Jobs bill contains “doctor fix”, Patriot Act extensions

posted at 3:07 pm on February 11, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Senators Max Baucus and Charles Grassley announced the creation of a bipartisan stimulus bill for immediate consideration, with heavy emphasis on “bipartisan” and light emphasis on “jobs.”   The word “bipartisan” keeps coming up, which will likely prove true; the Democrats could have gotten bipartisan support for the first stimulus package if they had allowed Republicans a substantive role in the process of creating it.  This effort shows that the Senate Democrats, at least, are not going to make 2009′s mistake again.

The bill’s particulars on job creation are already well known, but the bill has some extra language that may signal an end to ObamaCare, depending on the timing (emphasis mine):

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wanted to pass a jobs bill before Congress left for recess on Friday. But two punishing blizzards made it difficult to schedule votes for this week.

The Finance Committee agreement, however, may be the breakthrough the Reid needs if he wants a vote after next week’s President’s Day recess.

The bill includes an infusion of funds into the Highway Trust Fund, the so-called doc fix for Medicare reimbursements, and an extension of unemployment insurance and other benefits for out of work people.

It also includes several provisions outside the panel’s jurisdiction, like a reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act, Patriot Act, the national flood insurance program, and $1.5 billion in agriculture disaster assistance.

The Patriot Act extension addition looks like a protection plan for Obama against the Left.  If the Senate passed that on its own, it would open yet another rift with that wing of the party, on top of the problems Obama created with his apparent endorsement of bonuses at Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan earlier this week, and the loss of the public option in the ObamaCare bill.  Obama certainly doesn’t need to take the blame for another surrender from his campaign positions, although if Senate Democrats back this amendment, it may well still have the same effect on the Left’s enthusiasm for the midterm elections.

However, the inclusion of the “doctor fix” will be significant to the ObamaCare debate if Congress rushes this stimulus package to the White House.  It will force the CBO to rescore the Senate bill before the vote in the House — and the doctor fix puts ObamaCare firmly in the position of adding to the deficit, even in the short term.  The exposure of that will almost certainly force some House Democrats to oppose the Senate version, which means that Pelosi will have deep trouble in getting the bill out — especially with the other problems in the Senate bill, such as the abortion language and the Cadillac tax, as well as the lack of a public option.

Keep an eye on the timing.  Pelosi may have to delay the stimulus bill in order to pass ObamaCare to get around the doc-fix costing, which will put the Democrats once again in the position of prioritizing their hobby-horse issue ahead of the crisis in unemployment.  That’s not the “hard pivot” Obama promised, and voters demanded.


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Not just no, but HELL NO!

indypat on February 11, 2010 at 3:11 PM

I don’t know why republicans are signing on to this stupid jobs bill. Make the dems OWN IT!

deidre on February 11, 2010 at 3:11 PM

God save us from bi-partisanship!

SouthernGent on February 11, 2010 at 3:12 PM

They told me if I voted for Sarah Palin the Patriot Act would get extended. And they were right!

rbj on February 11, 2010 at 3:12 PM

If Republicans vote for this, they’re idiots. They’re once again being played.

Enoxo on February 11, 2010 at 3:13 PM

So, all but 3 Republicans stayed away from the first Stimulus either out of principle or because it was so offensive to the voting public. But now they are going to hop on board a jobs bill that won’t produce jobs, will add to the spending and provides Patriot Act cover to the president?

myrenovations on February 11, 2010 at 3:14 PM

The Republican’s need to run away from this one….. DO NOT take the bait….

roux on February 11, 2010 at 3:14 PM

Damn I love these unemployment extensions!!!

I can keep on working on my next idea while the goobermint pays me for my time.

rickyricardo on February 11, 2010 at 3:14 PM

You wonder, can Republicans be this stupid … don’t answer, Grassley is — so there must be more who likely hadn’t even read the bill.

tarpon on February 11, 2010 at 3:14 PM

Democratic Underground is well aware of the PA extension and they are furious.

Mr Snuggle Bunny on February 11, 2010 at 3:14 PM

Bipartisanship in American government: “Hey, let’s all get together and burn the house down!”

ROCnPhilly on February 11, 2010 at 3:16 PM

If Republicans screw this up, they deserve to be permanent minority!

Christian Conservative on February 11, 2010 at 3:18 PM

The word “bipartisan” keeps coming up, which will likely prove true; the Democrats could have gotten bipartisan support for the first stimulus package if they had allowed Republicans a substantive role in the process of creating it. This effort shows that the Senate Democrats, at least, are not going to make 2009’s mistake again.

