Archive for Thursday, August 5, 2010

Brownback defends stance on Medicaid

August 5, 2010


— U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback faced new questions Thursday about joining fellow congressional Republicans in opposing legislation that would prop up state budgets as his Democratic opponent in the race for governor criticized him.

Brownback said he is against a plan that includes extra Medicaid dollars for states because it wasn’t drafted in a fiscally responsible way. Kansas’ share is $131 million, and its current $13.7 billion budget won’t balance without the money, which covers health care for the poor and disabled.

The GOP senator has said he’ll support the extra Medicaid funding if Congress offsets the costs elsewhere so the federal debt doesn’t rise. The latest version contains such offsets, but Republicans see it as deeply flawed.

Kansas Democrats’ nominee for governor, state Sen. Tom Holland, of Baldwin City, declared Thursday that Brownback is “out of excuses” for not supporting the legislation.

Holland had a Statehouse news conference to kick off the fall campaign for governor and suggested Brownback is out of touch with the state. Holland said Brownback’s position is an example of him being too far to the right.

“If this is the damage that Senator Brownback can cause from Washington, imagine what he can do in Topeka,” Holland said.

But Brownback, like many Republicans, has a long list of objections to the Medicaid legislation, which is likely to clear Congress next week. Among other reasons, it rewrites tax laws and trims spending from military procurement and construction budgets.

The bill does tap some federal stimulus funds. Brownback argues all the extra Medicaid spending — and extra education funds in the bill — could be covered by existing federal stimulus dollars.

“With our debt out of control, we need to be fiscally responsible,” he said in a statement Thursday.

The congressional impasse over the $26 billion legislation had caused heartburn for states because a majority counted on extra Medicaid dollars in their budgeting, Kansas included. A key vote came Wednesday, when Senate Democrats broke a filibuster.

“These funds will not only allow us to keep our budget in balance, but prevent thousands of teacher layoffs and keep Kansas on the road to economic recovery,” Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat, said Thursday.

Provisions of the legislation rewrite laws determining how much income tax credits individuals and corporations receive for overseas income taxed by other nations. Supporters see the changes as reining in offshore tax shelters, but critics say corporations won’t want to reinvest foreign earnings in the U.S.

Another change repeals a 2009 law that helped some poor and working-class families by giving them an advance against the earned income tax credit they receive when filing their income taxes later.

Brownback said the legislation relied on “accounting gimmicks” and “questionable” offsets to its extra spending. Fellow Kansas Republican Sen. Pat Roberts opposed the bill for similar reasons.

Brownback said: “The Democrats could have easily paid for this with existing stimulus funds.”


Jimo 7 years, 9 months ago

Ah, the contradictions.

So, the obvious question for Brownback is: as governor, do you plan to cut $131M from Medicare recipients in the state or do you plan to cut $131M from elsewhere in the budget in addition to all the other cuts and shift that money to Medicare recipients?

In other words Sam, what would Jesus do?

oldvet 7 years, 9 months ago

Jesus would tell you that you should take care of your neighbor (charity) and that Caesar's matters should be left to Caesar...

Centerville 7 years, 9 months ago

In other words, Parkinson built phony budget.

Jimo 7 years, 9 months ago Revenues fell more than expected and have continued to fall longer than expected. Prior Republican legislatures have thrown aware hundreds of millions of dollars in potential reserves that could now be used to meet these needs ... except they the money away in affordable tax cuts for the well off.

Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 9 months ago

So did the Republicans and Kansas Chamber in their alternative budget.

Jimo 7 years, 9 months ago

I note that I didn't mention an obvious alternative that I suspect Brownback would object to more than an Islamic conversion.....raising taxes to cover the State's financial obligations.

63BC 7 years, 9 months ago

There is over $300 billion remaining in unspent stimulus funds. Why not just use some of those? Seems reasonable.

Jennifer Alexander 7 years, 9 months ago

I wonder if the $300 billion is set for certain types of aid, and perhaps Medicaid is not on that list.

