Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for the 'Harry Reid' Category

Stark, Baucus turn up the heat on Medicare bill

The only reason why a Senator might vote against a Medicare improvement bill later this week is because he or she puts corporate profits above senior citizens’ health, House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Pete Stark, D-Fremont, said on a conference call a few minutes ago.

“The bill is modest, it’s far less than we passed in the house a year ago in the CHAMP Act,” Stark said. “It’s a compromise that addresses the current need in Medicare, and that is the pay cut… for the primary care docs.”

That’s a 10.6 percent pay cut, which already has taken effect; because there’s a two-week delay in doctor reimbursements, it’s going to start hurting physicians soon. The pending bill would delay the pay cut for 18 months; advocates say it also would improve Medicare for seniors, people with disabilities, rural residents and pharmacists.

“Time has run out, doctors are facing payment cuts, other medicare programs have expired. Seniors’ care is in jeopardy, plain and simple,” U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., said on the same conference call. “If we pay doctors properly, seniors get to see their doctors when they need to.”

The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act, H.R.6331, passed the House with a whopping, veto-proof margin of 355-59, but Senate Republicans managed to block it June 26 with a 58-40 cloture vote. The Senate will revisit the bill this week; Baucus said the schedule is up to Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., but with Tuesday’s funeral for former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms likely to put the Senate out of commission for the day, the vote on this bill likely will come Wednesday or Thursday.

President Bush has threatened to veto the bill, but Baucus said he thinks there’s “some daylight” there should the Senate pass the bill with a stronger vote while seniors’ and doctors’ groups turn up the heat on the White House.

“We don’t always get a second chance in life, but this week senators will get a second chance to do the right thing on Medicare,” Baucus said.

Posted on Monday, July 7th, 2008
Under: General, Harry Reid, Pete Stark, U.S. House, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

What’s left for the Democrats

With the Florida and Michigan delegates seated with half-votes, the new threshhold to clinch the Democratic nomination is 2,118. The Washington Post says Obama has 2,052 (66 short) while Clinton has 1,877 (241 short).

Puerto Rico votes today, with 55 delegates; Clinton is expected to do well there. Montana and South Dakota vote Tuesday, with 16 and 15 delegates respectively; Obama is expected to do well there.

And so it’ll go to the superdelegates. Politico says the superdelegate count now stands at 324.5 for Obama, 279.5 for Clinton and 163 undecided. The undecideds include 86 Democratic National Committee members; 48 House members and 15 U.S. Senators. And of the undecideds, 14 are from California:

  • Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego
  • Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel
  • Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego
  • Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose
  • Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton
  • DNC member state Sen. Carole Midgen, D-San Francisco
  • DNC member and state Democratic Party campaign advisor Bob Mulholland
  • DNC member, attorney and author Christine Pelosi of San Francisco
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco
  • DNC member and labor union political director John A. Perez of Los Angeles
  • DNC member and retired chemical worker Robert Rankin of Carson
  • DNC member and state party chairman Art Torres
  • DNC member and state official Keith Umemoto of Sacramento
  • DNC member and attorney Steve Ybarra of Sacramento
  • U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday in San Francisco that he, Pelosi and DNC chairman Howard Dean have agreed to try to end the race by the end of this week by urging the remaining uncommitted superdelegates to weigh in.

    Posted on Sunday, June 1st, 2008
    Under: Barack Obama, California State Senate, Carole Migden, Democratic Party, Elections, Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, Jerry McNerney, Mike Honda, Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

    Quips and outtakes from Harry Reid

    U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was at the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco today, and said he, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean intend to ensure that the race for the Democratic presidential nomination will be over by the end of next week.

    Here are some odds and ends for which I didn’t have room in the story:

    Asked whether his own “The Good Fight” or former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan’s “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception” should be the single must-buy, must-read political memoir of the year, Reid replied he’s donating all proceeds from his book to charity, but “Scott probably needs the money more.”

    Asked who’s most to blame for the subprime mortgage loan crisis, Reid said it’s former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, whom he called “the J. Edgar Hoover of the financial world: He did everything he could to get in good with the next president.” Greenspan must’ve known the subprime loans were a disaster in the making, Reid said, and “if he didn’t know, he should’ve known,” as the U.S. Treasury secretaries under the George W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations should’ve as well.

