Says Congress is sending the wrong message for the new year
Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Senate voted today 60 to 39 along party lines to approve H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. By the same vote, the Senate then followed action by the U.S. House of Representatives to raise the federal debt ceiling by $290 billion, to nearly $12.4 trillion, with an additional vote set for January to further increase the debt limit to more than $13 trillion. "These two votes taken together have created a stark fiscal reality for the nation as we prepare to enter a new year," Idaho Senator Mike Crapo said. "This vote approves record debt, higher taxes, cuts health care and sets a poor tone for cooperation in the new year." Crapo voted no on both measures.
"Increasing our national debt to more than $13 trillion and passing health care reform that does not curb costs, but instead cuts Medicare for seniors and raises more than a half-trillion in taxes, mostly on middle-class Americans, sends a message," Crapo added. "The message is that our political leadership is willing to gamble on our financial future into next year and beyond. We are hurting our children and their children with the amount of debt we are putting upon them. We may also be sending the message to foreign nations that the U.S. dollar may become weakened by this multi-trillion dollar debt. Never before in America have we seen this kind of out of control spending and increase in entitlement spending."
Crapo said a better course of action would be to lower health insurance premiums by steps that do not cost tax dollars-such as allowing companies to compete for customers across state lines. Instead, the measure passed today imposes massive new taxes on health care products and cuts Medicare benefits, such as home health and skilled nursing care.
Crapo noted the President's pledge that middle-income Americans would not pay "one dime" in new taxes for health care reform, but his amendment to stop all of the tax increases in the bill for individuals making less than $200,000 annually, and families making less than $250,000, was rejected by the majority. The so-called Reid Manager's Amendment to the health care reform bill approved today offers special deals for states where votes were needed for the legislation to pass. The health care bill must now be reconciled with the legislation passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, and difficult decisions remain concerning a government health program and federal funding for abortion.
"My hope is that 2010 will bring better cooperation, wiser decisions and policies that restore fiscal responsibility," Crapo said.