Saturday, October 31, 2009
"Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota announced that she will be on the steps of the Capitol Building in Washington DC on Thursday, November 5, 2009 at noon to confront Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress. She is asking for other concerned Americans to come to Washington DC next week to protest this socialist bill being forced on the American public. She stated that many Democrats are on the fence and need to hear from their constituents. She mentioned that after the speech on the steps of the Capitol, she would invite all to walk the halls of Congress and fill the seats of the gallery to voice your dissatisfaction."
Thanx to Gregg Nicholl, Middletown Liberty Group for the Heads Up!
Many think the Tea Party is a bunch of un-organized radical right wingnuts. We are Right Wingnuts. Un-organized? Just look at the 23rd district in New York. Radical? I guess if you think believing in the sovereignty of Liberty as radical. I guess we are. Radical does not mean violent. Others have that moniker covered.
If you don't know what the Tea Party is all about, I urge you to visit here.
If you finally figure out what we stand for, there is a Tea Party, or Liberty Group near you. Check one out. You may be surprised at how level headed we are.
Thank You for allowing me, to advance the cause of Liberty, Conservative values, and Freedom. We too stand with Israel.
eric aka the Tygrrrr Express
Dede Scozzafava, the Republican candidate, has been dropping in the polls, and monetary issues have plagued her throughout the campaign. Now, all that is left to wonder about, are the supporters of Scozzafava, going to throw their votes to Doug Hoffman? We can only hope so.
More to come as the story progresses.
Dierdre Scozzafava Halts House Campaign
Republican Dierdre Scozzafava has suspended her campaign for the New York House and is encouraging supporters to embrace Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman.
RNC Michael Steele throws all support behind Hoffman. This is great news!
I'm satisfied now.
Brought to you by the Tea Parties! :wink:
Friday, October 30, 2009
I have stated on this blog multiple times that those that keep encouraging politicians to continue to raise taxes on the rich, who already pay the majority of all taxes and employ people, offer them health insurance, hell, fund almost everything with the taxes they pay, will soon drive those very people away, and it looks like the wealthy have finally had enough.
"More than 1.5 million state residents left for other parts of the United States from 2000 to 2008."
Let me go back to an article from September, titled "Risky Business: New York Taxes the Rich at Some Peril."
This year, the deep pockets of New York's rich were tapped like never before. The state's wealthiest pay new higher income tax rates, higher taxes for limousines and yachts, more to enter a horse in a race and more to dabble in real estate.
Meanwhile, many are losing millions from the closing of business tax loopholes and those making over $1 million are losing tax deductions others get.
Now, early revenue figures suggest that taxing the wealthy more under this year's state budget may have driven away richer New Yorkers. That could make the economic comeback for the state even harder.
``You heard the mantra, 'Tax the rich, tax the rich,''' Paterson said Wednesday at a gathering of newspaper editors at an Associated Press event in Syracuse. ``We've done that. We've probably lost jobs and driven people out of the state.''
``People aren't wedded to a geographic place as they once were. It's a different world,'' New York Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch said.
Ravitch said last year's surcharge on income taxes for the next three years won't likely meet budget expectations. He said Albany must look to politically difficult spending cuts, rather than more taxes, to meet a deepening shortfall that Paterson estimated Wednesday could reach $3 billion.
``I don't think they have any choice,'' Ravitch said. ``In my personal opinion, we're at the outer limits of the elasticity of our tax system.''
For some, it's already snapped.
Buffalo Sabres owner Tom Golisano, the Paychex founder and billionaire who was paying $13,000 a day in New York income taxes, and media mogul Rush Limbaugh became ex-New Yorkers this year. Developer and New York icon Donald Trump told Fox News in April that the higher tax rates were foolish, stupid and ``a total disaster for the state'' and have spurred several of his millionaire pals to talk about leaving.
Golisano, who created 5,000 jobs from his Rochester payroll processing company, bristled when politicians said he was bailing out on New York this spring.
``If anything, New York state has bailed out on us,'' said Golisano, a past independent candidate for governor.
Emphasis mine above.
Not only are states that continue to raise taxes on the wealthy losing that tax revenue, but they are losing jobs all because politicians continue to think the wealthy's bank accounts are their own private checkbooks to pay for any new program or pork projects the politicians decide.
Now let us jump forward to today where a newly published study from the Empire Center for New York State Policy shows that 1.5 million NY state residents have migrated out of NY from 2000 to 2008.
What's worse is that the families fleeing New York are being replaced by lower-income newcomers, who consequently pay less in taxes.
Overall, the ex-New Yorkers earn about 13 percent more than those who moved into the state, the study found.
And it should be no surprise that the city -- and Manhattan in particular -- suffered the biggest loss in terms of taxable income.
The average Manhattan taxpayer who left the state earned $93,264 a year. The average newcomer to Manhattan earned only $72,726.
That's a difference of $20,538, the highest for any county in the state. Staten Island was second, with a $20,066 difference.
It all adds up to staggering loss in taxable income. During 2006-2007, the "migration flow" out of New York to other states amounted to a loss of $4.3 billion.
New York is a good example of the wealthy saying "enough is enough", but it is not the only place that is losing folks.
Did you see the latest report where it shows that 1.5 million "rich" people moved out of New York State between 2000 and 2008? The same thing is happening here in California and I will shortly be joining this exodus.
After living in California for more than 25 years, it has now become apparent that this State is no longer a place to reside in the future for the "wealthy" people who refuse to be over-taxed by a state legislature out of control on spending.
What the politicians don't seem to realize is that people who are smart enough to become independently wealthy are smart enough to move to another state where income taxes are lower or don't exist.
Donald Trump warned of this in a phone interview with Neil Cavuto back in April... listen to it here.
Some choice quotes from Trump:
***"The fact is that the state of New York did something very, very foolish, and they passed a tax, an income tax, and increased it very substantially from what it was.
And I believe that's going to be a total disaster for the state."
***"You're talking about millions and millions of dollars for some people that really have other options, Neil. They can move to other states. You take a state like Florida, run by a governor, Charlie Crist, who is a terrific governor, and who is very, very cherishing of his no income tax.
So, you know, I make a lot of money outside of New York State, as an example. And I'm saying to myself, wait a minute. For the privilege of living in New York, I am supposed to pay tens of millions of dollars in extra taxes? It doesn't make sense.
So, you have a lot of people like that, that make money, and not necessarily — it is one thing if it's Trump Tower, where I make money in New York. Then it's — I don't think it's a very good tax anyway. But when I make money outside of the city or outside of the state, and I am supposed to be paying extra taxes because I happened to have a bed in New York, it does not make sense at all.
So, people will be leaving New York. And those are the people that pay a lot of the tax burden of this state."
More on that here.
