Thursday, March 17, 2005

Thanks Senator Smith

Kudos to Senator Smith for showing there's some humanity left on the other side of the aisle.

WASHINGTON - The Senate voted Thursday to strip all proposed Medicaid cuts from the $2.6 trillion budget for next year, jeopardizing the heart of the plan's deficit reduction in an embarrassing setback to President Bush (news - web sites) and Republican leaders.

The change, whose chief sponsor was moderate Sen. Gordon Smith (news, bio, voting record), R-Ore., was approved 52-48 after days of heavy lobbying by both sides. It was widely seen as a test of the GOP-run Congress' taste for making even moderate reductions in popular benefit programs that consume two-thirds of the budget and are growing rapidly.

The Medicaid cuts could still be revived when the House and Senate try writing a compromise budget next month. The more conservative House approved a budget Thursday by 218-214 that is tougher on domestic spending than the Senate is, including up to $20 billion in Medicaid savings.

Medicaid is hideously expensive because our health care system is so screwed up.