In a private conversation Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid again warned House Speaker John Boehner that his bill remains dead on arrival in the Senate. In particular, Democrats and the White House oppose a number of GOP-backed provisions: a measure forcing the Obama administration to expedite its decision about whether to green light construction the Keystone XL pipeline; out-year spending caps that could further reduce funding to key federal programs; and other restrictions including one that would allow states to drug test unemployment applicants.
The GOP bill also includes a steep increase in Medicare costs for middle class and upper class beneficiaries to help offset the cost of the payroll holiday. Per the Associated Press, it would “rais[e] premiums for ‘high-income’ Medicare beneficiaries, now defined as those making $85,000 and above for individuals, or $170,000 for families.”
Some would pay as much as several hundred dollars a month additional for Medicare outpatient and prescription coverage. Millions who don’t consider themselves wealthy would also end up paying more.Just the top 5 percent of Medicare recipients currently pay higher premiums, a change that took effect a few years ago. The new GOP proposal would expand that over time to include the highest-earning one-fourth of seniors.The White House issued an official veto threat Tuesday afternoon. But Republicans are insisting on going through the motions.
The bill also has a number of other poison pills, it would also gut health care reform, specifically federal subsidies to states for setting up insurance exchanges and for funding preventative care, force all unemployment benefits applicants to get their GED, would require all children to have Social Security numbers in order for their parents to qualify for federal income tax credits for kids and would even deregulate boilers and incinerators...and cut up to 40 weeks in unemployment benefits.
Republicans call this "compromise." President Obama calls it "dead on arrival." The GOP threw their own poop at the wall and called it a bill, because the Senate has already tied the bill to the budget shutdown measure on the docket for Friday, meaning the GOP had already lost (hence all the crazy stuff including the unicorn and the new Lamborghini in the driveway.)
We'll see what happens the rest of this week, but time's getting a mite short at this point, just three days left until things get ugly.