They’re going to let the Republicans make 2008′s mistake as they did with TARP…

Chris_Balsz on February 11, 2010 at 3:18 PM

Will McCain vote for this…hmmmmmmmmmm….or Scott Brown for that matter. I think it’ll be interesting which republicans cave.

deidre on February 11, 2010 at 3:20 PM

With the rash of stories proclaiming the Jobs bill is a joke, I can only conclude that the Dems are setting up blaming the inevitable failure of Porkulus II on the GOP’s involvement.

uknowmorethanme on February 11, 2010 at 3:22 PM

It’s time for Sen. Gasbagly to be put in the Tea Party’s crosshairs….what a douche.

David in ATL on February 11, 2010 at 3:23 PM

A stimulus stabilization jobs bill that doesn’t do anything to increase jobs is a trap. Everyone acknowledges it won’t do @@%@ for jobs, and yet they’re going ahead with the false act.

It spends more money where we don’t need, nor can afford. KILL IT.

Enoxo on February 11, 2010 at 3:23 PM

Will McCain vote for this…hmmmmmmmmmm….or Scott Brown for that matter. I think it’ll be interesting which republicans cave.

deidre on February 11, 2010 at 3:20 PM

You can write McCain and Brown in as “Yea’s”

uknowmorethanme on February 11, 2010 at 3:23 PM

Grassley may help the pubbies snatch defeat from the jaws in victory in 2010.

a capella on February 11, 2010 at 3:24 PM

I just went to Democratic Underground to see what they are babbling about and I found this gem. OMG, this is the best laugh I’ve had in a long while.

Welcome to the the DU Countdown/Keith Olbermann Group
The mission of the DU Countdown/Keith Olbermann Group is to help to promote the formation of an activist community around the support of the last consistently truthful TV journalist. Basically the Group will be intended to complement and extend the nightly KOEB liveblog thread. It’s not JUST about Keith Olbermann, as we also cover territory he doesn’t. He’s the core theme, but a fully-formed community may be able to address some progressive issues even beyond what Keith says and does.

More specifically, the mission of the Countdown/Keith Olbermann Group is to:

1) Discuss the newsletter, upcoming topics and guests.
2) Link to, and discussion of, KO’s latest blog.
3) Discuss and plan action strategies on Countdown/blog topics where appropriate.
4) Organize letters in support of KO to the station periodically, pen some LTTE about topics he raises, direct stories that we would like to see him cover to the Countdown team, and suggest possible guests.
5) Discuss plan of countering false impressions and anti-Olbermann web sites.
6) Discuss and promote appearances by Keith Olbermann.
7) Discuss Countdown ratings.
8) Work on NewsQuiz questions.
9) Raise awareness of Countdown among those outside of DU.

txag92 on February 11, 2010 at 3:24 PM

ACORN gets 4 Billion and AmeriCorps 1 Billion from new Obama budget
ACORN got a buttload of money from the stimulus, now pumping more money into than most nations have for a GDP, Obama aims to build his precious groups even more

I saw this originally on ACORN Watch Report, which linked to the original story at the Washington Times. Upon reading this, my blood boiled. It seems that not only are all the outrageous earmarks in Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget, but ACORN, the embezzlement-prone, voter-registration-fraud-plagued, child prostitution promoting, leftist community organizing group, is slated to receive nearly $4 billion from a taxpayer-funded slush fund!

The money will come from the Community Development Block Grant, one of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s longest-running programs. The HUD Web site cryptically defines the grant’s purpose as providing “communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs,” not a reassuring description given the group’s recent past history of aiding the community through gratuitous missappropriation of funds.

Has Congress already forgotten the Sept. 2009 ban it passed on ACORN and ACORN-afiliate funding? Or the video that led to the ban, footage showing ACORN employees urging individuals they thought were a prostitute and her pimp to set up a brothel and advising the pair on evading taxpaying? It would have had a hard time doing so, cosidering that ACORN is currently suing the federal government for the attempted ban.

patriotparty1 on February 11, 2010 at 3:27 PM

Bi-partisanship is Treason. Wake the Hell UP GOP!! Damn fools…

Maquis on February 11, 2010 at 3:29 PM

i don’t think so. no way, no how. Shell game is gonna get some hands slapped for these beeotches.

ted c on February 11, 2010 at 3:31 PM

I have an idea…

Let’s elect a bunch of idiots whom never have run a private business, pass laws and regulations over the rest of us, basically flushing the country down the toilet!