Today I address President Obama's broken soul.
eric aka the Tygrrrr Express
The list includes Employer Mandate Excise Tax (Page 275), Individual Mandate Surtax (Page 296), Medicine Cabinet Tax (Page 324), Cap on FSAs (Page 325), Increased Additional Tax on Non-Qualified HSA Distributions (Page 326), Denial of Tax Deduction for Employer Health Plans Coordinating with Medicare Part D (Page 327), Surtax on Individuals and Small Businesses (Page 336), Excise Tax on Medical Devices (Page 339), Corporate 1099-MISC Information Reporting (Page 344), Delay in Worldwide Allocation of Interest (Page 345), Limitation on Tax Treaty Benefits for Certain Payments (Page 346), Codification of the “Economic Substance Doctrine” (Page 349), Application of “More Likely Than Not” Rule (Page 357).
ATR lists description of each of these tax hikes. Go look for yourself.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
There is a Democrat running though....Bill Owens. This is going to be interesting! Even if Hoffman loses, The Tea Parties are not a factor to take lightly!
The polls are all over the place, most put the Dem down a bit, others are confusing. Depends on which, if any you trust.
All I have to say, even getting this far, is a Major Victory for Conservatism! People are Fed up!
Y'all ready for a fight or several? 2010 is closer than you think!
A Tea Party near you! :wink:
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Congressman David Dreier at an event put on by the Malibu/Bel Air Republican Women's Federated.
eric aka the Tygrrrr Express
An early progress report on President Barack Obama's economic recovery plan overstates by thousands the number of jobs created or saved through the stimulus program, a mistake that White House officials promise will be corrected in future reports.
The government's first accounting of jobs tied to the $787 billion stimulus program claimed more than 30,000 positions paid for with recovery money. But that figure is overstated by least 5,000 jobs, according to an Associated Press review of a sample of stimulus contracts.
The AP review found some counts were more than 10 times as high as the actual number of jobs; some jobs credited to the stimulus program were counted two and sometimes more than four times; and other jobs were credited to stimulus spending when none was produced.
They list examples of their findings and the White House assures them the mistakes will be corrected, but as the AP notes:
As of early Thursday, on its recovery.org Web site, the government was still citing 30,383 as the actual number of jobs linked so far to stimulus spending, despite the mistakes the White House has now acknowledged and said were being corrected.
One word..... BUSTED.
Needless to say, since it was just released, I have not had time to go through it yet, but The Politico has some highlights:
HOUSE BILL DETAILS: Lawmakers and their aides worked late into the night on the Affordable Health Care for America Act. With nothing set in stone, here’s a look at how the bill is shaping up, according to sources familiar with the discussions. The CBO analysis will show that the bill runs surpluses in the first five years and deficits in the second, making it deficit neutral during the first decade. BUT those late decade deficits were raising questions about whether the CBO will be able to declare the second 10 years deficit neutral. A permanent doc fix will be carved out of the reform bill and introduced separately today without pay-fors. That’s not going to make docs happy because even if the doc fix bill passes the House, the Senate has already killed a similar proposal. Drug makers are also getting shellacked. They’re looking at between $125 billion and $150 billion in cuts – almost twice the $80 billion they agreed to under the White House deal. PhRMA will pay to close the donut hole completely by 2019, dual-eligible and low-income seniors will get drug rebates under Medicare and HHS will gain authority to negotiate Medicare drug prices. To underscore her enthusiasm for dinging the drug industry with the HHS provision, House Speaker Pelosi said during a leadership meeting last night, “I've been smearing poo-poo on it for months.” Pelosi also decided to kill a provision that would have allowed states to set up a single-payer system, which had been considered as a consolation prize for liberals disappointed that a robust public option won’t be part of the bill. There’s also a 2.5 percent tax on device manufacturers. The bill covers 36 million additional people and, depending on how it’s counted, comes in under $900 billion. Pelosi “couldn’t have done a better job of alienating everybody that matters. She did a great job, very equalitarian,” said a health industry lobbyist unhappy with the bill. “Whether or not they get the bill off the House floor is totally dependent on if these industries will let them. … They’ve hit everybody.” The Affordable Health Care for America Act and the doc fix bill are scheduled to hit the House Rules Committee website at 10 a.m. today. Unveiling ceremony on the West Front of the Capitol at 10:30 a.m. with CBO’s analysis following in the late morning or early afternoon.
For those going through it, leave comments on anything you find, remember the table of contents takes up the first 8 pages.
Kristol at The Weekly Standard asks a very important question to Democratic politicians, one that has obviously been thought of by them already, since news came out yesterday that Pelosi doesn't have the votes needed to pass Obamacare.
Here's the key fact: The bill will be (allegedly) deficit neutral because of hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicare cuts. If it passes, these will be the largest cuts in Medicare ever. Is the Democratic Party as a whole willing to go into the 2010 election as the party that slashed Medicare? Are individual Democratic members?
Pelosi will whisper to her members not to worry, they can rescind the cuts next year. But then, of course, the legislation will be a deficit buster. And even if the Democratic Congress does rescind the cuts, that will just allow Republicans to run ads criticizing Democrats for cutting Medicare and busting the budget. And, one might add (as Republicans will), raising taxes and hiking premiums.
One more thing: Speaker Pelosi is once again--as on cap and trade--asking her members to walk the plank, absent any evidence there are enough votes in the Senate to pass comparable legislation. In fact, the reason Pelosi is pulling the trigger now is that Reid failed in his effort to get the Senate up to the starting gate first (that was the point of last week's attempted "doc fix").
So, the question is: Will her caucus follow Nancy off a cliff?
More to come as reactions start coming out....
[Update] The spin starts.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The health-care debate isn't over, notwithstanding the White House-Nancy Pelosi attempt to make it seem inevitable. Majority Leader Harry Reid had barely announced his plan to include a public insurance option when Connecticut Independent Joe Lieberman declared yesterday that he'd join a filibuster against such a Senate bill.
"We're trying to do too much at once," Mr. Lieberman said. "To put this government-created insurance company on top of everything else is just asking for trouble for the taxpayers, for the premium payers and for the national debt. I don't think we need it now."
Bravo, Joe. It's a relief to see at least someone standing up to the Washington rush to rearrange 18% of the U.S. economy without carefully inspecting the cost and the consequences. (See above for what the Senate Finance bill that is the basis for Mr. Reid's bill would do to insurance premiums.)
Mr. Lieberman added that he'd also oppose a bill that includes Mr. Reid's provision for states to "opt-out" of the public program "because it still creates a whole new government entitlement program for which taxpayers will be on the line." Exactly right again.
The opt-out language is a ruse designed to give the impression of political and consumer choice when it will provide none in practice. The many new mandates, regulations and taxes in Mr. Reid's bill would so distort every state's insurance market that premiums would rise fast in states that did opt-out, assuming private insurance was still available at all.
