Boehner came to the podium a few moments ago and said that they are working on a plan that provides fairness under Obamacare, that there are a lot of opinions on how to do it and that they are working on a bipartisan solution to ensure we don’t default. Ugh. I just hate to hear Boehner continue to use Obama’s ‘scare language’. They only way we default is if the treasury refuses to pay our interest. But Boehner’s too much of a wuss to say that.
So basically Boehner wouldn’t give any details on what they are working on. But apparently they are planning a vote on something today and it’s supposed to pass.
UPDATE: White House rejects House deal, whatever it is…
WASHINGTON TIMES – The White House rejected the House GOP plan to end the government shutdown, saying it preferred the Senate’s negotiations.
That deal, still under construction, doesn’t make any major dents in the president’s health law.
The House bill would take the same details about how long a stopgap spending bill and the debt increase should last, and expand it with the new Obamacare provisions.
The president has said repeatedly that members of Congress don’t get to demand ransom for fulfilling their basic responsibilities to pass a budget and pay the nation’s bills,” ssid White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage.
“Unfortunately, the latest proposal from House Republicans does just that in a partisan attempt to appease a small group of Tea Party Republicans who forced the government shutdown in the first place.”
Bipartisan congressional leaders are conspiring once again to stiff-arm the American people and preserve ObamaCare, even as that monstrously unfair, unaffordable, and unnecessary scheme shows signs of complete unworkability.
Late yesterday, Senators Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) reportedly struck a bipartisan agreement to raise the debt limit and reopen the government, without any conditions and without relieving the American people from ObamaCare.
This morning, House leaders came out with a slightly different version of the same “deal.”
In this post, I will try to summarize and critique each of the various elements in play.
The short version: It’s a non-starter for grassroots America.
NOTE: The details below describe proposals by the two chambers’ respective leaders. They do not necessarily reflect the views of individual members of either chamber. Also, some details are unclear at presstime and are subject to revision as new information comes out.
Senate: Immediately reopen the government and fund it at fiscal year 2013 levels until January 15, 2014.
FreedomWorks: There is no need to reopen the government all at once. Instead, the House should continue to hold out for a halt to ObamaCare. To reduce the political pressure on itself, the House can continue its smart policy of passing targeted “mini-CRs” for specific, high-profile agencies or programs (such as NIH cancer clinical trials).
Senate: Extend the debt limit until February 7.
House: Same. But also: Remove the President’s flexibility to evade the debt limit through so-called “extraordinary measures” (e.g., borrowing temporarily from certain federal trust funds).
FreedomWorks: As for raising the debt limit, ordinarily, we’d say don’t do it at all, or least not without significant offsetting spending cuts. But the current government shutdown is admittedly not an ordinary situation. The standoff began with a grassroots effort to halt ObamaCare, and that fight should remain front and center. Therefore, while parts of the government remain shuttered, the debt limit should be lifted temporarily, without strings or conditions, in order to take the “default” canard off the table and restore the House’s leverage over spending and ObamaCare. P.S. Eliminating “extraordinary measures” is a good idea on its own merits, because it gives Congress greater power over borrowing, as the Founders intended; but the reform is not urgently needed in the current situation.
Health Insurer Reinsurance Fee
Senate: Eliminate the health insurer reinsurance fee.
House: No provision.
FreedomWorks: A sop to the labor unions. Abolishing this tax-like fee is fine, but only if we also abolish the $10 billion subsidy to the health insurance industry that it funds.
Income Fraud Prevention for Exchange Subsidies
Senate: No provision.
House: Require that the HHS Secretary certify that the health care exchanges are secure from income fraud.
FreedomWorks: Fig leaf. Merely restates current law. HHS can’t even manage to process our passwords; how are we supposed to trust them to prevent people from lying about their income to qualify for taxpayer subsidies – especially after President Obama publicly announced that he would not bother to verify applicants’ income claims?
Medical Device Tax
Senate: No provision. (Democrats, who control the Senate, are said to strongly oppose repeal or delay of this 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices.)
House: Two-year delay of the medical device tax.
FreedomWorks: The House provision is a sop to the medical device industry, which notably employs a senior staffer of Speaker Boehner’s. We say: Not just no, but hell no! No more relief for corporations or unions until the American people get relief from this terrible law!
Apply ObamaCare to Political Leaders
Senate: No provision.
House: Apply ObamaCare to Members of Congress, the President, the Vice President, and members of the President’s Cabinet (but note: not to their staffs).
FreedomWorks: This provision, while fully justified (and we would also apply it to congressional staff), is no substitute for relieving the American people from ObamaCare.
Committee to Negotiate Future Spending and Tax Hikes
Senate: Agree to negotiate with the other chamber on possible future spending and tax increases in the context of a House-Senate budget conference committee, which has been stalled since May. Also discuss cuts to Medicare and Social Security.
FreedomWorks: Negotiating a budget is a good thing. But increasing spending and taxes is not. Additionally, linking budget talks to the CR/ObamaCare fight is a strategic mistake. (Sadly, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), who claims to be an opponent of ObamaCare, was the leading force behind forging this misguided linkage, which undermines the efforts of grassroots America to halt the government takeover of their health care.)
Senate: Fully fund ObamaCare. Don’t delay any part of ObamaCare. Provide no relief to the American people from ObamaCare.
FreedomWorks: Has the disconnect between America and Washington ever been wider?