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Mr. KYL. Mr. President, I appreciate my colleague bringing that to light.
The answer, of course, is absolutely yes. I think at last count there were some 38 States that had expressed either through their attorneys general, Governor, or State legislature the intention to file litigation, and some of those States, such as Arizona, will have either ballot propositions or some have already passed legislation, such as Idaho, that has the effect of law to exempt their citizens from having to participate in this Federal mandate.
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Mr. KYL. Mr. President, if I could, the Governor had sent a previous letter, which is also in the Congressional Record, in which she specified the amount of money, $4 billion of extra costs, for the State of Arizona after our State has already slashed billions from the budget. In fact, our State is in such financial doldrums that they literally had to sell some of the buildings at the State capital in order to generate revenue, and then they are leasing those back.
Our State is in terrible financial condition. As my colleague pointed out before, with the number of homes in foreclosure and underwater, it is a terrible situation. Now to impose an additional $4 billion expense on the people of the State of Arizona with this legislation, as the Governor said, is very objectionable. She has urged our colleagues in the House of Representatives, therefore, to oppose the legislation.
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Mr. KYL. Mr. President, I say to my colleague, Mr. Fine, a leader of one of the very large health systems in the State of Arizona, had been, I would say, very forward leaning, maybe even supportive of the health care reforms that had been proposed by the President initially. This comes from someone who wanted reform and who notes in this letter that there are some good things there, but he has finally concluded that the imposition of the unfunded mandates and other features of the legislation simply make it--unsustainable.
I ask my colleague for the exact word. I am not sure if it was ``unsustainable.'' But he said: So this legislation should not be supported. Instead, he suggested the approach that we have taken, which is we should take the good features that address specific problems and try to deal with them one by one rather than in this comprehensive form.
This is from someone who initially was pretty supportive of trying to move forward with this and now has concluded it is just too much and the State cannot afford it.
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Mr. KYL. Mr. President, I am going to speak in more detail later, following up on comments that my colleague from Arizona, Senator McCain, has made. He has rightly pointed out that the Governor of the State of Arizona and our legislative leaders discussed in press conference in Arizona the impact of this legislation in Arizona. They are very worried. They have urged our congressional delegation to oppose the legislation. I will make some comments about that.
But I do want to address this question of the so-called perimeter rule, which is relevant to the FAA bill that is before us, and an amendment that has been filed by Senator Ensign that will be modified and refiled sometime today, either by Senator Ensign or by Senator Hutchison. It is an amendment which I support.
I am going to discuss the perimeter rule and the way that the amendment would change it, briefly, today, and then after it is filed we will have a little bit more to say about it. The Ensign amendment would have the effect of modifying an archaic regulation that has had the effect of limiting competition and travel options for those who fly in and out of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
Many years ago, Congress restricted the departure or arrival of nonstop flights from airports that are more than 1,250 miles from Reagan National Airport. It is called DCA, in the terminology--1,250 miles. That established a perimeter beyond which planes could not fly into or out of Reagan National Airport. That is referred to, therefore, as the perimeter rule. Effectively, it forced passengers in the Western United States either to use Dulles Airport or to use some other hub partway through the country, change planes, and then fly into Reagan from that shorter distance.
Obviously, this is inconvenient and discriminatory against citizens in the western portions of the United States who, I submit, should have equal access to their Nation's Capital as citizens who are closer to the Capital.
The original purpose of it was a valid one, and it was to ensure the new Dulles Airport--I think now over 50 years old, but I still think of it as a new airport--would become successful. It did take a few years for Dulles to establish itself as a major national and international airport, now serving, I think--just 2 years ago, the last year for which I have statistics--over 24 million passengers, which is millions more than Reagan Airport.
So it is clearly both an international hub in the United States, as well as the long-haul airport serving the Washington, DC, area. It is thriving, as I said. It has something over 24 million passengers, and that was as of over 2 years ago.
Over the years because of not only the success of Dulles Airport but also improvements in technology and handling more airplanes and handling more planes on the ground and, importantly, in reducing the noise of jet engines, the desire of more people to be able to travel directly into Reagan Airport has obviously increased, and there has been pressure to grant at least a limited number of exceptions for the traveling public which is eager for options in getting in and out of the Washington, DC, area.
