which will kick in by 2018 (delayed, by pressure from unions and others, to nearly a decade from now) and further not waiving a large portion of the “planned” $500 billion in cuts to Medicare over the next decade. Neither of these policies are likely to actually be implemented, meaning that there will be only deficit gains from this bill, which makes logical sense as Obamacare will funnel hundreds of billions per year in new entitlement spending to purchase health insurance for those who qualify for the new American entitlement program.

Indeed, the same political pressure that will almost certainly lead future Congresses to waive a substantial majority of the cuts to Medicare benefits while also substantially lessening the bite of the “cadillac tax” on health insurance premiums set to begin in 2018 under Obama’s present plan has led Congresses, in every year since the passage of the Medicare savings bill in 1997, to waive such reductions in payments to doctors and hospitals as called for in the 1997 legislation.   This procedure is known as the “doctor fix”, and Obama promised he would include a 10 year “doctor fix” in Obamacare to buy the support of the American Medical Association back in the summer of 2009. Because the inclusion of the 10 year “doctor fix” payoff to the AMA in the initial version of Obamacare created a CBO scoring which showed over $150 billion in deficit spending over 10 years, Obama and the Democrats  removed the language from the bill and now pretend that the $250 billion dollar cost of the “doctor fix” over the first decade of Obamacare simply doesn’t exist.

Here’s what Nancy Pelosi had to say today in response to just such a question about the “doctor fix” from a brave reporter:

“We’ve been including it in legislation for a long time…it is not about a doctor fix, it is about our seniors or anyone who relies upon Medicare to have access…you call it the doctor fix, its really about access to health are for Americans…its not in this [Obamacare] bill, but we’ll have it soon. We have made a commitment to do this.”

Pelosi than refused to answer the followup question from that same reporter regarding the fact that the “doctor fix” will completely eliminate the claimed $100 billion or so in “deficit savings” over the first decade of Obamacare. President Barack Obama also started speaking just as Pelosi was under questioning about the “doctor fix”, issuing a very partisan speech at George Mason University. As it becomes clear to the American people that Obamacare will become law via the “Slaughter Solution” and President Obama’s signature just days from now, it will be interesting to see the public’s reaction to passing such a giant federal intervention into a segment of the economy that is actually producing jobs right now as the economy struggles to stop continuing job losses overall.

UPDATE: Ed at Hotair and Politico note that the Democratic leadership is circulating a memo instructing congresspeople to lie to the media and public about the coming $371 billion dollar increase in federal health care spending to be done as an add-on to Obamacare in the spring and further to avoid any substantive discussion of the CBO score and to instead just repeat the extraordinarily misleading top-line numbers:

Democrats are planning to introduce legislation later this spring that would permanently repeal annual Medicare cuts to doctors, but are warning lawmakers not to talk about it for fear that it will complicate their push to pass comprehensive health reform. The plans undercut the party’s message that reform lowers the deficit, according to a memo obtained by POLITICO.

Democrats removed the so-called doc fix from the reform legislation last year because its $371-billion price tag would have made it impossible for Democrats to claim that their bill reduces the deficit. Republicans have argued for months that by stripping the doc fix from the bill, Democrats were playing a shell game.

“Most health staff are already aware that our health proposal does not contain a ‘doc fix.’ … The inclusion of a full SGR repeal would undermine reform’s budget neutrality. So again, do not allow yourself (or your boss) to get into a discussion of the details of CBO scores and textual narrative. Instead, focus only on the deficit reduction and number of Americans covered,” the memo, sent Thursday to Democratic staff, said.

“As most health staff knows, leadership and the White House are working with the AMA to rally physicians for a full SGR repeal later this spring. However, both health and communications staff should understand we do not want that policy discussion discussed at this time, lest (it) complicate the last critical push to pass health reform,” according to the memo.

The memo helps explains why the American Medical Association has supported reform even though their top legislative priority, the doc fix, was left out. The group is working behind the scenes with Democratic leadership and the White House to fix the cuts later this year.

