*Correction: I should have said "Baucus and his cohorts," not the entire committee.
It's hard to respect our elected representatives when they make it so clear that they have no respect for us. By adopting a Baucus amendment, the Senate Finance Committee ensures that the CBO will not be able to make an accurate cost analysis of the Baucus bill and Americans may not be able to read or analyze the bill's details, as they have done with HR 3200.
This works for the effete John Kerry:
"Let's be honest about it, most people don't read the legislative language."Mark Hemingway notes that Kent Conrad agrees:
Senator Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) actually argued that having the exact legislative language didn't matter because "there's 5 percent of the American people that understand the legal language." That's right, a United States Senator argued that there was no reason to let the American people in on the Kabalistic workings of the Senate Finance Comittee because 95 percent of Americans wouldn't understand it anyway.Thus, the committee blows off any semblance of transparency and accountability:
Read the rest for the scandalous details. It's all in keeping with the ram-it-through, transparency-be-damned tactics we've been subjected to since January.
On day two of the Baucus hearings, a major dispute erupted in the Senate Finance Committee. The dispute was over an amendment allowing the committee to vote on the conceptual language of the bill rather than the actual legislative wording.
When working on a bill, the Senate Finance Committee tends to work in "conceptual language" or plain English. However, the committee also wants a complete cost analysis by the Congressional Budget Office be publicly available before a vote. However, the CBO director has said that a cost analysis of the bill based on the committee's conceptual language — rather than the actual legislative language — "does not constitute a comprehensive cost estimate" and that working with conceptual language was an "important caveat" that may not produce an accurate cost estimate. Republicans argued that the committee should take up the actual legislative language, given the historically unprecedented magnitude of the bill which will affect 17 percent of the economy in perpetuity.
[. . .]
The Democratic opposition to working with the legislative language seemed to inflame the GOP members of the committee — particularly Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine). "The [CBO] director didn't ask for plain language, he didn't ask for concepts," she told the committee. "He was being very specific."
[. . .]
Needless to say, the Finance Committee passed the Baucus amendment allowing the committee to vote on the "conceptual language" of the Health Care bill. The vote was 13-10.
Changes have been made since the unveiling of the bill to make it "cheaper" for families, but no one has been able to identify how these measures will be "paid for."
Baucus announced $50 billion in changes Tuesday to address that issue. The most significant would sweeten the subsidies for individuals and families with incomes up to four times the government's poverty level — which would work out to be $43,320 for individuals and $88,200 for a family of four. Baucus also decided to reduce the penalty for families who defy a proposed requirement to purchase coverage, from $3,800 to $1,900.Baucus may as well have waved a magic wand for all the accountability the bill will be subjected to.
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