Showing posts with label Senator Cornyn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Senator Cornyn. Show all posts

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hoping for Fiscal Restraint

According to the Hill, "GOP seeks sweeping reforms with balanced budget amendment" ( Michael O'Brien - 03/16/11), " A group of Republican senators are set to unveil a long-awaited constitutional amendment to require a yearly balanced budget." Unfortunately, the chance of such an amendment being approved by 2/3 of the House and Senate is only a dream. Nonetheless, this is exactly what this country needs.

With that said, here is the rest of the article:

"The sweeping legislation, which calls for an annual spending cap and a legally mandated balanced budget, with some exceptions, will be unveiled Thursday by five GOP senators: Jon Kyl (Ariz.), John Cornyn (Texas), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Mike Lee (Utah) and Pat Toomey (Pa.). The proposed amendment goes beyond requiring a simple balanced budget each year, and seeks to enact a series of other fiscal reforms.

Under the proposal, the president would be forced to submit a balanced budget to Congress each year. But Congress would also face certain constraints in its work to pass the budget.

The amendment would mandate that total outlays each year could not exceed total receipts by the government, unless both the House and Senate agree to an excess in outlays by a two-thirds vote. Any tax increase would also be required to pass both houses with the same two-thirds supermajority.

The Republican proposal would also cap spending each fiscal year at 18 percent of gross domestic product, a provision that could be waived by Congress during a time of war, or by a three-fifths majority of the House and Senate in a time of other military conflict.

Both the House and Senate would also be forced to cobble together three-fifths majorities to authorize an increase in the debt ceiling, according to the GOP measure.

The reforms would, if enacted, make it much tougher to authorize new spending.

The GOP amendment would need to be approved by a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate, a tough climb especially because Democrats control the Senate. Even if lawmakers somehow managed to advance the amendment, three-fourths of the states would still have to ratify it for the amendment to become part of the Constitution."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

We Get Letters from our Senators

We seem to get lots of e-mails from Senators. Today we got one from John McCain and one from John Cornyn. Both involved health care. Unfortunately, Senator McCain can never send anything out where he is not asking for money so we tend to ignore his comments as just preludes to the 'ask'.

On the other hand, Senator Cornyn sent us a copy of a letter that was printed today in the Dallas Morning News and we think that it offers some great insight into the the bill that the Democrats and Olympia Snow passed out of committee today. You can change the numbers and state from Texas to Nebraska. The end result is the same. A very bad bill that ignores rational and reasonable reforms that don't take control of 17% of our economy.

Here is part of what Senator Cornyn had to say:

I believe health care reform should focus on lowering costs, which have more than doubled over the past decade. We can lower costs by realigning incentives for providers, so they focus on value instead of volume. We can create incentives for patients to make healthier choices. We can reform the private insurance market in every state to encourage greater competition and more choices, without denying anyone coverage because of a pre-existing condition. We can lower costs by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse in our current entitlement programs. And we can reduce costly defensive medicine by reforming our medical liability laws like we've done in Texas.

The Baucus bill, unfortunately, will only increase costs for everyone. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the bill will cost $829 billion, but when it's fully implemented, the Senate Budget Committee estimates the real cost to be $1.8 trillion. Either way, it would still leave 25 million Americans uninsured, impose billions of dollars in new taxes and mandates, and cut more than $400 billion from Medicare. It would take away Medicare Advantage benefits from seniors, and make Medicaid the only option for 14 million Americans.

The bill also imposes hidden costs on states. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission estimates that the Baucus bill would cost Texas more than $20 billion over 10 years and add 2.5 million Texans to Medicaid. That would mean billions in new state taxes, or draconian cuts in education, law enforcement and other Texas priorities. According to one survey, 91 percent of Texans who buy insurance in the individual market will see their premiums go up because Washington will force them to buy more expensive policies.

My colleagues and I offered several amendments that would have improved the bill. We fought to protect Medicare Advantage, and eliminate the Medicare panel that would empower bureaucrats to make coverage decisions. We tried to reform Medicaid before forcing more Americans into it. We sought to lower costs on small businesses, and enact meaningful medical liability reform. Many of our amendments would have helped President Obama keep his promises to the American people, including those related to keeping what you have, taxes on the middle class, federal funding of abortions, and benefits to illegal immigrants. Yet most of these amendments were rejected on party-line votes.