    On gas prices, Reid said the United States doesn’t have the oil reserves to produce its way out of the crisis, nor can it remain so dependent on oil imported from hostile or potentially hostile “tyrannical” regimes. Reid said he favors granting an eight-year tax credit to spur venture capital investment in solar, wind and geothermal energy production; he said he’d like to see the vast tracts of Nevada desert once used to test nuclear weapons be carpeted with solar panels to generate electricity for the nation.

    On healthcare, Reid said if we had Hillary Clinton’s healthcare plan — the one she pitched in 1993, while her husband was president — in place today, “there would be very few complaints.” Parts of that plan must be adopted into the next administration’s policy, he said, especially the ability of small business owners to pool their employees together so that they collectively can subscribe to better health-insurance plans.

    “Congress should have pretty low (approval) ratings, because we have not produced things,” he said — but he quickly said he’s not willing to take much blame for that. Republicans have filibustered 77 times in this Congress so far, he noted. “They broke a two-year record in 10 months. They’re like Mark McGuire, they’re on steroids. I guess I shouldn’t say Barry Bonds while I’m in San Francisco.”

    Posted on Thursday, May 29th, 2008
    Under: Democratic Party, Elections, Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

    Your roundup of roundups

    So much news, so little time.

    Same-sex marriage: The new Field Poll finds 51 percent of Californians favor allowing same-sex marriage; a Los Angeles court research attorney opines that the constitutional amendment proposed for November’s ballot might have fatal legal flaws; same-sex marriages might begin as soon as June 17; and the San Francisco City Attorney files a motion opposing a conservative group’s request that the state Supreme Court stay its ruling until after November’s election.

    Marijuana: The Assembly passes a bill which would prevent California employers from firing a worker solely because he or she uses medical marijauna, in compliance with the state’s law, outside the workplace. Meanwhile, the DEA raids at least one marijuana-growing operation in the East Bay, maybe more.

    The Legislature in action: The Assembly says no to gun shows at the Cow Palace and yes to paid sick leave for California workers. On the state Senate side, President Pro Tem Don Perata is glad to be alive.

    Coming up on Thursday: The Commonwealth Club hosts U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in San Francisco, and antiwar icon Cindy Sheehan debates a military recruiter in Berkeley.

    Posted on Wednesday, May 28th, 2008
    Under: Assembly, California State Senate, Cindy Sheehan, Civil liberties, Don Perata, General, Harry Reid, marijuana, same-sex marriage, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

    Senators prepare for pajama party

    Rather than waiting for Friday night, when members could spend all night reading the new Harry Potter book, the U.S. Senate seems bound for an all-nighter tonight as Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., draws a Repubican filibuster on the Levin-Reed Amendment to the Defense Authorization bill requring redeployment of U.S. troops out of Iraq by next spring.

    “Senators who oppose this war need to demonstrate that we will work through the night to get the 60 votes necessary for a deadline date for our troops to be disengaged from a civil war that has caused so much pain and grief for too many of our military families,” Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said this morning. “There are always those who will demean what we are trying to do, but I fully support this effort which I hope will keep the pressure on Senators to stand up and be counted when we call the roll on the Levin-Reed amendment setting a timetable that will end this mission.”

    Boxer is tentatively scheduled to speak on the floor from 7 to 8 p.m. PDT; just before that, she’ll be at a rally in Upper Senate Park hosted by Americans United for Change,, and Americans Against Escalation in Iraq.

    UPDATE @ 2:25 P.M. TUESDAY: Just in, this comment from U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.: “Many of us have voted over and over and over again for change. Yet, this President has refused to listen. He has worn blinders. He has ignored the views of Congress and the American people. So this effort is to bring attention to the need for action. Not in eight weeks, but now. We’ve got to change course in Iraq, and begin the process of bringing our troops home.”

    Posted on Tuesday, July 17th, 2007
    Under: Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, General, Harry Reid, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

    ‘Playing politics’ is in the eye of the beholder

    bush-4-3-07.jpgPresident Bush today noted — click here for audio and video — that it has now been 57 days since he asked Congress to pass an emergency supplemental spending bill to fund the war in Iraq.

    “In a time of war it’s irresponsible for the Democratic leadership in Congress to delay for months on end while our troops in combat are waiting for the funds,” the president said, accusing Democrats of playing politics. “The bottom line is this, Congress’s failure to fund our troops on the front line also mean that some of our military families could wait longer for their loved ones to return from the front lines.”

    Think Progress accurately notes that when Congress was under Republican control, it took 86 days to pass the $82 billion 2005 supplemental, and 119 days to pass the $72 billion 2006 supplemental. Also, remember that the president has vowed to veto the supplemental spending plan passed by the House and Senate because it includes a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, something that polls show the American electorate desires.

    “Democrats will send President Bush a bill that gives our troops the resources they need and a strategy in Iraq worthy of their sacrifices,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a response issued today. “If the president vetoes this bill he will have delayed funding for troops and kept in place his strategy for failure.”

    ADDENDUM @ 3:55 P.M. TUESDAY: The president also today had this to say about the congressional delegation House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, has led to Damascus, Syria:

    “We have made it clear to high-ranking officials, whether they be Republicans or Democrats*, that going to Syria sends mixed signals — signals in the region and, of course, mixed signals to President Assad. And by that, I mean, photo opportunities and/or meetings with President Assad lead the Assad government to believe they’re part of the mainstream of the international community, when, in fact, they’re a state sponsor of terror; when, in fact, they’re helping expedite — or at least not stopping the movement of foreign fighters from Syria into Iraq; when, in fact, they have done little to nothing to rein in militant Hamas and Hezbollah; and when, in fact, they destabilize the Lebanese democracy.

    “There have been a lot of people who have gone to see President Assad — some Americans, but a lot of European leaders and high-ranking officials. And yet we haven’t seen action. In other words, he hasn’t responded. It’s one thing to send a message; it’s another thing to have the person receiving the message actually do something. So the position of this administration is that the best way to meet with a leader like Assad or people from Syria is in the larger context of trying to get the global community to help change his behavior. But sending delegations hasn’t worked. It’s just simply been counterproductive.

    * It’s not just Pelosi. Before her delegation arrived, three GOP House members — Frank Wolf, R-Va; Robert Aderholt, R-Ala.; and Joe Pitts, R-Pa. — were in Damascus this weekend and met with Syria’s Grand Mufti Ahmad Badr Eddin Hassoun.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007
    Under: Harry Reid, Iraq, Nancy Pelosi, President Bush, U.S. House, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

    Dems will use Webb to ensnare Bush

    webb.jpgHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., say freshman U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., will deliver the official Democratic response to President Bush’s State of the Union Address on January 23.

    “In a call echoed by Americans across this nation, the people of Virginia sent Senator Webb to Congress to help take our country in a new direction,” Pelosi and Reid say in a news release. “As a combat veteran, he understands personally how crucial it is to find a new direction in Iraq and begin to bring the war to a close. Senator Webb represents the sweeping demand for leaders who will put aside gridlock in Washington to deliver change at home and abroad.”

    For those just joining us, Webb is a Marine Corps Vietnam vet and Reagan-era Secretary of the Navy whose son is currently serving in Iraq; his upset victory last November over Republican incumbent George Allen helped give the Democrats their razor-thin Senate majority. Listen and watch for some fireworks in this speech.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 16th, 2007
    Under: General, Harry Reid, Iraq, Nancy Pelosi, President Bush | 1 Comment »

    Where the budget commitments have no name

    U2 frontman Bono met Thursday with House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and Senate Majority Leader-elect Harry Reid, D-Nev., to urge them to make AIDS and extreme poverty in Africa a priority for the 110th Congress. Apparently he didn’t like what he heard.

    “I’m alarmed we could not get a commitment from the Democratic leadership to prevent the loss of $1 billion in the continuing resolution to fight AIDS, malaria and extreme poverty,” he said in a statement posted to the Web site of DATA, the organization he and others created in 2002 to rally the world to help solve Africa’s problems. “400,000 of the most vulnerable people on Earth have been taken hostage by politics.”

    “I don’t know who’s to blame. Democrats are blaming Republicans, Republicans are blaming Democrats. But the million people who were expecting bed nets don’t care who’s to blame. They just know that a promise made by the United States to keep their families safe is in danger of being broken next year. It will take responsible leadership on both sides to make this right. We are going to keep fighting. This isn’t over.”

    Posted on Friday, December 15th, 2006
    Under: General, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi | No Comments »