Just the Facts: Congressional Democrats did not back President Bush's 2003 Medicare Prescription Drug Bill
In a debate last night in Marin County, CA, Governor Howard Dean said many Congressional Democrats supported President George W. Bush's Medicare Prescription Drug bill in 2003, which uses the premium support model proposed by Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) for overall Medicare Reform. When I took issue with Mr. Dean's assertion that many Democrats backed Mr. Bush's reforms, he said I was wrong.
If you are one of the Marin County residents who wanted to check out who was right, here are the links to the votes on final passage of the measure in the House and Senate. It passed the House 220-215 with just sixteen Democrats voting in favor. It passed the Senate 54-44 with only eleven Democrats backing it. The other 224 Democrat Representatives and Senators voted against the prescription drug reform, which uses premium support to deliver the benefit.
ICYMI: New American Crossroads Ad, "Forward?"
As I wrote in the Wall Street Journal last week, Republicans can win the Medicare debate if they have courage to make the case that reforms are necessary to keep Medicare from going broke in 2024.
President Obama provided the opening for Republicans to win this debate when he reduced future Medicare spending by $716 billion to pay for ObamaCare.
The Romney-Ryan ticket would repeal ObamaCare and thereby restore the $716 billion to stabilize Medicare’s finances. Mitt Romney has also offered a reform package to protect all the promises made to today’s seniors, while making Medicare sustainable for future generations.
Of course, Mr. Obama and his team are attacking Romney-Ryan for offering these reforms. What’s more interesting is that the president is obligated by law to offer his proposals to save Medicare, but has shirked this statutory responsibility four years.
Mr. Obama is required by law to respond to the “Medicare trigger,” a forecast from the Medicare Trustees that general revenues will be required for 45% or more of the program's outlays within a seven-year period, which signals that Medicare is financially unsustainable.
Specifically, Section 1105 of Title 31 of the U.S. Code requires:
“If there is a Medicare funding warning under section 801(a)(2) of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 made in a year, the President shall submit to Congress, within the I5-day period beginning on the date of the budget submission to Congress under subsection (a) for the succeeding year, proposed legislation to respond to such warning.”
The Medicare Trustees have issued this warning every spring for the past five years, but only President George W. Bush followed the law, submitting legislation to Congress in 2008 that lowered general revenue spending to the 45% level, restoring Medicare to financial sustainability. The measure was introduced in the House and the Senate, but the Democratic Congress under Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid failed to ever consider the measure.
Though the Medicare Trustees issued a warning in 2009, 2010, 2011, and again this spring, Mr. Obama has ignored the law each year and failed to submit the required legislation to Congress. His neglect has not gone unnoticed, as members of his own Cabinet have reminded him of his duty to do so, and Congressman Paul Ryan wrote a letter with Senator Jeff Sessions earlier this year demanding the president act.
In 2008, then-Senator Obama said he wanted to tackle Medicare in “first term as president.” He didn’t do so. Every spring for the past four years, the Medicare Trustees have reminded him of his legal responsibility to propose how to put Medicare’s finances in order.
The president’s failure to act is another example of how he has put politics ahead of the country’s best interests and in this case, how he has put politics ahead of the rule of law. It’s a failure of presidential leadership every American should remember as they watch the debate over Medicare.
This article originally appeared on FoxNews.com on Saturday, August 20, 2012.
Editor's note: part of this commentary is taken from an interview with Fox News contributor Karl Rove that aired on Fox News Channel with Bret Baier on Saturday, August 11.
If this election is about little choices, its outcome is uncertain. If the election is about big things, Republicans are more likely to win. By picking Paul Ryan as his running mate, Mitt Romney signaled his belief that the race is about big ideas -- putting America's fiscal house in order and renewing prosperity by cutting the deficit, reforming the tax code and saving the social safety net.
Vice presidential picks often say more about the presidential candidate than the VP candidate. That's the case today. Romney’s choice will help focus the race on real issues and make it harder for Barack Obama to engage in distractions.
When picking his running mate, Romney could decide to be bold or comfortable, focus on politics or governing. By choosing bold and governing, he signaled his campaign is about a robust and attractive reform conservatism.
Democrats will jump on this pick. Witness their television ad last fall in which a Ryan-like character pushed grandma over the cliff.
This is a mistake. Seniors are deeply concerned about the deficit. Ryan will be able to patiently explain the commonsense plan to restrain spending that he and Romney advocate.
Barack Obama has no plan to ever balance the budget and instead increases spending dramatically in the years ahead.
Ryan will be able to make this point powerfully to the American people. He’s done it at home. While Bill Clinton (twice), Al Gore, and Obama carried his district, Ryan has consistently won with mid- to high-60s since his first race.
Ryan is a stellar addition to a ticket that gives optimism and confidence to the nation and victory to the GOP.
This article originally appeared on FoxNews.com on Saturday, August 11, 2012.
New Crossroads GPS ad shows that this is the worst economic recovery America has ever had.
Check out Stephen Dubner's latest Freakonomics Radio podcast called "Freakonomics Goes to College, Part 1." I joined to discuss my thoughts on whether college is really worth it.
Bottom line is that we live in a society where credentials matter and the Bill Gates' of the world who go on to create companies like Microsoft are few and far between. Hope you'll listen to the whole podcast. Enjoy!
American Crossroads' new video takes on Obama’s claim that his comments are being taken out of context.
More Evidence the Bain Attacks Aren't Working: USA Today/Gallup Poll Finds Voters Prefer Romney Over Obama to Handle Economy
Even though the Obama campaign spent almost twice as much as Mitt Romney's campaign spent last month, their attacks on Mr. Romney's business experience at Bain Capital are falling flat with voters. In the latest USA Today/Gallup Poll survey, voters still say Mr. Romney would do a better job handling the economy because of his business experience, and a majority says he has the qualities a president should have. While the Obama team continues to burn its campaign funds on these outlandish smear attacks, Mr. Romney's polls are improving, and the race remains virtually tied.
"By more than 201, 63%-29%, those surveyed say Romney's background in business, including his tenure at the private equity firm Bain Capital, would cause him to make good decisions, not bad ones, in dealing with the nation's economic problems over the next four years."
"The Democratic attacks on Romney seem to have had little effect on voters' assessment of him. In February, 53% said the former Massachusetts governor had the personality and leadership qualities a president should have; now 54% do. Then, 42% said they agreed with Romney on the issues that mattered most to them; now 45% do."
"A record number of Americans express skepticism about the activist role of government Obama espouses; 61% say the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. That's the highest number since Gallup began asking the question in 1992."
Read the full report at USA Today.
Tell Obama: for real growth, cut the debt.
Obama says there's a war on women. There is - but it's waged by Obama Economy. For more information on how the President Obama's failed policies are hurting women, check out the new American Crossroads video.