And now this.
We thought you were cool, man. We thought you had come around after Barack invited you to hang at the White House. We thought we were buds. Boy, do we feel stupid.
Let's hand it over to the Politico for the big news:
For the second time this month, congressional budget analysts have dealt a blow to the Democrat's health reform efforts, this time by saying a plan touted by the White House as crucial to paying for the bill would actually save almost no money over 10 years.Thus concludes the President's Worst Week Ever. A week that started with such Hope ends with Steny Hoyer's sad revelation that even a House vote seems unlikely before Summer Break.
A key House chairman and moderate House Democrats on Tuesday agreed to a White House-backed proposal that would give an outside panel the power to make cuts to government-financed health care programs. White House budget director Peter Orszag declared the plan "probably the most important piece that can be added" to the House's health care reform legislation.
But on Saturday, the Congressional Budget Office said the proposal to give an independent panel the power to keep Medicare spending in check would only save about $2 billion over 10 years- a drop in the bucket compared to the bill's $1 trillion price tag.
"In CBO's judgment, the probability is high that no savings would be realized ... but there is also a chance that substantial savings might be realized. Looking beyond the 10-year budget window, CBO expects that this proposal would generate larger but still modest savings on the same probabilistic basis," CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf wrote in a letter to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Saturday.
The proposal's meager savings are a blow to Democrats working furiously to bring down costs in order to win support from their party's fiscally conservative Blue Dogs, who have threatened to vote against the bill without significant changes. The proposal was heralded as a breakthrough on Tuesday after Blue Dogs and House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman emerged from the White House with agreement on giving the independent panel, rather than Congress, the ability to rein in Medicare spending.
Republicans pounced on CBO's analysis as another demonstration that Democratic proposals don't control costs.
"The President said that rising health care costs are an imminent threat to our economy and that any reform must reduce these long-term costs. But CBO has made clear once again that the Democrats' bills in Congress aren't reducing costs and in fact could just make the problem worse," said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.
Saturday's CBO analysis caps a tough week of blown deadlines, partisan bickering and fierce intra-party fighting among Democrats. On Friday, the tension between the Blue Dogs and Waxman exploded when Waxman threatened to bypass his committee and bring the reform bill straight to the House floor without a vote. The move infuriated Blue Dogs who have used their crucial committee votes to leverage changes to the bill.
But by late Friday, Waxman said their colleagues had pulled the two groups "back from the brink" and back to the negotiating table.
Still, Hoyer said there was little chance that that the House would pass a health reform legislation before Friday when lawmakers are expected to leave Washington for summer recess.
What Doug Elmendorf beginneth, Doug Elmendorf endeth.
What a jerk.