May 20, 2004
Medicare Propaganda Update
We mentioned earlier that the GAO had declared the administration’s fake news clips on the Medicare bill to be illegal “covert propaganda,” and we promised to get back when Democratic responses came in. This is what we’ve got so far:U.S. Senate and House Democrats on Thursday introduced legislation to require the Bush administration to repay the estimated $43,000 cost of “video news releases” that the General Accounting Office says violated a federal law against the use of government funds for “publicity or propaganda.”
“Republicans should not be robbing Medicare to pay for political ads,” said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., who sought the original GAO investigation of the administration’s public relations campaign about the Medicare law signed last December, on Thursday introduced a bill to require the President’s reelection campaign to pay the money back. “These funds were meant to help our seniors, not the President’s reelection campaign,” said Lautenberg.
At a hearing Thursday on the Medicare discount drug cards, Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., said he would introduce a companion bill in that chamber.
Reps. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., and Pete Stark, D-Calif., called for the more than 40 television stations that ran the video spots featuring government-paid announcers posing as journalists to air corrections.
Oh, and wait, there’s more from our non-partisan friend, HHS spokesman Bill Pierce:
Pierce also criticized Democrats who are trumpeting the ruling, to the detriment of efforts to educate Medicare beneficiaries about the new law. “We continue to provide benefits to people who need help. Democrats continue to play politics,” he said.
So let’s get this straight. You hold the 15-minute vote open for 3 hours, turning the C Span cameras towards the Democrats so nobody can watch as pharmaceutical lobbyists swarm the Republican side to help GOP leadership bribe and threaten Members into changing their votes, then put out a series of blatantly misleading advertisments with taxpayer dollars even after the GAO has identified them as misleading, all after you illegally gagged the Medicare actuary to withhold the true costs from Congress - all for an utter sham of a bill… and the Democrats are “playing politics.”
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