So a very few limited exceptions to this perimeter rule were created. Yet today there are only a dozen nonstop flights--12--between Washington National and the entire Western United States; specifically, 4 flights to Denver, 3 to Phoenix, 2 to Seattle; 1 to Las Vegas, 1 to Los Angeles, and 1 to Salt Lake City. And that is out of approximately 400 flights from Washington Reagan Airport. That is the only number--12--out of more than 400 flights traveling to those important cities in the United States--Los Angeles and Phoenix, 2 of the top 5 populated cities in the entire country.
In 1999, now more than a decade ago, the Transportation Research Board found that the perimeter rules ``no longer serve their original purpose and have produced too many adverse side effects, including barriers to competition.'' Of course, barriers to competition not only make it more costly for flyers but also reduce the ability of airlines to compete and create stress on them even to remain in business. With all of the other stresses that have impacted airlines recently, this is just one more.
The same Transportation Research Board found that these perimeter rules ``arbitrarily prevent some airlines from extending their networks to these airports; they discourage competition among the airports in the region and among the airlines that use these airports; and they are subject to chronic attempts by special interest groups to obtain exemptions.'' We all are aware of that latter point because we hear about it. Every month, it seems, there are people who are putting pressure on to try to get more exemptions.
There is also legislative precedent that supports this argument that this DC perimeter rule should be repealed. This was done just 4 years ago in 2006 in the Wright amendment reform of 2006.
In 1979, there was a Federal law passed, headed by Speaker Jim Wright, of the House, that restricted flights at Dallas's Love Field Airport. Love Field was the first airport in the Dallas region, and this legislation originally limited most nonstop flights from Love Field to destinations within Texas and neighboring States of Texas. But, as I said, in 2006 we passed the Wright Amendment Reform Act, which issued a full repeal of this Love Field perimeter rule. There were certain conditions to it, but the bottom line was that lifting the restrictions at Love Field gave the public a lot more flight options, it cut prices, and it made traveling for the traveling public much more efficient.
The Ensign amendment would have much the same effect with respect to the Washington, DC, area. Here is the key thing it does: It would amend the DC perimeter rule by allowing any carrier that currently has slots at Reagan Airport--not saying new air carriers would come in; only those that currently have slots--they could simply convert slots they currently have that serve large hub airports inside the perimeter to an airport outside the perimeter.
The first concern is, well, what about the cities that are served inside the perimeter? The amendment is limited to large hub cities, so there isn't an argument that some smaller city is going to be cut out. The only flights that could be transferred would be flights that already go into large hub cities, cities that are already served with plenty of flights and can be. So an airline, in order to take advantage of this amendment, would have to remove a
flight from one of its large hubs and transfer it to a city outside the perimeter, a city such as Phoenix or Las Vegas or Los Angeles or Salt Lake City, for example. This is referred to as the ``slot conversion provision,'' and this is the guts of the amendment. It does not add flights; it does not take flights away from small communities; it simply allows the airlines to move up to 15 flights per carrier from a hub that they already have to some city outside of the perimeter, the 1,250-mile perimeter.
It ensures that service to small and medium hub airports is not affected, and it would not alter the slot regulations at DCA--no new flights in or out of DCA. The only difference is that when a plane takes off from Reagan National Airport, its destination may be Los Angeles rather than--pick a city--Omaha--well, Omaha may be a smaller city--perhaps Dallas or Chicago. So there are no new allowable flight operations. The airplanes are the same, no additional concentration at the airport, and obviously very little impact on Dulles because of the fact that there would be so few flights and they would be going to cities that presumably are already being served.
As I mentioned, it is capped at 15 round trips per carrier. It is expected that only five carriers could take advantage of the provision and that not all of them would be able to take full advantage of it. So the maximum number of flights would be 75, and it is likely that it would be far fewer than that. But even if you take the maximum of 75 flights, you are talking about well over 100 flights in and out of Dulles as it is right now. According to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Dulles has 333 daily flights to 83 U.S. cities and 59 daily flights to 43 international cities. Obviously, 75 beyond the perimeter would have a negligible impact on the operations or demand for Dulles Airport.
