How the House GOP Plans to Sell Their Version Of the Senate Deal

by Patrick Brennan

House leadership is passing around the following talking points about their plan to “make the Senate agreement fairer for the American people,” laying out explanations for their changes to the Senate proposal, which they announced at this morning’s conference meeting (I’ve bolded the changes to the plan).

  • To end the government shutdown and avoid a national default, House Republicans are proposing several common-sense changes to make the emerging bipartisan agreement in the Senate fairer for the American people, who are being forced by Washington Democrats to live under the president’s train wreck of a health care law.
  • The House GOP proposal would modify the emerging Senate agreement to prohibit special treatment for House Members, Senators, the president, the Vice President and members of the president’s Cabinet under the president’s health care law, requiring all to be placed in ObamaCare without taxpayer-provided subsidies.  If the president and Senate Democrats are going to force the American people to live under ObamaCare, then they and all Washington leaders should not be shielded from the law.
  • The House GOP plan eliminates the special ObamaCare protections for labor unions in the emerging Senate agreement and replaces it with a two-year delay of ObamaCare’s “pacemaker tax” (medical device tax), which places a new tax on essential medical devices such as children’s hearing aids and senior citizens’ pacemakers, and income verification for those receiving taxpayer subsidies through ObamaCare, shutting down the Obama Administration’s plan to invite rampant fraud by relying on the so-called “honor system” for the distribution of such subsidies. In conversations between the White House and House Republicans, the administration indicated the president could accept a delay of the pacemaker tax.
  • The House plan would maintain the emerging deal’s date of the continuing resolution (CR) funding government operations to January 15 while immediately reopening the federal government.
  • Like the emerging Senate agreement, the House plan would extend the debt ceiling to February 7.  But the House plan would bar the Treasury Department from using accounting gimmicks known as “extraordinary measures,” increasing the transparency of the federal budget process and prohibiting what economist Donald Marron calls the “embarrassingly casual” use today of such measures by the Treasury Secretary.  In the era of President Reagan and House Speaker Tip O’Neill, short-term debt limit increases with hard dates and no gimmicks were the norm.  The House plan seeks to restore transparency to the process and deny bureaucrats the ability to use budget gimmicks to mislead the public about the financial condition of the United States.
  • The House GOP plan will end the government shutdown and prevent a national default while making the emerging Senate agreement fairer for the American people.