Indeed, in a statement this afternoon, the AMA announced its support for the reconciliation bill — and hinted that the debate is not over with reform’s passage.

“This is not the last step, but the next step toward real health system reform. We will remain actively engaged with Congress and the administration to ensure that before Congress adjourns there are additional important changes to our health system,” AMA president James Rohack said. “Congress must act to preserve access to care for seniors and military families by permanently repealing the Medicare physician payment formula that will cut Medicare payments by 21 percent next month.”

The memo also repeatedly advises Democrats not to discuss the details of the CBO score.

Such explicit misrepresentations about the true cost of Obamacare and the reality that Obamacare will actually hike the deficit, not reduce it, from the Democrats on the eve of the historic vote on comprehensive health care reform paints a very troubling picture of the leaders of America’s federal government. The full, odious memo is here.

UPDATE #2: Democrats are now denying writing the memo, and Politico has backed down and pulled it from its site. Apparently bad news for Democrats is not news at Politico. It is hard to imagine that Politico would have pulled a story about President Bush’s social security reform efforts if the GOP complained, bringing into clear focus the unbridled allegiance of the establishment media to the Democratic Party.

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“Slaughter Solution” Finally Reported By Establishment Media

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is attempting to use procedural trickery known as the "Slaughter Solution" to avoid an up or down vote in the House on the Senate health care bill

As noted a few days ago by CentristNet, the establishment media had been scrupulously avoiding any discussion of the Democratic plans to use the “Slaughter Solution” in the House of Representatives to completely avoid an up or down vote on the Senate bill and instead have the bill “deemed passed” by the rules of debate created by House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY).   Obamaphile “news” organizations like Newsweek even went so far as to condemn Republicans just days ago for even making this argument because it was unthinkable to Newsweek, apparently, that the Democrats would actually go down this “deemed passed” path.

On this final week of the Obamacare battle, the Democrats are actually attempting to defend the use of this procedural trickery to avoid an up or down vote in the House on the pork-filled, special interest deal laden Senate bill.   Today, after ignoring the entire issue of the “Slaughter Solution” since Chairwoman Slaughter’s announcement of her intent to use same about a week ago, the narrative-setting New York Times actually reported on it, noting that House Democrats intend to avoid an up or down vote via the use of yet more procedural trickery re Obamacare:

WASHINGTON — As lawmakers clashed fiercely over major health care legislation on the House floor, Democrats struggled Tuesday to defend procedural shortcuts they might use to win approval for their proposals in the next few days.

House Democrats are so skittish about the piece of legislation that is now the vehicle for overhauling the health care system — the bill passed by the Senate in December — that they are considering a maneuver that would allow them to pass it without explicitly voting for it.

Under that approach, House Democrats would approve a package of changes to the Senate bill in a budget reconciliation bill. The Senate bill would be “deemed passed” if and when the House adopts rules for debate on the reconciliation bill — or perhaps when the House passes that reconciliation bill.

The idea is to package the changes and the underlying bill together in a way that amounts to an amended bill in a single vote. Many House Democrats dislike some provisions of the Senate bill, including special treatment for a handful of states, like Medicaid money for Nebraska, and therefore want to avoid a direct vote on it.

Of course, the NYT “news” article goes on to condemn Repuoblicans for pointing out this odious procedural trickery by Democrats on a bill that will directly affect 16-17% of the US economy. Not to be outdone, the Washington Post also reports for the first time on the “Slaughter Solution” in much the same way as the New York Times, framing it as just another partisan battle as opposed to an attempt to avoid the very “up or down” vote clamored for by President Obama over the past few weeks:

An obscure parliamentary maneuver favored by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) suddenly ignited Tuesday as the latest tinder in the year-long partisan strife over reshaping the nation’s health-care system, triggering debate over the strategy’s legitimacy and political wisdom.

