Tag: Max Baucus

A Half Billion Dollar Tax Gift to BioTech Company

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Unbeknownst to most of the legislators and public, tucked very neatly in section 632 (pdf) of the “fiscal cliff” bill, was provision that gave the world’s largest biotechnology firm, Amgen, a drug maker that sells a variety of medications, a half billion dollar gift that allows the company to evade Medicare cost-cutting controls by delaying price restraints on a class of drugs used by kidney dialysis patients for two years. Meanwhile in December, Amgen had been fined  $762 million in civil and criminal penalties for illegal marketing of one of its other drugs. This pricing break would wipe out two thirds of those fines.

This undercover handout of taxpayer’s dollars during a so-called “fiscal crisis” was reported in depth by The New York Times investigative reporters, Eric Lipton and Kevin Sack, who also revealed the “architects” of this giveaway, Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Democratic Senator Max Baucus, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and that committee’s ranking Republican, Orrin Hatch.

acquistare viagra generico 50 mg a Firenze Amgen has deep financial and political ties to lawmakers like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, and Senators Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, and Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, who hold heavy sway over Medicare payment policy as the leaders of the Finance Committee.

80 mg lasix daily It also has worked hard to build close ties with the Obama administration, with its lobbyists showing up more than a dozen times since 2009 on logs of visits to the White House, although a company official said Saturday that it had not appealed to the administration during the debate over the fiscal legislation.

The measure flies in the face of attempts to curb the enormous expense of dialysis for the Medicare program by reversing incentives to over-prescribe medication. But that didn’t deter the “three amigos” from sneaking in the provision to their generous benefactor:

Amgen’s employees and political action committee have distributed nearly $5 million in contributions to political candidates and committees since 2007, including $67,750 to Mr. Baucus, the Finance Committee chairman, and $59,000 to Mr. Hatch, the committee’s ranking Republican. They gave an additional $73,000 to Mr. McConnell, some of it at a fund-raising event for him that it helped sponsor in December while the debate over the fiscal legislation was under way. cialis 5 generico More than $141,000 has also gone from Amgen employees to President Obama’s campaigns.

What distinguishes the company’s efforts in Washington is the diversity and intensity of its public policy campaigns. Amgen and its foundation have directed hundreds of thousands of dollars in charitable contributions to influential groups like the Congressional Black Caucus and to lesser-known groups like the Utah Families Foundation, which was founded by Mr. Hatch and brings the senator positive coverage in his state’s news media.

Amgen has sent large donations to Glacier PAC, sponsored by Mr. Baucus in Montana, and OrrinPAC, a political action committee controlled by Mr. Hatch in Utah.

Not surprisingly when the news of this giveaway hit the paper, it enraged a bipartisan group of legislators to repeal this section.

U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) filed legislation this week to eliminate the exemption for a class of drugs, including Amgen’s Sensipar, that are used by kidney dialysis patients. [..]

“Amgen managed to get a $500-million paragraph in the fiscal-cliff bill and virtually no one in Congress was aware of it,” Welch said. “It’s a taxpayer ripoff and comes at a really bad time when we’re trying to control healthcare costs. Amgen should not be allowed to turn Medicare into a profit center.” [..]

Other co-sponsors of the bill seeking repeal include House Republican Richard Hanna of New York and two House Democrats, Jim Cooper of Tennessee and Bruce Braley of Iowa.

Rep. Welch sat down with Bill Moyers on Moyers & Company to discuss Amgen’s “sweetheart deal”



The transcript can be read here

“When there is this back room dealing that comes at enormous expense to taxpayers and enormous benefit to a private, well-connected, for-profit company, we’ve got to call it out,” Welch tells Bill. “Those members of Congress who are concerned about the institution, about our lack of credibility, about the necessity of us doing things that are in the public good as opposed to private gain, we’ve got to call it out.”

Get Ready To Eat Cat Food

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Here comes Simpson-Bowles to spare the bloated Pentagon budget and avoid letting the Bush/Obama Tax Cuts expire:

Geithner praises Simpson-Bowles framework as the way forward

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner recently suggested the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction framework is the way forward in terms of balancing the federal budget. [..]

“We need to take advantage of the incentive created by the sequester and these expiring tax cuts to force this town to confront and take on the things that divide us now in these long-term fiscal reforms so we can go ahead and govern,” he said. “This is a place where people spend a lot of time worrying whether Washington can work again and for Washington to say, ‘We’re going to defer,’ I don’t see how that would be helpful to confidence.” [..]

