Some of the President’s biggest fibs tonight were when he said “I didn’t raise the deficit, I lowered it” and “your heath care won’t change” (Although he was honest when he implied that under Obamacare, Grandma is going to be screwed out of her medical needs).
Perhaps the most incredible part of the health care Press conference was when the President was asked about the Blue Dog Democrats. His first response was to beat up the Republicans. When pressed, he answered “I didn’t Blame the Republicans”. The truth is that there are enough Democrats in the House and Senate to get his plan through, However, the opposition to Obamacare is bi-partisan:
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By SEAN HIGGINS
INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Wednesday, July 22, 2009 4:30 PM PT
An expanded majority is proving to be as much a headache as a boon to House Democratic leaders as they struggle to keep moderates on board for their health care reform bill.
Leaders have found themselves trying to appease three intraparty factions: Rural Blue Dogs worried by the bill’s soaring costs; freshman lawmakers in formerly GOP districts upset over proposed tax hikes on upper earners; and an expanded pro-life wing objecting to taxpayer-funded abortions.
“There are progressives, Blue Dogs and everybody in between who have expressed concerns, and we are working (with them) on that,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters earlier this week.
The leadership is under pressure to meet self-imposed deadlines for the bill. They fear momentum will be lost if progress is not shown before Congress leaves for its August recess. Several recent polls show support for President Obama’s health care plans falling below 50%.
The leaders remain optimistic. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., claimed Wednesday she had the votes for passage. A House floor vote is expected late next week.
“We will have the votes when the bill is out of committee,” said a top Democratic leadership aide. “Right now, the speaker is still talking with the Blue Dogs and the administration.”
Blue Dogs have gotten the most ink; eight are on the Energy and Commerce Committee, which is weighing the bill.
Twice this week, the committee postponed work on the bill due to talks. The panel’s Blue Dogs could block the measure if seven joined GOP members in voting no.
“We are making progress; however, we have a long way to go,” Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., head of the Blue Dog health care task force, said in a Wednesday statement.
Blue Dogs have expressed concern over the cost of the bill. Congressional Budget Office director Doug Elmendorf testified last week that contrary to claims by Obama and top Democrats, health reform plans would not curb growth in long-term budget costs.
Five Blue Dogs also have raised objections over a public option, though others in the coalition have endorsed the idea. Hoyer has said he expects the bill to include one.
Blue-Blood Dems’ Blues
Twenty-two freshman Democrats are worried about the House health bill’s proposed tax on upper-income earners. They outlined their concerns to Pelosi in a letter last week.
The bill would impose a 1% surcharge on families with incomes of $350,000 to $500,000 and an extra 1.5% for those making $500,000 to $1 million. It would rise to 5.4% for couples making over $1 million.
Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., represents one of the highest per capita income districts. He notes that the surcharges would be on top of expiring Bush tax cuts that will lift the top marginal rate to 39.6%.
“My constituents aren’t rich in the sense of inherited wealth or a bunch of CEOs,” he said, portraying them as two-income families and small-business owners.
“Why are we talking about taxes at all when there is so much savings to be wrung out of the system?” he asked. “Secondly, is this the best way, the most equitable way, to do it?”
Pelosi said this week that the surcharge might hit only millionaires.
Finally, 19 other Democrats have raised concerns over taxpayer-funded abortion.
“We basically promote keeping the status quo, which is that we cannot use federal funds for abortion, but it wouldn’t preclude private plans from being able to offer coverage for abortion,” said Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I.
He said he was confident a deal could be reached.
While raising objections, all of these groups stress that they do not want to derail health care reform or embarrass the president.
“The Blue Dogs are continuing discussions with the committee to hopefully get to a point where they can support legislation, but they are not there yet,” said the Democratic leadership aide.