Republicans condemned Pelosi’s idea — in which House members would make a final decision on broad health-care changes without voting directly on the Senate version of the bill — as an abuse of the legislative process.

Instead of focusing on the use of this procedure trickery by Democrats in relation to the enormity of the comprehensive health care reform package at issue, WaPo and the NYT misdirect their readers into believing this “Slaughter Solution” issue is just another vapid partisan battle. In fact, the “Slaughter Solution” explicitly rejects President Obama’s rhetoric about an “up or down vote” on the Senate bill by allowing the Senate bill to be “deemed passed” and signed by President Obama without an up or down vote:

The debate centers on a parliamentary technique that is a variant on the “rule” that the House adopts for every bill that comes to a floor vote. Rules define the ground rules for the vote, including amendments, length of the debate and other terms. Under a self-executing rule, the House essentially agrees that a vote on one measure is tantamount to, or “deemed” as, deciding on something related.

In this instance, the self-executing rule would say that the Senate’s version of health-care legislation would be deemed approved if House members adopt a set of changes to that bill. The Senate then would have to approve the changes, but the original bill could go directly to President Obama to be signed into law.

Sadly, White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs explicitly lied about this issue on Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation”, claiming that the House would pass two separate bills, one in which the House would vote up or down on the “underlying Senate bill” and another, separate vote on the reconciliation “fix” package. The establishment media gave Gibbs a pass on these intentionally misleading claims made on national television of by senior federal official, and only today are they even reporting on Democratic plans to have only one vote on the “fixes” after the Senate bill is “deemed passed” by the “Slaughter Solution” without an actual up or down vote.

Regardless of which side of the Obamacare debate you fall on, fair-minded centrists and independents, as well as those on the right and left, should demand that the House hold an up or down vote on the Senate bill if the Democrats want to make the Senate bill the law of the land via President Obama’s signature. Passing a massive comprehensive health care reform bill into law without an up or down vote by the House of Representatives, as is now intended by the “Slaughter Solution”, poses grave risks to the future functioning of the American system of governance and such efforts must be resisted, strongly, by all Americans, regardless of their leanings on the bills themselves. If Obamacare is to become the law of the land, it must be passed constitutionally with an up or down vote, not via a procedural trick cooked up by Democrats desperate to avoid an up or down vote on the pork and special interest laden Senate health care bill.

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Democrats Complete Backroom Deal on Obamacare Legislative Language; Endgame Begins

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Democratic Congressional Leaders and the Obama Administration cut a final, closed door deal last night on the legislative language of Obamacare

House and Senate Congressional Democrats, and representatives of the Obama Administration, met late into the night on Wednesday behind closed doors in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and apparently have come up with yet another, and final,  Democratic version of Obamacare, to be read to the House Democratic Caucus today, reports the AP about a hour ago:

WASHINGTON – A final agreement nearly in hand, President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders are about to embark on one last sales job that will determine the outcome of the president’s signature health care overhaul.

It will come down to a phenomenal effort by congressional leaders and the White House to win over skittish lawmakers after a year of incendiary debate, even as Obama keeps up campaign-style appearances designed to fire up public support.

A closed-door meeting in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office Wednesday evening moved congressional leaders and administration officials close to agreement on such issues as additional subsidies to help lower-income families purchase health insurance and more aid for states under the Medicaid program for low-income Americans.

Democrats still need to see a final cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office — and want to ensure it stays around $950 billion over 10 years — but they made plans to begin to read the bill to rank-and-file Democrats at a caucus meeting Thursday.

“We’re going to get started,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said after her meeting with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and other key officials. Some unanswered questions remain, Pelosi said, “but we’re hoping that we’ll get those answered over the course of the reading. It’s not much.”

It should be noted, as it was not by the AP, that this final dickering and deal making between Democrats done behind closed doors last night was  without any transparency, punctuating a process of over a year of such backroom, closed door negotiations between Democrats regarding Obamacare. The AP apparently sees this backroom dealing and efforts to twist arms of reluctant House Democrats as “a phenomenal effort”, essentially playing the role of Obama Administration cheerleader instead of objective news organization.

