Tales from the Trail

DNC to GOP on healthcare: Bring it on

 

The Democrats have an answer for the Republicans if the Supreme Court throws out President Barack Obama’s healthcare law on Thursday: Good luck with that.

It may be bravado in the face of what would seem to be huge disappointment, but some Democrats insist they relish the prospect of watching congressional Republicans grapple with how to deal with the massive and troubled industry. Annual U.S. spending on healthcare already totals $2.6 trillion a year. Skyrocketing costs are expected to make spending balloon to $4.8 trillion, or one-fifth of U.S. gross domestic product over the coming decade, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“It will be time for the Republicans to say what they are going to do. This is on them,” Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said on Wednesday at the Reuters Washington Summit.

“We’re already made our proposal. In my mind, the ball will be in their court,” she said. “They’re the ones that opposed this from the beginning, they’re the one that never proposed anything to ensure that you can cover every American. Never proposed anything to ensure that healthcare coverage will be affordable and accessible. … They’re the ones who are going to have to step up and say, ‘What are we going to do now?’ [Democrats] are not the majority in Congress.”

The Supreme Court is due to issue a landmark ruling on Thursday that will determine whether Obama’s healthcare law is constitutional. The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the most sweeping healthcare legislation since Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s. As Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement, its fate also has broad implications for consumers, employers, the healthcare industry and – potentially – the Nov. 6 election.

Perry video batters Romney with healthcare

In his latest campaign video, Texas Governor Rick Perry takes direct aim at Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney over healthcare.

The video casts the former Massachusetts governor as a mirror image of President Barack Obama when it comes to the federal healthcare overhaul, which conservatives deride as “Obamacare.”

Obamacare morphs into “Romneycare” in the video, which links the Republican frontrunner to the Democratic president’s plan.

Bachmann for president? Tea Party darling blames media

RTXQELN_Comp-150x150Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann, champion-in-chief of the House Tea Party caucus, blames the media for all the recent chatter about her status as a potential presidential candidate.

“I’m not concerned about my own personal ambition,” she tells NBC News. “Right now, too many people in the media are concerned about who will be the nominee in 2012.”

That’s a wee bit odd given that the speculation began after her office announced a trip to the presidential field of frolic known as Iowa, with guidance that a White House run is not off the table.

Gibbs is now predicting Dems will hold both chambers of Congress

White House press secretary Roberts Gibbs isn’t offering any more words of possible doom and gloom for fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill. 

Three months after riling Democrats by saying they may lose one chamber of Congress in the November 2 election, GibbsUSA/ said on Sunday that he expects them to keep both.

“Our candidates have done a remarkably good job in a tough, political environment,” Gibbs said. “I think that come election night, we’ll retain control of both the House and the Senate.”

When Harry Reid met Sharron Angle

Anyone expecting to see a smack-down in the desert would have been disappointed.
sharron
The first and only debate in the high stakes Senate race between Nevada Democrat Harry Reid and Republican challenger Sharron Angle ended with both candidates still standing.

But there were plenty barbs as the Senate Majority Leader and the Tea Party-backed former state legislator met face-to-face Thursday night in Las Vegas.

In the hour-long debate, Reid called her “extreme.” Angle repeatedly referred to him as “Harry Reid” and portrayed him as a tax-raising, career politician.

from Summit Notebook:

Dodd Rejects Carter Criticism of Ted Kennedy

U.S. Senator Chris Dodd on Monday came to the defense of his old buddy, the late Senator Edward Kennedy, against new criticism by former President Jimmy Carter.

doddDodd rejected Carter's charge that Americans could have begun enjoying the benefits of sweeping healthcare long ago if Kennedy hadn't stopped a plan by Carter in 1979.

Speaking at the Reuters Summit, Dodd declared, "All I can say is that no one cared more about the issue" of healthcare than Kennedy, a fellow Democrat.

from Summit Notebook:

Shift in power on the horizon in Washington?

USA/
Republicans stand poised to gain substantial influence in Congress, putting at stake billions of dollars in investment as a shift among power brokers throws legislative initiatives old and new into doubt. Reuters Washington Summit will bring together an influential line-up of insiders just weeks before Americans cast their votes, promising a must-read stream of exclusive news on the outlook for Congress and President Barack Obama's agenda. Editors and correspondents from the Reuters Washington bureau are sitting down with senior lawmakers, including GOP heavyweights in line for leadership, and regulators whose implementation of Wall Street and healthcare reform could be complicated by a change in control on Capitol Hill.

The Summit will generate exclusive stories, investable insights, online videos and blog postings, which will be immediately available only to Thomson Reuters clients during the Summit. Key interviews will air live exclusively on Reuters Insider - a new multimedia platform delivering relevant news, analysis and trade ideas presented through a personalized video experience. Visit http://etv.thomsonreuters.com/

Washington Extra

mcconnell1Democrats have been trying to portray Republicans as the “Party of No”. Today Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell visited the Reuters bureau in DC and argued there was no shame in saying no.

Republicans, he said, will be campaigning against many of the policies enacted by President Barack Obama, including healthcare reform, higher spending, bailouts and greater government intervention in the economy, things the party was “proud” to say no to.

“It depends on what you are saying ‘no’ to,” McConnell told Reuters. “If you’re saying ‘no’ to the massive amount of spending and debt and Washington takeovers and things like adding a quarter of a million federal employees with borrowed money like we have in the past year and a half, I think the American people are saying: ‘Please say no to that. We want you to say no to that.’”

Biden’s F-bomb lesson: microphones are mighty sensitive

What were the lessons learned for Vice President Joe Biden on dropping the F-bomb on national television?

Number one: microphones are waaaayyyy more sensitive than you realize.

Number two: the boss has a keen sense of humor.

Number three: it’s still embarrassing. USA-HEALTHCARE/OBAMA

Biden amid the giddiness of the passage of healthcare reform in March whispered into President Barack Obama’s ear “this is a big f—ing deal.” It was picked up by the microphone and became an online video sensation.

So when Biden was teased about it on ABC’s “The View,” he looked quite sheepish.

Obama chides media for healthcare impatience

USA-HEALTH/ President Barack Obama, whom critics often complain gets an easy ride from the so-called liberal media, has pointed the finger of blame at the press for holding him to unrealistic expectations about the benefits of his milestone legislation.

“Every single day since I signed the reform law there’s been another headline that says ‘Nation’s still divided on healthcare reform’, ‘Polls haven’t changed yet.’ Well, yeah. It just happened last week. It’s only been a week.”

“Can you imagine if some of these reporters were working on a farm,” he said to a rally in Portland, Maine. “Planted some seed. they came out the next day and look – nothing’s happened! There is no crop. We’re going to starve…it’s a disaster.”