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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review December 27, 2013/ 24 Teves, 5774

Schumer's claims about Democratic and GOP efforts to 'fix' Obamacare

By Glenn Kessler




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "I think what most Americans want us to do is not repeal Obamacare, which is what our Republican colleagues are focused on, but fix it. The president is working to fix it; we are working in the Senate to fix it; we urge our Republican colleagues to join us in fixing it."

– Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," Dec. 22, 2013

Any large piece of legislation contains drafting errors, just as bugs in computer code are often discovered after the release of new software. But one consequence of passing the Affordable Care Act with only the votes of one political party is that no so-called "technical corrections" bill has been passed, let alone introduced, because political passions continue to run high about the law. Thus, when unexpected problems have emerged, the White House has preferred to order administrative work-arounds.

Schumer is the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate leadership. So what is he talking about when he says Democratic senators are working to fix the law — and suggests the Republicans are not?

The Facts

Lawmakers generally write laws, but when we asked Schumer's office for evidence of "fixes" that Senate Democrats are working on, we received a list of administrative ideas and many meetings between Democrats (especially those vulnerable to a GOP challenge) and White House officials.

For instance:

"Nov. 6 — A group of 15 Senators up for reelection in 2014 and Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) went to the White House to propose and discuss fixes to the ACA."

Or:

"Senators Mark Warner, Angus King, Jeanne Shaheen, Mary Landrieu, Heidi Heitkamp and Tim Kaine sent a letter to the administration asking that individuals with canceled policies receive a hardship exemption to purchase catastrophic coverage. This week, the administration responded by allowing such individuals to claim a hardship exemption that would allow them to purchase catastrophic coverage or avoid the individual mandate penalty."

A Democratic congressional aide said it would be wrong to assume that Schumer was speaking about legislative fixes. He said that senators have the ability to advocate for changes in other ways, and the administration has been responsive.

As an example, he pointed to legislation proposed by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) that would have allowed people to keep their pre-Affordable Care Act plans; the administration took part of the legislative concept and implemented it administratively. (Skeptics might argue the administration and the Democratic leadership did not allow a permanent legislative fix to proceed, so Landrieu's solution — which had the support of many Republicans — was blocked.)



Okay, what about Republicans? Schumer said that they are "focused on repeal" and that "we urge our Republican colleagues to join us in fixing it." Certainly, many Republicans dislike the law and, especially in the House of Representatives, have voted often to repeal it; indeed, some Republicans who have spoken openly about trying to improve the law have been attacked by GOP rivals for not adequately supporting full repeal.

Still, the clear impression of Schumer’s statement is that Democrats are open to working with Republicans to address issues in the law. But is that really the case?

For instance, Republicans have pressed for a repeal of the 2.3 percent tax on medical devices, which would raise about $30 billion of revenue over the next decade but which manufacturers claim (perhaps wrongly) is costing jobs. Many Democrats also favor repealing the tax — a nonbinding amendment to the budget resolution passed 79 to 20, with Schumer voting in support of repeal — but the Senate Democratic leadership has refused to schedule a binding vote, even though the measure has passed with Democratic support in the House.

Meanwhile, Republicans have also pushed to delay the individual mandate for a year, winning the support of at least one Senate Democrat, Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Manchin has pitched the idea of a "transitional year" to improve the product and discover any possible flaws. “This transitional year gives you a chance to adjust the products to the market and to see if the market will absorb and buy the product,” he said on Sunday.

We take no position on whether these proposals are good or bad, but simply note that they are Republican proposals to fix the law, in cooperation with at least some Democrats — which have been blocked by the Senate leadership that includes Schumer.

Indeed, two previous legislative fixes that cleared both chambers and were signed into law — repeal of the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (or CLASS Act) and repeal of the so-called 1099 reporting requirement — were spearheaded by Republicans.

