Two House Dems defect on IPAB after embarrassment on Senate budget vote

posted at 11:36 am on March 10, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

When Democrats pushed ObamaCare through Congress and onto a hostile electorate, the White House promised that the program would corral rising costs in health care.  The specific mechanism for this was the Independent Medicare Advisory Board (IPAB), which would have the authority to grant or deny funding to Medicare depending on the fiscal health of the program, rather than the current MPAB which only has the authority to recommend such cuts to Congress.  Opponents of ObamaCare argued that the IPAB would act as an indirect “death panel” by denying funding for end-of-life care, while others opposed it for encroaching on the authority of Congress over budgeting matters.

Now, two Democrats in the House have decided to switch sides and support a repeal of the IPAB on the latter grounds:

Two House Democrats have signed onto a Republican bill to repeal a health reform provision that the Obama administration has touted as a central tool to keep health costs under control.

Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) became a co-sponsor of legislation to repeal the Medicare payment board on Wednesday, one week after Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.). A spokesman for the congresswoman said she remains committed to the law’s cost-cutting goals but wants Congress to be in charge. …

The Independent Payment Advisory Board fast-tracks cuts to Medicare payments when spending reaches a pre-determined target. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that it would save $28 billion through 2019.

Peter Orzsag, the president’s previous budget chief, has called the board one of the law’s most important provisions for keeping Medicare sustainable.

But congressional Democrats have been under tremendous pressure from doctors and hospitals to try to nix an unelected board that directly threatens their bottom line. Over the years, the current Medicare Payment Advisory Board has seen millions of dollars worth of recommended Medicare cuts ignored by Congress.

Capuano is a bit of a surprise switch.  The last we heard from the Massachusetts Democrat, he was modeling the New Tone in politics by telling unions to “get out on the streets and get a little bloody.”  With his liberal credentials so much on display, his defection on the IPAB could be very costly for Democrats looking to hold the line on ObamaCare.

It’s not the only defection that The Hill reports among Democrats, either.  They also note that the vote last night in the Senate on the White House-backed budget plan embarrassed party leadership:

Senate Democrats suffered a wave of defections Wednesday as their proposal to cut just over $6 billion from federal spending this year went down to defeat.

The Democratic bill attracted two fewer votes than the rival GOP measure that would cut spending by another $57 billion this year. The 11 defections will give Republican leaders ammunition in subsequent talks, as they were able to keep their caucus more unified. …

Reid had hoped for a game-changer with votes that showed senators closer to the Democratic plan than the one backed by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), but the plan backfired.

After the votes, Reid did not respond when asked if he was surprised that the Republican bill secured more votes than the Democratic measure.

And in the House, centrist Dem Henry Cuellar of Texas has used his new spot in caucus leadership to blast the White House for a lack of leadership:

On Wednesday, for instance, he went after the White House for taking a backseat throughout most of the budget-cut debate. Democrats, he said, are making progress highlighting the distinction in spending priorities between the two parties, “but it would be nice if we could get a little bit of help from our president.”

“The president needs to work with us on those priorities,” he said, “and there certainly has to be a lot more communication between the House, the Senate and the president.”

Cuellar also questioned the appointment of Vice President Joe Biden to spearhead the bipartisan negotiations in search of a deal. Biden met with party leaders on Thursday, but left the country a few days later to meet with leaders in Russia and Finland.

“If he’s the chief negotiator — at least that’s what I thought he was gonna be — and then he takes off in the middle of this debate, then where does that leave us?” Cuellar asked.

It seems as though a revolt may be brewing among Capitol Hill Democrats — one that perhaps should have taken place immediately after the disastrous midterms.


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The collapse of the liberal paper castle begins….LOL

MCW on March 10, 2011 at 11:39 AM

Rats. Sinking ship.

VegasRick on March 10, 2011 at 11:40 AM

“Sometimes ya gotta punch Medicare in the nose,” -Capuano.

Akzed on March 10, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Where’s my 5 iron?

a capella on March 10, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Vegas Rick +1

Renwaa on March 10, 2011 at 11:45 AM

So, is OFA going to remove their thugs from Madison and ship them to Washington?
Sure seems like things are falling apart for The One.

ORconservative on March 10, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Where’s my 5 iron?

a capella on March 10, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Where’s my NCAA bracket sheet?

Knucklehead on March 10, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Democrats are revolting? Who knew?

GarandFan on March 10, 2011 at 11:48 AM

I’m sure some of them realize…they aren’t on the winning side of this issue. Some wisen up. Others….like Reid, just sit, wring their bony fingers and hope for the outcomes they desire.

These are the hippies of yesteryear, and the idiots of today.

capejasmine on March 10, 2011 at 11:48 AM

“I need to get ready for the Aretha Franklin concert at the White House, so quit bothering me.”

-PBHO

Bishop on March 10, 2011 at 11:49 AM

Democrats are revolting? Who knew?

GarandFan on March 10, 2011 at 11:48 AM

Michael Moore is revolting….

So what else is new?

Fake8 on March 10, 2011 at 11:54 AM

Democrats are revolting? Who knew?

GarandFan on March 10, 2011 at 11:48 AM

You’re right! They stink on ice!

teke184 on March 10, 2011 at 11:54 AM

Blue on blue. Heh.

Wethal on March 10, 2011 at 11:54 AM

The closer we get to campaign time the more demonrat defectors were gonna see, there just try’in to save there political futures with the voters.

SHARPTOOTH on March 10, 2011 at 11:54 AM

“There are no death panels, there never were any death panels, and I’m voting to remove them.”

