Tags: Mike Pompeo

Amnesia-Stricken Max Baucus Becomes Loud Obamacare Critic


Everybody’s mind is on the quickly-developing manhunt in Massachusetts, but the Morning Jolt will arrive today, keeping an eye on the much-less dramatic political stuff:

Max Baucus: I Can’t Wait to Find The Jerks Who Passed Obamacare and Punish Them!

So this is how Congressional Democrats plan to deal with the coming mess that the implementation of Obamacare will create: pretend they had nothing to do with it, and blame the administration.

Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., scolded Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday over the implementation of President Obama’s health care law. Complaining about confused individuals and small businesses in his state and warning of a coming “train wreck,” at times Baucus sounded more like a Tea Partier than one of the key authors of the legislation that would become known as Obamacare. But his posture during the Finance Committee hearing is also a telling sign that Democrats up for reelection in 2014 are increasingly worried that mangled implementation could put their jobs in jeopardy.

In 2009, five different health care proposals made their way through the relevant committees in the House and Senate. The Finance Committee bill that Baucus authored was the closest to the finished product that Obama signed. Go back and look at Baucus’s bill, and you’ll see most of the law’s key components  there – taxes on insurers, drug companies, medical device manufacturers and high value health care plans; exchanges; the Medicaid expansion; IPAB. Also significant is what wasn’t in the Baucus bill – a public option, which had been a central component of the other proposals circulating through Congress, but was ultimately abandoned.

Rep. Mike Pompeo wrote, in member-to-member letter form, a pretty thorough smack-down of Baucus:

 I was stunned, and also saddened, to read of your complaint that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is doing an insufficient job informing the public about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), otherwise known as Obamacare.  My shock wasn’t because I disagreed: You’re right to say this legislation has led to great uncertainty for hard-working Americans, small business owners, and families.  No, I was shocked because youwrote this bill.  I was saddened because your acknowledgement of the harm caused by PPACA has come so late.

     Unlike you, the American people have opposed this law from the moment it was first introduced in Congress.  How hard was it to see that even the smartest government bureaucrats can’t competently plan something as complicated as America’s health-care sector?

     President Obama’s proposal to rescind the Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments for 2014 is an admission that this law will not work as written.  The IRS is violating the clear language of this law by planning to spend more than half a trillion dollars and tax millions of employers and individuals without congressional authorization.

     No one in the country bears more responsibility for the complexity of this law than you.  

The next explanation from Baucus will probably be, “It wasn’t me! It was the one-armed man!”

But this illustration from Lachlan Markay says it all:

Tags: Max Baucus , Kathleen Sebelius , Mike Pompeo

Tomorrow’s a Big Decision Day in Kansas, Missouri, and Michigan


Tomorrow is primary day in Kansas, Michigan, and Missouri.

In Kansas, Republicans will pick their state’s next senator. Okay, technically, there’s a general election in November, but in this GOP-heavy state, the former GOP congressman who wins the primary, either Jerry Moran or Todd Tiahrt, has a strong wind at his back.

Retiring U.S. senator (and former presidential candidate) Sam Brownback is expected to win the GOP gubernatorial primary; presuming he does, he will take on Democratic state senator Tom Holland.

The departures of Moran and Tiahrt have set off scrums in their heavily Republican districts. In Moran’s district, there is a crowded field of Republicans, with Tracey Mann, Tim Huelskamp, and Jim Barnett the leading competitors.

In Tiahrt’s district, Mike Pompeo, Wink Hartman, and state senator Jean Schodorf are fighting it out. The winner will face either state representative Raj Goyle or Robert Tillman. Meanwhile, nine Republicans are competing for the nomination in the open-seat race in Kansas’s 3rd district; Stephene Moore, the wife of retiring Rep. Dennis Moore, is expected to get the Democrats’ nod.

In Missouri, frontrunners Republican Roy Blunt and Democrat Robin Carnahan should win their Senate primaries easily. The House race in this state that looks most competitive is the one involving longtime Democrat Rep. Ike Skelton; either former state representative Vicky Hartzler or state senator Bill Stouffer will earn the right to take on Skelton in November. Both have demonstrated solid fundraising.

(UPDATE: There’s also a bit of a GOP scrum in the race for Blunt’s old House district. Eight Republicans are competing; state senator Jack Goodman, auctioneer Billy Long, and state senator Gary Nodler have had the most fundraising success. It is a very Republican (R+17) district.)

In Michigan, the primary fields for the governor’s race once looked like rugby matches on both sides. Today Lansing mayor Virg Bernero appears to be the most likely Democratic nominee; the GOP field still looks like a tough three-way fight between businessman Rick Snyder, state attorney general Mike Cox, and Rep. Pete Hoekstra. For much of the year, the GOP options have led Democrats in head-to-head matchups, but starting Wednesday, the match-up is no longer hypothetical.

In the district of retiring Democrat Bart Stupak, six Republicans are competing for the nomination. Dr. Dan Benishek rode some early Tea Party and Obamacare-fueled momentum, but I’m told to not count out state senator Jason Allen. This seat is winnable, but not easily winnable, for the GOP in November.

There’s another crowded field in the GOP-leaning 2nd district that Hoekstra is departing; former NFL star Jay Riemersma stands out for his celebrity and fundraising success. (UPDATE: A reader argues that his University of Michigan football career is more relevant in this neck of the woods.) The state’s 3rd district is also losing its congressman, as Vernon Ehlers is retiring. Five Republicans are competing; state representative Justin Amash, state senator Bill Hardiman, and former Kent County commissioner Steve Heacock are the frontrunners. The winner is likely to be favored in November.

Michigan’s 7th district is nominally Republican and currently represented by Democrat Mark Schauer, making this one of the more competitive House races to watch in this region in November. Either Brian John Rooney or former U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg should have a healthy shot in November in this district.

Michigan’s 9th district is nominally Democratic, and Democratic incumbent Gary Peters is sitting on a ton of campaign funds. The two Republicans who have the most resources to compete are Rocky Raczkowski and Paul Welday.

One interesting note on the other side of the aisle: Some Democrats think Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, mother of the incarcerated former mayor of Detroit Kwame Kilpatrick, could lose her primary to state senator Hansen Clarke. Don’t get your hopes too high about GOP chances in November; this Detroit-based district scores D+31 on the Cook Partisan Voting Index. Still, if Detroit voters held a Democratic lawmaker accountable for years of misery, the rest of them might finally get the Grosse Pointe.

Tags: Jean Schodorf , Jerry Moran , Jim Barnett , Mike Pompeo , Sam Brownback , Tim Huelskamp , Todd Tiahrt , Tracey Mann , Wink Hartman

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