The key, as I said, is we will be able to create greater options for passengers, thus reducing their cost of travel, providing greater flexibility, access to the Nation's Capital at a somewhat more convenient location, and help for airlines that need to do everything they can to stay in business to serve the traveling public. Airlines are under a great deal of economic pressure these days, and what these airlines have said is this will help them continue to serve the traveling public if they are able to change this perimeter rule.
So we are going to be able to debate further the Ensign amendment, which is scheduled to be considered by the Senate at 5:30 on Monday. Because of the fact that it would simply increase the ability of--the airlines' flexibility to move from large hub cities today to similar cities outside the perimeter, it is our hope that our colleagues in Virginia, who naturally have been very concerned over the years about ensuring the continued success of Dulles Airport, concerned about the environment for their citizens both in the Dulles area and in the area of Reagan National Airport, that their concerns would be assuaged by the fact that this is very limited and it, as far as I can see, has no adverse impacts of any kind for the citizens of Virginia.
So we would hope eventually to be able to work something out here where we could modify the perimeter rule. It is anachronistic; it is decades old. As I said, a lot has changed since it was put into effect, and we are hoping this is the time to do it. There will be no better opportunity than on this FAA reauthorization bill. In fact, it is probably the only opportunity. Given that fact and given the fact that we have been trying to accomplish this for many years, I think it is safe to say that those of us who support this are going to insist this legislation be the vehicle for finally making a change.
I very much appreciate the ability of probably the key person on the Democratic side, Chairman Rockefeller, but also the chairman of the subcommittee, Chairman Dorgan, to discuss this matter seriously, and the Senator from Virginia, Mr. Warner, to discuss this, recognizing that the conference committee is presumably where all of these issues are going to be hashed out given the fact that the House of Representatives adopted an amendment relating generally to the subject matter but not the Ensign amendment at all.
So it would be my hope, with the kind of constructive conversation we have had in discussing this, that that kind of constructive conversation can continue and we can get this matter resolved as part of the FAA reauthorization legislation.
I yield the floor.
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Mr. KYL. Mr. President, I wish to go back to the subject my colleague, Senator McCain, was discussing earlier today. He had printed in the Congressional Record a letter sent by the Governor of the State of Arizona to the Speaker and to the majority leader of the Senate relating to the health care legislation, imploring them not to impose the new mandates that would cost the State of Arizona additional funds for covering Medicaid patients and urging the Members of the Congressional delegation to reject the legislation that does that.
It is not clear yet, because it has been hard to go through the entire legislation, what all the changes are in the last bill, but I do wish to discuss those that have at least been identified by the staff who have had an opportunity to read the bill since it was put on the Web site yesterday.
To back up a little bit, let's remember there was a bill that passed the House of Representatives. Then there was a bill that came out of the Finance Committee in the Senate. It was combined with the bill that came out of the HELP Committee in the Senate. This was done behind closed doors. It was essentially done by the majority leader in the Senate. That bill was not the subject of the normal committee process, but it was presented to the Senate floor. The Senate then modified that legislation and voted on it and sent that back to the House of Representatives. So the latest bill represents a piece of legislation drafted by representatives of the White House, the Senate, and primarily the House of Representatives, behind closed doors, primarily to add elements to it that the President desired and to ``fix'' parts of the Senate bill that Members of the House of Representatives did not want.
There is an editorial in the Wall Street Journal today called ``March Madness,'' which discusses this a little bit. In the first paragraph they say:
No bribe is too costly, no deal too cynical, no last-minute rewrite too blatant.
The first sentence says:
Has there ever been a political spectacle like the final throes of Obama care?
I admit I have never seen anything in my roughly 24 years in the Congress such as this, either in terms of substance or in terms of process.
I note that several days ago the President said several times he wants an up-or-down vote on this legislation. ``We just ask for an up-or-down vote,'' he said. But it now turns out the President and his colleagues in the House of Representatives don't want an up-or-down vote. In fact, yesterday, on a purely party-line basis, Democrats defeated, 222 to 200--some Democrats supporting the Republican resolution--but defeated the resolution offered by Republicans that would have required them to vote up or down on the Senate bill.