David Dayen at FDL News Desk adds his take on Geithner’s appearance before the Council on Foreign Relation:

The lame duck session has so many fiscal issues expiring at the same time that many view it as an opportunity to put together the long-sought “grand bargain” on deficit reduction. Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson have recently come out of their shells and resumed a high-profile media tour in an effort to get their framework into the discussion for the lame duck session. The Bowles-Simpson plan does include tax increases of hundreds of billions above the Bush tax cut rates, albeit lower than what would occur if the Bush tax cuts were allowed to completely expire.

Because of this, Democrats like Nancy Pelosi have embraced Bowles-Simpson to tease Republicans for their opposition to higher tax rates. But that also puts Democrats on the hook for embracing cuts to the social safety net, including Medicare and Social Security. And on Wednesday, Geithner said that Bowles-Simpson is “the only path to resolution politically [and] growing essentially economically, and I think that’s where it’s going to end up.” He didn’t make the caveats on Social Security or other entitlements.

David also noted that Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), chairperson of the tax writing Senate Finance Committee, would hold hearing in the next few weeks on Bowles-Simpson and Domenici-Rivlin, which combine revenue-raising tax reforms with restraint on entitlement spending. Baucus told The Hill:

“My view is everything’s on the table,” Baucus said. “That’s a psychology which I think is very important to keep people talking, keep people working.”

In his comprehensive article on Geithner’s alliance with JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Cat Food Commission co-chair former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-UT), Richard (RJ) Eskow had this to say about the coming of Simpson-Bowles:

Geithner said Simpson-Bowles was the perfect recipe: “tax reforms that raise a modest amount of revenue tied to spending savings across the government that’s still preserving some room to invest in things that matter to how we grow moving forward.” He added, “There’s no plausible way to get there economically or politically without that kind of balanced framework again that marries tax reform with broader spending reforms,”

Geithner is joining leading Democrats on the Hill like Sen. Max Baucus and Rep. Nancy Pelosi in backing the plan. And take careful note of the fact that they’re all using the phrase “tax reform” instead of “tax increases.” They don’t just plan to pay for the wealth and misdeeds of the Dimon crowd with your Social Security and Medicare benefits. They also plan to raise your taxes, not theirs. discount viagra The Simpson Bowles plan would actually lower the top tax rate for people like Jamie Dimon, while “tax reform” would tax away tax deductions for the middle class’s health insurance, mortgages, and other expenses.

All our elected officials are completely out of touch with what Americans want and need. Yes, indeed, no prescription lasix something wicked this way comes.

Montanans Move To Recall Congressional Delegation

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Montana residents follow site William Crain, an artist and follow link Stewart Rhodes, an attorney, have launched a petition to recall the state’s congressional delegation, Sen. source Max Baucus (D), Sen. Jonathan Tester (D) and Rep. Denny Reberg (R) over their vote for the National Defense Authorization Act that explicitly authorized the indefinite detention of terrorism suspects, including American citizens. Montana is one of nine states that has provisions to recall its elected federal officials. Under the Montana Recall Act all state officials in Montana are subject to recall for physical or mental lack of fitness, incompetence, violation of the oath of office, official misconduct, or conviction of a felony offense. The Montana petitions (there is one for each of the three), states the following “reason for recall”:

   1. “The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees all U.S citizens: “a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed…”

   2.  The National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 (NDAA 2011) permanently abolishes the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial, “for the duration of hostilities” in the War on Terror, which was defined by President George W. Bush as “task which does not end” to a joint session of Congress on September 20, 2001.

   3.  Those who voted Aye on December 15th, 2011, Bill of Rights Day, for NDAA 2011 have attempted to grant powers which cannot be granted, which violate both the spirit and the letter of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

   4.  The Montana Recall Act stipulates that officials including US senators can only be recalled for physical or mental lack of fitness, incompetence, violation of the oath of office, official misconduct, or conviction of a felony offense.

   5. Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act reads in substance: “Congress affirms that the authority of the President to detain …A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda…or associated forces…including any person who has…directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces…The disposition of a person…may include…Detention…without trial until the end of the hostilities…”

   6. “Substantial support” of an “associated force” may imply citizens engaged in innocuous, First Amendment activities.  Direct support of such hostilities in aid of enemy forces may be construed as free speech opposition to U.S. government policies, aid to civilians, or acts of civil disobedience.

   7. Section 1021 reads: “Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law.”  But “existing law” may be construed to refer to Padilla v. Rumsfeld in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the government’s claim of authority to hold Americans arrested on American soil indefinitely.

