So it finally happened. The Senate finally passed it. And the suspense should be over by now.
Of course, we're talking about the Medicare "Doc Fix". Because Congress hasn't been able to agree to permanently fix a glitch in the Medicare reimbursement law that was first passed in 1997, it's gone through this bizarre ritual of passing temporary "Doc Fix" bills to ensure doctors' compensation for treating Medicare patients doesn't plummet. But unlike previous times, this latest "Doc Fix" became the newest victim of...
You guessed it, the G-O-TEA's latest & greatest manufactured crisis! And surprise, surprise, Congressional Republican "leaders" tried to hold the Medicare "Doc Fix" hostage and demand ransom in the form of Obamacare repeal. Queue the eye rolls and guffaws.
As usual, G-O-TEA Senators attempted to cover their tracks by sharing "Obamacare HORROR STORIES!!!" Clearly, that blew up in their faces. And now that the Obamacare exchange is on track to meet its goals for the first quarter of 2014, enough Republican Senators agreed to let it go so Congress can finally pass a "Doc Fix" for this year.
To his credit, Dean Heller was one of the Republican Senators to break the logjam on the "Doc Fix". Also to his credit, Senator Heller has been one of the Republican Senators working on breaking the logjam on extending federal unemployment insurance (UI). Over 26,000 Nevadans & 2,000,000 other Americans have been left in a dangerous state of financial limbo for over 3 months. And these 2,000,000+ Americans have been left to suffer because of "TEA" tinged political games.
But now, the Senate finally looks set to pass a long overdue federal UI extension. Both Senator Heller & Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) support the bill, and it's expected to win at least 60 Senate votes this week. Yet even as the Senate inches closer to final passage, no one knows yet if UI extension will even have a House floor vote.
Even when House Speaker John Boehner (R) flew into town for a high dollar Wynn fundraiser last week, he refused to take any questions on UI (or anything else, for that matter). And even when Speaker Boehner has spoken up, only to say he wants to see more job creation, he's still standing in the way of legislation that can help create at least 200,000 jobs. And now that the Senate is on track to pass UI extension, neither Boehner nor his local lackey, Rep. Joe Heck (R-____), has uttered a peep about how they will respond in the House... If at all.
Why is this? Deep down, they and other House Republicans know that federal UI extension is just as overdue as the Medicare "Doc Fix". They must also realize that federal UI extension is just as overdue as that long ago promised "Republican alternative to Obamacare". Yet even as House Republicans look set to swallow the latest "Doc Fix", and even as they attempt to spin away the latest Obamacare news, they remain silent as over 2,000,000 Americans suffer.
UI extension is long overdue. Several Republican Senators know it. A host of economists know it. And far too many American families know it all too well. What will it take for House Republicans to accept this reality and end this unnecessary hardship?