Posts Tagged ‘Ron Wyden’
March 1st, 2012 at 8:11 pm
Growing Support for Medicare Reform Shows that Elections Matter

Fred Barnes has a terrific column in today’s Wall Street Journal explaining the origin, structure and philosophy of Paul Ryan’s Medicare reform proposal.  The most intriguing paragraph explains how Ryan’s reform ideas went from minority alternative to majority consensus in just two years.

But House passage alone was a milestone. When Mr. Ryan first proposed premium support in 2008, 14 House Republicans signed on as co-sponsors. But when his budget cleared the House in 2011—with Medicare reform its most controversial provision—only four of the 241 Republicans voted against it. Of the 87 GOP freshmen, only one voted no. In the Senate, all but five of the 47 Republicans declined to back Mr. Ryan’s plan.

After weathering some resistance in the beginning:

Premium support is now Republican orthodoxy. But absent a GOP landslide this fall, that’s not sufficient to win congressional approval. Besides, entitlements are best enacted on a bipartisan basis. Otherwise, they may wind up like ObamaCare—unpopular, under legal challenge, and the target of endless partisan attacks.

Barnes is right that entitlement reform is best enacted on a bipartisan basis, but there’s every indication that a conservative victory this year that keeps the House and wins the Senate, supplemented with smart liberal support from the likes of Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and others, would certainly be considered bipartisan.

According to Barnes, a handful of Democrats in the Senate and House have told Ryan they are willing to go public with their support for Medicare reform after the 2012 elections.  Momentum is building for real reform of the largest deficit driver in the federal budget.  This should be a motivator for every fiscal conservative to make this election the year Ryan’s reforms become law so America can get its finances in order.

February 17th, 2012 at 5:51 pm
Growing Support for Ryan’s Medicare Reform 2.0

Back in December I wrote a column defending a Medicare reform proposal outlined by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR).  Unlike Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” budget resolution that passed the House in 2011, Ryan-Wyden retains traditional Medicare.  However, like Ryan’s original reform, Ryan-Wyden introduces private sector competition by allowing seniors to use vouchers to select the plan – public or private – that they want, with any savings from a less expensive plan landing in the seniors’ pocket.

At the time, Ryan-Wyden was reported as an idea by two policy wonks with no discernable political support on Capitol Hill.  That changed this week when Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Richard Burr (R-NC) introduced a bill that substantially mirrors Ryan-Wyden’s Medicare-plus-competition proposal.  Although both pairings are so far quiet on the similarities between their plans, this is a good first step toward getting a common conceptual framework around an idea that increases competition.

Not that you’d know any this from reading Think Progress’ headline announcing the Coburn-Burr plan as “Two Republican Senators Try to Walk Back Paul Ryan’s Medicare Privatization Plan.”  Indeed, one has to read halfway into the article to discover that Coburn-Burr “is very similar to the bipartisan framework outlined by Ryan and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) last year and adds little to the Medicare reform debate.”

To Think Progress’ way of thinking there is little news value when two conservative Republican Senators introduce an almost identical reform plan to one announced by a liberal Democratic colleague and the most influential Republican Congressman.  Almost everyone else knows better.  With support growing for Ryan’s Medicare 2.0 reform, expect to see more movement Ryan’s way as the year rolls on.

December 16th, 2011 at 3:08 pm
Liberals Gone Wild

While responsible politicians like Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) are busy proposing a bold reform of Medicare, others in Congress are engaging in less helpful behavior on the public dime.

To wit:

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., embarked on a 24-hour hunger strike in solidarity with four Occupy DC protesters who have gone without food since Dec. 8 to advocate for D.C. voting rights.

Ellison, the first Muslim to serve in the House, met with the hunger strikers Thursday and pledged to read their declaration – which calls for full voting rights for District residents as well as legislative and budget autonomy – on the floor of the House of Representatives to enter it into the congressional record.

Not to be outdone in the brazen department, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) berated former Senate colleague and multi-millionaire Jon Corzine for his MF Global failures.  Apparently, though, there is at least one other reason for Stabenow’s outrage:

The Democratic senator who savaged Jon Corzine at a high-profile Capitol Hill hearing this week had another reason to go hard on her former colleague — she recently pressed him for campaign contributions but didn’t get any.

“She would literally call once every two or three weeks,” one Corzine intimate said of Sen. Debbie Stabenow (DMich.).

“She called all the time.”

But to no avail.

Sources in Corzine’s inner circle said they were “stunned” and “amazed” by Stabenow’s attack.

The two had served together in the Senate, but Corzine hasn’t delivered with contributions in some time.

So far this year, Corzine’s name has not appeared on Stabenow’s campaign finance reports.

Records show he last donated to her in 2006, contributing $2,000. Corzine and his then-wife, Joanne, each gave Stabenow $1,000 in 1999.

Thankfully, both Ellison and Stabenow are up for reelection next year.  Perhaps their antics will inspire some enterprising campaign lawyer to put together the first Super PAC to defeat loudmouth liberals.

How about it, Renee?

September 1st, 2010 at 11:02 pm
Individual Mandate for Thee, But Not for Me
Posted by Print

Could it be that even liberals are starting to recoil at Obamacare now that it’s reality instead of a gauzy fantasy? That’s at least the case for Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden. Wyden, long a major advocate for the individual mandate (compelling citizens to buy health insurance under penalty of fine or imprisonment), has suddenly decided that the provision — which he voted for — is good enough for the rest of the country, but not for the Beaver State.

According to the Huffington Post, Wyden wrote a letter to the Oregon Health Authority that included the following passage:

In addition, Senate Finance Committee Counsel has stated that a state that can meet the general coverage requirements of the PPACA can obtain a Federal waiver under Section 1332 without a requirement that individuals purchase health insurance. Because you and I believe that the heart of real health reform is affordability and not mandates, I wanted to bring this feature of Section 1332 to the attention of you and the legislature.

Affordability and not mandates, huh? Sounds like a defensible outlook. Too bad Oregon’s senior senator couldn’t bring it to mind while casting his vote. Oh well. Not a big deal when only 49 other states have to suffer.

September 24th, 2009 at 5:19 pm
Video: Getting to 51 Votes … Against ObamaCare
Posted by Print

If Democrats avoid the typical route for passing a bill and use the budget reconciliation process (requiring only 51 votes for final passage), then opponents of a government-run system will need to convince several Democrats that the current bills in Congress are complete garbage and must be opposed, even during cloture votes.

Good news has arrived and a reliably liberal voice on the Democratic side, Ron Wyden (D-OR), has stated that he will not vote for the Baucus Bill in its current form.  Other Senators that should be persuaded in the same direction as Senator Wyden: Ben Nelson (D-NE), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Robert Byrd (D-WV), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Arlen Specter (D-PA), and Mark Warner (D-VA).

If you live in one of these states, call your Senator and let them know that you don’t support a government takeover of health care, individual mandates, employer mandates, higher taxes, or a reduction in your Medicare benefits.  Here is the Senate switchboard number: 202-224-3121.

Here is the Wyden video: