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Gayle in MD
03-26-2010, 07:00 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Only after both chambers of Congress had already voted on the health care reform bills which will cut the deficit, AP on Saturday belatedly looked back at the deeply flawed and unfunded Medicare prescription drug program Republicans jammed through Congress in 2003. 24 hours later, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared on ABC's This Week to add his to the chorus of Republican voices protesting that was then and this is now.
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As Reagan Treasury official Bruce Bartlett told the AP, "As far as I am concerned, any Republican who voted for the Medicare drug benefit has no right to criticize anything the Democrats have done in terms of adding to the national debt."</span> In response, Orrin Hatch, who promised a "holy war" to block Democratic success on health care, explained Republican behavior during the Bush years, "it was standard practice not to pay for things." <span style='font-size: 20pt'>And Olympia Snowe (R-ME), the GOP Senator courted in vain by President Obama, suggested the tale of the 2003 Medicare Rx benefit should be swept under the rug, "dredging up history is not the way to move forward."</span>
But it was Mitch McConnell, who along with his lieutenants Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) backed President Bush's Medicare giveaway to the pharmaceutical industry, who turned to misdirection to explain it all away to ABC's Jake Tapper:

TAPPER: Senator, you voted for that Medicare prescription drug benefit, which some say will cost $1 trillion over 10 years and was not offset by revenue or spending cuts.

MCCONNELL: Well, the first thing, you should notice that it came in 30 percent underbudget because of the competitive mechanisms that are involving in extending a prescription drug benefit to seniors. The Democrats criticized it at the time because it was not generous enough. And look, they have gone far beyond any deficit spending discretions -- indiscretions that Republicans might have had. In their first year alone, they ran the deficit up more than the last four years of the Bush administration combined.

<span style='font-size: 20pt'>As an act of political fraud, McConnell's statement was impressive, if only because of the off-the-charts ratio of deceptions delivered per word spoken. For starters, while this year's projected $1.4 trillion deficit dwarfs the figures from Bush's tenure, McConnell conveniently omitted mentioning that the budget Barack Obama inherited was already $1.2 trillion in the red when he took office in January. But more cynical still is McConnell's whitewashing of the scandal regarding the original estimate of the cost of Medicare drug plan, a forecast the Bush White House withheld from Congress in order to secure its passage.</span>
Here's a look back at the fuzzy math and the dirty politics Mitch McConnell and friends don't want to talk about.
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A quick glance back to November 22, 2003 in the national rear view mirror shows a mirror image of this month's health care votes. The Bush White House, which flip-flopped on adding a prescription benefit within the Medicare program in order to win over elderly voters as the 2004 campaign neared, put last minute pressure on the caucus to back the program. President Bush touted the AARP's backing for a 678-page bill his administration duplicitously claimed would cost $400 billion over 10 years. Bill Thomas (R-CA), the legislation's architect, sounded a refrain that Democrats would repeat this week:

"If we are trying to destroy Medicare, why is the AARP supporting us?''

While only one of 177 Republicans supported Saturday's health care reform bill, six years ago 204 House Republicans voted yea on the Medicare prescription bill. Among them were current GOP leaders John Boehner (R-OH) and Eric Cantor (R-VA).</span><span style='font-size: 20pt'>And to be sure, the Republican position then as now wasn't about preserving conservative principles, but instead a GOP majority at all costs. As House Majority Leader Tom Delay defended his party's fiscal recklessness that November night:</span>
"We must forget about ideological absolutes."

But the similarities between Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi's victory last night and that of her Republican predecessor Dennis Hastert end there. From the GOP leadership's strong-arm tactics and the administration's budgetary chicanery deployed to secure the bill's passage to the industry giveaways it offered,<span style='font-size: 20pt'> the dirty dealing behind the Medicare drug plan showcased typical Republican politics in action.