Regardless, it appears that in the next week or so the House of Representatives will hold a vote on Obamacare, and between now and then the House Democrats who have refused to agree will likely be submitted to extreme pressure, in unison, from Speaker Pelosi, progressive interest groups, the establishment media and the Obama Administration. Retired Democratic Rep. Eric Massa provided a preview of sorts by describing the strongarming efforts of Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel over a prior vote, with Massa relating that a naked Emanuel charged Massa in the showers of the Congressional gym and screamed about Massa’s voting preferences while jabbing Massa in the chest with his finger.

While a repetition of Rahm’s nude finger jam is unlikely, as the days count down to the House vote, deals with individual House Democrats will be attempted, with promises of favors on other legislation or of increased campaign support or Administration jobs and threats of retribution for voting against Obamacare sure to intensify in the lead up to the House vote. As for President Obama himself, he plans on continuing the campaign speeches in various parts of the county to demand the passage of Obamacare now, as he exclaimed to the Missouri crowd yesterday, “[t]he time for talk is over. It’s time to vote. It’s time to vote. Tired of talking about it.”  The Obama Administration apparently disapproved of the inclusion of Obama’s claim that he is “tired of talking about it” in the AP’s article, as it was almost immediately removed from the AP feed after this morning’s publication.

Considering that after Obama shouted these words in Missouri, Democrats continued to feverishly engage in closed door “talk” over the actual legislative language of Obamacare, only reaching a deal late last night, yesterday’s presidential demand for the “debate” or “talk” regarding health care reform to be “over” is somewhat jarring, especially considering the President made similar comments last week and at various times since July 2009. Apparently closed-door, backroom negotiations between Democrats, such as the final private deal-making last night, is acceptable “talk” for President Obama regarding health care reform, but “talk” consisting of actual substantive negotiations with the GOP or any public, transparent negotiations over the language of the bill between Democrats is verboten.  Sadly, the text agreed to last night amongst Democrats will be withheld from the public for the next few days as sweetheart provisions are inserted to buy the needed House Democratic votes.

After the AP cheer leads by praising the Democratic effort as “phenomenal“, AP continues to further frame Obama’s health care efforts as a valiant “rescue mission” and finally lays out the shape of the Obamacare endgame to unfold in the days to come:

The current plan is for the House to approve the Senate-passed bill from late last year, despite serious objections to numerous provisions. Both houses then would pass a second bill immediately, making changes in the first measure before both could take effect. The second bill would be debated under rules that bar a filibuster, meaning it could clear by majority vote in the Senate without Democrats needing the 60-vote supermajority now beyond their reach.

Republicans have vowed to do everything they can to thwart the plan, and for the Democrats, some policy questions remain unsettled.

Obama already has moved to eliminate a couple of special deals in the Senate bill that turned off voters when they became public, including extra Medicaid funding for Nebraska — derided by critics as the “Cornhusker kickback.” Late Wednesday the White House said the president was pushing to strip out a number of deals that remain, possibly including a provision sought by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., providing Medicare coverage for residents of Libby, Mont., who suffer from asbestos-related illnesses because of a now-closed mining operation.

Considering that Obama Administration officials were with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid every step of the way when the odious, unethical deals were made to buy the votes of Democratic Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE), Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and others for the prior Christmas Eve vote on Obamacare, AP is certainly taking a lot of artistic license to now claim, as they do above, that Obama “has moved to eliminate a couple of special deals in the Senate bill that turned off voters when they became public”. The AP’s praise of the Obama Administration for removing some of the backroom deals that the White House and Congressional Democrats created in the first place, and removing them only after such unethical deals became public knowledge, again demonstrates the lapdog status of the establishment media towards President Obama and highlights the nearly impossible task facing opponents of Obamacare in the days to come as the entire establishment media and DC establishment move in tandem to push Obamacare over the finish line.