MassVictim on March 10, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Let them eat arugula.

xrayiiis on March 10, 2011 at 11:55 AM

The closer we get to campaign time the more demonrat defectors were gonna see, there just try’in to save there political futures with the voters.

SHARPTOOTH on March 10, 2011 at 11:54 AM

This. They saw what happened to the Blanche Lincolns of the party in 2010 who were “good soldiers” for the administration and will be trying to flee the sinking ship to save themselves.

teke184 on March 10, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Congress is revolting is not news.

Kissmygrits on March 10, 2011 at 11:55 AM

rumble… rumble… rumble…

What was that?

The country moving to the right again.

mankai on March 10, 2011 at 12:01 PM

Thank you, Sarah Palin.

Christian Conservative on March 10, 2011 at 12:03 PM

“If he’s the chief negotiator — at least that’s what I thought he was gonna be — and then he takes off in the middle of this debate, then where does that leave us?” Cuellar asked.

Sorry, I’d love to discuss that with you, but I’ve recently become too bloody as a result of your partner’s request.

BobMbx on March 10, 2011 at 12:06 PM

rumble… rumble… rumble…

What was that?

The country moving to the right again.

mankai on March 10, 2011 at 12:01 PM

More proof that, despite Berkeley Breathed’s own political views, Bloom County was a classic.

I need to go find that comic, complete with a picture of the entire country shifting to the right, save California.

teke184 on March 10, 2011 at 12:06 PM

Perhaps they are less proud of their President than they used to be.

Roy Rogers on March 10, 2011 at 12:06 PM

I hope the GOP leadership does not fall for this. Obamacare must be repealed in its entirety. Democrats must own the whole thing and be forced to repeal the whole thing. The IPAB is one of many, many things in the bill that will have disastrous consequences.

rockmom on March 10, 2011 at 12:11 PM

This week has been really great so far…

ladyingray on March 10, 2011 at 12:12 PM

FORE!

SouthernGent on March 10, 2011 at 12:16 PM

These types of posts are getting to be redundant, Mr. President absent from this, doesn’t lead on that, can’t make a decision on this, goes golfing, can’t meet with his administration, hosts a basketball party, appoints another czar, decides not to defend laws, can’t get our people out of Libya for days, it’s MOTOWN time. Despicable excuse for a leader…but can anything be done about it? What’s it going to take?

scalleywag on March 10, 2011 at 12:16 PM

These guys are such jerks. They have voted one way and now are saying “never mind.”

Repeal all of ObamaCare. Then repeal Obama. Or the other way around, I don’t really care. Both must go.

doufree on March 10, 2011 at 12:17 PM

To the Democrats Upon The Hill: do not ask who the bus stops for as you will see its wheels soon enough as your answer. Obama is moving to put most of his party under that bus…

ajacksonian on March 10, 2011 at 1:02 PM

It’s raining in the Mid-Atlantic region, so Obama can’t play golf today. Maybe he’ll find time with his schedule opening up to actually do his job.

djaymick on March 10, 2011 at 1:08 PM

It’s raining in the Mid-Atlantic region, so Obama can’t play golf today. Maybe he’ll find time with his schedule opening up to actually do his job.

djaymick on March 10, 2011 at 1:08 PM

I’d prefer he just stay out on the links and party like its his last month in office.

44Magnum on March 10, 2011 at 1:17 PM

On Wednesday, for instance, he went after the White House for taking a backseat throughout most of the budget-cut debate.

Didn’t the President tell us the Republicans should be in the back seat?

Biden met with party leaders on Thursday, but left the country a few days later to meet with leaders in Russia and Finland.

He wanted to Finnish the job, and watch the economy sink to hell from Helsinki. To Russia with Love !!!

Steve Z on March 10, 2011 at 1:21 PM

“I need to get ready for the Aretha Franklin concert at the White House, so quit bothering me.”

Bishop on March 10, 2011 at 11:49 AM

It’s raining in the Mid-Atlantic region, so Obama can’t play golf today. Maybe he’ll find time with his schedule opening up to actually do his job.

djaymick on March 10, 2011 at 1:08 PM

No, no, no…today’s schedule is pretty much taken up with the urgent matter of school bullying.

Trafalgar on March 10, 2011 at 1:40 PM

This is a sign that Capuano is going to run against Scott Brown in ’12. Capuano needs to establish some more moderate credentials if that is possible.

BrianBoru on March 10, 2011 at 2:17 PM

“Sometimes ya gotta punch Medicare in the nose,” -Capuano.

Akzed on March 10, 2011 at 11:43 AM

+100!!

TugboatPhil on March 10, 2011 at 3:25 PM

The more Republicans repeal individual faults, the fewer people will object to the law as a whole.

#BadStrategy

American Elephant on March 10, 2011 at 3:55 PM

Batguano switching sides?

Hmmmmm, be very suspicious and look for ulterior motives.

roy_batty on March 10, 2011 at 4:11 PM

I guess the WH heroes are too busy “organizing” Wisconsin to participate in the budget debate.

Thugs.

hillbillyjim on March 10, 2011 at 4:51 PM

I Hate it when the good news, is that somebody is not doing his job.

It is still better than when ObaMao is working though.

Slowburn on March 10, 2011 at 7:18 PM

Okay, maybe I’m slow, but how do you get IPAB out of Independent Medicare Advisory Board? Personally, I get IMAB.

rmgraha on March 10, 2011 at 8:46 PM