By Sam Foster
November is coming up quickly and while we all hope for a stunning defeat of the Obama agenda, we all know that victory isn't just going to just spontaneously manifest itself. We will each need to do our part, which means donating, volunteering, and putting our God given talents to work.
Nearly penniless and grossly short on free time, I've sought to help further conservative ideals in a way that is cost free and is easily managed around the hectic schedule of a full time employee, who is a new dad and is still finishing up their masters degree while fixing up his house. That activity is writing.
Although, a large part of my focus has been to write on my local site, Upstate Political Report. I've decided to reach out to other, larger publications to affect change in local politics. This morning, I was featured in the Democrat and Chronicle, the local city newspaper.
Please check out my essay below on local Democrat Congressman Dan Maffei incumbent for NY's 25th Congressional District.
Essayist discusses congressional intentions
Over the last month, congress has struggled to clear several pieces of important legislation. One measure was to abate a 21% Medicare reimbursement rate cut for doctors. These cuts have a long history of being subverted by congress since they unduly penalize doctors and threaten the security of Medicare's good standing in the medical community. The legislation passed, although it came late, over two weeks after the cuts were already enacted, and only after the measure was removed from a job extenders bill.
Should it be so hard for congress to ensure that doctors are reimbursed properly for elderly patients on Medicare?
A second bill for extending unemployment benefits and several popular tax credits faired worse than the earlier mentioned doctor fix. On Thursday, the Senate refused to call a vote on the bill. Meanwhile, roughly 1.2 million Americans who have been unemployed the longest will have their benefits lapse by the end of the month.
Would any dispute that with the current unstable economy, now is not a good time to allow unemployment benefits to lapse?
With the failure of the unemployment extender, a new round of finger pointing has erupted in Washington. Yet, when you take away all the political hyperbole and demagoguery, there is only a single reason that these important pieces of legislation have struggled in congress as they have; Democrats are not living up to their Pay-as-you-go pledge to ensure that new spending does not add to the deficit. To put it another way; Congress is having trouble finding money to pay for their legislation.
Why is congress having trouble finding money? That would be a good question for Congressman Maffei to explain. After all, his voting record is directly related to why these bills have struggled in congress.
For example, in March, Congressman Maffei voted for the recent health care reform. A measure the congressional budget office projects will cost more than $1 trillion over the next ten years. Yet, the program doesn't take effect for the next four years. To pay for the legislation, congressman Maffei voted for a wide range of tax increase and budgetary schemes that are so numerous I dare not try and list them all. A few of the more questionable items include taxes on those without health insurance, taxes on small businesses with more than 50 employees, and diverting hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare. As a result of the legislation, the chief actuary in charge of Medicare estimates that Medicare will become insolvent by 2026, but the larger danger was in doctors dropping coverage as 20% of Medicare Part A providers would become unprofitable during the next 10 years.
It seems foolish that congress would choose to spend $1 trillion today on health care four years from now, given the very serious needs of the economy right now. Especially when the final bill signed into law exacerbates and fails to resolve Medicare's budgetary problems.
I wish I could say health care was Mr. Maffei's only questionable vote, however he has also spent a great deal of money on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a nearly $1 trillion dollar stimulus bill, of which the congressman claims a success despite the fact that the Syracuse area just set an unemployment record; last April was the highest unemployment figure for any April on record.
I don't call into question Maffei's voting record to dispute his stated intentions. By all means, who could be against increasing the number of those with health insurance, trying to save an economy and fight a war of necessity? Yet when we look around at where Maffei and this congress brought us, we can only conclude that their intentions as stated sound compassionate, but their judgment is poor and their policies reckless.
Congressional Democrats plan to table the unemployment extender bill instead of finding the needed funding. It speaks as an admission to their poorly prioritized agenda? This summer, congress plans another stab at cap and trade legislation, even as the economy limps along. What could be more evident of poor judgment than to table unemployment benefits to move onto cap and trade? This November, Maffei needs to answer for his voting record.
Sam Foster is a writer for the Upstate Political Report, a local blog dedicated to Upstate NY Congressional Races.