For starters, consider Tom Delay's unprecedented machinations on the House floor to round up the needed votes. As the New York Times recalled:

Under heavy pressure from President Bush and Republican Congressional leaders, lawmakers backed the legislation by a vote of 220 to 215, sending it to the Senate, which is expected to act in the next few days. The vote, which ordinarily takes fifteen minutes to record, was kept open for an extraordinary three hours as Republicans struggled to switch votes and obtain a majority.

And what happened during those three hours was a new low, even for Tom Delay. As the Washington Post later reported, before Ben Nelson's "Cash for Cloture" imbroglio, the House Ethics Committee later reprimanded Delay for trying to buy votes for the Medicare bill:

After a six-month investigation, the committee concluded that DeLay had told Rep. Nick Smith (R-Mich.) he would endorse the congressional bid of Smith's son if the congressman gave GOP leaders a much-needed vote in a contentious pre-dawn roll call on Nov. 22.</span>Then there's the matter of the Medicare bill's price tag. As I wrote four years ago:
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A White House desperate for an election year win on Medicare deliberately misrepresented the program's costs in order to ensure passage. On December 8, 2003, President Bush rolled out a program he claimed would cost $400 billion over 10 years. Within two months, however, the White House notified Congress that the real price tag would approach $550 billion. When Medicare actuary Richard Foster sought to present the true price tag to Congress in late 2003, then agency chief Thomas Scully threatened to fire him. Fast forward two years and the estimated 10 year price tag for the Medicare prescription plan now exceeds $720 billion for its 43 million beneficiaries.

(As the Times reported in 2004, the GAO ultimately concluded that the Bush administration "illegally withheld data from Congress on the cost of the new Medicare law" and that Scully "should repay seven months of his salary to the government." While Scully was later fined for other ethics violations, he was never held accountable for his role in the Medicare fraud. Today, Thomas Scully "now works for a law firm and a private investment firm, has registered as a lobbyist for Abbott Laboratories, Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Caremark Rx and other health care companies.")</span>Then there's the small matter of public policy itself. From its inception, the Republicans' Medicare prescription benefit was designed to fail. With its confusing and costly "donut hole" limiting payments for beneficiaries and its prohibition on direct government price negotiations with pharmaceutical companies, <span style='font-size: 26pt'>Medicare Part D was a headache for recipients and a windfall for the drug companies.</span>

For starters, the White House and its GOP allies on Capitol Hill insisted that the final December 2003 Medicare Drug bill prohibit the government from negotiating prices directly with drug companies, a key demand of the pharmaceutical lobby. <span style='font-size: 26pt'>The same price leverage enjoyed by the Veterans Affairs Department and its program beneficiaries was surrendered by Medicare, with the predictable results described in a 2006 House analysis. </span>
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That report released by Democratic staff on the House Government Reform Committee showed that under the new Medicare plan, prices for 10 commonly prescribed drugs were 80% higher than those negotiated by the Veterans Department, 60% above that paid by Canadian consumers and still 3% higher than volume pharmacies such as Costco and Drugstore.com. The report concluded that:

"The prices offered by the Medicare drug plans are higher than all four benchmarks, in some cases significantly so. This increases costs to seniors and federal taxpayers and makes it doubtful that the complicated design of Medicare Part D provides any tangible benefit to anyone but drug manufacturers and insurers."

Which is exactly as Louisiana Republican Bill Tauzin designed it. Just months after shepherding the Medicare prescription bill he wrote through the House, Tauzin, the chairman of the Energy and Commerce committee, left Congress and accepted a $2 million-a-year job as president of PhRMA -- Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.</span>
In Mitch McConnell's defense, the $720 billion nightmare scenario forecast in 2005 did not come to pass. But it was lower enrollment and the rapid adoption of generic drugs, rather than "competitive mechanisms" which largely explain the lower Medicare Part D bill for taxpayers. <span style='font-size: 26pt'>Still, the Medicare drug plan may cost as much as $1 trillion over the next 10 years (higher than the $900 billion overall price tag for Democratic health care reform) making it, as Bartlett noted, an "unfunded drug benefit, which added $15.5 trillion (in present value terms) to our nation's indebtedness." As for McConnell and the GOP's willing executioners of health care reform in Congress, Ezra Klein may have put it best:

"The health-care reform bills currently under consideration in both the Senate and the House actually cut money from the deficit, but they are being criticized as fiscally irresponsible by many of the people who voted for Medicare Part D. It's like watching arsonists calling the fire department reckless."</span>(This piece also appears at Perrspectives.)

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http://crooksandliars.com/jon-perr/mcconnell-whitewashes-gop-medicare-hypocrisy



<span style="color: #000066">The Republicans make me sick! </span>

llotter
03-26-2010, 08:04 AM
Thanks for posting this review of recent history. I strongly agree that the Republicans have acted hypocritically when support the out of control spending under GB. Those of us who want government reduced dramatically in size, have been effectively cut out of the political process with both major parties going in the same direction. It is this corrupted process that has given rise to the Tea Partiers.

If you are headed for a cliff, it is of little comfort to be traveling at 50 mph as the R's want rather than 70 mph of the D's. There is a bit more comfort, however, to be traveling 50 as opposed to 500 as we seem to be doing now. Some seem to think we are merely 'transforming' America but the truth is that we are wrecking it.

Gayle in MD
03-26-2010, 08:12 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: llotter</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Thanks for posting this review of recent history. I strongly agree that the Republicans have acted hypocritically when support the out of control spending under GB. Those of us who want government reduced dramatically in size, have been effectively cut out of the political process with both major parties going in the same direction. It is this corrupted process that has given rise to the Tea Partiers.

If you are headed for a cliff, it is of little comfort to be traveling at 50 mph as the R's want rather than 70 mph of the D's. There is a bit more comfort, however, to be traveling 50 as opposed to 500 as we seem to be doing now. Some seem to think we are merely 'transforming' America but the truth is that we are wrecking it. </div></div>



<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">If you are headed for a cliff, it is of little comfort to be traveling at 50 mph as the R's want rather than 70 mph of the D's. There is a bit more comfort, however, to be traveling 50 as opposed to 500 as we seem to be doing now. </div></div>

<span style="color: #000066">The car had already crashed before President Obama became president. It takes a bit of time for an out of control deficit in the midst of two unfinished wars, and a collapsed economy, before the out of control vehicle can slow down.

No one from the right want's to, nor ever will admit, that we had no choice but to spend money after this president took office, to stimulate the economy, keep banks from a domino crash, maintain critical employees in many states, and prop up the auto industry, in order to avoid losing the over five million more jobs we would have lost.

We were hemmoraging jobs for the whole last two years of the Bush Administration. That has been greatly improved. The right just doesn't want to admit to the mess we were facing when this president took office. Also, the right never wants to spend money on Americans, only on corporate thieves, and wars for the Military Industrial Complex.

Historians will rate Bush the absolute worst in our history, and his blank check Congress, also the absolute worst, when all is said and done. Never before was this country left is such dismal circumstances.

G. </span>

Qtec
03-26-2010, 08:30 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">
A White House desperate for an election year win on Medicare deliberately misrepresented the program's costs in order to ensure passage. On December 8, 2003, President Bush rolled out a program he claimed would cost <u>$400 billion </u>over 10 years. Within two months, however, the White House notified Congress that the real price tag would approach <u>$550 billion. </u><span style='font-size: 17pt'>When Medicare actuary Richard Foster sought to present the true price tag to Congress in late 2003, then agency chief Thomas Scully threatened to fire him. Fast forward two years and the estimated 10 year price tag for the Medicare prescription plan now exceeds $720 billion</span> for its 43 million beneficiaries.

