Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category


SGR Down. Corporate Tax Reform Next?

Mar26

By John Feehery

John Boehner.jpg

“John Boehner” by Gage Skidmore – Flickr: John Boehner. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

(This originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank)

If Congress can solve a problem like Medicare’s “doc fix,” lawmakers should be able to address a corporate tax rate that kills economic growth and moves jobs overseas.

Medicare’s “Sustainable Growth Rate” mechanism was part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. The idea was to tie the set rate at which Medicare doctors are compensated to economic growth. But health-care costs grew faster than the economy, and to avoid a physician exodus that could threaten the program, every year Congress would pass a temporary “doc fix” adding to the amount paid to the doctors.

Fixing the SGR gives peace of mind to doctors that they can continue to participate in Medicare. It’s good policy and good politics. (more…)

Don’t Look Now

Mar26

By John Feehery

ReneeEllmers113th.jpg

“ReneeEllmers113th” by United States Congress – http://ellmers.house.gov. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Renee Elmers had the quote of the day.  She said, during a debate earlier today, “Don’t look now, but we’re governing.”

It’s not clear how much this week will matter in annals of Congressional history.

But it sure looks like the House is finally hitting its stride after a couple of rocky months.

Since 1997, the Congress has had to deal with the so-called “doc fix”, a promise to cut reimbursements to doctors that was made originally in the Balance Budget Act. (more…)

Dick Cheney: Man of the House

Mar25

By John Feehery

46 Dick Cheney 3x4.jpg

“46 Dick Cheney 3×4″ by Image from the U.S. Air Force website, but likely made by office of the President. – http://www.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/photos/060413-F-0000J-011.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Dick Cheney’s speech at the NRCC Congressional dinner brought back all kinds of memories for me.

I interviewed to work on Mr. Cheney’s Presidential campaign in 1994.   It was Dave Addington who did the interview, but it was Dave Gribbin, Cheney’s long-time advisor, who helped to arrange it for me.

Gribbin was one of the wisest of wise men that I ever knew.  He had worked for Cheney for years but when I first met him, he was Dan Coats’s Chief of Staff.   Coats was looking for a speechwriter, and I wrote speeches for Bob Michel.

Gribbin thought it would have been a perfect match, but Senator Coats felt more comfortable going with somebody older and perhaps a more evangelical. (more…)

Our Broken Budget Process

Mar19

By John Feehery

United States Capitol west front edit2.jpg

“United States Capitol west front edit2″ by United_States_Capitol_-_west_front.jpg: Architect of the Capitol
derivative work: O.J. – United_States_Capitol_-_west_front.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Here are five things that are wrong with the Congressional Budget Process

1)   It’s non-binding:  The House and the Senate work feverishly passing their respective budgets, but they never send the final product to the President.   For some reason, the guys who designed the process in the early 70’s didn’t want Richard Nixon to decide its fate.  So, the budget resolution has about as much force in law as the resolution to name your local Post Office after Mickey Mouse.

2)   It’s too partisan:  The resolutions, by design, are meant to be political documents.   The Senate usually is the saucer that cools the ardor of the House, but in this case, the process is meant to be expedited, meaning that a budget can pass with only 50 votes (as long as the Vice President is with you).   But a partisan budget process is destined for failure. (more…)

Lessons From Ireland

Mar17

By John Feehery

Flag of Ireland.svg

“Flag of Ireland” by Drawn by User:SKopp. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

(This originally appeared in The Hill)

Ireland is on the mind of official Washington today.

From the White House, where the president receives shamrocks from the Irish prime minister, to the Congress, where the Speaker hosts a luncheon in his honor, St. Patrick’s Day is well celebrated in the nation’s capital.

The Emerald Isle may hold a nostalgic place in the hearts of millions of Americans, with partiers hitting the pubs to toast their heritage, but policymakers in the U.S. can learn a lot from the Irish experience. (more…)

 

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