February 25, 2010
When the Republicans knowingly and deliberately created the death panel scare tactic last year while trying to defeat health care reform, it was debatable — although there was absolutely no hint of such a thing in the bill. But this latest train load of lies coming out of the mouths of the Republicans on Capital Hill is not based on the “what could happen”. In fact, the only way these lies can be believed is to “believe everything and doubt nothing”. Because there is hard core documented facts that they are lying. I’m talking about, of course, their attempt to stop reconciliation to pass the health care bill.
Reconciliation has been used 19 times since 1980 (some claims are as high as 22). The Republicans account for 75 percent of those. And some of the most costly programs to taxpayers have been passed into law by Republicans using reconciliation. In fact, just two of those have already cost taxpayers more than the proposed cost of health care reform: the 2001 tax cuts (some put it as high as $1.35 trillion) and 2003 tax cuts (some say $500 billion) under Bush and a Republican controlled Congress. And although not passed under reconciliation, the so-called Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 was passed with only about three Democrats. In fact, the process for passing this bill was so much worse than reconciliation that it makes reconciliation seem like a bipartisan method of choice. That bill cost taxpayers $534 billion.
The Washington Post published an editorial today which debunks the Republicans claims about the use of reconciliation. But there are few news sources out there that have done so, and only a small hand full more that “mentioned” it. And that’s how untruths become “facts” — an uninformed and misguided electorate.
Another term has been used by Republicans in reference to this issue that they know does not apply here (but that’s been their MO since January 20. 2009) — Nuclear Option. This term applies to only one thing — shutting down a filibuster (speaking or talking out a bill). But they’ve achieved their predetermined objective by using it — shock and awe.
So what were those 19 times in the past 30 years that reconciliation has been used? The following is a list. But don’t take my word for it — just as I hope you won’t take the oppositions word that it has not happened. Do your own research and confirm what the truth is. Then if you’re really a true American and more interested in the health of our country than “defeating the bums”, say so — not only to yourself, but to your political representative as well.
Budget Reconciliation Bills Signed Into Law, 1980-2008
|Bill||Major Purposes||Net Effect on Deficit|
|Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1980||First use of reconciliation process.||-$79.58 billion; 1981-1985|
|Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981||Made significant cuts to discretionary programs, including welfare and food stamps.||-$130 billion; 1981-1984|
|Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1982||Reauthorized and made changes to food stamp program. Made changes to federal employee pay formula and to the farm support program.||-$13.3 billion; 1983-1985|
|Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 (TEFRA)||Rescinded some provisions of the previous year’s Kemp-Roth tax cuts.||-$115.8 billion; 1983-1985|
|Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1983||Made changes to federal employee pay and retirement formulas.||-$8.2 billion; 1984-1987|
|Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985||Mandated an insurance program giving some employees the ability to continue health insurance coverage after leaving employment (COBRA) and amended the Internal Revenue Code to deny income tax deductions to employers for contributions to a group health plan unless such plan meets certain continuing coverage requirements.||-$24.9 billion; 1986-1989|
|Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986||Ordered the sale of Conrail. Made minor changes to Medicare hospital provisions.||-$17.0 billion; 1987-1989|
|Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987||Created federal standards for nursing homes under Medicare and expanded Medicaid eligibility||-$39.6 billion; 1988-1989|
|Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1989||Made approximately $10 billion in spending cuts||-$39.2 billion; 1990-1992|
|Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990||Established Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) rules for the first time and implemented a range of tax increases||-$236 billion; 1991-1995|
|Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993||Created two new personal income tax rates and a new tax rate for corporations. The cap on Medicare taxes was repealed, and gas taxes were raised. The taxable portion of Social Security benefits was increased. The phase-out of the personal exemption and limit on itemized deductions were permanently extended, and the earned income tax credit was expanded.||-$504.8 billion; 1994-1998|
|Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (1996)||Clinton’s welfare reform bill||-$54.1 billion; 1997-2002|
|Balanced Budget Act of 1997||Contained first portion of Clinton’s plan to balance the federal budget by FY 2002. Created the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Made changes to Medicare hospital payment policy.||-$127.2 billion; 1998-2002|
|Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997||Clinton’s tax cut package||$100.4 billion; 1997-2002|
|Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001||First Bush 43 tax cuts||$552 billion; 2001-2006|
|Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003||Second Bush 43 tax cuts||$342.9 billion; 2003-2008|
|Deficit Reduction Act of 2005||Reduced Medicare and Medicaid spending, changed student loan formulas, and reauthorized the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.||-$39 billion; 2006-2010|
|Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005||Extended several of the earlier Bush tax cuts, including the reduced tax rates on capital gains and dividends and the alternative minimum tax (AMT) tax reduction.||$70.0 billion; 2006-2010|
|College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007||$20 billion student aid reform package. Included grant increases, loan rate reductions, and created public service loan forgiveness program.||-$752 million; 2007-2012|
I’d like to acknowledge and thank Brendan Nyhan of Political Scientist and Media Critic for the outline. It was he who put this information together. He first published it in April of last year and updated it a couple of days ago. You may want to take a look at his blog for more truths about health care.
Never underestimate the difficulty of changing false beliefs [with] facts.
Economist Henry Rosovsky