Tag Archives: congress

They PUT the loopholes there!

The headline reads:

Insurance Companies Find Loopholes in New Health Bill

No.  The insurance companies were in on writing the bill.

The White House and lawmakers are bracing themselves for what is sure to be an onslaught of problems and ambiguities in the aftermath of the health care bill being signed into law.

Which sums up nicely why so many were against it, and why so many people in Congress will be looking for new jobs in the fall.

I talked about the baby with a preexisting condition here.


The unintended consequenses already started

And Waxman is going to get to the bottom of it.

Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, has summoned some of the nation’s top executives to Capitol Hill to defend their assessment that the new national health care reform law will cost their companies hundreds of millions of dollars in health insurance expenses.  Waxman is also demanding that the executives give lawmakers internal company documents related to health care finances — a move one committee Republicans describes as “an attempt to intimidate and silence opponents of the Democrats’ flawed health care reform legislation.”

On Thursday and Friday, the companies — so far, they include AT&T, Verizon, Caterpillar, Deere, Valero Energy, AK Steel and 3M — said a tax provision in the new health care law will make it far more expensive to provide prescription drug coverage to their retired employees.  Now, both retirees and current employees of those companies are wondering whether the new law could mean reduced or canceled benefits for them in the future.

The health care reform bill increases costs to companies, and those that are publicly traded are required by law to immediately make adjustments for new laws.  So a bunch of them are.  That’s apparently not what the Democrats wanted, so we’ll have hearings.   Go figure.

Any predictions on what they do when health insurance premiums skyrocket?


This is pretty telling

From the Pew Research Center, a word cloud of what we think of Congress

Shortly before the House vote, the Pew Research Center asked Americans to provide the one word that best describes their current impressions of Congress. The results were overwhelmingly negative. Of those offering a response, 86% said something negative while just 4% gave a positive one-word description. The three most frequently offered terms were dysfunctional (21 people offered this), corrupt (20) and some version of selfish (19). Many of the words reflected perceptions that Congress has been unable or unwilling to enact legislation (inept, confusing, gridlock, etc.).

Please note that the figures shown in the chart represent the actual number — not the percentage — of people offering each word. With such a wide range of terms volunteered, no single word was offered by more than 3% of the 749 people asked the question.

Here’s hoping they get Changed ™ in November.

Link via Hit and Run


Suicide Mission or Scorched Earth?

Robert Gibbs says the health care bill will pass by next Sunday, so maybe the Democrats are doing both?

Certainly passing the health care bill as it is now is going to lead to a Republican majority in at least one house, and possibly both, with many Democrats losing their jobs to folks campaigning to repeal the law.  It’s clearly unpopular, and while the election of Brown to replace Ted Kennedy wasn’t as earth shattering as some might think, it did foretell what will happen in many ‘safe’ Democratic districts.   So it certainly seems it’s a suicide mission.

I think the Democrats have realized, though, that even if it doesn’t pass, they are in big trouble in November.  As such, they are going to get their bills through, regardless of what the people actually want, knowing repealing the bill will be very difficult (probably impossible) until there is a new President in 2012.  So they are scorching the earth on their suicide mission.

And taking us all out in the process.


What happened to Change(tm)?

One of the very few great things that could have come out of Democratic control of Congress and the Obama Administration would have been rolling back the Patriot Act.  They say they are for protections from invasions of privacy, that violating civil liberties was a ‘failed policy of the Bush Administration.

Well, don’t hold your breath, they reauthorized it without significant changes.  Showing again this is about power and control, and neither party is really interested in giving any of that up.

What’s most frustrating?  In committee, there was bipartisan agreement to scale it back a bit.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., noted that the bill with privacy protections had been approved in committee by a bipartisan majority. He said the measure “should be an example of what Democrats and Republicans can accomplish when we work together, but I understand some Republican senators objected to passing the carefully crafted national security, oversight and judicial review provisions in this legislation.”

But they couldn’t get it through the entire body.


One really good thing about all this snow

Congress can’t get in to work.

Bring on another 20 inches.


Cognitive dissonance

Senator Ben Cardin’s comments on the 2011 federal budget presented by the White House.

As a member of the Senate Budget Committee, I look forward to exploring the details of this budget with Administration officials to ensure that it supports broad initiatives that will spur job growth and uphold the priorities important to Marylanders without adding to our long-term debt.