States would quickly have no choice but to sign onto Mr. Reid's Medicare-for-everyone alternative, which would charge lower rates because the government will rig the rules in its favor. Democrats on the left know that if they can create the public-option architecture in any form, it is certain to become the only option in relatively short order.
Seems Democratic leaders are already scurrying to find a way to opt out of his opt out proposal totally.
Yesterday Joseph Lieberman publicly stated he would back a Republican filibuster on any plan that held a government run public option, which in turn cause an uproar in the liberal blogosphere, with progressives once again denouncing Lieberman for not toeing the party line and having the audacity to think for himself and vote accordingly.
Today we see reactions coming out from other politicians, knowing that Harry Reid needs 60 votes to bypass a filibuster and with absolutely no Republicans on board (Reid lost Snowe when he went with his opt out plan), Liebermans vote is needed to have the magic number of 60.
Lieberman just blew that ship right out of the water for Reid.
The Politico shows other Democrats that are worried about Reid's plan.
It wasn’t just Lieberman. Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), who faces a tough reelection, said Tuesday she was reluctant to sign on with Reid’s plan, too. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) won’t give any answer until he sees the final language.
Why would Reid float a plan he knew he didn't have the votes for?
Political posturing, and nothing more.
For all the troubles he’s having getting 60 votes now, Reid may also be putting some valuable chits in the bank, especially if he has to back down from the public option with a state opt-out to something less. By making such a high-profile push for a public option, Reid can argue to liberals that he threw himself behind their signature issue and shouldn’t be blamed if the votes just aren’t there.
That is the whole point in this gamble of Reid's.
He is behind his Republican challengers in the polls for reelection of his Nevada Senate seat and he needed to show the appearance of "trying", even knowing he doesn't stand a shot of this opt out plan garnering 60 votes to keep it from being filibustered.
Reid isn't the only Democratic politician having problems with the public option part of Obamacare.
Nancy Pelosi, House speaker, despite her claims earlier in the month (via The Hill) that she "has the votes now to pass her more “robust” version of a public option," does not actually have them, as reported today.
Pelosi also said in the meeting she believed she has the votes now to pass her more “robust” version of a public option. But she said that she wants to show unity among House Democrats rather than passing a bill with 218 members, the bare majority of the chamber.
Today we see, she has less than 200 votes (she needs 218).
The speaker has fewer than 200 votes for a public option pegged to Medicare, even though it would save an estimated $85 billion from the final cost of the health care bill. Forty-seven Democrats oppose a public option that would reimburse doctors at a rate 5 percent higher than Medicare, according to a whip list being circulated by progressives. That’s at least seven votes more than opponents need to sink the plan.
Then again, Pelosi wasn't the only one telling lies to pretend she had enough support to pass her version of Obamacare.
10/22/09, "Democratic Sources" tried the same lies:
Democratic sources tell me that Reid -- after a series of meetings with Democratic moderates -- has concluded he can pass a bill with a public option.
Obviously the Democratic leadership has a problem counting.
Plum Line has more on the actual numbers the House is facing:
Clyburn told the assembled members at the meeting that the leadership does not have the votes to pass the robust public option, according to a House progressive familiar with the meeting. That sparked aggressive pushback from liberals, who argued that leadership — and the White House — should be working harder to win over the remaining votes the bill needs.
The document shows that 47 House Dems are committed No votes, and eight are Leaning No, for a total of 55. That means of 256 House Dems, just under 200 remain, and a dozen of those are listed as undecided. The bill needs 218 votes for passage.
At least someone in Washington can count.
eric aka the Tygrrrr Express
Following links provided by The Politico led me to an AP piece which shows the growing concern for print news.
The decline in U.S. newspaper circulation is accelerating as the industry struggles with defections to the Internet and tumbling ad revenue.
Figures released Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations show that average daily circulation dropped 10.6 percent in the April-September period from the same six-month span in 2008. That was greater than the 7.1 percent decline in the October 2008-March 2009 period and the 4.6 percent drop in the April-September period of 2008.
Sunday circulation fell 7.5 percent in the latest six-month span.
As expected, The Wall Street Journal has surpassed USA Today as the top-selling newspaper in the United States. Although the Journal's average Monday-Friday circulation largely remained unchanged at 2.02 million, USA Today saw its worst circulation decline ever, dropping more than 17 percent to 1.90 million. The newspaper has blamed reductions in travel for much of the circulation shortfall, because many of its single-copy sales come in airports and hotels.
The New York Times stayed in third place at 927,851, down 7.3 percent from the same period of 2008.
Not surprising to those of us that read Wall Street Journal is the fact that they are not in decline as most of the others are.
The Politico also delves into cable news shows and ratings.
....And new TV ratings showed that CNN, the cable network that prides itself on news coverage down the middle, finished dead last in prime-time against more partisan rivals like Fox News and MSNBC.
Excuse me for a second while I laugh myself off my chair.
CNN claims they report news coverage "down the middle"?
There are dozens of examples I could show here, but let me focus on one of the most recent.
CNN conducted a poll published September of 2009, which headlines "CNN Poll: Double-digit post-speech jump for Obama plan."
Two out of three Americans who watched President Barack Obama's health care reform speech Wednesday night favor his health care plans - a 14-point gain among speech-watchers, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll of people who tuned into Obama's address Wednesday night to a joint session of Congress.
At the end of the piece they show the samples used:
The sample of speech-watchers in this poll was 45 percent Democratic and 18 percent Republican. Our best estimate of the number of Democrats in the voting age population as a whole indicates that the sample is about 8-10 points more Democratic than the population as a whole.
Yet they report the findings as "news?"
All one has to do is a search on any search engine using the keywords CNN and Bias to see that reporting "down the middle" is nothing more than a joke.
In the meantime, for all the rhetoric cast against Fox News, it still trounces CNN in ratings. I will let readers decide for themselves why that is.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
It is why I do what I do. I'm a bit illiterate to the ways of blogs, but I am sure to be taught well. Take the time to read a simple story. OK.....let's see what happens...
Libermans statements include but are not limited to:
"We're trying to do too much at once," Lieberman said. “To put this government-created insurance company on top of everything else is just asking for trouble for the taxpayers, for the premium payers and for the national debt. I don’t think we need it now."
I've told Sen. Reid that if the bill stays as it is now I will vote against cloture,” he said.
“I can’t see a way in which I could vote for cloture on any bill that contained a creation of a government-operated-run insurance company,” Lieberman added. “It’s just asking for trouble – in the end, the taxpayers are going to pay and probably all people who have health insurance are going to see their premiums go up because there’s going to be cost shifting as there has been for Medicare and Medicaid.”