UPDATE: Ed at Hotair notes that several Congressional Democrats from Missouri are declining to participate in President Obama’s health care reform campaign rally there later today. The Washington Times reports:

The Show Me State temporarily became the No-Show State on Wednesday as some prominent Missouri Democrats decided they’d rather be somewhere else when President Obama came to push his massive health care overhaul plan.

Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, the all-but-certain Democratic nominee for the Senate seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Christopher S. “Kit” Bond, was “already locked in” to meetings in Washington, D.C., on Wall Street financial reforms, said her spokesman, Linden Zakula, who downplayed her absence for Mr. Obama’s visit to St. Charles, just outside St. Louis. …

Rep. Ike Skelton, one of 39 House Democrats who voted against the party’s health care overhaul bill in December, also skipped the presidential stop in his home state. Mr. Skelton, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, was taking part in a House floor debate on the future of the war in Afghanistan.

In addition, Rep. Russ Carnahan, a Democrat from St. Louis and Mrs. Carnahan’s brother, skipped the event, even though it was in his home district.

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Breaking: White House: Pass Obamacare Now or Its Dead; Dems Scramble Behind Closed Doors to Write Final Bill

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

President Obama and Congressional Democrats are scrambling to draft yet another version of Obamacare to assist House passage of Obamacare by the White House deadline of March 18, 2010

Fox News is reporting, building on prior AP reporting, that the White House has today increased pressure on Democrats in Congress, especially the House Democrats, putting out word that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats must either pass Obamacare through the House of Representatives now, before the Easter recess begins on March 18, 2010, or the entire effort at comprehensive health care reform will die.

Over the past few days, the White House has indicated it wants a vote in the House by March 18, and Congressional Democratic leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have resisted agreeing to any deadline. However, with the new, increased pressure today, Congressional Democratic sources say that they are “on the same page” as the White House:

A House Democratic leadership source tells Fox there is something approaching convergence on the White House’s March 18 deadline for a vote on the Senate health care bill.

“Everyone is now on same page,” the leadership source said about the March 18 deadline. “We understand the White House believes that would be optimal timing. But they understand we are not wedding ourselves to any deadlines.”

With today’s developments, it now appears that the year-long health care debate finally has a date certain where either Obamacare will pass or it will not, and that deadline appears to March 18, 2010. The next eight days may decide the historical trajectory of the United States, as strict federal control over the entire health care delivery system, 16% of the US Economy, will surely substantially alter the direction of the American economy and political system for decades to come.

Ironically, after over a year of debate over health care reform, and lots of talk regarding cooperation between President Obama/Democratic Congressional Leadership and the GOP on writing the final version of the bill at the health care summit 10 days ago, Democrats continue to scramble behind closed doors to write a final version to the liking of Democrats in Congress. Of course, no Republicans are involved in any way with these last minute drafting efforts by Obama and the Congressional Democratic leadership, despite the clear preference of the American people for such joint drafting to occur. Fox News’s Major Garrett describes the frantic backroom drafting occurring now:

In reality, the White House isn’t budging and the House Democratic leadership is trying. But it can’t vote on the Senate bill until it has a fully drafted and CBO (Congressional Budget Office)-scored bill to “fix” the Senate bill’s imperfections.

But the so-called “fix” bill isn’t ready and there is no expectation CBO will deliver preliminary cost estimates Wednesday. That pushes the schedule back because House Democratic leaders cannot begin the final whip process (counting “yes” and “no” votes) until it has a full “fix” bill with a concrete CBO score on costs, revenues and deficit implications.

In other words, there’s a lot of work left to be done and not much time to finish it. What may well be happening is House Democrats and the White House are agreeing to disagree — on the timing, not the objective.