What could go wrong…?

Seven Percent Solution on February 11, 2010 at 3:31 PM

I wonder how many of our elected morons know that the only jobs bill they should be considering is one that reduces/eliminates taxes. Otherwise, you may as well just pay several hundred thousand people to stay home and drink beer, since it would be a more efficient use of money than what is likely in this bill.

hogfat on February 11, 2010 at 3:32 PM

Jobs bill contains “doctor fix”,

Patriot Act

extensions
Does This Patriot Act extensions have anything to do with AGW?

Johan Klaus on February 11, 2010 at 3:33 PM

No. Just say NO.

And I am sick and tired of these poison pill bills Congress. These items are unrelated to each other and need to be in separate bills.

Mix:

Highways
Doctors
Unemployment
Flood insurance
Patriot Act
Agriculture Disaster Assistance

times x years of this stupidity and receive:

12 Trillion dollar deficit.

journeyintothewhirlwind on February 11, 2010 at 3:34 PM

We need a party of new ideas. A party who can stop this crap of throwing the whole kitchen sink into a bill so that if one part of it really appeals to you, you have to swallow the whole thing. If it’s a jobs bill, it’s a jobs bill, simple as that. Should take 2-3 pages. Then try and pass a highway bill. Then try and pass an agriculture bill. Instead, this is just business as usual, which of course is what Mr. President promised to steer away from.

scalleywag on February 11, 2010 at 3:38 PM

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m getting on the phones, and calling every number my reps, and sens have. They’re going to hear my NO one way, or the other.

capejasmine on February 11, 2010 at 3:43 PM

When will this madness stop? Everyday, every hour, every second we’re constantly fighting our own damn government. Every damn thing they do is aimed at taking more money, and more liberties from us … and making themselves more powerful.

I’ve had it. I’m waiting for the tipping point.

darwin on February 11, 2010 at 3:45 PM

How much is the 3rd stimulus bill [Bush's Last year, Obama Yr 1, Now this] going to cost us? I can’t believe that there isn’t more opposition to it. They’re just wasting our money so they can take credit when the economy eventually turns around. Stop wasting taxpayer money, Say HELL NO.

El_Terrible on February 11, 2010 at 3:47 PM

No. Just say NO.

And I am sick and tired of these poison pill bills Congress. These items are unrelated to each other and need to be in separate bills.
journeyintothewhirlwind on February 11, 2010 at 3:34 PM

I agree, the whole idea of a smorgasbord approach is screwing everything up and giving cover to both sides.

fourdeucer on February 11, 2010 at 3:49 PM

Its an earmark bill. There’s an election coming up, and the incumbents need some cash to run their campaigns.

That’s why it’s bi-partisan. Both sides need to hide some earmark cash to pay for the advertising.

BobMbx on February 11, 2010 at 3:50 PM

i’m calling Mark Warner’s office & Jim Webb’s office. And I want to apologize to all here–I am ashamed that the Commonwealth of Virginia has such poor Senators.

kelley in virginia on February 11, 2010 at 3:52 PM

Cool — just call some porcine mishmash a “jobs bill” and Republicans will vote for it, because the public is so stupid, and the MSM will cover your posterior.

Heck, why not rename Obamacare to a “jobs bill,” and let them all come running, like pigs to the trough.

We need IQ, sobriety and integrity tests for congress critters. Better yet, just replace them, every election cycle.

Nichevo on February 11, 2010 at 3:56 PM

What do we have to do smack these guys around some more? I guess they are a glutton for punishment cause people are pissed off!!!

sonnyspats1 on February 11, 2010 at 3:56 PM

The problem is … Pelosi doesn’t have the votes for ObamaCare in any way shape or form – and she’s not going to get them. Between Murtha’s death, and the Democratic Pro-Life caucus … not to mention the fact that theives don’t trust other thieves – so the Leftist’s in the House aren’t going to trust their Leftist buddies in the Senate to pass all the fixes to the bill.

People generally accept the fact that O’Care is finished … kaput! Over! Done! History! It’s a “Weekend at Bernie’s” movie at this point – and the laughs are few.

Yeah … I know “they” haven’t given up on it – but if they pass anything right now it’s a bit like answering the jeapardy question about 10 seconds after the time-limit buzzer has sounded. They just look like idiots – and it underscores how incompetent they are.

The GOP better watch out though – and not be seen as throwing Obama too many “lifelines”. They can still be challenged in primaries by Tea Party Patriots.

If you want a Doctor Fix – pass it in a bill.

