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Chuck Schumer on CBO: Pot Calls Kettle Black

Posted by Larry Doyle on July 18, 2009 9:05 AM |

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY)

Who do you trust?

Is there any greater virtue than trust? In business, as in life, real differences of opinion are part and parcel of good, honest, and open debate. The premise for that debate is based upon trust. The challenge for the American public has long been deciphering the honest differences of opinion from questions of trust.

I see evidence of that once again in a Bloomberg interview with New York Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Schumer Says CBO ‘Wacky’ on Health Costs, Sees Passage:

The Senate can pass legislation overhauling the U.S. health-care system by August with some Republican support even with the “wacky” cost estimates by the Congressional Budget Office, Senator Charles Schumer said.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus thinks his panel can draft a bill by July 21 or 22, Schumer, the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing today.

“Our preference far and away is for a bipartisan bill,” Schumer said. “If we can’t come to a bipartisan agreement, the Finance Committee will report out a Democratic bill.”

The New York senator said the CBO’s assessment that health-care costs would rise under legislation being considered by congressional Democrats doesn’t take into account savings from preventive care and efficiencies in the system.

“CBO’s scoring is a little bit wacky,” Schumer said of the nonpartisan agency’s estimates. “They are not quite fair because they don’t measure the cost savings down the road, just the immediate spending.”

What is the Congressional Budget Office? What is their mission?

CBO’s mandate is to provide the Congress with:

> Objective, nonpartisan, and timely analyses to aid in economic and budgetary decisions on the wide array of programs covered by the federal budget and

> The information and estimates required for the Congressional budget process.

Schumer may view the CBO’s analyses of the Obama led and Democratic sponsored health care legislation as ‘wacky.’ He is entitled to his opinion. I believe his choice of words is more than disrespectful, although regrettably par for the course.

What does America know about Senator Schumer? He has long been one of the top recipients of campaign contributions and lobbyists’ largesse from major financial institutions, based in New York and Washington (Freddie and Fannie). I highlighted this as much in writing “How Wall Street Bought Washington” this past March:

The list of politicians receiving the largesse runs approximately 80 pages and covers the Presidency to seemingly every member of Congress. I was also struck by the consistency of contributions received during each election cycle by Senators Schumer (D-NY) and Dodd (D-CT). Schumer represents the Wall Street territory while Dodd has been a longtime senior ranking official on the Senate Banking committee.

While plenty of Wall Street participants look to return to ‘business as usual,’ it would appear that Senator Schumer cares to as well. How so? I have been informed by close relationships that even in the midst of proposed financial regulations of the hedge fund industry, Senator Schumer is ‘aggressively’ soliciting funds from these companies. One individual characterized the pressure by Schumer’s office as equivalent to a shakedown.

Senator Schumer may care to revist what is truly ‘wacky’ at the intersection of Wall Street, Washington, and Main Street.

Who do you trust?


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