September 23, 2009

Crapo: Don't Vote On Health Bill Without Public Review

Says Finance Committee ignoring review, cost analysis of legislation

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo warned today that some members of the Senate Finance Committee are in such a rush to pass a health care reform bill that there may be final votes before the legislation is even written out in final form. Crapo, a member of the Finance Committee debating amendments on the bill this week, said some members may be seeking to avoid public scrutiny and an independent cost analysis of the legislation. The bill has yet to be finalized.

Crapo noted that even a proposal to post the legislation on the Internet for a full 72 hours before a final vote for a minimal public review was scrapped by a majority of Committee members. Even more egregious, he says, is a rush for judgment before a thorough review and cost scoring by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The CBO's director, Douglas Elmendorf, has told committee members it may take two weeks to fully vet a cost analysis of the present legislation. Preliminary estimates put the cost of the plan at roughly $850 billion, to be paid for by a combination of cuts to existing programs and new taxes. CBO has noted that this preliminary cost analysis is based only on general specifications provided by the Finance Committee. Once CBO has actual legislative language to review, the director has noted that, "review of that language could have a significant effect on the analysis."

"Some of us on the Committee want public review; we want accurate cost analysis," Crapo said. "What we hear back are accusations that we are stalling the bill. I believe getting it right is better than getting it done quickly."

"This present plan will tax the middle-class. It will commit our country to almost a trillion dollars in new spending at a time of unprecedented deficits. There are a lot of reforms that we can find agreement on if we take the time to make the changes to make this a better bill," he concluded.