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Exciting Updates From The Senate Finance Committee Markup!

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You may have noticed by now that your editor has a serious obsession with old dingbat Chuck Grassley and finds everything he does hilarious; sorry if you do not feel the same way. But just look at this guy! What IS it? Something to do with the fact that this barking, illiterate curmudgeon, who sleeps in an oversized cornhusk behind a maintenance door in the Third Street Tunnel, is STILL a leading negotiator on Health Care Reform. Take a guess what he was wheezing about during today's crucial Finance Committee markup. Just take a guess. Now watch the clip. Oh, that's right, blah blah blah, some Mexican or another might still get medical attention under the current legislation, harumph, and what about those Indians, harumph harumph harumph... IN OTHER NEWS: Max Baucus got into a fight with CBO Director Doug Elmendorf, you guys!

From the single most exciting live webpage on the Internet today, the Washington Post's liveblog of this boring boring boring markup, we learn that Max Baucus -- who has spent the last eight months in his role as chief health care guy fiddling with his dick and collecting health insurance company/Big Pharma donations up the wazoo, all the while begging Obama for more freaking time to reach a compromise with Chuck Grassley, who, as noted above, IS NOT MENTALLY FIT TO EVEN LEAVE HIS HOUSE -- is mad at CBO director Doug Elmendorf for not having scored all 750 million-billion bills and amendments in the 14 total seconds his staff has had to look over them.

Things got a bit heated just now in the hearing room, generated from an unlikely source: the by-the-numbers, just-the-facts-ma'am director of the Congressional Budget Office, Doug Elmendorf. Asked by Olympia Snowe how many people the CBO was estimating would pay a penalty instead of buy health insurance, Elmendorf said he did not have the estimate handy, and went on to say that his office had been overwhelmed with work in the past few days. Faced with 500 proposed amendments to score, he said, his staff had not been able to analyze all of the modifications that Baucus had already made to the bill in recent days.

This did not sit to well with Baucus, who in increasingly testy tones made clear that the CBO better analyze the modified bill as it now stands as soon as it can, even if it means moving more quickly through the proposed amendments and dispatching of the ones that seem less pressing. "We urge you with all speed" to produce a final cost estimate of the revised bill, Baucus said. "I can't overemphasize this enough."

This rubbed the earnest Elmendorf the wrong way. He noted that his office had responded to countless requests from Baucus and other senators in the past 48 hours. "We've turned around a vast amount of material for you, but there are limits," he said. He added, as if comparing the work of the CBO to driving a car or flying a plane, that there are "maximum limits of safe speed" that the CBO can work at before it imperils the quality of its analyses. "We're not sitting around chewing things over."

Baucus was unimpressed, noting again that the CBO had done "very little analysis" on his own modifications to the bill.

Jesus, Max Baucus! After all, if the CBO moved through this pile of work at "Max Baucus Speed," they would just never finish, because global warming and/or the long-prophesied coup led by Trig Palin's Clone Army is expected to kill us all by 2024, at the latest.

Liveblogging the Senate Finance Markup [WP]

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