“On the bright side, that elusive creature ‘bipartisanship’ has finally been sighted in the Capitol, though it’s in opposition the [Baucus] bill,” notes Pundit and Pundette, one of my favorite blogs. ABC News reports that the Baucus bill is being blasted by everybody from Hill Republicans to the leaders of MoveOn.org.
Also raucous on Baucus are Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel, who says it would entail slashing subsidies for the poor, and, as I noted yesterday, powerful Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller, who fears what the bill would do to coal miners in his state. Rockefeller’s remarks bear quoting again:
“He [Baucus] should understand that (his proposal) means that virtually every single coal miner is going to have a big, big tax put on them because the tax will be put on the company and the company will immediately pass it down and lower benefits because they are self insured, most of them, because they are larger. They will pass it down, lower benefits, and probably this will mean higher premiums for coal miners who are getting very good health care benefits for a very good reason. That is, like steelworkers and others, they are doing about the most dangerous job that can be done in America.”
“So that’s not really a smart idea,” Rockefeller continued. “In fact, it’s a very dangerous idea, and I’m not even sure the coal miners in West Virginia are aware that this is what is waiting if this bill passes.
Indeed, in the new topsy, turvy bipartisan world, Chicago columnist Steve Chapman sees President Obama as…well let Chapman tell you himself:
For years, I’ve been wishing for another Ross Perot — a leader who would awaken the American people to the dangers of living beyond our national means through huge federal budget deficits. Now, at last, we have that leader. His name is Barack Obama.