"Democratic leadership believes the best way to fix the law is through administrative action, but if there are fixes that require legislation we're certainly open to looking at those," said Matt House, a Schumer spokesman.

The Pinocchio Test

Schumer's comment was carefully worded to suggest that Democrats are working hard to improve the law while being open to Republican ideas. But his remarks leave out a significant part of the story. Senate Democrats generally have not offered legislative fixes — and the leadership often has blocked legislation backed by Republicans and even some Democrats from coming to the floor for a vote. Administrative fixes engineered by the White House can only go so far in addressing some of the problems that have emerged from the drafting of the original law.

Schumer’s comment is an example of political rhetoric that misdirects through omission and its tone, leaving listeners in the dark about the actual dynamics on the Senate floor.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


Comment on Glenn Kessler's column by clicking here. >

An award-winning journalism career spanning nearly three decades, Glenn Kessler has covered foreign policy, economic policy, the White House, Congress, politics, airline safety and Wall Street. He was The Washington Post's chief State Department reporter for nine years, traveling around the world with three different Secretaries of State. Before that, he covered tax and budget policy for The Washington Post and also served as the newspaper's national business editor. Kessler has long specialized in digging beyond the conventional wisdom, such as when he earned a "laurel" from the Columbia Journalism Review



Previously:

12/12/13: Harry Reid's explanation for why not all of his staff is going on 'Obamacare'

09/05/13: History lesson: When the United States looked the other way on chemical weapons

07/09/13: George W. Bush returns as a uniter

06/11/13: Obama's claim of 500,000 manufacturing jobs, month after month

05/15/13: Prez's claim he called Benghazi an 'act of terrorism'

02/21/13: Obama and early childhood education: a rhetorical leap of faith

02/14/13: Fact checking the 2013 State of the Union speech

10/23/11: Fact Checking the Final Debate

07/10/11: Obama's misleading tweet on Romney's taxes

02/21/11: The claim that 98 percent of Catholic women use contraception: a media foul

12/29/11: Ron Paul and Ronald Reagan (Fact Checker biography)

12/08/11: Romney versus Gingrich: a Super PAC's over-the-top ad

12/08/11: Obama's Kansas speech: some suspect facts

11/18/11: The Obama campaign's spin on the Romney tax plan

09/27/11: Obama' strained symbolism at an Ohio River bridge

08/25/11: Obama's claim that GOP is holding up trade deals

08/11/11: Obama's claim that the debt problem can ‘go away’

06/22/11: AARP's misleading ad about balancing the budget

05/24/11: A rare Geppetto for Paul Ryan's assertion on Obama's hidden top marginal tax rate

05/16/11:Obama administration boasting about border security

05/11/11: Kathleen Sebelius's outrageous claim that cancer patients would 'die sooner' under the GOP Medicare plan

05/09/11: A gusher of oil rhetoric

05/04/11: The Obama administration's odd claims on export growth

04/28/11: How effective are sanctions in ‘changing behavior’?

04/14/11: ‘Biggest cuts in U.S. history’? Well, no.

04/08/11: Nancy Pelosi's absurd math on senior citizens losing their meals

04/06/11: Hillary Clinton's uncredible statement on Syria

03/25/11: Libya, Obama and the tragedy in Darfur

03/22/11: Gifts of bogus statistics for the health-care law's birthday

03/21/11: Mitch McConnell's not-so-happy birthday greetings for the health care law

03/10/11: A job-loss statistic produced out of thin air

03/10/17: A budget analogy that earns a Geppetto checkmark

03/10/11: Four pinocchios for the American public on the budget

03/09/11: Obama and the White House's ‘halfway’ fixation with the budget

03/08/11: Foreign policy braggadocio on Libya and AIDS

03/07/11: Democrats keep misleading on claimed budget ‘cuts’

03/01/11: Mike Huckabee is on to something here, but jumped the gun

02/25/11: Harry Reid's illusory $41 billion in budget cuts


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