So what the President requested--an up-or-down vote--is, in fact, not going to occur in the House. Instead, they are going to pretend the Senate bill has been passed. The word they use is ``deem.'' We are going to deem it passed. We are not going to vote on it, but it is going to be passed anyway. One might say: How on Earth could that happen?
Well, there is a way they have figured out in which they can include the Senate-passed bill in a rule they will then pass, and by passing the rule, they will deem the Senate bill passed and send it to the President and he would then sign it. Then, later, they will amend that bill through what they call the reconciliation process. But there is a little problem with that, too, because when the reconciliation bill comes back over here, as the chairman of the Budget Committee has acknowledged, it will be changed. There are points of order that lie against it and those points of order will be upheld and potentially the bill could be amended as well so it will have to go back to the House of Representatives. The reality is, what the House Members are hoping will correct the Senate-passed bill will not, in fact, do all they hope it will do.
The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, told reporters last week: ``Nobody wants to vote for the Senate bill.''
I guess this is the way they avoid that vote, by having the deeming. They will assume it has passed, even though they haven't taken a vote on it. The reason they don't want to vote on it is because it has a lot of bad features from their perspective--and I think from mine as well--but their hope to fix all those bad features is going to fail as well.
This editorial I mentioned in the Journal points out one of them, and it is the House demand to delay the tax on insurance plans from 2013 to 2018. That is something labor unions have very much wanted, and they want to respond to labor unions. They note that Richard Trumka, who met one on one with President Obama Wednesday--he is the head of the AFL-CIO--has wanted to accomplish this. The effect it would be to reduce Social Security payroll tax revenues. The reconciliation bill expressly forbids any impact on Social Security. So that would be subject to a point of order, and 41 Republicans have said we will vote to uphold the points of order. So this particular change the labor unions very much want in the taxation of the so-called Cadillac plans is not going to be able to be made in reconciliation. It will be subject to a point of order. The point of order will be sustained. The bill will have to go back to the House of Representatives. One of the big things they wanted to fix will not be fixable by reconciliation. That is just one example.
There are several changes we are aware of in the bill, and let me identify those for my colleagues. I am sure there will be others we will discover. Those of us who opposed the bill complained about the roughly $ 1/2 trillion in new taxes. Well, this latest bill increases the taxes by over $70 billion. The taxes will now be increased by almost $570 billion; to be precise, $569.2 billion. The Senate bill increased taxes by $493.6 billion. So we have now about $77 billion more taxes in this legislation than in the bill the Senate passed--$77 billion in more taxes. The CBO has, of course, said these taxes will be passed on to the consumers of health care and the buyers of health insurance through higher rates.
Medicare. Medicare was cut in the Senate bill by $464.6 billion, but under this new bill, Medicare will be cut by $523.5 billion, obviously well over $ 1/2 trillion, and much of that will be in the Medicare Advantage area we have all been complaining about.
The individual mandate is the requirement that individuals will pay a tax if they don't buy a federally approved insurance policy. This is going to be raised by a couple billion dollars. The Senate bill had it at $15 billion. It is now going to be $17 billion. I don't know whether that is because they assume more people will fail to buy the policy and, therefore, will simply be collecting more revenue or the amount of the tax has been increased. Either way, it is an individual tax increase, all of which, of course, is administered by the Internal Revenue Service.
The employer mandate. This imposes $52 billion in new taxes on employers that don't offer government-approved insurance. That is almost double from the Senate bill, which was at $27 billion. I can guarantee the small business folks are up in arms about this additional new tax on employers.
I mentioned the Medicare Advantage plans. They are now cut by $131.9 billion. The Senate bill cut them by $118.1 billion.
The payroll taxes, which is probably the most destructive of all these tax increases because it goes right to job creation, are increased. These are now $210 billion. All these figures are over 10 years. The Senate bill was $86.8 billion, and that was enough. But think about this: From $86 billion in the Senate-passed bill, the higher payroll taxes are now up to $210 billion--so from $86 billion to $210 billion. That is 2 1/2 times higher, and that is a direct tax on employment.
