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GOP-led health repeal would ‘explode the deficit,’ Dems warn

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In their final press conference before handing over control of the House to Republicans, Democrats promised that the soon-to-be majority party would fail at repealing health care reform.

House Republicans announced Monday a plan for a Jan. 12 vote to keep their campaign promise and repeal President Barack Obama’s health care reform laws. The resolution introduced by Republicans says it would “repeal the job-killing health care law and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.”

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But Democrats have said the attempt amounts to little more than a stunt.

“This repeal of health care reform is political theater,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said at Monday’s press conference. “It’s a kabuki dance… repeal of health care reform is not going to happen.”

Even if House Republicans were able to pass the bill, Democrats could simply refuse to bring it up for a vote in the Senate, where they still have control. If the bill were brought up for a vote in the Senate, Republicans would need 12 Democrats to vote with them to break a filibuster.

Assuming that Republicans overcame all of those hurdles, the president could simply veto the bill.

Another potential problem for Republicans is that repealing health care would run up the deficit. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has said that health care reform will reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion.

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The CBO has also said (.pdf) that a plan to alter Medicare and Medicaid, proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), would actually increase the deficit.

Under new House rules proposed by Republicans, all new legislation that increases spending would have to be paid for. But Republicans have solved this dilemma by exempting repeal from those rules.

The new rules give Ryan unprecedented power to unilaterally set spending and revenue limits.

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“[Republicans] also talk about being — making deficit reduction a priority,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) noted. “Yet, the first thing out of the gate they are trying to do is repeal health care reform which explodes the deficit.”

“They’re going to employ budget gimmicks to try and hide the cost of their actions,” Rep Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said. “What they are going to try to do is engage in Enron-type accounting to say that when they try and move to repeal health care a week from tomorrow, that the hit on the deficit will not matter.”

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“That kind of flim-flam is exactly what the American people came to expect the last time the Republicans were in charge,” he added.

This video is from C-SPAN, broadcast Jan. 4, 2010.


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Ethics committee warns sitting federal judges not to affiliate with the Federalist Society

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On Wednesday, the Judicial Conference's Codes of Conduct Committee, a national panel of high-ranking federal judges responsible for policy-making on U.S. courts, released a draft advisory opinion warning federal judges against affiliating with the Federalist Society, one of the nation's foremost associations of conservative and libertarian lawyers.

The opinion also singled out the American Constitution Society (ACS), the Federalist Society's progressive counterpart.

"The Committee advises that formal affiliation with the ACS or the Federalist Society, whether as a member or in a leadership role, is inconsistent with Canons 1, 2, 4, and 5 of the Code," stated the opinion. "Official affiliation with either organization could convey to a reasonable person that the affiliated judge endorses the views and particular ideological perspectives advocated by the organization; call into question the affiliated judge's impartiality on subjects as to which the organization has taken a position; and generally frustrate the public's trust in the integrity and independence of the judiciary."

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Donald Trump’s Secretary of State apparently thinks Spanish is spoken in Lebanon

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The president of United States is often criticized for getting his facts wrong, especially when it comes to understanding the world.

Trump made up the country of "Nambia" while not knowing that Bhutan and Nepal (which he pronounced "nipple") are real countries. He said the country of Belgium "is a beautiful city" and once told the prime minister of India that the country does not share a border with China (their shared border is 2,500 miles).

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Jason Crow lays out the human cost of Trump’s Ukraine scheme — citing his military experience

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On the second day of the impeachment trial, Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), a veteran and one of the House impeachment managers, clearly laid out the risk that President Donald Trump's Ukraine scheme posed to human life — and drew from his own experience in the military.

"I know something about counter-battery radar," said Crow. "In 2005 I was an Army Ranger serving in a special operations task force in Afghanistan. We were at a remote operating base along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. And frequently, the insurgents that we were fighting would launch rockets and missiles onto our small base. But luckily we were provided with counter-battery radar. The 20, 30, 40 seconds before those rockets and mortars rained down on us, an alarm would sound, and we would run out from our tents and jump into our concrete bunkers and wait for the attack to end. This is not a theoretical exercise, and the Ukrainians know it."

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