Friday, March 23, 2012

Budget Politics, GOP Votes Out IPAB, Wyden Woes, Bipartisan GOP?

GOP Budget Bad

"A year after House Republicans misfired on their plan to overhaul Medicare, they’re going right back at it in the budget they proposed Tuesday, tweaking the details but signaling their willingness to engage in a political battle over entitlement reform -- even in an election year.  It’s the third such GOP plan in the past month to try to change Medicare, and it runs smack into the White House and congressional Democrats, who say the GOP is tangling with an issue that will cost them votes in November."

Etch-A-Sketch.  The Republicans are trying to erase or reset Medicare.

Goodbye IPAB

"The GOP-controlled House of Representatives voted to repeal a key cost-control provision of the health care law Thursday.  The House passed the largely symbolic measure by a vote of 223 to 181, repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a 15-member panel that is supposed to check Medicare costs if they rise too quickly.  The measure is primarily an election-year vehicle because it is unlikely to even be brought up in the Senate, and President Barack Obama has promised to veto it if is passed."

Wyden Under Fire

"It’s doubtful that this is what Sen. Ron Wyden had in mind when the Oregon Democrat worked with Rep. Paul Ryan to propose a plan for Medicare reform.  On Tuesday, House Republicans unveiled a federal budget blueprint that calls for transforming the tax code and balancing the budget by 2040 through deep cuts in domestic spending, including the sweeping changes to Medicare proposed by Wyden and Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who is chairman of the House Budget Committee."

"The plan puts Wyden in an awkward position.  Wyden’s fellow Democrats clearly do not appreciate a senior member of their party allowing Republicans to claim bipartisan support for their Medicare reform plan."

Republicans Say They're Bipartisan

"One of the new twists of this year’s Republican budget is that Republicans are trying harder to present themselves as upholding ideas that have bipartisan support, making President Obama the partisan outside the consensus.  The biggest example here is Medicare, where Paul Ryan enlisted Ron Wyden to provide him with bipartisan cover on Medicare."

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