We just considered a bill that gives a break to employers, a payroll tax break to employers that hire people who have been unemployed. We understand there is a direct relationship between how much an employer pays in payroll taxes and how many people he can afford to hire or to retain--and I say ``he''--about half of small businesses are women owned, so I should obviously say he or she. We understand the relationship between the amount of payroll tax you have to pay and the amount of people you can afford to hire. Yet, in this legislation, we now impose $210 billion worth of new payroll taxes on employers. This will be a job killer. Whatever minuscule efforts we have been making in these other stimulus plans to try to increase jobs, with not much effect, I might say, and at huge cost per job, all that gets wiped out when you impose this kind of tax directly on hiring or retaining employees.
Then there is the 40-percent excise tax on the high-premium plans. This raises $32 billion. As I say, this is a problem because reconciliation, by its terms--this isn't a matter of interpretation. Reconciliation precludes an effect on Social Security. That is the way it is written. You cannot affect Social Security in reconciliation. Because of the effect that this provision has, this is not going to be able to remain in the bill.
All these estimates, according to CBO, are preliminary. In fact, I think their phrase was that there is substantial uncertainty in their estimates. So these are not final estimates. Never before, I think, have we passed a bill without having final estimates from the CBO.
It is interesting to me that as much as folks don't like the IRS, we are now going to have to add about 16,500 additional IRS employees, at a cost of up to $10 billion, just to administer the IRS-enforced provisions of this health care legislation. For example, every citizen is required to buy an insurance policy. There are certain exceptions, depending upon your wealth, but you have to buy an insurance policy the government identifies for you.
If you do not, then you have to pay a tax, and that is administered through the Internal Revenue Service. That is why they are going to need 16,500 more employees. How do you like that for increasing the size and the power of the Federal Government?
Let me mention some of the other effects of the legislation. One of the payroll tax increases is a brand new tax. It is destructive, especially to senior citizens or others who have investment income because, for the first time in our history, we would be applying the Medicare payroll tax to all investment income of people with incomes over $200,000. That includes, as I said, investment income--dividends, capital gains, income of that sort. We have never taxed that in the past.
Moreover, this is going to hit people with far less income very quickly because it is not indexed for inflation. Just as the alternative minimum tax, which originally applied to about 218 millionaires, was never intended to apply to the vast majority of middle-income Americans, now it applies to over 23 million American taxpayers because we did not index it for inflation. Likewise, this tax, too, will be applied to more and more Americans as the years go on.
I mentioned the higher premiums. The Congressional Budget Office has specifically said these taxes will be passed on to all Americans. The taxes are imposed in a variety of ways: If you have insurance, you get taxed. If you do not have insurance, you get taxed. If you are an employer, you get taxed. If you do not have insurance for your employees, you get taxed. If you do and one of your employees goes to an exchange and is subsidized, you get taxed. You get taxed if you need a new device, such as a heart stent or a diabetes pump, even a wheelchair, if you need new drugs to take care of you. Why would we impose taxes? We are trying to help people with their health care. You need medical devices and you need pharmaceutical products to help you stay well or get better. Why tax those items? It is just beyond imagination.
I can imagine why we would tax alcohol or tobacco or some other sin, but the very things we need to make us healthy we are going to tax. Amazing.
We are going to tax insurance. Of course, that immediately gets passed on to you in the form of higher insurance premiums, which is one of the reasons that CBO says, yes, insurance premiums will go up under this bill. Why do that? Because insurance companies are bad. This is brilliant. This is like shooting yourself in the foot. We do not like insurance companies, so we are going to tax them and then turn right around and add that tax to your insurance premiums. The politicians then say: We punished the insurance companies. We are on your side. Right, they are on your side so they make sure you pay higher insurance premiums.
What does the Congressional Budget Office say? We are not even talking about where your employer provides the insurance. Take the individual insurance market where you have to buy it; the premiums as a result of the legislation will go up between 10 and 13 percent, and in some States it is a lot more than that.
