Sunday :: Feb 13, 2005

Now It's Frist Who Wants To Go Slow On Social Security - While Ignoring Medicare


by Steve

"There is no Democrat in the House of Representatives, on my committee, that this president has reached out for….I'm telling you now, Social Security reform by the president is dead, and he killed it."
--Democratic Representative Charles Rangel, today

From the Sunday chat fests, it appears that Bush doesn’t have the support of his own party on either Social Security or Medicare.

Republican Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire said today that despite Bush's lame veto threat, he believes that the Medicare Part D drug benefit needs to be fixed now, unlike both Majority Leader Bill Frist and the president, who both want to prevent the federal government from implementing costs controls in the new drug benefit. Given that the Bush Administration lied to Congress and its own leadership about the true costs of the proposal and the consequences of leaving cost controls out of the bill to please drug companies, it is amazing to still hear Bush and Frist object to putting cost controls into a program that is expected to see its long-term costs dwarf those of Social Security.

Gregg isn’t buying their position though.

"We're in a little different quadrants on this, the president and I. I do feel there needs to be some changes in the Medicare drug benefit in order to make it affordable. There has to be spending restraint in that program. It was estimated to be a $400 billion program over ten years, that's what it should be," he said.

Mr. Frist, this is known as losing control of your caucus.

On Social Security, for his part, Frist tended to agree with recent comments by House Speaker Denny Hastert Friday that there wasn’t a need to rush ahead with the president’s plan to privatize Social Security.

Mr. Rove, this is known as losing control of your own agenda.

So now another key weekend has gone by with no new momentum from the GOP to support Bush's plan, and in fact it can be argued that with Hastert and now Frist in the "go slow" camp, Bush is losing the urgency argument hands down. Which is why the Democrats should keep pounding away on both Social Security and Medicare by pointing out which special interests the GOP is serving by cutting Social Security benefits and rejecting cost controls for Medicare.

Steve :: 5:54 PM :: Comments (13) :: Digg It!