The exciting conclusion to the great student-loan interest-rate debate. Remember, Romney sided with Obama on extending the current lower rate a few days ago so the questions for House Republicans were (a) whether they’d go along and (b) if so, how they’d pay for it. The solution: Extend the rate and offset the $6 billion cost by cutting a similar amount from the new Prevention and Public Health Fund in ObamaCare instead. No way were the Democrats going to let the GOP get away that easily, though, so here was Pelosi this morning demagoging the issue in the shrillest, most electorally advantageous way possible:
“Their priority is to protect the subsidies for Big Oil,” said Pelosi at a Capitol Hill press conference on Thursday. “Our priority is to prevent breast cancer, cervical cancer, to immunize our children, so that they are healthy.”
Pelosi also charged that Republicans view Obamacare as a slush fund for the administration. “It may be a slush fund to him [House Speaker Boehner], but it’s survival to women,” she said. “It’s survival to women. And that just goes to show you what a luxury he thinks it is to have good health for women. We do not agree.”
Interesting point. If the Prevention Fund is this important to saving lives, obviously it’s pure insanity to touch it. Except that … Democrats themselves already tried to cut billions from the Fund:
Democrats voted solidly earlier this year to take money from the preventive health fund to help keep doctors’ Medicare reimbursements from dropping. Obama’s own budget in February proposed cutting $4 billion from the same fund to pay for some of his priorities.
Turns out women’s health isn’t any special priority of the Fund either. Skim the list of programs for yourself; WaPo’s Suzy Khimm notes that it’s aimed mainly at training doctors and reducing obesity and tobacco use. “War on Obesity” doesn’t do much to move votes, though, which is where Pelosi comes in. And that bring us to Boehner’s angry meme-busting rebuttal, which, according to ABC, inspired Maxine Waters, Donna Edwards, Marcy Kaptur, Yvette Clark and a few other women Democrats to actually walk out in fake-outrage. Perfect Friday night viewing.
The bill passed 215-195, incidentally, although fully 30 Republicans defected. (So did 13 Democrats or else the measure would have failed.) Obama’s threatening a veto but that’s pure posturing since Senate Democrats are bound to reject the House proposal in favor of one of their own before it reaches his desk. O simply wants to be on record as opposing this dangerous woman-hating cancer-spreading legislation in case any undecideds are following the coverage. Exit quotation from the White House: “Women, in particular, will benefit from this Prevention Fund, which would provide for hundreds of thousands of screenings for breast and cervical cancer.”