The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) late last Thursday released a more detailed cost estimate (pdf) of the Pelosicare bill that shows when the leviathan bureaucracy is fully implemented it will cost taxpayers over $3 trillion over 10 years.
Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, warned late Friday:
“The CBO estimate released [late Thursday] night finally sheds light on the smoke and mirrors game the majority has been playing with the cost of their health care reform proposal,” Gregg said. “Over the first 10 years, this legislation builds in gross new spending of $1.7 trillion — and most of the new spending doesn’t even start until 2014.”
So what happens in five years when the spending is fully implemented? According to Gregg, from 2014 to 2023, the CBO score shows the costs will explode.
“Once that spending is fully phased in, the House Democratic bill rings up at more than $3 trillion over ten years,” Gregg warned. “Additionally, this bill cuts critical Medicare and Medicaid funding by $628 billion, accounts for nearly $1.2 trillion in tax and fee increases and will explode the scope of government by putting the nation’s health care system in the hands of Washington bureaucrats.”
“The $3 trillion price tag defies common sense — we simply cannot add all this new spending to the government rolls and claim to control the deficit,” Gregg added. “If we continue to pile more and more debt on the next generation, they will never be able to get out from under it. The health care system needs reform, but this massive expansion of government, financed by our children and grandchildren, is the wrong way to proceed.”
The new CBO estimate included new measures in the manager’s amendment.
Gohmert Takes on Dingell Ouster
One of the highlight reel moments of the health care debate on Saturday came when Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex), a former appellate court judge, spoke from the well of the House to defend Rep. John Dingell, former chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Dingell, the longest serving member of the House, held his chairmanship until he was thrown out by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for his opposition to the Cap and Trade national energy tax.
Dingell was replaced in the committee’s chair by Henry Waxman (D-Hollywood) one of the most liberal members of Congress and a close Pelosi ally.
Dingell was given the gavel in the House to preside over a segment of the health care debate from the Speaker’s chair. In thanking Dingell for overseeing the rules portion of the debate, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) waxed eloquent over Dingell’s years-long contributions in the fight for a government takeover of health care.
Yet when the puffery had subsided, and as Dingell stepped down from the Speaker’s lofty post, Gohmert gave House Democrats an opportunity to put their vote where their praise was, so to speak.
“Mr. Speaker, in this moment of recognizing a great member of Congress, I would ask unanimous consent to restore his chairmanship back to him,” Gohmert said.
Loud cheers erupted on the floor of the House from Republicans and a few Democrats as well.
Watch the video here.
I spoke with Rep. Gohmert to ask about the circumstances surrounding the unanimous consent request that went unheeded by the Speaker’s chair.
“It was just the height of hypocrisy to take the chairmanship away from the guy because he didn’t support cap and trade,” Gohmert said. “He called it a massive tax and it is a massive tax.”
Gohmert explained that what usually happens to protect the independence and power of the committee chairmanships, the chairmen will band together to protect each other. If any Speaker of the House unduly pressures any one chairman to do his or her bidding, the chairmen will form a group capable of staging a coup to vote to oust the Speaker. The other chairmen did not stand up to Pelosi when she replaced Dingell with Waxmanwho was much more willing to bend to Pelosi’s beck and call.
Gohmert said that despite their ideological differences, Dingell is really a decent man.
“They were all clapping and cheering him but they took his committee away,” Gohmert said. “I went over to Dingell late Saturday night and said, ‘I hope you didn’t mind my comments.’”
Dingell’s response was shared off the record, but Gohmert did say on the record the smile on Dingell’s face and the twinkle in his eye spoke volumes.