John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


A Crack in the Windshield

Posted on June 29, 2011
About a year ago, as I was driving, a small rock that was kicked up by the truck I was following hit my windshield and put a little crack in it.

It wasn’t a big crack. Every morning when I pull out of my garage, I think to myself, “I should fix that crack.” But it just didn’t seem that urgent. The car is working fine, and while the crack has widened here and there, it still doesn’t seem to be that serious.

Every once in a while, I catch the Safe-Lite repair commercial. You know the company. It comes to your garage to fix the cracks in your windshield. Safe-life Repair, Safe-Lite Replace, the jingle goes.

It makes me feel a bit guilty, because I still haven’t gotten the thing repaired. I know that if I don’t take care of this problem soon, it will just get worse. I know that some early action will help make the car safer and will probably save me money in the future.

My inability to fix the crack in my windshield reminds me of the Senate’s inability to fix the Medicare program. Like me, the Senate is doing nothing to fix the problem, and the longer the Senate waits, the more expensive the fix gets.

House Republicans took bold action to fix Medicare. You can quibble with the details, but it was a responsible proposal to make Medicare more affordable over the long-term.

Senate Democrats, instead of embracing the Ryan plan or coming up with their own, instead responded that the crack in the Medicare window is really no big deal. Instead of dealing responsibly with the issue, they attacked the House Republicans for their efforts to responsibly deal with the issue.

The key difference between Harry Reid and Medicare and myself and my car windshield is that I recognize that my windshield must be fixed. Reid seems to believe that there are no problems with a Medicare program that threatens to take up nearly half of our budget within 30 years.

The longer the wait, the bigger the problems. Reid and most Senate Democrats seem content to keep waiting, not acknowledging how Medicare growth threatens defense spending, education spending, infrastructure spending and long term economic growth.

I can call Safe-Lite repair anytime I want to take care of my windshield problem. Senate Democrats need to come together and decide that they care enough about the future of this country to fix our Medicare problem. Safe-Lite repair can do a lot of things. Fixing Medicare is not one of them.