President Obama and congressional leaders of both parties spent most of the day on a health care summit where few points of agreement emerged between Democrats and Republicans.
Most of the day was devoted to areas such as insurance reform and coverage, with little attention to differences in taxes. But the issue of taxes did sometimes rear its head, especially among Republicans, who also accused the other side of fishy accounting.
What has been placed in front of [the Congressional Budget Office] is a bill that is full of gimmicks and smoke and mirrors, said Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc. What do I mean when I say that? Well, first off, the bill has 10 years of tax increases, about half a trillion dollars, with 10 years of Medicare cuts, about half a trillion dollars, to pay for six years of spending.
Why did I bring this bill today? said House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, pointing to a printout of the 2,000-plus pages of the bill. Ill tell you why I brought it. We have $500 billion in new taxes over the next 10 years. At a time when our economy is struggling, the last thing we need to do is raise taxes on the American people.
Wrapping up the summit, Obama was able to point to a few points of agreement, but apparently there were very few. We agree that we need some insurance market reforms, he said. We dont agree on all of them, but we agree on some of them.
But with all the detailed discussion and political posturing, it was unclear at the end of the summit if there would be any changed votes in the room.