As reported in a previous article, Senator Harkin clearly contradicted President Obama when he stated:
Labor leaders had announced an agreement with White House and congressional representatives over an excise tax on high-cost insurance plans on the Thursday before the special election.
Harkin said “we had an agreement, with the House, the White House and the Senate. We sent it to [the Congressional Budget Office] to get scored and then Tuesday happened and we didn’t get it back.” He said negotiators had an agreement in hand on Friday, Jan. 15.
Harkin made clear that negotiators had reached a final deal on the entire bill, not just the excise plans, which had been reported the previous day, Jan. 14.
Harkin said the deal covered the prescription-drug “donut hole,” the level of federal insurance subsidies, national insurance exchanges and federal Medicaid assistance to states.
Senator Harkin would know if a deal was done as he was in the marathon meeting at the White House on January 13, 2010. On the same day, Obama, Pelosi, and Reid put out a brief joint statement:
“Today we made significant progress in bridging the remaining gaps between the two health insurance reform bills. We’re encouraged and energized, and we’re resolved to deliver reform legislation that provides more stability and security for those with insurance, extends coverage to those who don’t have coverage, and lowers costs for families, businesses, and governments.”
However, it appears that the statements made by Harkin weren’t so far-fetched. On January 14th, House Ways and Means Chairman, Charlie Rangel, who was also in the WH meetings, confirmed that the healthcare bill was on its way to the CBO for scoring, either Friday the 15th or Saturday the 16th, to reporter Anna Edney, who then Tweeted the information:
So, who is telling the truth? Harkin and Rangel or Obama at the GOP Retreat when he stated they were still working on those “stray cats and dogs” in the bill.
There is, however, one more problem. When you talk to members of Congress, they consistently refer to the health bill as being in “conference” to merge the House and Senate version. When, I went to the THOMAS bill tracking system, it mentions nothing of the sort. It has all of the amendments and votes, but the latest update has nothing about the bill being in conference as other legislation documents. This administration is circumventing the legislative process so much that the offical bill tracking system can’t even be updated properly.
The only conclusion that can be made is that Obama, Pelosi, Reid and company were indeed attempting to jam through a healthcare bill and vote on it before the MA election, but time ran out for them and they lost a day due to the MLK federal holiday on January 18th. So much for Obama’s olive branch to the Republicans at the GOP retreat–all talk–just words as Obama’s says in this speech. I think we get it now, again, I hope the GOP does too.
The next questions are: where is the final agreement that went to the CBO and why haven’t the American people been shown the new merged bill?
Original post at Big Government.