“I feel this way about a national, government-created health insurance company – whether it’s a trigger or not,” he said. “My answer is – we’re – we have the opportunity to do some great reforms here. These exchanges that we’re talking about, I think, are going to drive competition and probably bring the cost of health insurance down or at least contain the cost increases for a lot of people. Let’s give that two or three years to see how it works to see how it works before we talk about creating another entitlement that will end up increasing the national debt and putting more of a burden on taxpayers.”
The AP reports that Maine Senator Olympia Snowe will also vote against any bill that includes the "opt-out" public option.
eric aka the Tygrrrr Express
Sign Up to Show Up on November 5th in Washington, DC
Dear Vets for Freedom members:
Last year, Vets for Freedom brought hundreds of veterans to Capitol Hill to support General Petraeus and the Iraq Surge. The result, our commanders and troops on the battlefield got the resources they needed, and we're winning the war in Iraq.
Now, we must do the same for the troops in Afghanistan!
This is another call to action. We are asking every Afghanistan veteran, and other veterans, who believe in defeating America's enemies to converge on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on Thursday, November 5. It's time for the warfighters to tell their representatives--face to face--to give the Commanders what they need.
CLICK HERE to SIGN UP to join us in Washington, DC on November 5th! The sooner you sign up, the sooner we can schedule meetings for you!
We all hope that President Obama makes the right decision, by heeding the advice of his commanders and "surging" in Afghanistan. But in order to ensure he does--and shore up support for a troop increase in Congress--it is important to make our voices heard.
We will meet with Republicans and Democrats alike, making the case for a properly resourced counterinsurgency campaign, that allows the U.S. to defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda, complete the mission, and bring the troops home in victory.
SIGN UP NOW! More details are provided on the sign up page.
If you can't make it to Washington, PLEASE CLICK HERE TO DONATE. We hope to raise enough money--from the supporters of Vets for Freedom--to ensure that everyone who makes the trip is reimbursed at some level. Every dollar donated to Vets for Freedom between now and November 5 will go directly to covering travel costs of veterans.
Lastly, please forward this email to everyone you know. Post it on your blog. Print it out and hand it out to friends. Get the word out, so we can get as many veterans on Capitol Hill as possible.
This is our mission. This is our moment. Join Vets for Freedom on Capitol Hill and do your part to support our commanders and troops in Afghanistan.
See you on the 5th!
Vets for Freedom, Chairman and Executive Director
He is asking bloggers and the media to help him spread the word to our readers.
So, if you blog, please pass this around. If you are a veteran of Iraq or Afghanistan, then contact Vets for Freedom and if you are simply a concerned citizen that wants to help, then donate if you can.
Contact Info for Pete.
Pete Hegseth | Chairman
Vets for Freedom
Troops in Afghanistan Need Your Help
We Need More Americans to Stand Tall
Answer the Call with a Care Package from Home
As summer wanes for Americans at home, the heat for a group of U.S. soldiers intensifies in Afghanistan where they fight for Americaís security. Commander Col. Howard has asked for help for his 4,500 soldiers just as the top general in Afghanistan said that U.S. troops will fail without more help.
Col. Howardís troops are working extra hard and long hours because they donít have the needed backup. We at Move America Forward have promised to help Colonel Howard and his 4,500 soldiers who are on the front lines in the war on terror in Afghanistan and fighting against the odds, as outlined by our top generals. But we canít give the soldiers what they need without your help.
Sponsor a Care Package for Col. Howardís Troops
I am so touched by the generous American people who have sponsored packages to help the 4,500 soldiers in need of help in Afghanistan because I am a military mom myself.
My son Marc was a U.S. NAVY S.E.A.L who loved his country so much, he made the ultimate sacrifice. Marc was killed in 2006 on a mission, saving his buddies lives, and doing what he loved, protecting his country, and I am glad to honor his memory by sponsoring efforts like this one to send care packages to troops in Afghanistan who badly need the supplies.
My son, Marc Alan Lee, U.S. Navy SEAL, American hero
Before my son gave his life in Iraq, I learned how important it is for our troops to get messages and packages from home. Since Marc died, I have worked hard to make sure our troops arenít forgotten. I have even visited Iraq myself and brought messages, holiday cards and goods from home, and I was touched by the appreciation of our troops who put their lives on the line for us every day.
These 4,500 Troops Have A
Tough Job in Afghanistan
When things get rough for our soldiers, they need to hear from us at home. We know that our troops in Afghanistan, including Col. Howardís soldiers, are struggling because they donít have enough fellow troops to do the job. According to a formal report sent to the White House requesting urgent action. Gen. Stanley McChrystal asked for up to 40,000 more troops.
As Senator John McCain said to the President, ìThis should not be a leisurely process.î We totally agree. If American troops are going to be in harmís way, they should have our total support. Donít expose them to risks of being killed when there are actions you can take to save American lives.
Until additional troops are deployed in Afghanistan, Col. Howardís soldiers and the other troops have to hold the line. The fighting has been fierce and casualties are higher. Now, more than ever, they need to hear from us that we care. Wonít you stand with Col. Howardís 4,500 and help us meet our goal of sending a care package to every one of his soldiers?
Read Col. Howardís call for help in his letter to MAF and our partner, For the Troops.
17 September 2009
I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your dedication, time and efforts spent in supporting deployed soldiers. Because of efforts like yours, our Soldiers know that they are not forgotten by the people back home.
Please allow me to tell you about our unit. We are the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) of the 25th Infantry Division and are stationed at Fort Richardson, Alaska. Currently we have about 3,500 Soldiers in our unit. Additionally, we have about 1,000 more assigned to us just for deployment, which includes Soldiers from Indiana, Tennessee and Georgia National Guards. We work in the provinces of Paktya, Khowst and Paktika Afghanistan, with about half of our Soldiers in remote Combat Outposts and Forward Operating Bases. Due to the austere living conditions of some of those locations, your packages are a great morale boost.
We are dedicated to our mission, and with the support from folks back home, it makes it much more gratifying.
We can meet our goal together. Sponsor a care package today for Col. Howardís soldiers and you can send a personal message that will help lift their morale. I personally know how much this means to our troops, and I thank you for your support.
Chop Chop everyone.... lets show them how much we care.
Republican Robert F. McDonnell carries a double-digit lead over Democrat R. Creigh Deeds in the final week of the campaign for Virginia governor, according to a new Washington Post poll.
The Republican, briefly buffeted in the polls by voters' initial reaction to the publication of his 1989 graduate school thesis, has rebounded to big advantages on the top issues, particularly taxes, and is now seen as the more effective leader, more honest and more empathetic.
McDonnell is also buoyed by support outside Northern Virginia, where he is outperforming all other top-of-the-ticket Republican candidates this decade. Statewide, McDonnell leads Deeds among likely voters by 55 to 44 percent. McDonnell, who narrowly defeated Deeds in the race for attorney general four years ago, has been above 50 percent among likely voters in all four Post polls in the campaign.
