Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised to “drain the swamp” created by earmark-crazed Republicans when Democrats took control of the House in 2006. But Pelosi is not above some earmarking herself when it suits her purposes.
The Heritage Foundation’s Dennis Smith says that a “manager’s amendment” to Pelosi’s controversial 1,900 –page health care bill includes new provisions that will allow back-door payoffs to specific members of Congress, such as more favorable Medicare reimbursements to particular doctors or hospitals and lower taxes on medical device manufacturers in certain congressional districts.
One such earmark – which Smith says “suddenly appeared” after the Energy and Commerce Committee had already completed its work – creates a new $6 billion Medicaid slush fund for nursing homes to be doled out by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, with no input from the states, ordinary rulemaking or administrative review.
This is nothing but a blatant attempt to buy off wavering Blue Dog Democrats. Just when you thought this bloated behemoth couldn’t get any worse, it does.