   8. Thus Senators Bacus, Tester, and Congressman Rehberg who voted Aye on December 15th, 2011, Bill of Rights Day, for NDAA 2011 have violated his Oath of Office to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution which guarantees all citizens the right to a jury trial “In all criminal prosecutions.”

According to the press release, Mr. Rhodes stated:

These politicians from both parties betrayed our trust, and violated the oath they took to defend the Constitution. It’s not about the left or right, it’s about our Bill of Rights. Without the Bill of Rights, there is no America. It is the Crown Jewel of our Constitution, and the high-water mark of Western Civilization. [..]

Two time Medal of Honor winner Marine General Smedley Butler once said “There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights.” Time to fight.

It’s not clear if the courts will allow states to recall their federal politicians. It hasn’t gotten very far in the past. In 1967, a recall campaign was waged against Sen Frank Church by Ron Rankin, a Republican county commissioner in Kootenai County in northern Idaho. The U.S. District Court for Idaho ruled that the state’s recall laws did not apply to U.S. senators and that such a recall would violate the U.S. Constitution. Since Idaho’s State Attorney General Alan Shephard decided to accept the court’s ruling, writing that “It must be pointed out that a United States senator is not a state officer but a federal officer whose position is created by Article I, Section I of the United States Constitution. There seems to be no provision for canvassing the votes of a recall election of a United States senator.”

However, it can be argued that since there is no provision provided in the Constitution to recall members of congress, that right is preserved for the states under the 10th Amendment which states:  

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Leaving Mr. Rhodes’ affiliation with The Oath Keepers, a group that has been criticized in the past for adopting extremist views and language, and for their supposed ties to white supremacist and militia groups, the petition drive does have some merits. If successful, it could lead to other states passing laws to provide for the recall of elected federal officers who think that the Constitution is quaint. Good luck to them and perhaps good riddance to Baucus, Tester and Reberg.

The ‘Elephant of Debt’ in Alan Simpson’s Entitlement Room

Bipartisan Elephants, Endless Debt and Entitlements, Cats without Food … Oh My!

What IS all this fuss about?

Sometimes a picture is worth a 1000 rants.

CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES

CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE – CBO

The Long-Term Budget Outlook

JUNE 2010 – (Revised August 2010)



larger

Image: Federal Debt Held by the Public as a Percentage of Gross Domestic Product

Under Two Budget Scenarios

CBO — The Long-Term Budget Outlook (pdf)

OK sometimes not … What does that Picture mean to me?

2035, Haah!  that’s like a quarter century from now …  you got to be kidding me …

On Learning To Love Homegrown, Or, Baucus’ Fundraising Considered

So we are now finding out the answers to some of our questions about which members of Congress actually represent We, the People…and which ones represent, Them, the Corporate Masters.

We have seen a Democratic Senator propose a policy that would put people in jail for not buying health insurance and a Democratic President who has taken numerous public beatings from those on the left side of the fence for his inability to ram something through a group of people…and yes, folks, the entendre was intentional.

But most of all, we’ve been asking ourselves: “why would Democratic Members of Congress who will eventually want us to vote for them vote against something that nearly all voting Democrats are inclined to vote for?”

Today’s conversation attempts to answer that question by looking at exactly how money and influence flow through a key politician, Montana’s Senator Max Baucus-and in doing so, we examine some ugly political realities that have to be resolved before we can hope to convince certain Members of Congress to vote for what their constituents actually want when it really counts.

As a young man on Medicare

It’s been a while since I’ve last posted on here (health issues).  But given the recent developments concerning a certain senate committee, I’d figure it was time.  So yes, this is another healthcare reform posting.  I’ve been reading the ones posted on here, and my take is from a different perspective.  You see, I’m disabled and I’m on Medicare.  Frankly, I think you should be on it too.

The beatings will continue until support for a PO improves. Getcher Sticks & Carrots here

Crossposted at Daily Kos

Beatings of a rhetorical sort, of course

    http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=acquistare-viagra-generico-100-mg-consegna-rapida-a-Milano Senator Olympia Snowe all but admitted that a Trigger on a Public Option is total bull yesterday. She basically proved that she is NOT bargaining in good faith, and that if there were any illusions that the trigger she supports is designed to never be pulled, they are totally gone now. How do we know this?

    source site Because Sen. Snowe VOTED AGAINST a Public Option twice.

    This proves (HELLO! ARE YOU FRAKKING LISTENING DEMOCRATIC POLITICIANS?) that Sen. Snowe WILL NOT vote for an actual Public Option, just the idea of one, or rather, the idea of the idea of one.

    And why? What is Olympia Snowe, the Republican Party, the Insurance Lobbyists and at least 5 DINO Republocrat Senators afraid of?