(As the Times reported in 2004, the GAO ultimately concluded that the Bush administration <span style='font-size: 17pt'>"illegally withheld data from Congress on the cost of the new Medicare law"</span></div></div>

And they now have the cheek to talk about Chicago politics! This is actual 100% FACTUAL evidence that the last Admin lied to congress, that they tried to BUY votes and they threatened a civil servant to stop him telling the truth.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">the dirty dealing behind the Medicare drug plan showcased typical Republican politics in action.

For starters, consider Tom Delay's unprecedented machinations on the House floor to round up the needed votes. As the New York Times recalled:

Under heavy pressure from President Bush and Republican Congressional leaders, lawmakers backed the legislation by a vote of 220 to 215, sending it to the Senate, which is expected to act in the next few days. <u>The vote, which ordinarily takes fifteen minutes to record, was kept open for an extraordinary three hours as Republicans struggled to switch votes and obtain a majority.

And what happened during those three hours was a new low, even for Tom Delay. As the Washington Post later reported, before Ben Nelson's "Cash for Cloture" imbroglio, <span style='font-size: 17pt'>the House Ethics Committee later reprimanded Delay for trying to buy votes for the Medicare bill</span>:</u>

After a six-month investigation, the committee concluded that DeLay had told Rep. Nick Smith (R-Mich.) he would endorse the congressional bid of Smith's son if the congressman gave GOP leaders a much-needed vote in a contentious pre-dawn roll call on Nov. 22. </div></div>

Great find G. They will reap what they sow.

Q......hypocrites.

Tom DeLay.. rapture ready (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/max-blumenthal/rapture-ready-the-unautho_b_57826.html)

Sev
03-26-2010, 08:42 AM
Keep pointing fingers and keep spending money we dont have.
In the end it will matter little when the house of cards collapses.
If we fail to cut the size of government, its spending, unfunded mandates and deficit spending the fall of the United States will be a spectacle to behold.

pooltchr
03-26-2010, 09:12 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Gayle in MD</div><div class="ubbcode-body">
No one from the right want's to, nor ever will admit, that we had no choice but to spend money after this president took office, to stimulate the economy, </div></div>

Please explain how the government, taking money from the economy in the form of taxes, stimulates the economy by returning it.

If you don't want to answer personally, you can have one of your partners respond for you.

Steve

Gayle in MD
03-26-2010, 09:20 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Qtec</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">
A White House desperate for an election year win on Medicare deliberately misrepresented the program's costs in order to ensure passage. On December 8, 2003, President Bush rolled out a program he claimed would cost <u>$400 billion </u>over 10 years. Within two months, however, the White House notified Congress that the real price tag would approach <u>$550 billion. </u><span style='font-size: 17pt'>When Medicare actuary Richard Foster sought to present the true price tag to Congress in late 2003, then agency chief Thomas Scully threatened to fire him. Fast forward two years and the estimated 10 year price tag for the Medicare prescription plan now exceeds $720 billion</span> for its 43 million beneficiaries.

(As the Times reported in 2004, the GAO ultimately concluded that the Bush administration <span style='font-size: 17pt'>"illegally withheld data from Congress on the cost of the new Medicare law"</span></div></div>

And they now have the cheek to talk about Chicago politics! This is actual 100% FACTUAL evidence that the last Admin lied to congress, that they tried to BUY votes and they threatened a civil servant to stop him telling the truth.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">the dirty dealing behind the Medicare drug plan showcased typical Republican politics in action.

For starters, consider Tom Delay's unprecedented machinations on the House floor to round up the needed votes. As the New York Times recalled:

Under heavy pressure from President Bush and Republican Congressional leaders, lawmakers backed the legislation by a vote of 220 to 215, sending it to the Senate, which is expected to act in the next few days. <u>The vote, which ordinarily takes fifteen minutes to record, was kept open for an extraordinary three hours as Republicans struggled to switch votes and obtain a majority.

