Wednesday :: Mar 2, 2005

Frist Indicates That Bush May Lose On Private Accounts

by Steve

All you need to know today about the Social Security battle:

The Senate's top Republican said yesterday that President Bush's bid to restructure Social Security may have to wait until next year and might not involve the individual accounts the White House has been pushing hard.
The comments of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), made as GOP lawmakers returned from a week of trying to sell the plan to voters, underscored the challenge facing the White House, especially in light of unbroken Democratic opposition.
"In terms of whether it will be a week, a month, six months or a year, as to when we bring something to the floor, it's just too early," Frist said.
Frist is reluctant to put off a vote until 2006, when lawmakers will be focused on midterm congressional elections and the atmosphere will be more politically charged, aides said. But with polls showing widespread skepticism of Bush's proposal and some Republicans opposed to the approach, GOP leaders signaled yesterday that they may have no choice but to put off action.

So Joe Lieberman, if Bill Frist says that private accounts may never fly, then why are you talking compromise?

The House GOP leadership wants the Senate to go first in passing legislation, so that their members don’t have to walk the plank alone next year in midterm elections. Yet Tom DeLay’s plan won’t work, because Frist doesn’t want to go first, if at all. And better yet, The Hammer is unhappy at his own caucus over their timidity to step out in front of this train.

House leaders have said they want the Senate to go first in passing Social Security legislation. That is because they are pessimistic about picking up Democratic support, and they do not want to put GOP members in the position of passing a controversial bill that then dies in the Senate, leaving a ripe issue for Democrats in 2006.
I have been a little disappointed that about a third of our members, a little over a third of our members, have held town meetings," DeLay said. "As the majority leader, I would love to have 232 members holding multiple town meetings throughout their districts. Hopefully, we will get there."

Hopefully, we’ll get there? Where’s that usual DeLay bluster?

Face it, the White House and GOP never expected to see an organized and united Democratic opposition and their whole political plan counted on Democrats rolling over again. Forget it. Now, there’s talk that the GOP may want to shift to Medicaid and Medicare, but Bush is boxed in here as well. If he goes to Medicaid, he runs into a buzzsaw from the National Governor’s Association. And if he turns to Medicare, he runs into his own party again wanting to fix the worst elements of last year’s fraudulent drug benefit add-on, namely to eliminate the corporate welfare of no price controlling mechanisms. And in both cases, like I said, he’ll be running into opposition from not just Democrats but his own party as well. The man is already a lame duck domestically, given that his budget cuts aren’t gaining traction.

So count on Bush to steer towards judicial mischief and overseas adventurism in Iran and Syria to make up for what he can’t get here at home.

Steve :: 7:41 AM :: Comments (40) :: Digg It!