Whether Virginia is a referendum on Barack Obama or not, is up in the air and a matter of interpretation. Some believe it is, some do not.
Personally I believe one race here and there will not tell the story, the 2010 elections will.
Democrats are expected to take double digit losses in the House, some losses are a normal given to the party in power, but if Republicans do take as many seats as handicappers are predicting, then folks, you will have your referendum on Barack Obama and the Democratic leadership of the House and Senate.
Until then, no matter who wins or loses the individual races, it is guaranteed to be spun one way or another across the blogosphere.
Depending on which report you read, President George Bush spoke to anywhere from 11,000 to 15,000 people in a seminar called "Get Motivated", where he wasn't the most eloquent speaker, but the audience loved him and gave him a standing ovation at the end of his speech.
Then former Secretary of State Colin Powell got up to speak and told the audience "We are safer than we were before 9/11 because of President Bush."
Some highlights show Bush referencing his approval ratings by the end of his second term as well as his faith.
“It’s so simple in life to chase popularity, but popularity is fleeting," Bush said. "It’s not real."
Bush assured the families of war veterans that he wouldn't sell out "their loved ones for the sake of pure politics."
"And let me tell you," he continued. "I never did.”
he former president also emphasized the importance of generosity, noting how many people were surprised when he promised billions in aid to Africa to fight the AIDS epidemic.
“Apparently Republicans aren’t supposed to be compassionate, so it was a shock," Bush said.
“Another principle I believe in is that you can spend your money better than the government can,” Bush said to huge applause.
He added later: “The marketplace works. It is fair. It is equitable. It is a fair form of democracy.”
Many people interviewed afterward said they liked Bush, perhaps even because he wasn't the best speaker of the day. He could have said a thesaurus was a big scaly creature that roamed the planet millions of years ago and they would have applauded.
Dana Milbanks xxplains, via the Washington Post:
The Senate majority leader, after haggling behind closed doors with members of his Democratic caucus, realized that he couldn't cobble together the 60 votes he needed to pass health-care legislation with a government-run health plan. So Reid chose another option: He shut down the private talks, booked the Senate TV studio and went public with his own proposal.
Harry Reid's gamble to add a public option to Obamacare, with the opportunity for individual states to opt out (to which two state officials, Pawlenty and Deeds have already showed interest in doing) , was done shy of 3 or 4 votes needed to even pass his plan.
He sent it to the Congressional Budget Office for analysis.. that is it so far.
Then there was the small matter of lacking the votes to pass the public option. "Do you feel 100 percent sure right now that you have the 60 votes?" CNN's Dana Bash inquired. Reid looked down at the lectern. He looked up at the ceiling. He chuckled. He put his palms together as if in prayer. Then he spoke. "My caucus believes strongly there should be health-care reform" was the non sequitur he offered.
Bash reminded the leader that she had asked him "particularly on this idea of a public option."
Instead of answering, Reid, with a Zen expression, looked to the back of the room to solicit a question from somebody else. But Bash piped up again. "Senator Reid, with all due respect, is it possible to answer the question on whether or not you have the votes?"
"I believe we clearly will have the support of my caucus to move to this bill and start legislating," he replied, which also didn't answer the question.
By this time, Reid's spokesman, Jim Manley, had one foot on the podium, as if he were ready to rush the stage and whisk his boss to safety.
Of course, everybody knew that Reid didn't have the votes. That's why he was standing there alone, a Gang of One. As Democratic aides described it, the moment had less to do with health-care policy than with Nevada politics -- and one vulnerable senator's justifiable fear of liberal anger......
Sidenote- Reid is trailing in the polls behind his Republican challengers for his seat.
The reason this option is such a gamble is because it does not have the complete support of liberals, moderates or republicans and has "disappointed" the one lone Republican, Snowe, that initially voted to move Obamacare out of the Senate committee.
[Update] Minnesota and Virginia are not the only two with their politicians saying they would lead the charge to opt out, since word of Reid's gamble came out, Utah House Speaker Dave Clark stated "we already have a health-care system in Utah that is bottom three in cost for the nation. As I understand the latest version (of health care legislation) — always subject to numerous changes — I would recommend Utah opt out."
Utah Senate Majority Leader Sheldon Killpack wil be offering another bill in January to make sure Utah can opt out.
This is all before the bill even comes up for a vote.
I am pretty sure moderates and those undecided on whether to take the gamble with Reid, will wait until the CBO comes out with their cost analysis of Reid's plan, but as it stands, Reid still doesn't have the votes needed.
Monday, October 26, 2009
eric aka the Tygrrrr Express
As Kroft warned viewers in the segment's teaser, "We caution you that this story may raise your blood pressure, along with some troubling questions about our government's ability to manage a medical bureaucracy"
Video below from a "60 Minutes" exposé.
Watch CBS News Videos Online
Think the government will run Obamacare any differently?
Every single adult in America should watch this video, especially those supporting the controversial "public option."
C-SPAN: "If you were to run, what factors would you take into account? What would lead you to think about running?"
GINGRICH: "Callista and I are going to think about this in February 2011. And we are going to reach out to all of our friends around the country. And we'll decide, if there's a requirement as citizens that we run, I suspect we probably will. And if there's not a requirement, if other people have filled the vacuum, I suspect we won't."
The 7:48 minute video is up at YouTube where Gingrich also insists there is much room in the Republican party for moderates.
Many would say: Whoopee! Get rid of the sinister insurers. Bring on a single-payer system. But if that's the agenda, why not debate it directly? It's not insurers that cause high health costs; they're simply the middlemen. It's the fragmented delivery system and open-ended reimbursement. Would strict regulation of doctors, hospitals and patients under a single-payer system provide control? Or would genuine competition among health plans over price and quality work better?
That's the debate we need, but in truth, doctors, hospitals and patients don't want to be limited, whether by government or markets. Congress reflects public opinion. Fearing a real debate, we fake it.
Hiatt leaves the public with a serious question:
So all the attention on whether Obama will get a public plan, as he says he hopes, misses the bigger point. The question is whether he will allow Congress to use the public option as an excuse to dodge the harder reforms, or whether he will insist on true cost control.
Both are must read pieces.
Remember, all the claims about health insurance companies making "obscene" profits, was fact checked by the AP and found to be lies.
Conservatives continue to outnumber moderates and liberals in the American populace in 2009, confirming a finding that Gallup first noted in June. Forty percent of Americans describe their political views as conservative, 36% as moderate, and 20% as liberal. This marks a shift from 2005 through 2008, when moderates were tied with conservatives as the most prevalent group.
They used 16 different surveys and in all of them, liberals registered as the lowest self described demographic.
