Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Ed Bryant Does Flip Flop On Medicare Bill

Ed Bryant may want you to believe he is a straight shooting politican. However, the truth is, he is a big follower of public opinion polls and is willing to change a position with what is popular at any given time.

Such as the case with the Medicare prescription drug bill.

In 2003, Ed Bryant was a lobbyist for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and had a big hand in writing the Medicare prescription drug bill that passed late that year.

According to the Knoxville News-Sentinel, "BlueCross BlueShield hired Bryant for help with Congress on plans for Medicare modernization, BlueCross spokesman Bill Steverson said. Bryant's past work on health-care issues and his membership on the Commerce Committee made him attractive to the insurance company, he said." Knoxville News-Sentinel, 09/08/04

Evidently, Ed didn't have any qualms with the bill back then, as he was one of its main architects.

However, now that we find out the bad news that 200,000 Tennessseans have not enrolled in the plan and that public opinion for the plan has plummeted, Ed Bryant is backing off his support for the bill.

In fact, he is even in favor of postponing the enrollment deadline: “Republican incumbents and challengers in key House and Senate races have sided with Democrats to support postponing the Medicare prescription-drug enrollment deadline, breaking from President Bush and GOP congressional leaders who are committed to keeping the deadline in place… Republicans vying for open seats who support an extension include Jones; Ed Bryant, who is running for the seat of retiring Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.)” The Hill, 05/10/06

This is direct contradiction of President Bush, who is standing by the bill in original format: "Deadlines are important," the president said at a retirement community, less than a week before the last day for most seniors and the disabled to enroll in the program without facing higher prices. "Deadlines help people understand there's finality and people need to get after it." CNN, 05/09/06

The truth is, Ed goes whichever way the political wind blows. He will say anything to get elected, and his record proves that.

Tennessee deserves a U.S. Senator who will stand with his convictions, not the latest opinion poll.

It's time for a new generation of leadership.

Related: Public opinion goes against the Medicare bill

More: Ford calls for balanced budget, simplified Medicare drug bill and a simplified tax code; Ford votes to protect Medicare

132 Days

Days of Congressional Inaction on Ethics

Above is the number of days that have passed since Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to bribing Congressman.

It is also the number of days in which Congress has failed to pass an ethics reform bill that would limit private travel, ski and golf junkets, and would call for a full disclosure of expenses by lobbyists on members of Congress.

It is time for Congress to step up and pass an ethics reform bill that would do all of the above. In addition, it is time to end the pork barrel spending system as we know it and establish an independent ethics commission that would review ethics complaints against members of Congress.

I am proud Congressman Harold Ford Jr. is fighting for that reform!

Read Congressman Ford's call for reform of the House rules here!