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Panel on Special Health Care Deals

Panel on Special Health Care Deals

By Special Report With Bret Baier - March 18, 2010

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TOM COBURN, R-OKLA.: If you voted no and you vote yes and you lose your election and you think any nomination to a federal position isn't going to be held in the Senate, I got news for you. It's going to be held.

Number two is if you get a deal for - a parochial deal for you or your district, I have already instructed my staff and the staff of seven other senators that we will look at every appropriations bill at every level at every instance, and we will outline it by district, and we will associate that with the buying of your vote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: Senator Tom Coburn issuing a warning to House Democrats about special deals that may be in this new reconciliation bill. We are still going through the finals see exactly what deals that were in the Senate bill are still in this bill.

And while we have been going through it Republican aides have pointed out there are a couple of deals by their reading, one for Representative Bart Gordon from Tennessee. That's new, which would be Medicaid aid for hospitals in Tennessee, more than $100 million there.

And then a deal, a carve out for a bank in North Dakota for Senator Kent Conrad. When this came up Conrad instructed the House budget Democrats to remove the provision. There is a lot of searching for deals in the new bill.

We're back with the panel. Steve, we may find more. We are still looking.

HAYES: What's amazing to me - I had a conversation with Paul Ryan yesterday about this. What's amazing to me is they still have the audacity to put in some of these deals.

You can back load these deals and say and make promises to people and say, look, in a couple of years I will help you out with this or I will make a campaign stop, or if you lose your reelection, I will find an administration job for you. You can do all these things in a way that's not so obvious.

But what is striking to me is that, you know, in this apparent Bismarck bailout they are calling it, this cut out for Conrad.

BAIER: Everybody has a name, don't they?

HAYES: I think the bailout name is a good name because it has such negative connotations. But they want more information about that. John Boehner put out a statement late this afternoon asking Earl Pomeroy about the Bismarck bailout. Did he know about it? What did he know about it? Did he press for it?

These are the kind of things I think we are likely to find in the last four or five day scramble.

BAIER: We should point out we haven't heard from Representative Gordon's office yet in a response to this charge by Republican aides that it's in this bill. They are pointing to specific language.

Mara, as far as we can tell, the Connecticut deal for the hundred million dollars for the hospital that Senator Dodd put in is still in there as well as others. I asked the president about that yesterday, and, you know, he didn't really have an answer about what was -

LIASSON: No. He defended Louisiana. He doesn't consider that in the same category.

But, look, the reason why we are - the Democrats are tying themselves up in knots right now is because they have to undo the deals that Harry Reid made to get the bill passed by the Senate. That's what reconciliation is about. It's about some other things, too, taxes and stuff.

But what is amazing is the incredible revulsion towards these deals on the part of the public. I think we really are in a new chapter. When this bill passed in the Senate, Harry Reid stood up and said to criticism of these deals, hey, this is what senators do. And if some of these senators didn't get a deal for their state, their constituents should be asking well, gee what are they doing up there?

So that's the old world of Washington where you do bring home the bacon and that's your job. Now we're in this era where people really do want reform and they don't want these deals. And now the House has taken a tiny little kind of baby step towards doing something about earmarks.

I think this is only going to snow ball and Congress is going to have to clean up their act.

BAIER: Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: The big news is I think the Democrats running around, waving around the CBO report because the other concern of the public that's exploded over the last year is debt, expansion of government, and deficits. So it's waving around a number.

And I think it's unbelievably disingenuous. It says that over 10 years it will reduce the deficit by $138 billion. But to give you - to put it on a scale, last month alone, federal government under this administration ran a deficit of $221 billion. So, 10 years of the program is going to offset about 18 days of overspending in the last February of 2010.

But there is a larger issue here, which is it's pretending that somehow, and the president has said it's going to be a great day in deficit reduction. But look what it's doing. It's creating a new entitlement of roughly $1 trillion dollars.

It then is going to increase taxes and reduce spending to the tune of roughly $1.1 trillion. So, it ends up with $100 billion as a surplus.

But what it is doing, this is all happening in a climate where we have $9 trillion already in debt. It's going to double in 10 years. And we need every avenue of deficit reduction possible. So, of the $1.1 trillion of potential reduction, we're squandering $1 trillion of it on a new entitlement and having a tiny amount left over on these current entitlements.

BAIER: The long-term objection, which the CBO can't do beyond 10 years, they say it reduces the deficit by more than a trillion, 1.3 transparency over the 20 years, or something.

KRAUTHAMMER: I will believe a prediction of the weather on the first of January 2020 before I will believe a projection of deficits in 20 years. It's absurd, and it's meaningless.

BAIER: Steve, last word it looks like now that the language is out there, 72 hours. You do the math, Sunday afternoon to evening, a vote on this?

HAYES: Yes. That sounds about right. I think this will be a mad dash. We have seen minute by minute reports about flippers and potential flippers. That's what we are going to see for the next three days.

BAIER: House pass it, yes or no? Come on, quickly.

HAYES: Yes, by one vote.

LIASSON: Yes.

KRAUTHAMMER: You asked me a month ago I said yes. It's going to be yes.

BAIER: Unanimous.

 

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