The 2009 data are based on 16 separate Gallup surveys conducted from January through September, encompassing more than 5,000 national adults per quarter. Conservatives have been the dominant ideological group each quarter, with between 39% and 41% of Americans identifying themselves as either "very conservative" or "conservative." Between 35% and 37% of Americans call themselves "moderate," while the percentage calling themselves "very liberal" or "liberal" has consistently registered between 20% and 21% -- making liberals the smallest of the three groups.
Liberals may be very loud at times, but the fact is, they are the minority.
Health insurers posted a 2.2 percent profit margin last year, placing them 35th on the Fortune 500 list of top industries. As is typical, other health sectors did much better - drugs and medical products and services were both in the top 10.
The railroads brought in a 12.6 percent profit margin. Leading the list: network and other communications equipment, at 20.4 percent.
HealthSpring, the best performer in the health insurance industry, posted 5.4 percent. That's a less profitable margin than was achieved by the makers of Tupperware, Clorox bleach and Molson and Coors beers.
The star among the health insurance companies did, however, nose out Jack in the Box restaurants, which only achieved a 4 percent margin.
UnitedHealth Group, reporting third quarter results last week, saw fortunes improve. It managed a 5 percent profit margin on an 8 percent growth in revenue.
So when Nancy Pelosi talsk about "immoral profits being made by the insurance industry" and calls them "obscene", she is lying through her teeth to generate hate among the American people against health insurance companies.
When Democratic Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen states that the insurance industry's profits have "skyrocketed", someone needs to ask him to show them the figures he is looking at instead of allowing him to pull statements like that out of thin air.
Just a FYI.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
eric aka the Tygrrrr Express
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Multiple sources tell TPMDC that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is very close to rounding up 60 members in support of a public option with an opt out clause, and are continuing to push skeptical members. But they also say that the White House is pushing back against the idea, in a bid to retain the support of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).
"They're skeptical of opt out and are generally deferential to the Snowe strategy that involves the trigger," said one source close to negotiations between the Senate and the White House. "they're certainly not calming moderates' concerns on opt out."
This new development, which casts the White House as an opponent of all but the most watered down form of public option, is likely to yield backlash from progressives, especially those in the House who have been pushing for a more maximal version of reform.
Snowe is a Republican and the White House is desperate to have at least one Republican on board, somehow thinking that one GOP member joining with the Democrats on Obamacare somehow would make the bill bipartisan.
Obama understands the public is going to hold him and Democrats accountable for any bill that comes out of Congress and makes it to his desk and he is basically trying to hide behind Snowe's skirts, so to speak, against the fall out coming their way.
Erza Klein tries to make sense of all the contradictory reports coming out as the Democrats try to merge all the versions of the Obamacare bills.
On Thursday night, Reid went over to the White House for a talk with the president. The conversation centered on Reid's desire to put Schumer's national opt-out plan into the base bill. White House officials were not necessarily pleased, and they made that known. Everyone agrees that they didn't embrace Reid's new strategy. Everyone agrees that the White House wants Snowe on the bill, feels the trigger offers a safer endgame, and isn't convinced by Reid's math. But whether officials expressed a clear preference for the trigger, or were just worried about the potential for 60 votes, is less clear. One staffer briefed on the conversation says "the White House basically told us, 'We hope you guys know what you're doing.'"
Reaction to Reid's plan is already coming out and Governor Tim Pawlenty has stated for the record that should Reid pass a plan with the "opt-out" option, Pawlenty would lead the charge to make sure that Minnesota does indeed "opt-out" of it.
Well, I don’t know if we would opt out, but I personally would like to opt out because I don’t like government-run health care. And we shouldn’t call it the public option; we should call it what it is, which is government-run health care. They are desperate — the Democrats are thrashing about trying to find some way to get government-run health care into the final package, to embed it in the final package.
“And the rationale is, ‘We have to keep the private sector honest.’ So what’s next then? If you don’t like the price of toilet paper and toothpaste, are we going to have a government-run Target or Wal-Mart to keep the private sector honest? I mean, it’s a ludicrous proposition that government’s going to come in in this space and compete directly with the private sector. Whether it’s opt in, opt out, trigger — I don’t care. I don’t like the idea.”
Think Progress points out that Pawlenty is not alone.
Pawlenty’s not alone. Unfortunately, Democratic candidate for governor in Virginia, Creigh Deeds, said this week that that as governor, he would “certainly consider opting out” of the public option “if that were available to Virginia.”
CNSNews.com: “Madam Speaker, where specifically does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate?”
Pelosi: “Are you serious? Are you serious?”
CNSNews.com: “Yes, yes I am.”
Pelosi then shook her head before taking a question from another reporter. Her press spokesman, Nadeam Elshami, then told CNSNews.com that asking the speaker of the House where the Constitution authorized Congress to mandated that individual Americans buy health insurance as not a "serious question."
“You can put this on the record,” said Elshami. “That is not a serious question. That is not a serious question.”
Followup emails to Pelosi's spokesperson finally got an answer to their question, but the answer, in and of itself, is even more worrisome than the original "are you serious" answer.
Later on Thursday, CNSNews.com followed up on the question, e-mailing written queries for the speaker to her Spokesman Elshami.
“Where specifically does the Constitution authorize Congress to force Americans to purchase a particular good or service such as health insurance?” CNSNews.com asked the speaker's office.
“If it is the Speaker’s belief that there is a provision in the Constitution that does give Congress this power, does she believe the Constitution in any way limits the goods and services Congress can force an individual to purchase?" CNSNews.com asked. "If so, what is that limit?”
Elshami responded by sending CNSNews.com a Sept. 16 press release from the Speaker’s office entitled, “Health Insurance Reform, Daily Mythbuster: ‘Constitutionality of Health Insurance Reform.’” The press release states that Congress has “broad power to regulate activities that have an effect on interstate commerce. Congress has used this authority to regulate many aspects of American life, from labor relations to education to health care to agricultural production.”
They are trying to claim that Congress has the power to force people to buy basically anything Congress decides under the interstate commerce clause, which doesn't quite hold water and the issue was addressed in 1994:
In 1994, when the health care reform plan then being advanced by President Clinton called for mandating that all Americans buy health insurance, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office studed the issue and concluded:
“The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States. An individual mandate would have two features that, in combination, would make it unique. First, it would impose a duty on individuals as members of society. Second, it would require people to purchase a specific service that would be heavily regulated by the federal government.”
If Congress passes a bill that includes this individual mandate, I predict immediate challenges in court the second they try to enforce it.
Friday, October 23, 2009
So today some various news stories shall be mixed into an incomprehensible concoction I am calling Boulliabase Friday.
eric aka the Tygrrrr Express
Top Democrats seek to shield Obama in case of election loss
Sensing that victory in the race for Virginia governor is slipping away, Democrats at the national level are laying the groundwork to blame a loss in a key swing state on a weak candidate who ran a poor campaign that failed to fully embrace President Obama until days before the election.
