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Democrats Threaten Healthcare Critics

From Roll Call:

Baucus Aides Warn K Street

By David M. Drucker, Anna Palmer and Kate Ackley

June 11, 2009

Top aides to Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) called a last-minute, pre-emptive strike on Wednesday with a group of prominent Democratic lobbyists, warning them to advise their clients not to attend a meeting with Senate Republicans set for Thursday.

Russell Sullivan, the top staffer on Finance, and Jon Selib, Baucus’ chief of staff, met with a bloc of more than 20 contract lobbyists, including several former Baucus aides.

“They said, ‘Republicans are having this meeting and you need to let all of your clients know if they have someone there, that will be viewed as a hostile act,’” said a Democratic lobbyist who attended the meeting.

“Going to the Republican meeting will say, ‘I’m interested in working with Republicans to stop health care reform,’” the lobbyist added.

Republican leaders have been meeting with health care stakeholders for months, with those sessions occurring “more frequently than once a month,” according to a senior Senate GOP aide…

The stated purpose of Thursday’s meeting, organized by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), is to discuss proposals for how to pay for health care reform.

But the underlying motivation for the get-together is to encourage health care lobbyists and stakeholders concerned about the Democrats’ health care reform plans to speak out publicly.

“They need to speak up,” one Senate Republican leadership aide said. “They need to help us help them.”

Thune said Democrats are using threats and intimidation to keep unhappy stakeholders silent.

“If you don’t engage on this thing, this train’s leaving the station,” Thune said. “If you want [Republicans] to have more influence, you’ve got to engage.” …

One senior Democratic source charged that Thune’s meeting and the supposed motives behind it are in fact a smoke screen for killing health care reform altogether.

“While Democrats and many Republicans are working collaboratively to reform health care, a small group of Republicans appear all too eager to derail this promising, bipartisan effort,” this source said. “It’s politics as usual, it’s disheartening and it’s a shame.” …

After months of holding their tongues while inclusive, bipartisan negotiations continued in the Senate Finance and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committees, the business community has now considered speaking out, given their displeasure with the HELP panel’s reform bill, which was made public on Tuesday.

But with Baucus’ office still warning dissenters that anyone who makes their opposition public could be permanently excluded from future negotiations, the groups representing businesses, health care providers, hospitals and similar stakeholders are still wavering on whether to voice their concerns publicly.

The lineup of lobbyists who attended the Wednesday session included a cast of Democratic insiders similar to that at previous meetings convened by Baucus’ staff. The participants included: Jeff Forbes, a former Baucus chief of staff who lobbies at Cauthen Forbes & Williams; Jonathon Jones, a partner with Peck, Madigan, Jones & Stewart; Tarplin Strategies’ Rich Tarplin, an assistant secretary at Health and Human Services in the Clinton administration; another former Baucus top aide, David Castagnetti, of Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti and OB-C Group founder Larry O’Brien…

Unfortunately, the writing in this article is so ‘inside the Beltway’ as to be practically opaque.

But in a nutshell, the piece claims that Senate Democrats are threatening healthcare organizations if they participate with conservatives in forming an alternative plan to Obama’s healthcare plans.

So much for open government. So much for getting past partisanship. (And so much for eschewing lobbyists.)

Instead we have more of Mr. Obama’s Chicago Machine-style thug politics.

(Thanks to Wstuga for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, June 12th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

13 Responses to “Democrats Threaten Healthcare Critics”

  1. Liberals Demise says:

    What in Gods name is next? A drive-by Chicago bump off if they don’t get their way? The dems have resorted to being hooligans and thugs if they don’t get their way!! I’ve had it, how about you?

    • curvyred says:

      Sounds about right – I think they realize their demonization of opponents will only go so far – it is just about worn-thinned – so now they will have to take a more Chi-town approach.

    • MinnesotaRush says:

      More than had it LD; however, .. calm and rational heads need to prevail!

      We are expecting rational behavior from irrational people! Doesn’t remove the probable need though to formulate Plan A, B, & C.

  2. proreason says:

    The greatest threat to your health lives in the White House.

  3. Right of the People says:

    If a corporation did this it would be a violation of the RICO statues. Is Obullshit going to send in his legbreakers to speak to these people if the dare talk to the opposition?

    “If youse know what’s good fer youse, youse ain’t gonna talk wid dese guys, capeece?”

  4. I have linked to your post from Obama’s Bipartisan Mandate I’ve just uploaded a poor quality video of his statements to invite everybody to the table, including lobbyists but not give lobbyists all of the chairs at the table.

    • JohnMG says:

      ………”After months of holding their tongues while inclusive, bipartisan negotiations continued in the Senate Finance and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committees, the business community has now considered speaking out, given their displeasure with the HELP panel’s reform bill, which was made public on Tuesday.

      But with Baucus’ office still warning dissenters that anyone who makes their opposition public could be permanently excluded from future negotiations, the groups representing businesses, health care providers, hospitals and similar stakeholders are still wavering on whether to voice their concerns publicly……”

      Sure sounds bi-partisan to me. (Doh!) No, no, scratch that. It sounds more like some sort of benevolent dictatorship. The beatings will continue ’til morale improves!!

      Can’t we all just get along?

  5. wardmama4 says:

    Well today they shoved through the attack on tobacco – what is it, about 12 billion in tax revenue a year – now where in the heck does this Idiotic Administration (lead by a smoker) think that kind of money is coming from?

    Oh yes from the last working people in America. I was wrong yesterday – when you add the tobacco tax revenue deficit – then add in this from the stupid – Kennedy Free (wink, wink) Healthcare for All, Illegals First bill –
    -$600 billion in tax increase
    and this
    -the measure’s cost will reach beyond the $634 billion President Barack Obama proposed in his budget request to Congress as a down payment for the policy changes.

    The Klownposse in DC have lost their minds and someone had better stand up and stop them – or we are out of money, luck and a future.

    God Help America.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      I had a pondering yesterday whilst riding about on the lawnmower that this tobacco “legislation” may just be a tool for O-blow-me to say…in the not-so-distant-future, “Listen, I have had to uh, deal with the same uhhh, errrr, costs of buying cigarettes that you do…I too….am a uh……smoker….and uhhhhh, I too….must endure this difficulty……Join me now while we…uh…..er……do it together.”

      What better sales pitch can there be? Fake empathy is sooooo good for getting people to come around and see the light.

  6. MinnesotaRush says:

    The Constitution, the protections intended for by the three branches of government, capitalism and the economy, The Rule of Law, and the very spirit of a “Republic” … have all come under attack, have suffered MAJOR blows, and are on the verge of collapse and possible death!

    And this Chicago thug political hack, o-blah-blah (and his ilk), can lay claim to it all! THEY talked incessantly about the failed policies of the past … about the failed policies of George Bush.

    Well, now they can talk about the immensely successful policies of o-blah-blah (and gang) that have led to the collapse and potential failure of the greatest country ever in the history of the world. Policies and actions that folks who have a vested interest in this country despise!

    Great job, huh, o-blah-blah?

    Hopefully, history will accurately record this o-blah-blah blight so it may never raise its’ ugly head again.

  7. Colonel1961 says:

    Thugocracy 101.

  8. 12 Gauge Rage says:

    I thought protest of any form was protected as free speech under the First Amendment. Take heart everyone. These thugs can’t stay in power forever. And eventually they’ll be devoured by the same political monster they’ve created. Even Robespierre of the French Revolution soon met his end by ways of Madame Guillotine because the French population had had enough of his ruthlessness.


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