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Unemployment Surges, Reaches All-Time High in 5 States in January 2010

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Unemployment Rose in 30 States in January 2010

Despite the claims of various politicians in Washington, D.C. that the recession is over and a recovery is well underway, unemployment continues to surge throughout the United States, as shown in the release of detailed information today by the Labor Department regarding the January 2010 jobs situation.    While 30 states reported an increase in the unemployment rate, five states reached all-time highs in unemployment rates:

Unemployment rose in most states in January—even breaking records in several states, according to government data released Wednesday.

Joblessness in five states—California (12.5 percent), South Carolina (12.6 percent) , Florida (11.9 percent), Georgia (10.4 percent) and North Carolina (11.1 percent)—hit a record high. The District of Columbia, at 12.0 percent, also reached a record high.

In all, 30 states and the District of Columbia saw their rates increase in January over the previous month. Nine states reported a decrease and 11 states had no change in their unemployment, according to the Labor Department.

One disquieting, and unreported, detail of the extended January 2010 report is that all of the above numbers are “adjusted” figures and actual unemployment is actually higher. Overall, the American job market appears to be “frozen”:

“It shows that the labor market is virtually frozen,” said Nick Colas, chief market strategist at the ConvergEx Group. Although the data is from January, he said that “there has not been any dramatic change in these past six weeks.”

Many economists and other observers have pointed to the uncertainty caused by the push to fundamentally alter the health care delivery system by the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress as a potential cause of this “frozen” labor market. Business owners and operators, both small and large businesses, are less likely to hire new employees while facing potential higher costs in the near term from a possible employer mandate and associated tax on employers who do not provide health coverage to employees.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has famously claimed, with no discernible substantive basis other than a far left wing think tank report, that passing Obamacare through Congress will “almost immediately” result in a gain of 400,000 jobs in America, with 4 million jobs to be created overall by Obamacare. Even Obama-worshipper and Washington Post writer Charles Lane admits Pelosi’s claim is ludicrous, especially considering the main cost-cutting mechanism, the so-called “cadillac tax”, has been removed until 2018 at earliest, hence postponing any job creation gains from lower health care costs well beyond “almost immediately”:

Here’s my problem, though: For Pelosi’s scenario to pan out, health-care reform must actually produce substantial cost savings. And that is more doubtful now that President Obama has offered a version that postpones the strongest cost-containment provision in the Senate bill — the “Cadillac tax” on high-value insurance plans — until 2018. That’s like postponing it this long. The president did this largely to appease organized labor and their allies in the House Democratic caucus — led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Such claims by Speaker Pelosi are especially odd in light of her statement yesterday that its uncertain what is actually in the bill as she advised reporters that “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” Regardless, considering the uncertainty and outright hostility being generated amongst business owners about the Democratic health care reform efforts, it is much more likely that hundreds of thousands of jobs will be created in America if the partisan effort to comprehensively reform health care is officially shelved by President Obama. Providing this certainty to business owners of the future near term cost of hiring an employee, and not increasing such costs and federal regulatory liability as Obamacare would, could be the single greatest thing Washington, D.C. could do to help the American unemployed find a new job.

Indeed, average Americans overwhelmingly agree with this proposition, as recent CNN polling shows 73% want Obama and the Dems to either stop or start over instead of passing the present comprehensive plan and yesterday’s AP polling shows 68% want Obama and the Dems to continue to work with the GOP to make a deal instead of pushing through the present comprehensive plan without GOP support. A full 57% of Americans believe that Obamacare will hurt the economy – just 25% think it will help. It appears to us that the intuition of the American people and the great center of America have correctly determined that the giant new federal bureaucracy and new federal taxes associated with Obamacare would be a drag, if not an anchor, on the efforts of businesses to rebuild their workforces and the economy as a whole to recover.

Perhaps President Obama, Congressional Democratic leaders and the GOP leadership will all decide that the needs of the American people, regarding jobs and the economy, are more important that scoring political points (and “historical” ones for liberals) over health care reform and immediately shelve the present plan and pass centrist health care reform that would both help some uninsured, reduce costs and provide confidence to business owners so that hiring can begin again.

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