Godot 7 years, 9 months ago

No, there were no strings attached to stimulus. Our wise and cautious Congress gave the Executive branch total control over how that magical stash is distributed. 0 is, no doubt, saving the $300billion for something really audacious - something that will buy lots and lots of votes. Giving money to states for medicaid just isn't sexy enough.

Rumor has it that he has a big August surprise up his sleeve - like ordering Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to "forgive" $100BN worth of mortgages on houses that are "underwater" and in default. Skittles for everyone.....except people who have paid off their mortgages, or who are responsibly keeping up their payments.

Jimo 7 years, 9 months ago

A) because the stimulus funds are not a grab-bag of moolah to just dip into B) because "unspent" means "already committed but not yet claimed" such as tax credits that won't come due until 2010 returns are filed in 2011 C) because doing so is just a continuation of the "war against stimulus that doesn't put cash in Warren Buffet's pocket" (but of course happy to stimulate Buffet directly by throwing cash at him without any guarantee of performance) D) because it confuses short term problems (massive recessions result in massive shortfalls in revenues for Medicaid) with long term problems (an inability of Dems and Repubs to cut the cost curve of any spending program that would matter and Repubs inability to end their addiction to tax cut pixie dust).

Other than that, quite reasonable.

Jimo 7 years, 9 months ago

If you don't have an argument, you're not required to reply. But I'll take the absence of counter-argument to be assent.

Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 9 months ago

This bill cuts spending that was approved as part of the stimulus bill. This bill actually reduces the deficit.

What is Brownback talking about when he claims it doesn't use stimulus funds? What is he talking about when he says it adds to the debt?

Oh yeah, he's lying to the media. Good for him.

kansastruthteller 7 years, 9 months ago

Kansas' budget was built by Holland and other legislators on the assumption that federal dollars would be available to Kansas. Balancing a budget on the assumption that federal money would be available is irresponsible.

It did allow them to avoid making some tough political decisions - raise taxes or cut more to balance the budget.

The Kansas legislature and current governor areresponsible for the current budget problems.

MyName 7 years, 9 months ago

1) It's not irresponsible. You can either assume the money that is supposed to be there will be there, and cut later if it isn't, or you can do the opposite, and be stuck ticking off a bunch of people by making cuts that turned out to not be necessary.

2) They did raise taxes and cut the budget as much as they could. While they put it off until May, they did make the tough decisions.

3) The economy is what is responsible for the current budget problems. Granted, the tax cuts earlier in the decade may be some of it, but there's a 9% unemployment rate in KS and revenues are about to where they were 10 years ago, which can be a big problem for any government.

Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 9 months ago

The only alternative budget proposed was balanced on the assumption that federal money would be available.

Sam Brownback says we cannot tax our way out of the budget crisis. He also says we cannot cut our way out of the budget crisis.

Now Sam Brownback says we can't use this federal money, which is paid for in the federal budget with cuts to the stimulus act, to get out of this budget crisis?

What does he suggest--- pixie dust?

texburgh 7 years, 9 months ago

Actually, the state budget was built by Republicans Emler, McGinn, Morris, and Vratil with help from Democrats including Holland. If you're going by "truthteller" maybe you should tell the truth.

More than half the states counted the extension of the medicaid money in building state budgets - Kansas is not alone.

The bill containing the medicaid extension actually reduces the deficit - it was fully paid for by offsets elsewhere and then some so Brownback is flat out lying. The Congressional Budget office did the math, not the Democrats.

