Blog

Mar 22, 2004

The GOP DeLay Strategy

Excerpts from CQ Daily on Tom DeLay and TRMPAC: It may be one of the biggest political corruption investigations in Texas since the early 1970s, when the Sharpstown stock fraud scandal led to a major housecleaning of the state’s then-Democratic power structure. Yet Republicans in Congress say few among them are talking about it, even though the alleged wrongdoing centers on one of the most powerful GOP figures in both Washington and Texas: House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. “I …

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Mar 21, 2004

Well Put

Wow, this Medicare business really seems to be sticking.  A simple google news search looks like political armageddon for the Republicans. And it’s not just reprints of AP or NYT stories, it’s the editorial pages of almost any paper you could imagine.  The Baltimore Sun summarizes the situation well today: The administration is awash in charges of deceitful and thuggish tactics used to win approval of the bill and turn it into a political tool. Worse, for the rest …

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Mar 20, 2004

Ahh, now I see…

NYT (on the ball for this story): Richard Foster, the chief actuary of Medicare, provided Congress with documents Friday showing that federal payments to private health insurance plans under a new Medicare law could far exceed what Congress assumed when it passed the measure last fall. For months, lawmakers had been seeking the data, but Foster said in an interview that he had withheld it under instructions from Bush administration officials. He turned over documents outlining the information at …

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Mar 19, 2004

Dems Fight Back Against Medicare Propaganda

From a Pelosi announcement today: House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and Democratic Caucus Chairman Bob Menendez today announced that House Democrats will hold more than 70 events around the country on Medicare and prescription drugs this weekend. ... Many members are playing a video featuring trusted former news anchor Walter Cronkite, in which he discusses the new Republican law. The video was produced by Families USA, a non-profit, non-partisan organization focused on providing high-quality, affordable …

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Mar 19, 2004

Bush Buys from Burma

The Bush Campaign is selling goods made in Burma, even though Bush himself last year banned imports from Burma due to the regime’s appalling rights record. Considering the Administration’s talk about jobs, you think they could buy American. Oh, as the above article from Newsday points out: “Violators of the import ban are subject to fines and jail, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.”

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Mar 19, 2004

In Medicare Today

NYT: Senate Democrats, reacting to disclosures that Thomas A. Scully, the former Medicare administrator, prevented his chief actuary from sharing information with Congress, said Thursday that they believed a federal law had been violated and called on the General Accounting Office to investigate. WaPo: Richard S. Foster, the government’s chief analyst of Medicare costs who was threatened with firing last year if he disclosed too much information to Congress, said last night that he believes the White House participated …

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Mar 19, 2004

Off message, but nonetheless…

Couldn’t resist beating the big boys to the punch on this: McCain: Kerry Isn’t ‘Weak’ Republican rebuts Bush-Cheney attacks on national security issues Washington Post “This kind of rhetoric, I think, is not helpful in educating and helping the American people make a choice,” McCain said on “The Early Show” on CBS. Also, if you didn’t catch it, Howie Kurtz had a good column in today’s post as well: The Administration’s Fudge Factory After months of getting hammered on …

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Mar 18, 2004

The Makings of a “Dispute”

NYT: Ms. Bjorklund [a Democratic policy aide] had been pressing Mr. Foster for his numbers since June. When he refused, telling her he could be fired, she said, she confronted his boss, Thomas A. Scully, then the Medicare administrator. “If Rick Foster gives that to you,” Ms. Bjorklund remembered Mr. Scully telling her, “I’ll fire him so fast his head will spin.” Mr. Scully denies making such threats. Republicans are now claiming that Democrats are just attempting to politicize …

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Mar 17, 2004

Bribery Investigation Begins

AP: “The House ethics committee said Wednesday it will begin an investigation to determine whether Rep. Nick Smith, R-Mich., was offered a bribe to vote for a Medicare bill. “The panel issued a brief statement saying it will announce the members of a subcommittee to look into the matter but will have no other comment until a final report is issued. “Smith also issued a statement. ‘I respect the committee’s decision and believe that the committee should be permitted …

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Mar 17, 2004

IL-08 Race Update: Melissa Bean

Melissa Bean (D-IL) won her primary in Illinois-08 last night. She got 78% of the vote, showing that she will be a strong challenger for GOP Rep. Phil Crane. In fact, Bean is already a hardened campaigner, having won an impressive 43% against Crane in 2002 - with limited resources! Bean’s campaign is already thriving. She has raised over $150,000 - five times the amount she raised at this point last cycle. Not only is she a great candidate …

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Mar 17, 2004

Indict the Site!

Al Kamen’s “In the Loop” column reports this morning that the House GOP using its government website to push Bush/Cheney ‘04 could be illegal and result in criminal prosecution. Thus sayeth Kamen: Turns out the use of government Web sites for political purposes, contrary to Monday’s report on the House Resources Committee’s blasts at Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), does appear to be against House rules that prohibit using official resources for campaign or political purposes. “The misuse of …

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Mar 16, 2004

White House Stands Firm

Reuters: “Thompson said he has ordered an investigation by the HHS Inspector General, but that he is confident there was no wrongdoing involved. ‘There was a dispute between Rick Foster and Tom Scully,’ Thompson said, who added that Democrats ‘are trying to demagogue this bill.’” Maybe the “dispute” was about him being threatened with the loss of his job unless he withheld vital information.  Sometimes that makes people mad. “An e-mail—obtained by CBS News—appears to show the White House …

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Mar 16, 2004

The Noose Tightens

Richard E. Cohen in this morning’s Congress Daily/AM (registration required) summarizes developments in the DeLay Fundraising Scandal. Important points to note: * The Grand Jury’s term may need to be extended because “Republican paperwork requests have ‘taken many people lots of hours that could have been spent doing other things.’ ” * The Texas GOP is pulling out all the stops to prevent the investigation from continuing.     As the noose of the Texas grand jury appears to …

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Mar 15, 2004

A Second Email

CBS News finds another email: “An e-mail—obtained by CBS News—appears to show the White House was anxious to hide ballooning cost estimates. Sent on behalf of former Medicare administrator Tom Scully, it warns the agency’s chief actuary, Rick Foster to not tell Congress the price tag would be well above the White House’s stated 400 billion. “Foster is told ‘the consequences for insubordination are extremely severe’.... “ Apparently the White House wants us to believe Scully was a rogue …

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Mar 15, 2004

House Dems Putting GOP on Defense

This is encouraging. Ben Pershing’s article in this morning’s Roll Call (registration required) begins with: For the first time since President Bush was elected, a House GOP Conference that has prided itself on constantly playing offense appears likely to spend much of its time through November playing defense. The article then follows up with quotes from the GOP spokespeople about how they are not “playing-D”. Pershing, however, seems to not be persuaded. Moreover, he points out that there are …

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