    This quote from yesterday’s Senate Finance Committee hearing sums it up best. . .

    go “What are we afraid of? That Americans might actually like it?”

       ~ Senator John Kerry (D-MA)

    Yes. That is EXACTLY what they are afraid of.

    More and a call to action below the fold.

So you’ve decided to lose your next election. 5 DINO Republocrats who need to be primaried NOW

The vote is in on the Rockefellar Public Option Amendment and it has failed, not because Democrats do not have a majority, but because some Democrats are corrupt shills who hide behind Republicans as an excuse for their own corruption,

    The following Democrats voted against competition, thus ensuring their own defeat in their next primary elections.

NO – Baucus      (BlueCross-MT)

NO – Conrad      (BlueCross-ND)

NO – Lincoln     (BlueCross-AR)

NO – Carper      (BlueCross-DE)

NO – Ben Nelson  (BlueCross-FL)

    Oh, and regarding Bif$%kingyousansh!t, let it be noted that EVERY SINGLE Republican voted NO, including Senate Majority Leader Olympia Snowe.

    Throw down the gauntlet, progressives. The electoral beatings of DINO’s should begin NOW!

And now the Schumer version of the Publiic Option is dead too, only Nelson and Carper voted yea out of the 5 DINO Republicrats, Conrad, Baucus and Lincoln all voted NO.

   They have to go. Simple.

   So, wehn they ask for your vote, money or volunteer work, the best answer we can give them is “Sorry, we just don’t have the votes to get you re-elected, so I am voting NO and primarying your ASS”

   FUCK THESE SENATORS AND THE LOBBYISTS THEY RODE IN ON!!!!!

Sen. Dorgan’s big FU to WH/Baucus/PhRMA deal, will introduce Amendment allowing Canadian imports

Crossposted at Daily Kos

    Remember how proud you felt when you heard change meant a 2% deal with big PhRMA to allow Health Care Reform to pass (as if their permission were essential?)

    Well, it looks like someone in the Senate actually wants to fight to help Americans, not help screw them.

    A Senate Democratic leader is hoping to blow up the deal reached between the White House, drug makers and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), by introducing an amendment on the floor to allow prescription drugs to be re-imported from Canada.

    It’s one of the simplest ways to reduce health care costs but was ruled out by the agreement, which limits Big Pharma’s contribution to health care reform to $80 billion over ten years.

 firedoglake.com  

    This is another instance of competition vs massive monopoly that harms people. I’m glad to see someone doing something about it.

    More below the fold

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – International and Domestic Wingnuts

Crossposted from Daily Kos

THE WEEK IN EDITORIAL CARTOONS

This weekly diary takes a look at the past week’s important news stories from the perspective of our leading editorial cartoonists (including a few foreign ones) with analysis and commentary added in by me.

When evaluating a cartoon, ask yourself these questions:

1. Does a cartoon add to my existing knowledge base and help crystallize my thinking about the issue depicted?

2. Does the cartoonist have any obvious biases that distort reality?

3. Is the cartoonist reflecting prevailing public opinion or trying to shape it?

The answers will help determine the effectiveness of the cartoonist’s message.

:: ::

Mahmoud, Hugo, and Muammar… Meet Rush, Glenn, and Sean



Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

Ron Wyden: Public Option Doesn’t Go FAR Enough

Wyden amendment gaining support

By Tony Romm, The Hill – 09/22/2009

An amendment to the Senate Finance Committee’s healthcare bill that would permit employees to shop around for health insurance policies is slowly gaining momentum on the Hill.

The idea, pitched by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) last week, would open the proposed “insurance exchange” — where consumers can compare and purchase insurance plans — to Americans who already receive coverage from their employers.



What has made Wyden’s proposal especially appealing today, however, is the Congressional Budget Office’s recent cost estimate. By their math, his amendment would reduce the bill’s impact on the deficit by about $1 billion over the next 10 years.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-…

Considered Forthwith: Joint Committe on Taxation (HCR info)

Welcome to the 22nd installment of “Considered Forthwith.”

This weekly series looks at the various committees in the House and the Senate. Committees are the workshops of our democracy. This is where bills are considered, revised, and occasionally advance for consideration by the House and Senate. Most committees also have the authority to exercise oversight of related executive branch agencies.

And we’re back. This week, I will be looking at the Joint Committee on Taxation. With the upcoming Finance Committee mark up of the Baucus bill, this little known committee will be in the spotlight. This is the committee responsible for studying the impact of tax policy and has calculated the revenue projections for the Finance Committee bill (opens a .pdf file).

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