Brownback like all but two of the Republican senators just doesn't give a hoot about what happens to regular working Americans. For them it's all about how they can help the wealthiest at the expense of everyone else.

nanimwe 7 years, 9 months ago

The primary reason Brownback won't take the money is because he's really running for president, and will want to be able to say in the future that he didn't take deficit money from the Obama administration.

staff04 7 years, 9 months ago

Brownback defends the indefensible. Kansas taxpayers are on the hook for those funds whether they like it or not. It is absolutely the duty (and I would argue one of the most important duty) of any official elected to high office as a representative of his state or district to do everything in his/her power to guarantee that his state/district gets an appropriate return of services or funds in exchange for their taxes paid.

notajayhawk 7 years, 9 months ago

Have someone open a dictionary for you, staff, and look up the word "deficit". We're not talking about a "return of services or funds for taxes paid" because the "taxes paid" just aren't there.

Also, it's pretty typical around Lawrence, but disgustung nonetheless, that someone believes "It is absolutely the duty (and I would argue one of the most important duty) of any official elected to high office as a representative of his state or district" to grab as much pork as possible, just to make her/himself popular with the freeloaders who might be swayed into re-electing him/her.

staff04 7 years, 9 months ago

Have someone open the manual on federal budget procedures for you--who do you think pays off the deficit? Apparently Republicans think the magic deficit fairy takes care of it. The point that went buzzing over your head is that the money is spent and Kansas taxpayers WILL pay a share of it.

Yes, there is such a thing as pork-barrel spending. Sam should know all about it. Would you like a link?

I'm suggesting that anyone who goes to Washington and doesn't attempt to recover a fair proportion of what the taxpayers send to Washington (rightly or wrongly, our opinions of taxes in general is irrelevant here) is doing a disservice to his constituents.

You go ahead and stand by your principles and refuse to take back any of what you have given up or will give up to the tax-man. I, on the other hand, knowing how the system works and knowing that these monies WILL be spent, want to make sure there is at least some return on my dollar. It should be clear to you by now that it isn't going to come in the form of a check from the Treasury. It has nothing to do with freeloading, it is about operating within the system until the system changes. With as long as people have been bitching about "pork," I'd bet it ain't gonna change anytime soon.

I don't expect you to understand it, but I figured in the absence of a pop-up book this explanation will have to do.

BTW, and this might qualify as ad hominem, but what the heck--your habit of quoting someone then adding your own inflammatory phrases to take conversation off-course and out of context is very...Andrew Breitbart of you.

staff04 7 years, 9 months ago

"With as long as people have been bitching about "pork," I'd bet it ain't gonna change anytime soon."

Should read, "With as long as people have been bitching about "pork," with no changes, I'd bet it ain't gonna change anytime soon."

notajayhawk 7 years, 9 months ago

"Have someone open the manual on federal budget procedures for you ..."

Ooh, someone had their very first civics class and just couldn't wait to show off! Education is a fine thing, staff - keep at it, and someday that GED can be all yours.

"The point that went buzzing over your head ..."

You had a point? How would you know, since apparently you wouldn't recognize one that was poking you in the eye?

Okay, let me try this again, in terms maybe even YOU might understand.

Let's say your mommy takes you to the store, and she asks the grocer to let you have one of those 5-cent lollipops. She tells the man that you will be happy to come to the store on Friday and pay him back, since every week she gives you five(!) shiny little coins with a picture of Abraham Lincoln on them. But when Friday rolls around, she comes home and sadly tells you that work has been slow, and times are hard, and all she can give you is three little pictures of old Abe.

See, little one, it really doesn't matter whether it's the mean old, money grubbing Republican ogre of a grocer's fault for the lollipop costing more than you have to pay, or the sweet, super-gee-whiz-spiffy Democrat mommy's fault for not being able to give you more in your weekly handout. It doesn't even matter if you have to pay back the other two cents next week, or even three with interest. What YOU'RE b****ing and moaning about is that your [elected] mommy didn't fulfill her "most important duty" by getting you a ten-cent piece of candy for your three cents.

"Yes, there is such a thing as pork-barrel spending. Sam should know all about it. Would you like a link?"

