Apr 01, 2004
Boy, oh boy, these Republicans are playing with fire. The emerging question of this year, with 10 open investigations into GOP Leadership, is whether those lower down will distance themselves from the bosses they’ve served so loyally, or stick with them and absord the stench of their corruption. The House Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee took a big step towards the latter this afternoon:
Republicans rejected Democratic efforts Thursday to force a White House adviser and the former Medicare chief to testify about their roles in keeping estimates of the cost of Medicare legislation from lawmakers.
Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee had sought to question the officials to learn whether the Bush administration intentionally withheld higher estimates of the bill’s cost, fearing that the larger figure would sink the Medicare overhaul.
In party-line votes, the committee defeated proposals to subpoena Doug Badger, an economic adviser to President Bush, and Thomas Scully, who until December headed the federal agency that runs the Medicare program.
The White House, citing executive privilege, declined the committee’s invitation to have Badger testify at a hearing Thursday. Scully, who now works for a law firm and an investment firm, told the committee in a letter that he was unavailable to testify.
“The White House is clearly trying to stonewall and now senior House Republicans are complicit in that cover-up,” said Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, the committee’s top Democrat.
This is far from over.