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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Today in Washington D. C. - July 23, 2009 - President Obama OverExposed!

The Senate resumed consideration and may vote on the final passage of the fiscal 2010 Defense authorization bill, S. 1390 to authorize $679.8 billion in military funding. First, the Senate will consider an amendment from Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) which would prohibit funds from being used on strategic nuclear arms reductions if those reductions are conditioned on missile defense limits. Democrat amendment on the same subject is expected. Also under consideration is an amendment from Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) to eliminate funds for alternative F-35 engines and to add money for helicopters. Other amendments are expected to be considered throughout the day.

Yesterday, an amendment from Sen. John Thune (R-SD) on concealed carry reciprocity failed to move forward by a vote of 58-39. The amendment would have allowed individuals with concealed carry permits from their home state to carry a concealed firearm in other states that allow that. The Senate rejected an amendment from Sen. Sam Brownback to express the sense of the Senate that North Korea should be listed as a state sponsor of terrorism. Senators instead approved an amendment from Sen. John Kerry to require a report from the president on whether North Korea meets the criteria to be listed as a terror sponsor.

President Obama held yet another primetime press conference last night, focused mostly on his plans for health care reform, where he once again offered few specifics and made guarantees about coverage and costs that seemed to be based simply on his word. But what really stood out in this press conference was the need for multiple fact checks on Obama's claims about health care, the deficit, and Republicans.

In its fact-checking piece, the first statement from Obama that the AP flagged was his assertion that his health care reform "will keep government out of health care decisions, giving you the option to keep your insurance if you're happy with it." Yet, the AP writes, "In House legislation, a commission appointed by the government would determine what is and isn't covered by insurance plans offered in a new purchasing pool, including a plan sponsored by the government. The bill also holds out the possibility that, over time, those standards could be imposed on all private insurance plans, not just the ones in the pool." Obama's claims about allowing Americans to keep their private insurance under his plan have previously been debunked. Back in June, the AP pointed out that "no president could guarantee such a pledge" and independent studies conclude that millions would lose their private insurers if government-run insurance plan were implemented, often because employers would be encouraged to drop coverage.

The New York Times also apparently could not ignore the need to fact-check Obama's press conference. The Times notes, "Mr. Obama said doctors, nurses, hospitals, drug companies and AARP had supported efforts to overhaul health care." But, "While it is true the American Medical Association has endorsed a bill drafted by House Democratic leaders, half-dozen state medical societies have sharply criticized provisions that would establish a new government-run health insurance plan." Further, The Times reports, the American Hospital Association is urging executives to oppose the creation of an efficiency group to control prices.

Another assurance Obama made was that "health insurance reform will not add to our deficit over the next decade," but, according to the AP, "White House Budget Director Peter Orszag told reporters this week that the promise does not apply to proposed spending of about $245 billion over the next decade to increase fees for doctors serving Medicare patients." The AP piece goes on, "Beyond that, budget experts have warned about various accounting gimmicks that can mask true burdens on the deficit."

In addition to his claims about health reform and the deficit, Obama repeatedly insisted that he had inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit and said that because of his budget's changes, the deficit over the next decade will be "$2.2 trillion less than it would have been if we had the same policies in place when we came in." But The American Spectator's Philip Klein points out that, according to the CBO, "the deficit is actually $4.9 trillion more than it otherwise would have been" if previous law had been left in place. The New York Times also took issue with Obama's claims of budget savings, writing, "In fact, $1.5 trillion of those 'savings' are mainly based on an assumption that the United States would have had as many troops in Iraq in 10 years as it did when Mr. Obama took office. . . . So Mr. Obama is claiming credit for not spending money that, under the policy he inherited from Mr. Bush, would never have been spent in the first place."

Finally, President Obama made claims about Republicans' role in the health care debate that simply don't' stand up to scrutiny. Regarding the difficulties in Congress on his health care plans, Obama said, "You haven't seen me out there blaming the Republicans." But, "Obama did so in his opening statement," the AP points out. Not only that, The Hill ran an article yesterday entitled, "Obama blames GOP for stalled health bills." On another claim about Republicans, the NYT writes, "In seeking to portray health legislation as bipartisan, Mr. Obama said that 160 Republican amendments were adopted in a bill approved last week by the Senate health committee." But Philip Klein checked with Republicans on the committee, who told him that those were all amendments correcting technical errors in the bill. In fact, as Sen. Mike Enzi, ranking Republican on the HELP Committee, pointed out, only 2 of 45 substantive GOP amendments were accepted by the committee.

Roll Call reports some of the actions going on behind closed doors [excerpts from subscription]:
Senate Democrats are increasingly frustrated by the . . . Finance Chairman Max Baucus’ (D-MT) bipartisan talks on health care reform, with some saying it could undermine Democratic support for the bill. . . . "At some point, [Baucus is] going to have to worry about getting Democratic votes,” said one Democratic Senator, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “If they think that we’ll take whatever it is that comes out because we want to get something passed, they’re wrong."

. . . Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), who sits on Finance, similarly acknowledged that the briefings for committee members during the current health care talks have not been very detailed. However, she said she is not bothered by it, because she understands the need for some secrecy. “It’s tough to move the ball down the field in [Finance Democrat] meetings,” she said. Baucus “is trying the best way he can to move the ball down the field. . . . I’ve been weighing in on the things I’m most concerned about.”

. . . However, the level of consultation with Democrats stands in contrast with how Republican negotiators are briefing their Members. Senators said Enzi, who is the ranking member on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, briefs leaders every day on the talks. And all three of the GOP negotiators have agreed to brief the entire GOP Conference before they sign on to any deal with Baucus. But Democrats said Baucus is unlikely to run any deal by his caucus before he shakes hands on an agreement with Republicans.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) warned Baucus two weeks ago that he risked alienating Democrats . . . Reid told Baucus to . . . stop entertaining policy solutions — such as taxing health insurance benefits — that were opposed by a majority of the Democratic caucus. Reid also strongly urged Baucus to focus on creating a government-run, public health insurance plan, rather than the nonprofit health insurance cooperative . . ."
Mr. Obama, it is your own party members and the public that are waking-up from your empty promises. You may have lived on the Government dole for most of your life. We're not complaining about that. But, most Americans have paid - and paid - and paid and don't trust the government. And, now Mr. President, you speak for the Government -- you represent the bureaucracy that takes our money, limits our freedoms and choices, sends our children to Afghanistan, and interferes with our lives.

Mr. President, you might want to rethink some of your talking points on health care and get the facts straight given that the press is beginning to report the facts verses the "thrills running up their legs." Americans like their "rock stars, race car drivers, and athletes." But, we expect our Presidents to be common citizens who do not "gad fly" about the globe, apologize to everyone about America, and try to "hog center stage" at every opportunity. Fire your PR person -- you are overexposed -- or maybe you are now exposed!

Tags: Barack Obama, empty promises, exposed, health care, US Congress, US House, US Senate, Washington D.C. To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 11:18 AM - Post Link


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article, I hope you don't mind I reposted it, with your link,
If it is a problem, let me know and I'll remove it.


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