1. Amendments brought forward by Republican Senators Crapo and Ensign, designed to put the LIE to Obama's MOST CENTRAL campaign pledge that those earning under 200G would not see their taxes increased, were defeated in Finance today by nerve-wrackingly narrow margins of 12 to 11.
2. Blanche Lincoln joined a solid GOP, including Ms Snowe, in the tallies.
3. Gatekeeper Baucus said of Crapo's failed resolution, "this is an amendment that guts, kills health reform."
4. In other words, according to the Chairman, it is impossible to realize the president's overweening ambitions without falsifying Obama's entire campaign.
5. Taxes will be raised on almost everyone.
6. Baucus added, for reform to succeed there must be "shared responsibility" requiring ALL to "participate."
7. In Crapo's crosshairs was the $1900 FINE on individuals caught BREATHING WITHOUT INSURANCE, a brand new crime.
8. Crapo also looked to retain the current deductability of "catastrophic" medical expenses exceeding 7.5% of any worker's income.
9. Baucus this week raised the limit to 10%.
10. That is, the Gatekeeper will heavily HIKE TAXES on Americans' catastrophic outlays.
11. Ensign, on the other hand, attempted to STOP the individual mandate, central to both Baucus-Obama and HR3200, on anyone Obama once defined as middle class, those making less than 200G.
12. Veteran Orrin Hatch irreproachably observed, "you can't do what you want to do without increasing taxes on everybody, but that isn't what the president said we're going to do."
13. Other heart-of-the-matter amendments offered this week by Republicans and killed in committee include ironclad caveats that taxpayer money will not pay for abortions, as well as a requirement that recipients of expanded care show photo ID's in order to ensure only legal citizens receive coverage.
14. The GOP losses on the issues of abortion and illegals, if you think about it, make passage of HR3200 in the House extremely tenuous---bluedogs, freshmen and moderates are urgently unlikely to stick their necks out in Pelosi's Place for a piece that very much appears, in the long run, to include provisions pernicious in their more conservative disctricts.
15. HR3200 will NOT pass the House.
16. Leadership is clueless, completely improvisational, and can't see more than half a day ahead.
17. Baucus' bill has been scored by CBO as coming in at a price tag of around $900 billion.
18. But that's before the Chairman this week ok'd halving the FINES on those newly criminalized, it's before the exclusion of seniors from the raising to 10% of the catastrophic deductability limit, and CBO's bottom line was also reckoned before Baucus raised the threshold from $21000 to $23000 for the taxing of "cadillac" benefit packages, all of which negatively impact the COST CURVE, central to CBO's concerns.
19. Thus, Baucus threatens to BETRAY yet another of Obama's most oft repeated reassurances, that his health care will not increase the deficit "a dime."
20. The Senate bill contemplates a plethora of problems, but those blipping most blaringly on America's political radar screen are FINES on individuals, MANDATES on folks to buy for themselves that which they can't afford at a price of up to 13% of their incomes, massive CUTS to Medicare and Medicaid, the pushing off onto already bankrupt STATES of murderous Medicaid costs, the voting down of amendments demanding the bill be put ONLINE 72 hours before a floor vote, and now, today, TAX INCREASES on the MIDDLE CLASS.
21. Rasmussen reported yesterday that EIGHTY THREE PERCENT want health care legislation to be posted for public perusal before any plebiscite is conducted.
22. The arrogance of dem leadership in saying "no" to such openness-oriented overtures is eminently eye-opening.
23. Baucus bragged today, "I'm beginning to have some hope of finishing up."
24. His room erupted in laughter.
25. The parliamentary deadline for detonating the "nuclear option," Senate reconciliation, allowing the majority to bypass filibuster and cram legislation with only 51 votes, is October 15.
26. Reconciliation, it is common knowledge, is by nature very weak---it lacks permanence, must be reupped periodically.
27. Reconciliation lacks legitimacy and ligature.
28. So cheaply political a parliamentary procedure is pure pettifoggery, the dems will never dare.
29. Even to attempt to reform 16% of the economy, an action most crassly controversial, via methods meant for short term, emergency budget reconciliation, would determine the doom of democrats.
30. The party is in big trouble if it doesn't pass a bill, but it's even worse off if it does.
A sweeping overhaul of the nation's health-care system is "riddled" with measures that would violate President Obama's pledge not to raise taxes on middle-class Americans, Republicans on a key Senate panel argued Thursday morning, as they tried to strip a host of fees and taxes from the package.
Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee narrowly defeated amendments by GOP senators Mike Crapo of Idaho and John Ensign of Nevada, 11 to 12. But the measures attracted the votes of two moderates, Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) and Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), suggesting that the issue could prove problematic as the health-care debate moves to the House and Senate floors in the weeks to come.
Calling his amendment an effort to make sure that health-care reform lives up to Obama's promises, Crapo proposed to strip out all taxes and fees that would strike individuals who earn less than $200,000 a year and families who earn less than $250,000 a year.
Among the key provisions that would be affected, he said, are a proposed penalty of up to $1,900 a year for failing to buy insurance; a plan to make it much harder to deduct catastrophic medical expenses; and new penalties on those who use their health savings accounts for other purposes. Ensign's amendment targeted only the penalty for failing to buy insurance.
Congressional tax analysts have determined that all three provisions would fall heavily on taxpayers that Obama has defined as middle class.
Baucus blasted the proposals as "killer" amendments. Of Crapo's offering, Baucus said, "This is an amendment that guts, kills health reform. . . . The effect is to say we're not going to have universal coverage."
"I'm beginning to have some hope of finishing up," Baucus said, to laughter.
An influential group of conservative House Democrats threatened to hold up the legislation if it does not guarantee that no government money is spent on abortion.