Saturday, September 09, 2006

Born in the middle of the night … Loans for DM&E and Medicare premium increases

Once again, the RoveRobots shirk their constitutional duties and pass a bill that many members did not know what it contained.

A little-known provision of the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act calls for nearly 1.5 million seniors to face premium hikes ranging from 10 to 55 percent over the next three years if they earn at least $80,000 a year, or $160,000 for married couples. The move, designed to help shore up Medicare's shaky finances, has enraged many because it was adopted without public debate. A Republican-led conference committee added the measure to the Medicare bill even though neither the House nor the Senate version contained it.

As a fiscal conservative, I support the concept of means testing … but it is irresponsible that a major change to an existing program was not adequately debated … much less that the Representatives did not know what it contained. The legislation has been much discussed due to the arm-twisting, extended voting time in the middle of the night, and alleged offering of a bribe (see Washington Post). This was not emergency legislation … in fact John Kline and 40 other members of Congress wrote to the Republican leadership requesting that the House deserves adequate time to review and consider this bill's 681 pages of complex, detailed minutiae. In the end, John Kline and Mark Kennedy didn’t demand to study the bill --- instead shirked their responsibilities and marched the party line.

Today, while seniors learn of the costs, Kline and Kennedy have had Chamber of Commerce paid commercials on television thanking them for their votes.

This secret middle of the night changes to bills is how the provision for the DM&E loan went from $3.5Billion to $35Billion.

With a DoNothing Congress that has delayed Lobbyist Reform and Earmark Reform, it’s time that we vote for people that will put the time in to study a bill and not just listen to what their leadership commands.




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