The White House is getting as far away from Deeds now, as fast as possible, knowing that a big loss in Virginia does not bode well for Barack Obama and is likely to be interpreted as a sign of things to come as Obama falls out of favor with the public.
Obama has already seen the sharpest polling drop in 50 years for a first term president and it stands to reason that this would trickle down into politics at local levels.
The White House's attempt to distance themselves from Deeds is their way of trying to put a public relations "spin" on Deeds loss, but the problem here is that the election hasn't even occurred yet and the White House is basically telling people the race is over.
Hot Air gets the last word here because the analysis is spot on:
Not only have they not waited until the body was cold, the White House couldn’t wait until the corpse actually died to start burying Deeds in criticism. As for not embracing Obama enough, that will come as some surprise to Deeds. He has embraced higher taxes, which the Post used for its endorsement, remained open to the public option for health care reform, and embraced Obama on stage.
Everyone understands what was at stake for the Obama administration. Even if Deeds ran a campaign that was as arms-length as the White House claims, they would have trumpeted a win in Virginia as an endorsement of their agenda. They want the press to either make the same claim in a defeat — that Deeds ran against the Obama agenda and lost because of it — or that it has nothing to do with the White House at all.
That’s simply hogwash. Virginia has been a blue state for the last two cycles, at least on a national level. Obama won the state by 230,000 votes in 2008, about seven points, and Virginia has two Democrats in the Senate. If Deeds loses Virginia in a landslide, where many Beltway insiders live, that says quite a bit about the prospects of Barack Obama around the rest of the country.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) drive for a public option in healthcare reform ran into turbulence Thursday when a survey of her caucus showed she needs more votes to pass such a bill.
The survey ordered by Pelosi turned up 46 Democrats who said they would vote against the so-called “robust” public option, according to a Democratic lawmaker who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
If Republicans unite against the health bill, as they’re expected to do, 39 Democratic defectors would block it from getting the 218 votes needed to pass.
The Democratic lawmaker, who is in favor of the public option, said leaders are considering pulling the liberal public option from the bill and looking at other alternatives, such as a public option detached from Medicare coupled with an expansion of Medicaid, the healthcare program for the poor. That approach, called “negotiated rates,” is supported more by House centrists, including many Blue Dog Democrats.
The Politico reports that even Obama seems to be backing away from the so-called "robust" public option that Nancy Pelosi has been been pushing so hard for.
Administration officials have been telling POLITICO for weeks now that this the most likely compromise because it can probably satisfy liberals—albeit only reluctantly and after many vent frustration and some even threaten to walk away from the bill.
This would clear the way for backers to sneak a limited public option through the Senate by attracting moderate Democrats and then to win President Barack Obama's signature.
Obama told Democratic leadership at the White House Thursday evening that his preference is for the trigger championed by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) – a plan that would allow a public plan to kick in if private insurers don’t expand coverage fast enough, a top administration official told POLITICO. It’s also sign Obama is interested in maintaining a sense of bipartisanship around the health reform plan.
At that meeting, Obama did not sign on to a plan being floated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to include a different variation of the public option in the Senate bill – a plan that would create a national public plan but allow states to “opt-out.” Reid now believes he can get 60 votes to bring a bill with that plan to the floor by breaking an expected GOP filibuster – and then secure the 51 votes needed to pass it.
But Pelosi’s vote-counting didn’t go as well in the House. There has been a flurry of rumors that a robust government option remains viable. But top House Democrats privately concede that is wishful thinking that ignores the power of moderate Democrats in this debate.
Emphasis mine in that first paragraph.
What the White House is counting on is that far left liberals will beat their chests, scream and yell, then fall in line and continue to support them, even if the "robust" public option is thrown to the side.
The New York Times reports that there is a bipartisan consensus, just not the one that Reid or Pelosi was hoping for.
Moderates from both sides of the aisle, do agree on a certain point:
As word of Mr. Reid’s intention spread Thursday, centrist senators from both parties said they had come together in an informal group to resist creation of a uniform nationwide public insurance program.
Leaders of the group, including Senators Ben Nelson, Democrat of Nebraska, and Olympia J. Snowe, Republican of Maine, said they wanted to be sure the bill was not rushed to the floor.
One of the centrists, Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, said: “I am pressing to get a government-run, taxpayer-supported public option out of the bill. I want to rely on a reformed private marketplace.”
Another member of the centrist group, Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, said: “There are a lot of senators from both sides of the aisle who have a sense of unease about all the bills that have been reported out of committees thus far. In a 60-vote scenario, it is the centrists potentially who will hold the balance of power.”
To get to 60, Mr. Reid would need the vote of Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats. Mr. Lieberman, a member of the centrist group, has said he opposes a public option “right now,” but would judge specific proposals in the context of a larger bill.
In the meantime The Hill reports that given problems plaguing the Democratic leadership, the timeline continues to be pushed back and now no one expects any final vote until December.
They want adequate time to review the legislative language and to give the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) a chance to provide a detailed cost estimate.
As a result, the legislation will not reach the Senate floor sooner than the first week in November and has no chance of being approved by Thanksgiving. Democratic and Republican lawmakers expect the floor debate to take at least a month, putting negotiations between the Senate and House squarely in December.
Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said last July that the healthcare debate could take until Christmas, but now some lawmakers think even that prediction is beginning to look optimistic.
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), one of the centrists calling for the go-slow approach and the only Republican in either chamber to vote for a healthcare reform bill this year, said Thursday that a bill may not reach the president’s desk until next year.
That is the worse case scenario for Democratic politicians because the brings them into the 2010 election campaigning season and many handicappers are already predicting double digit losses for the House.
In the Senate, Harry Reid has his own problems as both his Republican challengers are ahead of him in the Nevada polls and moderate Democrats, especially those that were voted into conservative districts, will be less likely to go against their constituents and vote for anything resembling a public option.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
eric aka the Tygrrrr Express
The Hill reports:
The reservoir of Democratic support for legislation to stimulate the economy — while adding to the deficit — is drying up.
Already faced with what many economists are labeling a jobless recovery, Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill are considering passing more measures to lower the nation’s highest unemployment rate in 26 years.
Most of the fixes Democrats are eyeing would add to the budget deficit, which was recently estimated at $1.4 trillion.
But fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats and the Democratic freshman class of 2008 are raising objections. Some members of these two factions reluctantly went along with the $787 billion stimulus package earlier this year, but they are not ready for a sequel.
“I think we have just got to get serious about the deficit,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), the president of the class of freshman Democrats. “I would have to really be persuaded of a dire situation and one that’s getting worse, frankly, to have any enthusiasm for a second stimulus.”
Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.), a co-chairman of the 52-member Blue Dog Coalition, said he would have to hear a “very compelling” justification for further adding to the deficit, even for the sake of fostering more job growth.