Huh?


ObamaCare becomes just a little less Constitutional

There’s no way this gets past a challenge based on the  14th amendment.  Right?

Big Labor got some big love from President Obama and congressional Democrats yesterday after they agreed to exempt union workers from the whopping “Cadillac tax” on high-cost health-care plans until 2018.

The sweetheart deal, hammered out behind closed doors, will save union employees at least $60 billion over the years involved, while others won’t be as lucky — they’ll have to cough up almost $90 billion.

The 40 percent excise tax on what have come to be called “Cadillac” health-care plans would exempt collective-bargaining contracts covering government employees and other union members until Jan. 1, 2018.

I would like to meet someone who actually thinks this is how government should work; that government should adjust your taxes based on what you do for a living and if you are in a union.  I’m also amazed at the arrogance of the Administration and Congress that they think this is in any way legal.

I’m also curious about how this little trick adjusts the CBO estimates of ‘deficit neutrality’.  Remember, that was a campaign promise made by The One, that He would not sign a healthcare bill that increased the deficit.  Of course, He also promised he wouldn’t raise taxes on anyone making less than $250k.. that one is already out the window.


Will the GOP take Congress in 2010?

Michael Steele has some GOP folks in a snit because he’s suggested that while they will pick up seats, they will not gain a majority in the House.

I think it’s a little much to get upset with him.  I think he’s reading some of the populist movement (Tea Party, or whatever you want to call it) correctly.  The discontent in the country isn’t about Republicans and Democrats, it’s about incumbents and being sick of the entire lot of them. 

The House is unpredictable, and I’m sure there is a huge opportunity for Republicans to pick up seats in close races, but the same is true with Democrats.  There are a lot of independents out there who are thinking outside R and D, and instead will be throwing the bums out; I think we might see some Republicans caught up in the housecleaning.  My hope is that we see a lot of incumbents lose; we’ll see the Republicans pick up seats, but I think some incumbents are going to get tossed in primary races.

On the Senate side (which I don’t think Steele has addressed), it’s a little easier to analyse, as there are only 36 seats up for grabs (18 on each side).  So lets take a look at them. Continue reading


A Reminder

Republicans aren’t any better about being hypocrites than Democrats, and they all love the state, they just disagree on how to (ab)use it’s power.

According to the organization’s records, Bachmann’s family farm received $251,973 in federal subsidies between 1995 and 2006. The farm had been managed by Bachmann’s recently deceased father-in-law and took in roughly $20,000 in 2006 and $28,000 in 2005, with the bulk of the subsidies going to dairy and corn. Both dairy and corn are heavily subsidized—or “socialized”—businesses in America (in 2005 alone, Washington spent $4.8 billion propping up corn prices) and are subject to strict government price controls. These subsidies are at the heart of America’s bizarre planned agricultural economy and as far away from Michele Bachmann’s free-market dream world as Cuba’s free medical system.

And…

Chuck Grassley, the longtime Republican senator from Iowa who warns his constituents of Obama’s “trend toward socialism,” has seen his family collect $1 million in federal handouts over an 11-year period, with Grassley’s son receiving $699,248 and the senator himself pocketing $238,974. Even Grassley’s grandson is learning to ride through life on training wheels, snagging $5,964 in 2005 and $2,363 in 2006. In the Grassley family they learn early how to enjoy other people’s money.

They conclude, more or less rightfully

Farm subsidies have become so corrupt that payments sometimes go to dead people for years. Federal farm subsidies, which were originally meant to help struggling farmers survive, are now little more than taxpayer robbery, taking taxpayer wealth from working Americans and sending it to the have-mores. According to 11 years’ worth of Environmental Working Group data that tracks $200 billion in subsidies, the wealthiest 10 percent of “farmers” have collected 75 percent of the money. That’s exactly the kind of socialism that Rep. Bachmann and her elite ilk like.

The lesson here isn’t that we should be doing more of this to help “the poor”, it is that no matter which of the two major parties, they are all in this for power and to get their hands on your stuff so they can give it to someone they decide is more deserving.  Because they can.  The only way to eliminate this behavior on both sides is to take the power of redistribution away from all of them; not as this article seems to suggest, give them even more power.

Yet voters keep thinking if only they could get the right guy in office, there will be Change ™.  Looks like folks are starting to figure out that’s not so.

Hat tip to Hit and Run


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