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Jerry Shenk


Washington: Bipartisan Bankruptcy

by Jerry Shenk
 

Congress’s public approval rating has fallen below twenty percent. Majority Republicans who haven’t fulfilled a single campaign promise have been especially disappointing.

Presently, congressional Republicans’ lone electoral advantage is that they are not Democrats. Now, some moderate Republicans have proposed to squander their party’s only advantage by fulfilling congressional Democrats’ every desire: preservation of Obamacare, a debt ceiling increase without spending concessions and a “clean” long-term budget.

GOP moderates would exploit Congress’s problems -- summer recess-related time constraints and mostly-procedural internal issues " to, again, brush aside the nation’s existential problems and Americans’ legitimate concerns.

Business Insider described the scheme in an article entitled “Some Republicans are pushing a plan that would solve nearly all of Congress' problems in one fell swoop.”

“Rep. Charlie Dent, of Pennsylvania, a co-chair of the moderate Tuesday Group caucus, told Business Insider he was advocating a plan that would increase the debt ceiling and pass a long-term budget...”

In other words, while raising the debt ceiling, Dent would bypass traditional annual appropriations in favor of a plan that would commit overspending for two years rather than just one. Congressional conservatives are unlikely to support the plan, so, for passage, moderates will need support from Democrats who will almost certainly demand and be awarded further concessions for left-wing priorities.

It gets worse: The Heritage Foundation’s Stephen Moore reports: “The danger of a Republican bailout of Obamacare is mounting... A group of ‘moderate’ Republicans [in] the [bipartisan] Problem Solvers Caucus is quietly negotiating with Democratic leaders...to throw a multi-billion dollar life line to the Obamacare insurance exchanges. This bailout...would be an epic betrayal by a Republican Party which has promised to repeal and replace the financially crumbling Obama health law.”

Member Charlie Dent also leads the Problem Solvers’ effort to “restore cost sharing reduction payments, bringing them under the appropriations process,” a tacit admission that the Obama administration illegally “reinsured” Obamacare exchange insurers without congressional authorization. The schemers prefer the more-anodyne description “stabilizing the insurance market” to the hard factual “corrupt corporate bailouts.”

The Federalist captured its essence: “[The] bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus...released their list of [Obamacare] solutions’ .... [T]he list can...be summed up in a single phrase: Single payer. ...

“In funding more bailout spending for insurers, the proposal clearly states that Obamacare is ‘too big to fail’ -- that no amount of taxpayer funding is too great to keep insurers offering coverage on the...exchanges. Enacting that government backstop would create a de facto single-payer health-care system...with many more...insurer lobbyists...[demanding] more crony capitalist payments from government to their industry.”

Big money is involved: The insurance industry’s political contributions trail only Wall Street’s. In 2016, insurers spent $150 million on 870 lobbyists; they gave congressional Democrats $18 million; Republicans were given $30 million. Charlie Dent raked in $51,000.00.

The bipartisan “Problem Solvers” are prime examples of America’s political class uniting to preserve Washington’s broken status quo.

America’s $20 trillion debt problem is really a spending problem that Dent, GOP ”moderates” and Democrats are unwilling to fix.

http://www.pottsmerc.com/opinion/20170829/jerry-shenk-washington-bipartisan-bankruptcy


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