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Finally found someone talking about this! Well the Senate Passes Budget With Medicaid Intact!

Before its 51-49 approval of the budget, the Senate, in a surprise, voted to practically double the budget's tax cuts to $134 billion over the next five years. That is even more than Bush and the more conservative House have sought.

these tax cuts, it seems, is compassionate to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg. but for those who led the fight against the Medicaid cuts...their heartless...

The courage simply isn't here," said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg, R-N.H., who said benefit savings were needed to avoid passing unbearably high debts to younger generations.

I think Chairman "Judd" thinks we're stupid!


I strongly suspect that the explanation for Coleman's votes on the block grants and on Medicaid is that he's doing a favor for Tim Pawlenty, who is up for re-election in 2006 and who seems to be gunning for the presidential or vice presidential nomination in 2008 (and perhaps VP sooner, who knows?). Yglesias notes today that Medicaid cuts pass the buck to governors, leaving Congressional Republicans unblamed. But Pawlenty is one of those governors, and he is absolutely dead set against any tax increases (for reasons of ideology and the already mentioned ambition), and he doesn't want to burnish his image as a mean-spirited guy, which he is, and he's got enough budget difficulties as it is. (His "solution," as best as I can tell, is to extract revenue from some Native American tribes' new casinos.) Coleman's votes make things easier on Pawlenty. How's that for extra dishonesty and disgrace?


The connecting idea that will work, I think, is
is that any tax cuts that don't include an explicit matching spending cut is stealing money from the Social Security trust fund.


"stealing money from the Social Security trust fund"

If you believe we have a responsibility to society the above quote is true. Obviously the current administration has no responsibility to society since they see all social programs as "stealing" from their poor bleeding wallets!


Any idea on when China will stop buying our dept, sending interest rates through the roof? I bet Clinton gets blamed for it.


In the WaPo story it says that the additional tax cuts that Bunning added were to "repeal 1993 tax increase on Social Security benefits claimed by relatively wealthy seniors." I assume that is the 85% that is taxable if your income is over a very complicated formula, but actually not that high. The article also said that the tax cut authority "could be used for other purposes."

The Dems should highlight this, since any tax cuts are going to be either extensions of the Bush tax cuts, AMT reform or now tax cuts.

I suspect this is for AMT but you never know.

Movie Guy

Glad you posted this.

I mentioned your effort over at Angry Bear.

We're in real trouble and someone needs to mount a full disclosure campaign to address all elements of our fiscal mess.

We know that this won't work, but we're still headed into the iceberg field at full speed.

Only a group of idiots would do that.

We are so screwed.


Was I the only one who initially read CDBG (community development block grants, I'm guessing) as CBGB?

richard lo cicero

This is so important but gets no attention as the powers that be in the media see a discussion of PAYGO as MEGO! So the country goes down the drain but we will all feel good dumping on Scott Peterson and those nasty Steroid taking ballplayers while spending time at the Neverlan Ranch with Jacko!

Ruth Fleischer

Great job but I can't view the votes against PAYGO and for Medicaid cuts as anything but fully dishonest since they were more of a pro-tax cut/anti-poor people vote combination than anything having to do with fiscal disipline. Senator Kyl, in opposing the PAYGO rule, was quite explicit that continued tax cuts help the economy while spending hurts it. This isn't half honest, it's fully nuts. According to really scary testimony last week by Comptroller-General David Walker, continuation of all the current tax cuts bleeds revenues dry and eventually crowds out all nonentitlement spending by around 2040. This equation has 2 sides.

Leah A

What everyone else said. My thanks, too, for how much I get from this site, Mark.

What is it about the E.J. Dionne's of the media world that their praise gland is stimulated by the tiniest gestures toward semi-decency on the part of the current Republican majority. Meanwhile, even E.J. never hesitates to air dissatisfaction with Democrats in terms that may not be as stupid and demeaning as those of Nick Kristoff, perhaps, but are surely based on expectations of Democrats that are miles wider than what is ever asked of Republicans.

Dionne should have realized that without a single Republican voice really questioning how anyone can talk about more or more permanent tax cuts, they deserve praise for exactly nothing.



I'm a passsionate Democrat, but I think you've got Gordon Smith wrong. I don't agree with him on tax cuts, but what he did opposing the Administration's Medicaid cuts took courage. If you think that he was getting a free ride or having it easy on bucking his party on something as big as opposing drastic budget-driven Medicaid cuts, I think you are being unfairly harsh. Smith, a cousin of the Udalls has tended to be progressive on issues around health care since he's been in the Senate. He is a leader in promoting home and community based care for senior citizens and persons with disabilities. He supports mental health parity and he believes in the need for a social safety net.

I think he's become even more passionate about these issues since one of his sons, Garrett, committed suicide due to a combination of mental health issues and learning disabilities. Smith has said that for him, pursuing positive changes in health care policy gives his son's memory meaning.

Look at this passage from the New York Times, which I believe substantiates my point that he actually cares about health care for the poor.

"Mr. Smith, who had been under intense pressure from party leaders to either change or withdraw the measure, said afterward that he thought it sent a strong message that his colleagues were uneasy about the reductions."

"I think a lot of us have trouble just looking at a ledger," Mr. Smith said, "while ignoring some of the most sensitive needs of the poor."

It is fair for you to assert that his position on tax cuts is wrong. But I do not think it is fair to question his sincerity about standing up for health care.

Nell Lancaster

I was mildly cheered by Medicaid cuts being averted until I began to read more widely... now it seems to me that the tax cut parts of the bill outweigh the value of (temporarily?) avoided Medicaid cuts.

We need a blog that devotes itself to following the tax travesties the same way Talking Points Memo and its Bankruptcy Extra follow Social Security and the credit card bill.

Andrew Spark

Of course some individuals are currently without drug coverage or are receiving their prescription drugs through Medicaid. For those without coverage, the new benefit means that they will now be able to participate in a prescription drug program.

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