Let's see - you complain that Brownback isn't doing his "most important duty" by getting enough back for the state - while pointing out his record of getting too much back for the state. Soooo - you're complaining about, what, again? Oh, that's right - he's a Republican, and whiny entitled liberals don't like Republicans.

Or maybe it's just that he's not doing enough for YOU. A pretty large number of people in the STATE he represents believe he's done just fine. And for the umpteenth time, those people in the rest of the state could give a fig whether the fine folks in Larryville don't think he's done enough.

staff04 7 years, 9 months ago

Medicaid isn't pork, moron. Highway construction, public infrastructure, and program funding isn't pork, moron. Handouts to Farmland and Koch, is pork, moron. See? Two can play this game!

I don't need to discuss my education or experience with the actual federal budget, but I'd bet my house and car on who would outperform who in that civics class you mentioned.

staff04 7 years, 9 months ago

The irrational comments and shrill tone are making this feel eerily similar to the posting of one right_thinker, as he slowly lost his marbles. You make less and less sense each time your hands touch the keyboard.

I hope you find some peace in that world of yours.

Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 9 months ago

The bill Brownback voted against reduces the federal deficit.

emptymind 7 years, 9 months ago

Does anyone really think Sam cares about Kansans? He is a multi-millionaire and has aspirations to be President. Another Bush crony in the Statehouse then the White anyone listening?

K_Verses_The_World 7 years, 9 months ago

Doctor, can you hear me? I need some Medicaid I seen the kingdoms of the world and it’s making me feel afraid What I got ain’t painful, it’s just bound to kill me dead Like the men that followed Jesus when they put a price upon His head

puddleglum 7 years, 9 months ago

this is why we NEED the coal plant built out by holcomb. The grey skies and dust colored snow are a small price to pay for thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of jobs that the new plant will create. Not to mention all that cheap energy going to colorado, so they can enjoy the fruits but not the forbidden tree making them. If we had two huge plants built, we could be so well off that we wouldn't even need to balance the budget, cuz we would have so much money. NEW coal plant=millions of jobs for everyday Kansans. I would be rich if they build some coal plants. so would you. vote for coal plants. they are great.

verity 7 years, 9 months ago

But, but, wouldn't all the pollution clog up your pores and make you less beautiful? And even if we're starving to death, at least we have your beauty.

Katara 7 years, 9 months ago

Is a less pretty puddleglum even possible?

puddleglum 7 years, 9 months ago

my pores are pollution-proof and no, there is no such thing as a less pretty puddleglum...just fairy tales. even if I grow to 90 years old, I will always be 29 years old

frank mcguinness 7 years, 9 months ago

I'm pretty sure after the construction phase (which could be done by a nebraska firm) the plant will only employ like 45 people.

eyeye 7 years, 9 months ago

We need Sam to specify what he's referring to here, "He says that either plan forces cuts in other vital areas or tax increases or adds to the federal debt."

Read that, what programs is/will Sam hold hostage to Medicaid cuts . . . ?

Dare we... guess that Sam will decide that without Medicaid cuts we'll just HAVE to cut AGRICULTURAL SUBSIDIES?

Or perhaps Sam thinks "we" will have to consider whether churches should pay taxes on property like a certain house on C Street in Washington D.C.?

Or maybe Sam thinks we should cut back on guaranteed jobs for War? Which, btw, has been adding to the deficit for generations.

Probably none of the above, more likely Sam will go after the smaller weaker sacrificial lambs, Education for Children, after-all, they're not fetuses so they don't deserve "our" support unless they go to the right church and are members of the right political party.

whynaut 7 years, 9 months ago

keen point. But mainstream media calling it like it is is like using God-mode in Doom -- it defeats the purpose of the game.

notajayhawk 7 years, 9 months ago

"#1 - The revenues were lower "than expected". How did they determine what to "expect"?"