If you want a Patriot Act extension (and personally I’m for that) … then make it a separate bill.

But if the Senate tries to co-mingle a bunch of stuff that isn’t logically related – then we’re going to see it for what it really is …

“Politics as Usual”

And it will not fly.

Tread Lightly .. Ohhh GOP!

HondaV65 on February 11, 2010 at 3:57 PM

i’m calling Mark Warner’s office & Jim Webb’s office. And I want to apologize to all here–I am ashamed that the Commonwealth of Virginia has such poor Senators.

kelley in virginia on February 11, 2010 at 3:52 PM

They’re mine too. One’s a closet progressive and the other is just nuts.

darwin on February 11, 2010 at 3:57 PM

Wake me when the shooting starts.

Fallen Sparrow on February 11, 2010 at 3:57 PM

Stop funding the Federal Government folks.

Work under the table, or for cash only. If you get caught, blame it on turbo-tax.

Mord on February 11, 2010 at 3:58 PM

I’m sick of these bills that are called one thing but contain a mishmash of stuff covering all aspects of government.

It’s ridiculous.

WisCon on February 11, 2010 at 3:58 PM

I don’t get why the GOP would go for this. Sure it has some tax cuts, but so did the first Porkulus bill and they wisely stayed away from that one.

Stick to your guns, Republicans. You’re on the verge of retaking Congress. Don’t screw it up now.

Doughboy on February 11, 2010 at 3:58 PM

This is why the TEA party exists: Both parties are corrupt, meaning they will sign on to anything as long as there is a piece that pleases them. We want fighters on both sides of the aisle fighting for the interests of the voters. No more earmarks! And HELL NO to voting for anything that will help Obama save face with his base!

LonelyMassRepublican on February 11, 2010 at 4:01 PM

This aint no jobs bill! This is porkulusII. Don’t be fooled about the highway and infastructure money to create jobs. It will all be union labor for the golden boy network in the unions and it is suprising how few people it takes to improve hundreds of miles of road. Next time you see a highway improvement job going on count the men

sonnyspats1 on February 11, 2010 at 4:03 PM

Stick to your guns, Republicans. You’re on the verge of retaking Congress. Don’t screw it up now.

Doughboy on February 11, 2010 at 3:58 PM

If the Republicans retake Congress, it will not be these Republicans. It will be a whole new breed of conservative Republicans.

LonelyMassRepublican on February 11, 2010 at 4:04 PM

GrASSley

Done That on February 11, 2010 at 4:05 PM

I thought the Congress just enacted pay/go? Don’t they have to come up with the revenues to justify this expensive fix?

eaglewingz08 on February 11, 2010 at 4:10 PM

Don’t extend unemployment benefits. It’s time for Obama’s supporters to join the club in hating for the same–not different–reasons that we hate him.

C’mon, GOP. This legislation makes no economic sense whatsoever.

BuckeyeSam on February 11, 2010 at 4:12 PM

GrASSley

Done That on February 11, 2010 at 4:05 PM

+100. Every single Republican needs to run from this! They want the R’s just for cover when this goes south after it’s passed.

Aside from that, this bill does NOTHING to stimulate job growth at all. It’s Slush Fund Part Deux (trois?). WTF is Grassley thinking?! Burn his phone lines down.

J.J. Sefton on February 11, 2010 at 4:15 PM

I fear that there is just enough Republican goodies in this bill to get a handfull of Republicans to cross over and support it.

At least if we can keep the defections to two or three in both houses, we should be able to label the bill as more Democratic pork when it fails to boost employment.

MarkTheGreat on February 11, 2010 at 4:19 PM

6) Discuss and promote appearances by Keith Olbermann.
txag92 on February 11, 2010 at 3:24 PM

Homos. I swear, the left is so gay centric it’s a wonder any children are being born in those homes.

leftnomore on February 11, 2010 at 4:22 PM

Are they backing off? One can only hope …

At Breitbart.com;

“Top Senate Democrat offers pared-back jobs bill”

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9DQ6HJG0&show_article=1

Done That on February 11, 2010 at 4:25 PM

The exposure of that will almost certainly force some House Democrats to oppose the Senate version

On what planet?

LibTired on February 11, 2010 at 4:33 PM

Pelosi may have to delay the stimulus bill in order to pass ObamaCare to get around the doc-fix costing, which will put the Democrats once again in the position of prioritizing their hobby-horse issue ahead of the crisis in unemployment.