Oliver Wyman Group, which is a very respected third party, has estimated that it is in the neighborhood of 50 percent for most folks, and in my State of Arizona it is 72 percent in insurance premiums. That is wrong. When Congress passes legislation that we are warned in advance is going to increase insurance premiums, whether it is 10 percent or 70 percent because of the legislation, it is wrong to pass that kind of legislation. Even in the nonprivate markets, CBO says the cost will go up because of medical inflation. We are not bringing insurance premiums down.
There will be more lost jobs. This bill nearly triples the penalty on businesses that cannot afford to provide their workers with health care coverage. It was $750. Now it is $2,000 for every worker. This applies to part-time workers as well as full-time workers. This does not make sense. Businesses are trying to stay in business, keep people on their payroll or, hopefully, one of these days hire new people. Yet we impose these kinds of burdens on them. This is wrong.
What about the idea that we are going to affect the deficit? First of all, as I said, the Congressional Budget Office has said their estimates are subject to revision. They are offered with substantial uncertainty and are preliminary estimates only. They make these estimates based on what Congress gives them. If Congress includes in the legislation a provision that says we will cut $500 billion from Medicare, then the Congressional Budget Office has to score that as a $500 billion cut to Medicare, even though about half of that cut is the same kind of thing we have tried to do over the years to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse. Of course, if it could be done, it would have been done.
The President, when he talked about this over a year ago in his State of the Union speech, could have spent this last year cutting out a lot of waste, fraud, and abuse. If it is there to be cut out, he could have done it. It is hard to do. But in the law, the way this has been written, it will be done; therefore, the Congressional Budget Office must score it as having been accomplished. It is not going to happen. As a result, this bill will be in deficit. It will not create the budget surpluses.
Think about it. One of my friends said: This is a pretty neat deal. We are going to add 30 million people to the insurance rolls and reduce the size of the deficit. He said: I have a great idea. Let's get rid of the deficit by insuring everybody in China. Of course, the absurdity of the argument makes the point. You do not save money by spending money to insure more Americans. Every American understands that, which is why when we look at the surveys, they all laugh.
When they are asked the question: Do you think adding more people to the insurance rolls and paying for that is going to reduce the deficit? They say: Of course not, and it is ludicrous to suggest that it is.
I feel sorry for CBO that has to, with a straight face, say this will reduce the deficit. The only reason they have to say that, or can say it, is Congress gives a bill that says: You must assume it will reduce the deficit because we
are going to make all of these savings in waste, fraud, and abuse. It will not happen.
There are so many different gimmicks in it. Let me mention two: the physician payment cliff for Medicaid whereby payments for primary care physicians are increased for 2013 and 2014, and then it goes away. Do you really think we are going to pay physicians at the same rate we are paying them today, or slightly increase the payments in 2013 and 2014, and then they are going to suffer a 22-percent or 23-percent cut every year thereafter? Of course not. Yet that is how they balance this out. They assume a 23-percent cut in physician payments. It is not going to happen. It would be an abomination.
How do you with a straight face ask physicians to take a 23-percent cut in what they receive in reimbursements from the government? It is already difficult for them. In fact, the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix says it has to cut out many of the services and not take any additional Medicare patients because the reimbursement from the government is not enough to keep them in business.
By the thousands physicians are leaving the Medicare and Medicaid Programs. They cannot stay in it right now. Yet we are to assume we are going to cut them another 23 percent? It will not happen. Yet that is what the CBO must assume in making the budget projections.
The bill also hides the cost of filling in the so-called doughnut hole by not phasing it in. There are a whole variety of these gimmicks. I will mention one more.
This is the so-called CLASS Act, a long-term entitlement. They generate a bunch of revenue up front to make payments later on. However, the bill steals that money, reduces the cost of this new entitlement program, and never tells us how it is going to make it up later when it has to pay for the CLASS Act. It is a Ponzi scheme. The first dollar in they use to take care of the last investor, and eventually there isn't enough money to take care of the last investor, so that investor loses all the money, just like what happened with Bernie Madoff. No idea how they are going to pay for the CLASS Act once they use all the money they collected for it, spend it all on the new entitlement, and then have nothing in the till when they have to pay off benefits under the CLASS Act.