This has always been a consistent problem with government, I have seen it for years when I was employed by the state (another state). For something like 9 straight quarters (just while I was paying attention) revenues came in below what was projected. To most people, that might make one question the methods used for projection. But in state government, and, I'm sure, federal government, local government, etc., the budget director just isn't going to be the one to go to the legislature and tell the big boys "The money for that pet project of yours (aka that pork project that's going to get you re-elected) just isn't there".

Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 9 months ago

1 - you work for the government now.

2 - if you were really interested in how they determine what to expect, you would crack open the Kansas Statutes. It is laid out quite clearly.

Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 9 months ago

More often than not they are too low. Of course, you would have to look at a bigger sample than your cute little argument.

Jimo 7 years, 9 months ago

The GOP has not been "locked in the hall" - that's crazy talk (via Limbaugh among others). Obama has reached out to the GOP again and again, in public and private, often to the consternation of his own Party. If anything, the Democrats have turned themselves into a laughingstock desperately self-mutilating their own proposals in a fruitless attempt to attract at times even a single Republican vote.

The GOP openly adopted a scortched earth approach before Obama was even sworn in. Can you name a single major piece of legislation that the GOP has offered votes in return for compromise, not Democratic capitulation? Any? Any???

The GOP has - on multiple occasions - voted against THEIR own policies, against legislation THEY drafted. On a few occasions they've even voted to refuse to vote only to have that fail and turn around a vote IN FAVOR of the very bills they tried to kill.

And this from the GOP which when last in control adopted a "majority of the majority" rule, refusing to to bring any legislation to a vote in the House regardless of how many bipartisan votes in favor if it did not have the support of a majority of Republicans.

texburgh 7 years, 9 months ago

The GOP has not been "locked out in the hall." Early on there was plenty of outreach - give us your ideas Republicans - but they chose to be the party of no. They have not presented one idea either to amend bills or to offer completely different versions. They simply say, NO. They are hell bent on destroying Obama and they are willing to destroy everything else to do it. Their victory will be a pyrrhic victory at best.

pace 7 years, 9 months ago

He is against medical access reform, he is against financial scam reform, he is against environmental regulation. He is against gay marriage, now it seems he is against working families. I am so sick of the stands against, why doesn't he stand up for something. I am sick of the hate tribe.

blindrabbit 7 years, 9 months ago

How in the heck can Smilin Sam take such a stand after his pathetic performance in supporting 100% of Dubya's debacle in putting the economy in the toilet.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 7 years, 9 months ago

Brownback is one of the party of NO! Do you not see this?? He is in it to "get" the lawfully elected President of the United States, just like every other Republican who simply cannot stand the fact that the black dude beat out their War Hero. I wonder if he ever has been on Limbaugh's program, like Dole was?

Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 9 months ago

Here's come the claims of "class envy." And here comes the dismissal of the point, which is not that Republicans work for the rich and that's bad. The point is that Republicans DON'T work for anyone else.

Why not work for the rich, the poor, and the middle? Why not work for all?

notajayhawk 7 years, 9 months ago

Gee, bobbie, woulda' sworn just a few days ago you pointed out that taxes were lower for everyone - although you tried to credit the Messiah, of course.

Not that facts have ever been your forte, bobbie, but the tax cuts from the Messiah's predecessor had about the same percentage effect on just about everyone on the scale, didn't they?

Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 9 months ago

Taxes are lower for everyone, mainly thanks to the tax cuts in the stimulus. The tax cuts in the stimulus hit all income brackets and taxpayers.

Without the stimulus tax cuts, taxes would be low but not the lowest they've been in three generations.

I know, math is hard. That's why you work for the guvmint.

Godot 7 years, 9 months ago

The key to a future stable budget in Kansas is to eliminate Medicaid altogether. Obamacare bestows health insurance and long term care insurance to anyone who happens to set foot in the borders of the US, be they citizens or not. Why should Kansas taxpayers provide a duplicate benefit the Federal government has deemed an inalienable federal right ?

independant1 7 years, 9 months ago

there's a whole lot of vitriol spewed sam's way here

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