The Senate passed the trillion dollar omnibus appropriations spending bill on Sunday on a near party line vote of 57-35. The bill increases federal spending by a stunning 12 percent. The omnibus included six appropriations bills which have not been completed this year: Commerce Justice Science, Transportation/Housing and Urban Development, Labor Health and Human Services, Financial Services, State Department Foreign Operations and Military Construction/Veterans Administration.
Three Republicans who don’t yet appear to understand the fiscal crisis this country is facing at this time joined all but one Democrat in voting to pass the huge spending increase: Thad Cochrane of Mississippi, Susan Collins of Maine and Richard Shelby of Alabama.
Eight senators did not vote. Sen. Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-Okla.) missed the vote due to the passing of his mother on Friday.
House Democrats plan to attach a nearly $2 trillion increase in the debt limit to the must-pass Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Appropriations bill this week along with a measure to again extend unemployment benefits. Defense appropriations is expected to include funding for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, but would not include the estimated $30 billion Obama will seek early next year to fund his 30,000 troop surge in Afghanistan.
“Under President Obama’s leadership, the federal government has maxed out its credit,” said Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), a member of the House Committee on Appropriations. “What is even more appalling is that the Speaker has reportedly decided to use the troop funding bill as a pawn in her attempt to pass more debt to our children and grandchildren.”
McConnell Files for Cloture on Health Care Amendment
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell appears to have stopped playing nice with the Democrats on the health care bill. On Sunday, for the first time, McConnell filed for cloture in an effort to force a floor vote on an amendment offered by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho). The amendment, if passed, would commit Harrycare back to the Finance Committee to strip out any elements of the bill that would increase taxes for families making under $250,000 and individuals making under $200,000. The Republican amendment would assist President Obama in keeping his campaign pledge.
The vote on cloture would come Tuesday unless changed by unanimous consent. But HarryCare is facing more serious problems than a cloture vote.
On the CBS program “Face the Nation,” on Sunday, Senators Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) both rejected any Senate “compromise” on health care that includes the proposed Medicare buy-in.
“One part of it [the package sent to the CBO] is the so-called Medicare buy-in, the opposition to it has been growing as the week has gone on,” Lieberman said. “Though I don’t know exactly what’s in it, from what I hear I certainly would have a hard time voting for it because it has some of the same infirmities that the public option did. It will add taxpayer cost. It will add to the deficit. It’s unnecessary.”
“I’m concerned that it’s the forerunner of single-payer, the ultimate single-payer plan,” Nelson said of the scheme. “Maybe even more directly than the public option.”
Lieberman was asked what Reid would have to do to get 60 votes to end debate on his health care bill.
“You have to take out the Medicare buy-in,” Lieberman said. “From my point of view, no public option. No Medicare buy-in. No CLASS Act which will add to our debt in the future. It doesn’t take much more than that.”
The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act is the government takeover of assisted living for the elderly. We have not yet begun to scratch the surface of the death panels likely included in this element of the legislation. Reid has not yet released the language.
Nelson would also insist in a change to the current abortion language included in the bill that requires taxpayer funding of abortion.
CMS: HarryCare Increases Health Care Costs by $234 Billion
HarryCare suffered another blow late last week when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Obama’s own Medicare Actuary, issued a report estimating the Senate’s government takeover of health care increases health care costs by a staggering $234 billion. This estimate does not include the “compromise” expansion of Medicare to include ages 55-64 in a buy-in which will increase costs exponentially.
Wasn’t cutting costs the stated purpose of Democrats’ proposing a government takeover of health care in the first place?
“Democrats have refused to believe me and my colleagues when we told them that the monstrous 2,074 page, $2.5 trillion Reid health care bill would increase premiums, raise taxes and cut Medicare,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). “They have ignored non-partisan CBO analyses that stated the same thing. The repeated calls in opposition from the American people have fallen on Democrats’ deaf ears.”
“Now, we have President Obama’s own independent actuary not only confirming these findings, but also concluding that the Reid bill would actually drive up this country’s unsustainable level of health care spending,” Cornyn added. “It’s time for Democrats to take their heads out of the sand and face the fact that the Reid bill is bad for America. It’s time to start over, craft a truly bi-partisan bill that lowers costs for American families, businesses, and taxpayers.”
CODE RED Rally set for Tuesday, December 15 in Washington, D.C.
The Tea Party is coming to town again, since Democrats don’t appear to have gotten the message. This event will be hosted by Laura Ingraham, bestselling author and nationally-syndicated radio talk show host. Among those speaking at the event are Sen. Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-Okla.) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).
HUMAN EVENTS will be there. You should be, too.
The CODE RED rally is scheduled for 1:30 pm, Tuesday, December 15, Upper Senate Park, on Constitution Ave. between New Jersey and Delaware St. NE — which also happens to be right across the street (Constitution Ave.) from the actual Senate chamber.
Can you hear us now?