And what happened during those three hours was a new low, even for Tom Delay. As the Washington Post later reported, before Ben Nelson's "Cash for Cloture" imbroglio, <span style='font-size: 17pt'>the House Ethics Committee later reprimanded Delay for trying to buy votes for the Medicare bill</span>:</u>

After a six-month investigation, the committee concluded that DeLay had told Rep. Nick Smith (R-Mich.) he would endorse the congressional bid of Smith's son if the congressman gave GOP leaders a much-needed vote in a contentious pre-dawn roll call on Nov. 22. </div></div>

Great find G. They will reap what they sow.

Q......hypocrites.

Tom DeLay.. rapture ready (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/max-blumenthal/rapture-ready-the-unautho_b_57826.html) </div></div>

Tom Delay..

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">On July 16, I attended Christians United for Israel's annual Washington-Israel Summit. Founded by San Antonio-based megachurch pastor John Hagee, CUFI has added the grassroots muscle of the Christian right to the already potent Israel lobby. Hagee and his minions have forged close ties with the Bush White House and members of Congress from Sen. Joseph Lieberman to Sen. John McCain. In its call for a unilateral military attack on Iran and the expansion of Israeli territory, CUFI has found unwavering encouragement from traditional pro-Israel groups like AIPAC and elements of the Israeli government.

But CUFI has an ulterior agenda: its support for Israel derives from the belief of Hagee and his flock that Jesus will return to Jerusalem after the battle of Armageddon and cleanse the earth of evil. In the end, all the non-believers - Jews, Muslims, Hindus, mainline Christians, etc. - must convert or suffer the torture of eternal damnation. Over a dozen CUFI members eagerly revealed to me their excitement at the prospect of Armageddon occurring tomorrow. Among the rapture ready was Republican Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. None of this seemed to matter to Lieberman, who delivered a long sermon hailing Hagee as nothing less than a modern-day Moses. Lieberman went on to describe Hagee's flock as "even greater than the multitude Moses commanded."

Throughout CUFI's Israel Summit, videographer Thomas Shomaker and I were hounded by PR agents seeking to prevent us from interviewing attendees about the End Times. The conference, we were told, was about "one message" - evangelical Christians supporting Israel. We were instructed to only interview CUFI leaders capable of sticking to the talking point that their support for Israel has, as Hagee declared, "nothing to do with the End Times." But I was forbidden from asking Hagee about statements he made in his book, "Jerusalem Countdown," that appeared to blame Jews for their own persecution. After doing just that during a press conference, I was removed from the conference by off-duty DC cops summoned by members of Hagee's family.

I have covered the Christian right intensely for over four years. During this time, I attended dozens of Christian right conferences, regularly monitored movement publications and radio shows, and interviewed scores of its key leaders. I have never witnessed any spectacle as politically extreme, outrageous, or bizarre as the one Christians United for Israel produced last week in Washington. See for yourself.

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<span style="color: #000066">Unbelievable! These people really are nuts! And yes, I do think they will reap what they sow....The American Enterprise Institute fired Frum for saying exactly what I am hearing from Washington reporters, but he had it right on the nose! </span>

eg8r
03-26-2010, 03:30 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">As Reagan Treasury official Bruce Bartlett told the AP, "As far as I am concerned, any Republican who voted for the Medicare drug benefit has no right to criticize anything the Democrats have done in terms of adding to the national debt." </div></div>Why not? Is he as stupid as most of the left on this board that think two crazy wrongs make a right? What about all those on the right that have criticized both?

eg8r

LWW
03-27-2010, 05:22 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">McConnell conveniently omitted mentioning that the budget Barack Obama inherited was already $1.2 trillion in the red when he took office in January. </div></div>

And this is the biggest lie in the entire conversation.

The budget Obama "INHERITED" is the same budget that senator Obama voted for.

Prior to the dems taking congress the deficit was roughly 25% of what it is today.

Truth vs truthiness.

LWW