Social Security, same thing. They count the money twice. They say: We are going to extend the Social Security Program for 17 more years; it will be viable. However, we are going to take the same money we are applying to that, and we are going to pay for this new entitlement out of it, $500 billion.
You cannot count the money twice, as the CMS Actuary pointed out.
The bill is rife with these gimmicks that say it is going to be balanced. It is not going to be balanced. Everybody knows it is going to cost trillions of dollars. Mr. President, $2.3 trillion is a low estimate for the first 10 years of operation.
Let me close with a couple other points.
One of the things that has caused people so much angst about this is the sweetheart deals. The Senate bill was stuffed with them. Our House colleagues and, I might say, some of our Senate colleagues, too, said: That is wrong; we are going to fix some of them. I applaud those who realized, perhaps after the fact, but at least realized this was totally inappropriate. Things such as the ``Cornhusker kickback'' to Nebraska, that is being fixed in the bill. My guess is, even though some of these may be subject to budgetary points of order, some of them can be fixed through the reconciliation process. But there are still a bunch of them in the bill.
For those who said we have to take all of these sweetheart deals out of the Senate bill and fix that with reconciliation, no. Some are still there, and there are new ones added.
We talked before about the ``Louisiana purchase.'' It is still in the bill. Medicare coverage for folks in Libby, MT, still in here. Mr. President, $100 million for a Connecticut hospital, still in here. There is a new one. Tennessee, it turns out, is an important State in terms of votes in the House of Representatives. So Tennessee hospitals get more money for the so-called DSH payments, the disproportionate share. Tennessee hospitals--is that going to stay in here?
Another one was put in to help North Dakota relating--this is a whole other story. We have now taken over student loans for college education in the health care bill. In case you did not realize, it is not just health care. After taking over GM, Chrysler, and insurance companies, AIG, and a bunch of other sectors, now we are going to take over student loans. That is going to be put in the health care bill.
It turns out that hurts banks. Obviously, banks have a lot of employees who provide students with these loans. North Dakota has some banks that were going to get hurt. At least one bank in North Dakota was going to be able to continue to offer the student loans. To his credit, I am informed the chairman of the Budget Committee, the Senator from North Dakota, said: Wait a minute, we cannot do that, so I will try to get that out somehow or another. That is an appropriate thing to do.
You see how this happens when bills are written behind closed doors and there is an effort to make sure there are enough votes to pass it? They need to sweeten the pot, and this is the kind of thing that happens. These are some of the provisions. I am sure we will discover others that are in the bill.
One of my colleagues pointed out there are going to be some deals that have been made that do not show up in this bill. He is going to be looking for those deals wherever they do show up.
I note the last two items. We did not want to put more people in Medicaid, but there are another 2 million people in Medicaid. Still 23 million are uninsured after all is said and done. The whole idea was to get 30 million people more insured and try to reduce costs.
We know it does not reduce costs. It does not get all the people insured, and those who are covered, the majority are put into the Medicaid Program that we know is broken.
Finally, the bill does not prohibit Federal funds flowing to insurance plans that cover elective abortions. This is a matter of concern to a great many people in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. They did not try to fix it in the reconciliation bill. But even if they had, that would be subject to a point of order as well.
The bottom line is that this legislation, crafted behind closed doors yet again, is replete with special deals, is worse in virtually every respect that I can see from the Senate bill. It increases the top line spending, increases taxes by maybe close to $70 billion or a little more, cuts Medicare now by $523 billion, adds to the individual mandate, adds to the employer mandate, hurts Medicare Advantage plans even more, a much higher payroll tax--$210 billion increased payroll tax, a job killer--increases insurance premiums even more. It is hard to see how you can say that this is going to help the American people.
As the editorial in the Wall Street Journal that I cited before concludes:
This is what happens when a willful President and his party try to govern America from the ideological left, imposing a reckless expansion of the entitlement state that most Americans, and even dozens of Democrats in Congress, clearly despise.
I hope, Mr. President, that colleagues in the House of Representatives will have the courage to stand up and represent their constituents rather than the President and the Speaker of the House. They owe their obligation to respond to the message their constituents are sending: They want to stop this bill, to start over, and get it right.
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