March 16, 2009


For Blue Dogs, Health Budget Raises Questions of ‘When,’ Not Just ‘How’ (Congressional Quaterly, 3/16/09)

As congressional budget panels prepare to write their fiscal 2010 blueprint, members of the Blue Dog Coalition of fiscally conservative Democrats want to make sure any expansion of health care coverage is fully paid for with tax or spending offsets guaranteed to yield savings down the road.

Leaders of the 51-member coalition wrote to the House and Senate Budget committees and congressional leaders stating their support for President Obama’s goal of offsetting the cost of a planned health care overhaul. But the Blue Dog leaders said they do not want the savings to be achieved too far in the future if new spending in the short term is going to exacerbate already high federal deficits.

“While we agree that reforming our health care system will eventually lead to savings, it would be irresponsible to take on additional large-scale deficit spending in the short term without the ability to definitively quantify future savings,” Blue Dog leaders wrote March 13 in a two-paragraph letter.

The Blue Dogs are major boosters of the congressional “pay as you go” budget rule that requires new mandatory spending or tax cuts to be fully offset with increases in revenue or spending cuts elsewhere.

The GOP should sign the letter en masse. Requiring reform to be paid for up front is the same as killing it.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at March 16, 2009 2:01 PM
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