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Friday, July 10, 2009

Moderate Democrats Giving Leadership A Headache On Obamacare

Democrats which hold control of the House and the Senate are having a hard time keeping their more moderate members "in line."

It seems the moderates, often called the Blue Dog Democrats are insisting that a bill passed should be something that is workable, not just passing something to say they passed something.

First, Democrats are at "odds" on how to pay for the trillion dollar scheme, via NYT:

House and Senate Democrats appeared on Thursday to be on a collision course over how to pay for a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s health care system, with the House planning to propose an income tax increase on the wealthiest Americans, an idea that Senate negotiators have all but dismissed as unworkable.

The first idea for Democrats, always, is raise taxes on the rich!!

The second, start taxing other things:

Instead, the House Ways and Means Committee was said to be nearing agreement on an income tax surcharge of 2 percent or more on Americans with the highest incomes — those earning more than $250,000. The surtax would rise for those earning $500,000 and rise again for those earning more than $1 million.

At the same time, aides said that the House was moving away from other ideas, including a proposed sales tax on sodas and other sugary drinks and a new payroll tax of 0.3 percent to be paid by employees and employers.

They have a variety of other ideas, all of which will eventually come out of everyone's pocket, not just the rich.... so much for not raising taxes on the middle and low class.

Tell me, is it only the rich that drink soda? Is it only the rich that sees a nice chunk of money come out of their paychecks for taxes?

Nope, these are taxes that everyone who works will end up paying, yet Obama is not specifically taxing the middle and lower classes, is he?

What a joke.

Next we see the Democrats in the House and Senate cannot manage to agree on the bill they already passed and the moderates have some serious reservations about the scheme already written up.

Via The Politico:

On Wednesday and Thursday, House Democrats of every stripe filled the speaker's mailbox with a torrent of missives to make their case for what they do and don't want in the legislation – all while tax-writers struggled to agree on ways to pay for it.

–Forty members of the conservative Blue Dog Coalition – representing just enough votes to kill a party-line vote – articulated their "strong reservations about the process and direction" of an early preview of the bill offered by chairmen of the Energy and Commerce, Education and Labor and Ways and Means committees.

—A pair of junior members of the House garnered 60-plus signatures on a letter siding
with prescription-drug makers and President Obama and against the call of Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) to reinstate some price controls.

—A group of 22 wayward New Democrats expressed their hope that government-sponsored health coverage would piggyback on Medicare's pre-existing network, despite earlier opposition to the idea from caucus leaders.

—And finally, a mix of 20 rural and Western Democrats made their case for why the bill should fix inequities in the reimbursement rates Medicare pays to health care providers in "low-cost, high-quality" states.

This wave of public posturing presented party leaders with another round of hurdles as they push to meet a self-imposed August deadline for the House to pass a health reform bill. The Blue Dogs, many of whom are not expected to support any health-care overhaul, as usual put up the highest hurdle for their party's leaders to clear.

"After reviewing the draft tri-committee health care reform proposal, we believe it lacks a number of elements essential to preserving what works and fixing what is broken," the groups signatories said in their letter, sent before a two-hour meeting with party leaders in the ceremonial floor office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday night.

The Blue Dogs' letter was emphatic in its opposition to a mandate in the draft that requires employers to pay a fee to the government if they fail to provide their employees with health care coverage – an early flashpoint in both chambers.

"Small business owners and their employees lack coverage because of high and unstable costs – not because of an unwillingness to provide or purchase it," the lawmakers wrote. "We cannot support a bill that further exacerbates the challenges faced by small businesses."

USA Today has more in it's article as well.