Here’s wishing Queen Nancy luck on that. The temporary CMS RVRBS “fix” expires in 17 days; just not sure there’s enough time for the Queen to get Obamacare done on that timetable. If she misses the deadline and a permanent doc fix isn’t done, the Medicare provider network meltdown will cascade in this order:

Cardiology
Primary Care
Radiology
Gastroenterology
Everybody else who doesn’t appreciate a 21% reduction

Orville Redenbachers or Movietime…?

Tongueboy on February 11, 2010 at 4:34 PM

C’mon, GOP. This legislation makes no economic sense whatsoever.

BuckeyeSam on February 11, 2010 at 4:12 PM

Be we have to “do something”! :-/

WashJeff on February 11, 2010 at 4:36 PM

Hmmm…I’ll have to call my senators and warn them that it’s a trap!

On second thought, Feinstein and Boxer are way too savvy to fall for this.

hisfrogness on February 11, 2010 at 4:37 PM

Their need to rob us blind is truly remarkable.
Even in the current atmosphere where much of the public wants Congress to stop spending.
What makes them act like crack addicts when they hit D.C.?

justltl on February 11, 2010 at 4:38 PM

Sounds like the dems are trying to turn anti-democrat sentiment into a more anti-incumbent sentiment which will give them more of a fighting chance during mid terms. Or they can just keep ip the part of no bit. I prefer party of no because they are at least protecing my interests.

erakis on February 11, 2010 at 5:10 PM

The state of Iowa is paying for its sins, vis a vis providing Obama with the key victory in 2008. This state has two incredibly dangerous senators. The meathead Harkin and the tool Grassley. Add to this misery the total scumbag of a governor, Debt Culver, and Iowa us reaping what it hath sown.

cyclown on February 11, 2010 at 5:33 PM

us = is

well played

cyclown on February 11, 2010 at 5:33 PM

Reid Kills Bill!!!

sonnyspats1 on February 11, 2010 at 5:45 PM

Reid Kills Bill !! link up

sonnyspats1 on February 11, 2010 at 5:46 PM

Reid Kills Bill !! link up

sonnyspats1 on February 11, 2010 at 5:46 PM

That’s great but what’s going to be proposed in it’s place? These tools are so predictable with their spending and liberty usurpations, I’m afraid to be cautiously optimistic.

citrus on February 11, 2010 at 6:03 PM

However, the inclusion of the “doctor fix” will be significant to the ObamaCare debate if Congress rushes this stimulus package to the White House. It will force the CBO to rescore the Senate bill before the vote in the House — and the doctor fix puts ObamaCare firmly in the position of adding to the deficit, even in the short term.

Ed, I don’t understand this. How does this bill affect CBO scoring of the health care bill? I thought the idea for the Dems all along was to pass the “Doc fix” in a separate bill so it didn’t have to be included in the health care bill’s costs. Can you explain?

jdp629 on February 11, 2010 at 6:15 PM

Never underestimate the ability of Republicans in Congress to sign on to the absolutely stupidest things they don’t need to sign on to. A spending bill is not a “job stimulus”, just because the label on the first page says “stimulus”!!! They’ve got to STOP the democrats from destroying the economy, not help them.

joe_doufu on February 11, 2010 at 6:17 PM

patriotparty1 on February 11, 2010 at 3:27 PM

I’m a HUD research contractor. I’ve supported CDBG with database development for almost a decade. There is no way ACORN is getting $4 billion. CDBG’s entire budget is only $4.5 billion and the money goes to units of local government and States. ACORN might be a subrecipient but the top-line number is completely implausible.

DrSteve on February 11, 2010 at 6:23 PM

So let me see if I got this right. Pelousi won’t try to get Porkulus 2 passed until after Obamacare is passed to hide the doctor fix?

This is the best news I’ve heard in months! There’s no way that Obamacare is going to pass anything which means that Porkulus 2 will be stuck on the runway indefinitely. That’s one pig that won’t be getting clearance to fly any time soon!

MJBrutus on February 11, 2010 at 6:54 PM

This is a laff riot. Reid doesn’t like Baucus-Grassley either. He has just made it easier for the Republicans to once again, “Just say (hell)NO.”

http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=ZTFhNjBlMWJhY2E0MzEyZmI2NTdjOWY0ZmY4N2M3YWI=

onlineanalyst on February 11, 2010 at 7:17 PM

Here is a link to the bill from the senate website:

Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act

Just reading the table of content shows this to be another pork bill that is going to do nothing to create any employment or jobs.

JeffinSac on February 12, 2010 at 10:16 AM