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Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act Of 2009

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CHAMBLISS. Would the Senator yield for an additional question? The language in the Bennet amendment that passed 100 to nothing the other day said, basically, that Medicare savings should benefit the Medicare Program and Medicare beneficiaries. That sounds pretty straightforward, pretty simple. But let me ask the Senator--

Mr. GREGG. Well, if I might interject, anybody who voted for that amendment would want to vote for mine.

Mr. CHAMBLISS. That is exactly the question I am getting to. Is there anything in the Bennet amendment that removes the expenditure of almost $500 billion from Medicare in the base Reid bill that would require the restoration of those cuts to benefit Medicare versus using it as a fund to pay for the underlying Reid bill?

Mr. GREGG. Well, the Senator has made an excellent point. Essentially, the Bennet amendment has no teeth. It has no substance. It has no substantive effect. It is just a statement of purpose. If the statement of purpose is as recited by the Senator from Georgia, then you would need to vote for this amendment, my amendment, if you voted for the Bennet amendment, because my amendment has the teeth that backs up the language of the Bennet amendment.

Mr. CHAMBLISS. If I understand what the Senator is saying in his amendment, he is requiring the Office of Management and Budget as well as CMS to certify to Congress, basically, that the savings that are referred to in the Bennet amendment as well as in the Senator's amendment are, in fact, being used to fund Medicare benefits versus being used to fund other benefits outside Medicare until such time as Medicare is fully funded.

Mr. GREGG. That is, essentially, what it says. It says that CMS and OMB must certify that no funds are being used to fund the additional activity in this bill that does not relate to Medicare with Medicare funds. It does not say that Medicare savings--it agrees to the Medicare savings, but those Medicare savings would basically be used for the purposes of reducing the outyear fiscal imbalance of Medicare. So it doesn't contest the Medicare savings as proposed in this bill, although those amendments have--we have already voted on a number of those. We voted on home health care, and we voted on Medicare Advantage, but to the extent those savings go in, those cuts in Medicare benefits go in, the revenues from those cuts cannot be used and spent to expand the size of government in someplace else which has nothing to do with senior citizens.

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