“My constituents, I think, have had it with spending,” Hill said. “And I concur with their sentiments.”
Hill is one of those Democrats facing tough challenges in 2010.
Pelosi, being a tax and spend type Democrat doesn't care one iota about adding to the national deficit on another stimulus plan, hiding behind the guise that it would stimulate or create more jobs to counter the rising unemployment numbers.
Where have we heard that before?
Oh yes, the last $787 billion stimulus package that failed to create the jobs promised.
7 Months After Stimulus 49 of 50 States Have Lost Jobs
The table below compares the White House's February 2009 projection of the number of jobs that would be created by the 2009 stimulus law (through the end of 2010) with the actual change in state payroll employment through September 2009 (the latest figures available). According to the data, 49 States and the District of Columbia have lost jobs since stimulus was enacted. Only North Dakota has seen net job creation following the February 2009 stimulus. While President Obama claimed the result of his stimulus bill would be the creation of 3.5 million jobs, the Nation has already lost a total of 2.7 million – a difference of 6.2 million jobs. To see how stimulus has failed your state, see the table below.
There are policy differences, and then there are affronts that have to be answered every time without equivocation, and this is one of them. We cannot protect this country by putting politics over security, and turning the guns on our own guys.
We cannot hope to win a war by talking down our country and those who do its hardest work - the men and women of our military and intelligence services. They are, after all, the true keepers of the flame. ---- Dick Cheney
Video via Power Line.
Full text provided by Weekly Standard here.
Key excerpts concerning the abandonment of missile defense in Eastern Europe by the Obama administration, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and on intelligence and the treatment of captured terrorists, can be found here.
Yesterday saw some rare good news on the health-care front, with the stealth Democratic plan to move $247 billion in ObamaCare costs off the books collapsing in the Senate on a procedural vote of 47 to 53. Maybe there's more anxiety among Democrats about a huge permanent increase in government health spending than the White House is willing to let on.
A dozen Democrats (plus independent Joe Lieberman) voted against Majority Leader Harry Reid's gambit, which would have superseded automatic cuts in Medicare payments to doctors scheduled for 21% next year and higher after that. Democrats had included this fix as part of "comprehensive" reform but that pushed costs too high, while President Obama is insisting on a bill that doesn't increase the deficit on paper.
So Mr. Reid's inspiration was to decouple these payments from ObamaCare as stand-alone legislation, while hoping everyone ignored the phony budget math. The media did mostly ignore this subterfuge. But enough Republicans developed enough backbone that they spooked Democrats like North Dakota's Kent Conrad, who for once stood by their supposed deficit-hawk convictions. Notwithstanding the anesthetizing effect of Congress's now-routine trillion-dollar cost estimates, more than a few Democrats are still capable of sticker shock.
The bill sank with a 47-53 vote (roll call found here).
If this bill had been added as an amendment to the Obamacare bill, it would have raised the total past the $900 billion mark, so Reid tried to sneak it in on it's own and failed miserably.
Reid then lashed out at Republicans, while ignoring the 12 members of his own caucus that voted with Republicans against Reid's attempt to juggle the numbers.
"I want everyone within the sound of my voice to understand that Washington is being driven by a small number of people on that side of the aisle that are preventing us from doing things that help the American people," Reid said. "We're not trying to run over people with the 60 votes we have. We want to work with people. We want to get along."
Better yet, Reid is trying to blame the fiasco and his own failure at trickery on the AMA, claiming they promised to "deliver" 27 Republican votes.
Reid angrily blamed the loss on bad intelligence from the American Medical Association, which he said promised him 27 Republican votes (he got none), as well as Republican dirty tricks designed to impede Democrats' progress on meaningful reform.
The AMA says they never promised Reid 27 Republican votes and any discussions on the matter were had before introduced the legislation.
But J. James Rohack, the president of the AMA, said that Reid was working with old information and that his organization never claimed it could deliver more than two dozen Republicans for a 10-year fix of Medicare doctor payments.
“The reference to 27 votes was made well before [the bill] was introduced and in the context of bipartisan health reform legislation,” said Rohack.
More from NYT:
The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, needed 60 votes to proceed. He won only 47. And he could not blame Republicans. A dozen Democrats and one independent crossed party lines and voted with Republicans on the 53 to 47 roll call.
The Medicare bill has become a proxy for larger issues in the debate over legislation to overhaul the health care system.
Mr. Reid said the bill, by averting big cuts in physician fees, guaranteed that doctors would continue accepting Medicare patients. But since none of the costs were offset or paid for, Republicans said it was fiscally irresponsible, and some Democrats said they shared that concern.
By addressing doctors’ fees in a separate bill, Senate Democrats could hold down the cost of the broader health legislation, keeping it within the limits set by President Obama. House Democrats are considering a similar tactic. Republicans said it was a transparent ploy to hide the cost of a health care overhaul.
The Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell states
"In the Senate’s first vote on health care spending this year, a bipartisan majority rejected the Democrat leadership’s attempt to add another quarter-trillion dollars to the national credit card without any plan to pay for it. With a record deficit and a ballooning national debt, the American people are saying enough is enough."
A Democratic Senator who voted against this bill, Bill Nelson of Florida, states his reasoning for voting against the Doc Fix by saying "I will vote for the doctor fix — when it is funded."
Reid can blame Republicans all he wants, but his own party's caucus couldn't even justify that amount of spending without any way to pay for it and Reid couldn't even deliver his own members.
Over at The Corner, Yuval Levin makes a very good point about how Democratic Senators truly haven't the confidence in Harry Reid that they would need in order to jump off the very high cliff named Obamacare
The problem for Reid is more than substantive — more than unhappy doctors and an unhappy AMA. The biggest problem is the danger of losing the confidence of his Democratic senators. Passing health-care reform remains an extremely difficult challenge: There are two Senate bills, with very significant substantive differences between them, which need to be combined, voted on, then merged with an even more different House bill, and voted on again. Each of these votes would require the support of just about every (if not indeed every single) Senate Democrat, and each would be a very tough vote for one or another group in their caucus. It is an exercise in serial needle-threading that will call for an extraordinary degree of discipline by the Senate Democrats — a group not known for discipline. To work, it will require Reid to pressure nervous members, strike multiple precarious compromises, and hold it all together, which will require him to command a great deal of authority and confidence among his members. None of them wants to be left out in the cold having taken a tough vote on a very unpopular bill that still ends up going nowhere. Today’s vote showed these senators a leader unsure of himself, lacking an accurate vote count, and surprised by developments on the Senate floor — embarrassed and embarrassing. This is not what the Democrats need in the buildup to a very tense and complicated legislative maneuver.
I will give him the last word on this because I happen to agree. Reid doesn't have the brains nor the backbone for this fight and Democrats facing hard reelections in 2010 might not be willing to put their careers on the line to follow Harry Reid off the cliff.