Perhaps most discouraging was the defeat of the first amendment Republicans offered to ensure a more transparent process. Sen. Jim Bunning and I proposed a 72-hour waiting period before we could vote on the bill. During those 72 hours, the actual legislative text, not just conceptual language, would have been available on the committee's website for the public to see, as well as a final price tag from the CBO. Instead we will vote on a concept, not the actual bill.

I cannot support legislation being rushed through Congress that will increase the costs of health care without giving Texans the opportunity to learn what it would mean for them. Democracy demands that government be accountable to the people, and government that is open and honest can deliver better solutions. I will continue working toward better solutions on health care reform and ensure your voice is heard.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Senator Cornyn's Remarks on Senate Health Care Proposal

We thought we would share Senator Cornyn's (R-TX) remarks on the Baccus health care plan coming out of the Senate. As you can see, there is not much here to like. What do you think?

"There is bipartisan recognition that our health care system needs reform. Health care costs have more than doubled for American families over the last decade.

Seniors are counting on Medicare – but that program is underfunded by more than three times the national debt. Medicaid imposes huge costs on state taxpayers and delivers poor outcomes to patients.

Our current government health care programs are riddled with nearly $90 billion a year in waste, fraud, and abuse.

Fear of lawsuits encourages defensive medicine – which increases America’s health care bills by up to 9 percent every year.

And millions of Americans lack health insurance.
We agree on the need to fix the system – and so we should focus on common-sense solutions that we can all support:
• Making private coverage affordable to more people;
• Realigning incentives for providers to focus on value instead of volume; • Creating incentives for patients to live healthier lives;
• And cutting waste, fraud, and abuse in our current entitlement programs.

These areas of agreement should be the foundation of a bipartisan approach. Instead, a more partisan proposal is before us today. This proposal would make many of our current problems worse.

Here are my fundamental concerns:

Continues Washington’s Spending Spree

This proposal would increase government spending by $1.6 trillion over 10 years. The $856 billion price tag is misleading. When you start the clock in 2013 – the first full year of implementation – the spending goes way up. The American people are tired of government spending – and Washington continues to ignore their voices.

Increases the Costs of Private Insurance

Several studies have shown that middle class families will see higher premiums because of the new taxes in this proposal. Premiums in the individual market would go up by 10%, according to one study. Small group insurance premiums would jump by up to 15% in Ohio – and up to 25% in California – according to another study.

Takes Money Out of Medicare

This proposal takes $409 billion out of the Medicare program – which is underfunded by $38 trillion. Any “savings” found in Medicare should be dedicated to making that program solvent.

This proposal also cuts $125 billion out of Medicare

Advantage – which would break President Obama’s promise that Americans can keep the health plans they have. Expands Medicaid Medicaid already imposes huge costs on state taxpayers – and crowds out education, law enforcement, etc.

The Texas Health and Human Service Commission estimates that this proposal would:
• Increase Texas Medicaid costs by more than $20 billion over 10 years;
• Expand the number of Texans on Medicaid by 2.5 million people. Medicaid delivers poorer health outcomes than private insurance – and costs more than $30 billion a year in waste, fraud, and abuse.

New Taxes on Families and Businesses

This proposal includes nearly $350 billion in new taxes – not including the individual and employer mandates. Raising taxes is not the way to create jobs.

For individuals and families:
• The proposal imposes a new tax on those who do not abide by the individual mandate. This new tax is as much as $950 per year for an individual – and $3,800 per family. The White House says this isn’t really a tax – but if it’s not a tax, than why is the IRS empowered to collect it?

For businesses:
• The employer “free rider” provision is a huge burden.
• One grocery chain in Texas estimates that this provision would cost them $10 million in new taxes.

Most economists agree that employer mandates have the effect of reducing wages and crippling job growth. When you put all the taxes and mandates together, the total bill over the next 20 years is more than $2 trillion – according to the Senate Budget Committee.

Defers the Tough Choices

This proposal only includes a one-year fix for physicians’ payments under the Medicare program. The cost of future fixes is not included. This proposal outsources the future of our seniors health care to an unelected government board. This board could reduce access to medical care with very limited Congressional review.

Not Serious About Tort Reform

On medical liability reform, this proposal includes only a “Sense of the Senate” resolution. And that resolution is only a suggestion to states that they consider taking action. There is no enforceable language on tort reform in the proposal.

With respect, Mr. Chairman, this proposal has major flaws. I plan to offer several amendments that will address some of those flaws. But I should be honest: this proposal taxes too much and grows government too much – and I am not optimistic that a few amendments will be able to change that."