House Democrats don’t want to pass a “doc fix” without extending unemployment insurance, and they’re threatening to sink the budget deal over it.
“If we’re going to provide reimbursement to physicians, and I favor that, I think we need to be sure we don’t leave 1.3 million people out in the cold,” said Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan at the House Rules Committee meeting Wednesday afternoon.
The proposed doc fix would delay for three months a 20 percent cut in reimbursements to physicians who provide services for Medicare beneficiaries, as instituted by the Sustainable Growth Rate formula. Congress had tried for a bipartisan, bicameral permanent fix in 2013, but with two committees set to mark up the legislation Thursday, will not complete it until the beginning of the year.
But by reopening the deal to include a fix to physician reimbursement, the budget pact’s shepherds open themselves to a host of requests to accommodate other priorities.
“I personally am conflicted as to whether I will vote on this” budget deal, said Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla. “I can’t leave that many people by the wayside unless I have a better understanding about what’s happening here.”
Unemployment insurance payments to approximately 1.3 million people will expire Dec. 28 without congressional action. Democrats hope to forestall that by proposing a three-month extension of the benefits along with the three-month doc-fix proposal.
“The failure to act on UI and having to do so on [physician reimbursement] puts the entire bill at risk,” Levin said. “It’s not a cut of 25 percent — it’s 100 percent elimination of their benefits. It’s historically high.”
The committee met Wednesday to mark up the Medicare measure along with the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, the deal hammered out by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. and announced late Tuesday.
Update 7 p.m.: The three-month SGR proposal was reported out of committee on a vote of 9-3.
- 1 The Rising Stars to Watch at the Democratic National Convention
- 2 Trump gets bounce from convention and now it’s Clinton’s turn
- 3 On Convention’s First Night, Bernie Sanders and His Supporters Upstage Clinton
- 4 The Gender Politics of Pence’s Governor Pick
- 5 Can Hillary Clinton Succeed on the Hill Where Obama Didn’t?
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Instead of his usual stump speech, Bernie Sanders tonight threw his support behind Hillary Clinton, providing a clear contrast between Clinton and GOP nominee Donald Trump on the many issues he used to discuss in his campaign stump speeches. Sanders spoke glowingly about the presumptive Democratic nominee, lauding her work as first lady and as a strong advocate for women and the poor. “We need leadership in this country which will improve the lives of working families, the children, the elderly, the sick and the poor,” he said. “Hillary Clinton will make a great president, and I am proud to stand with her tonight."
In a stark contrast from Michelle Obama's uplifting speech, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke about the rigged system plaguing Americans before launching into a full-throated rebuke of GOP nominee Donald Trump. Trump is "a man who has never sacrificed anything for anyone," she claimed, before saying he "must never be president of the United States." She called him divisive and selfish, and said the American people won't accept his "hate-filled America." In addition to Trump, Warren went after the Republican Party as a whole. "To Republicans in Congress who said no, this November the American people are coming for you," she said.
"In this election, and every election, it's about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives," Michelle Obama said. "There is only one person who I trust with that responsibility … and that is our friend Hillary Clinton." In a personal and emotional speech, Michelle Obama spoke about the effect that angry oppositional rhetoric had on her children and how she chose to raise them. "When they go low, we go high," Obama said she told her children about dealing with bullies. Obama stayed mostly positive, but still offered a firm rebuke of Donald Trump, despite never once uttering his name. "The issues a president faces cannot be boiled down to 140 characters," she said.
Many Bernie Sanders delegates have spent much of the first day of the Democratic National Convention resisting unity, booing at mentions of Hillary Clinton and often chanting "Bernie! Bernie!" Well, one of the most outspoken Bernie Sanders supporters just told them to take a seat. "To the Bernie-or-bust people: You're being ridiculous," said comedian Sarah Silverman in a brief appearance at the Convention, minutes after saying that she would proudly support Hillary Clinton for president.
The Democratic National Committee issued a formal apology to Bernie Sanders today, after leaked emails showed staffers trying to sabotage his presidential bid. "On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic Party for the inexcusable remarks made over email," DNC officials said in the statement. "These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process. The DNC does not—and will not—tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates."