“TRUST” Act can end Social Security as we know it – fast track rules for approval – only two hours debate!

American politics’ number one weasel and 2012 Bilderberg attendee, Willard “Mitt” Romney (R-Utah), is pushing Congress to appoint special commissions to “reform” (cut) Social Security and Medicare under the guise of Homeland Security. The bill’s title is a perfect misnomer: Time to Rescue United States Trusts Act (TRUST).

Willard Romney – eyeing your savings

The “security” farce is that public health and retirement programs can cause debt, and debt itself is somehow a dire threat to the nation. That’s the limp excuse for using the Homeland committee .

The hedge fund master’s merry band of 13 co-conspirators includes four Democrats and nine Republicans: Joe Manchin (D-WV), Todd Young (R-IN), Doug Jones (D-AL), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Shelley Capito (R-WV), Lamar Alexander (R-IN), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Angus King (D/I-ME), Mark Warner (D-VA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Martha McSally (R-AZ), John Cornyn (R-TX) and David Perdue (R-GA).

Who else but Romney would openly organize such a threat to middle class Americans, who depend on Social Security and Medicare for their existence? This is the same Romney who ran for President and picked Paul Ryan as his running mate. Ryan was the Ayn Rand-admiring deficit hawk who openly called for private-profit ownership of Medicare and hiking our retirement age to 70.

Instead of regular committee public hearings and votes, three members of the Senate and three members of the House – from each party – 12 in total – will decide by a simple majority vote to approve a report and submit it to the House and Senate.

Similar legislation has been introduced in the House by Reps. Ed Case (D-HI); Mike Gallagher (R-WI).; Ben McAdams (D-UT); and William Timmons (R-SC).

Once approved by the commissions, no amendments will be allowed to the TRUST Act by any member of Congress.

The bill cannot by stopped with a normal 60-vote cloture rule in the Senate.

Only two hours of debate will be permitted in either the Senate or House before a vote that can pass with a simple majority.

That’s called “railroading” a bill through a legislature.

The two-hour discussion allowed will create the laws for the Social Security Trust, Medicare Trust and Highway Trust for the next 75 years.

The TRUST Gang of 12 will consist only of Congress members appointed by each party’s leaders. The commissions can interview, hire staff, and listen to lobbyists like Maya MacGuineas. She heads an organization – Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) – that has long pointed daggers at the Social Security pensions paid for by FICA taxes on payrolls.

CRFB has been heavily funded by the late Pete Peterson fortune, and like most big investors, he hated Social Security and Medicare. The banking class wants privatization, so Wall Street can grab big profits by fee-managing your payroll tax contributions.

MacGuineas and CRFB are just nuts about TRUST:

In reviewing programs and evaluating options, rescue committees would work closely with relevant federal agencies, CBO, the Government Accountability Office, Congressional leadership, committees of jurisdiction, other members, and each other.

Commissions could put forward a proposal with a simple majority of total members, including at least two members from each party to ensure bipartisan support. Though due the week after the 2020 election, recommendations could be put forward at any point if consensus is reached. Legislation reflecting these proposals would receive fast-track consideration in both chambers of Congress.

While the TRUST Act does not force policymakers to save the major trust funds, it does force them to work together on a bipartisan basis toward that goal.

To fully understand CFRB and MacGuineas, you must engage in a little kitchen table economics, and realize her husband is Robin Jermyn Brooks, whose positions have included economist at: Brevan Howard Asset Management LLP, managing director and vice president of Goldman Sachs Wall Street investment banking, economist at the International Monetary Fund, and research fellow at Brookings Institution.

Who better to trust with your hard-earned retirement savings than Maya and Robin?

Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works, said Romney is “acting true to his income” with a plan to pave the way for benefit cuts.

“They want to pretend that they’re saving the program, and they are going to do it behind closed doors in a fast-track process,” Altman said. “They want to do something the American people don’t want, which is why they’re doing it this way.”

Advocates of increasing benefits under the present system point to the nearly three trillion dollars In the Social Security Trust, caused by over payments since 1986. Under privatization that giant pot of FICA money would be turned over to the bankers for their investing.

Why the three trillion surplus? This fund growth was designed to cushion baby boomer retirements in the 2020s, when FICA income began to decline with a lower worker/retiree ratio. That hasn’t happened yet, but President Donald Trump is proposing a temporary halt in payments into FICA, which will deplete the fund, and less reserves gives more ammo to deficit hawks.

Adding lighter fluid to the fire, a group of 60 Congress members have sent a letter urging that TRUST commissions be enabled quickly:

United States Congress
Washington DC, 20510
June 1, 2020

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House
U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy:

We, a bipartisan group of representatives, remain committed to fighting the pandemic and the economic downturn to help the American people through this hardship. The unemployment rate is nearly 15%, and GDP could fall as much as 30%. We must confront the economic fallout from this crisis head on. As the crisis recedes and our nation recovers, we cannot ignore the pressing issue of the national debt, which could do irreparable damage to our country.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the debt held by the public is likely to exceed 100 percent of GDP in just a few months, and it will hit record levels in a few years. In addition, trust funds for some of our most critical programs will face exhaustion far sooner than we expected as a result of the current crisis. Trust fund insolvency threatens serious hardship for those who depend on the programs.

We, therefore, respectfully request that further pandemic-response legislation include provisions for future budget reforms to ensure we confront these issues when the economy is strong enough. These reforms should have broad, bipartisan support. They should not stand in the way of our making the necessary decisions to deal with the crisis at hand. They should ensure that, in addition to addressing health and economic needs, we lay the foundation for a sustainable fiscal future by building on reforms with established bipartisan support.

First, we must have common ground on the facts and keep this issue in our deliberations. The Fiscal State of the Nation resolution would increase the transparency of our fiscal situation by requiring GAO to present an annual report to Congress and the country detailing the fiscal health of the nation.

Second, we must create mechanisms to help Congress demonstrate greater accountability in navigating the decisions to restore our fiscal health and sustainability. Trust funds for Social Security, Disability Insurance, Medicare Hospital Insurance, and Highway programs face insolvency, now possibly all within a decade. Enacting a consensus process like the Time to Rescue United States Trusts (TRUST) Act would create special bipartisan, bicameral rescue committees to give these programs the priority and urgency they deserve. Other commission structures, such as those from the Sustainable Budget Act or the Budget Control Act’s joint select committee, provide models for a comprehensive fiscal agreement.

Third, the federal debt is growing at an alarming pace. Though emergency borrowing is necessary now, we must have a credible plan for responsibility to bring the debt burden to sustainable levels as the pandemic recedes and the economy recovers. We support a process for establishing overall budgetary goals—such as debt-to-GDP targets—that would reduce debt- limit brinkmanship as long as the budget remains on a responsible path.

Including budget reforms like these with any further pandemic-response legislation would put in place a plan to make sure that as we address our nation’s health and economic concerns, we will deal with our debt challenges at the appropriate time as well.

As the first branch of government, Congress can and must address current needs while planning for tomorrow. These bipartisan options can help us come together—as Americans—to build a brighter, more resilient future. We urge you to include them in the next pandemic response legislation. We stand ready and willing to work with you.

Sincerely,

Scott H. Peters and Jodey Arrington,
Member of Congress

Additional signers include: Ben McAdams, Dean Phillips, Jim Banks, Tom Reed, Ed Case, Stephanie Murphy, Kathleen M. Rice, Kurt Schrader, Bill Huizenga, Mike Johnson, Lloyd Smucker, Dan Crenshaw,Derek Kilmer, Vicky Hartzler, Jimmy Panetta, Dan Newhouse, Cindy Axne, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Tom O’Halleran, Mike Gallagher, Anthony Brindisi, Rob Woodall, Ron Kind, Warren Davidson, Kendra S. Horn, Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M., Abigail D. Spanberger, Darin LaHood, Jim Cooper, Tom Rice, Jim Costa, George Holding, Henry Cuellar, Drew Ferguson, Xochitl Torres Small, Ralph Norman, Daniel W. Lipinski, David Schweikert, Collin C. Peterson, Ron Estes, Joe Cunningham, Mark Walker, Harley Rouda, Jason Smith, Ann McLane Kuster, Roger Marshall, M.D., Colin Allred, Debbie Lesko, J. Luis Correa, Bruce Westerman, Chrissy Houlahan, Adrian Smith, Terri A. Sewell, Jack Bergman, Sharice L. Davids, Mike Kelly, Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. and Roger Williams

While it would be easy to blame this on Republicans, the effort to destroy earned benefits through taxes such as Medicare and Social Security is a longtime two-party effort.

First, President Ronald Reagan in a moment of fading lucidity allowed Alan Greenspan and his globalist buddies to gut Social Security. Their “reforms” included: taking out more taxes than the program paid, raising the retirement age to 67, introducing tiers that cut many benefits from prior 50% to 15%, and subjecting earned Social Security to Income Tax ($40 billion paid last year alone).

Second, President Barack Obama pushed for the Simpson-Bowles Commission, very much the same sneaky animal as the TRUST deal – a group of politicians blindly approving a commission’s report with virtually no public input. That failed, when members could not reach a super majority of 14 of 18 members. The TRUST commission, however, will only need a bare majority.

President Donald Trump ran in 2016 decrying cuts to Medicare and Social Security.

He can fulfill that promise with a veto of the TRUST act if approved by Congress. The White House has not commented on the bill, probably waiting until after the election to either support the public, or once again cave to the investor class.

Text of the TRUST Act

116th CONGRESS 1st Session S. 2733 To save and strengthen critical social contract programs of the Federal Government. _______________________________________________________________________ IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES October 29, 2019 Mr. Romney (for himself, Mr. Manchin, Mr. Young, Mr. Jones, and Ms. Sinema) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs _______________________________________________________________________ A BILL To save and strengthen critical social contract programs of the Federal Government. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the “Time to Rescue United States Trusts Act” or the “TRUST Act”.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.
In this Act:
(1) Co-chair.–The term “co-chair” means an individual
appointed to serve as a co-chair of a Rescue Committee under
section 4(a)(4)(C)(i).
(2) Critical social contract program.–The term “critical
social contract program” means a Federal program the Secretary
identifies in the report under section 3.
(3) Rescue committee.–The term “Rescue Committee” means
a committee established under section 4(a).
(4) Rescue committee bill.–The term “Rescue Committee
bill” means a bill consisting solely of legislative language
that a Rescue Committee approves and submits under clauses (i)
and (vi), respectively, of section 4(a)(3)(B).
(5) Secretary.–The term “Secretary” means the Secretary
of the Treasury.

SEC. 3. IDENTIFICATION OF CRITICAL SOCIAL CONTRACT PROGRAMS.
Not later than 45 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the
Secretary shall submit to Congress a report that identifies each
Federal program–
(1) for which a Federal trust fund is established;
(2) the amount of outlays of which, for the fiscal year
immediately preceding the fiscal year in which this Act is
enacted, were not less than $20,000,000,000; and
(3) the amount of dedicated Federal funds and Federal trust
fund balances that the Secretary determines will be inadequate,
on any date during the period beginning on the date of
enactment of this Act and ending on the last day of fiscal year
2035, to meet the total amount of outlays of the Federal
program that would otherwise be made.

SEC. 4. ESTABLISHMENT OF RESCUE COMMITTEES.
(a) Establishment of Rescue Committees.–
(1) Establishment.–On the date on which the Secretary
submits the report under section 3, there shall be established
a Rescue Committee for each critical social contract program.
(2) Goals.–The goals of each Rescue Committee shall be to,
with respect to the critical social contract program for which
the Rescue Committee is established–
(A) avoid depletion of the Federal trust fund
established for the critical social contract program;
(B) provide for the solvency of the Federal trust
fund established for the critical social contract
program during the 75-year period beginning on the date
described in paragraph (1);
(C) simplify the critical social contract program
to the extent practicable; and
(D) otherwise improve the critical social contract
program.
(3) Duties.–
(A) In general.–
(i) Improving critical social contract
programs.–Each Rescue Committee may develop
recommendations and legislative language that
will significantly improve the critical social
contract program for which the Rescue Committee
is established, including by–
(I) increasing the duration of
positive balances of the Federal trust
fund established for the critical
social contract program; and
(II) to the extent practicable,
providing for the solvency of the
Federal trust fund established for the
critical social contract program during
the 75-year period beginning on the
date described in paragraph (1).
(ii) Recommendations of committees.–Not
later than 30 days after the date described in
paragraph (1), each committee of the Senate and
the House of Representatives may transmit to
the relevant Rescue Committee any
recommendations of the committee relating to
changes in law to improve the critical social
contract program for which the Rescue Committee
is established in accordance with the goals of
the Rescue Committee described in paragraph
(2).
(B) Report, recommendations, and legislative
language.–
(i) In general.–Not later than November
12, 2020, each Rescue Committee shall meet to
consider, and may vote on–
(I) a report that contains a
detailed statement of the findings,
conclusions, and recommendations of the
Rescue Committee described in
subparagraph (A)(i) and the estimate of
the Congressional Budget Office
required under paragraph (5)(D)(ii);
and
(II) legislative language to carry
out the recommendations of the Rescue
Committee in the report described in
subclause (I), which shall include a
statement of the economic and budgetary
effects of the recommendations during
the 75-year period beginning on the
date described in paragraph (1).
(ii) Advisory nature.–Any proposed change
to the Standing Rules of the Senate or the
Rules of the House of Representatives included
in a report or legislative language under
clause (i) shall be considered to be merely
advisory.
(iii) Approval of report and legislative
language.–A report and legislative language of
a Rescue Committee under clause (i) shall
require the approval of a majority of the
members of the Rescue Committee, provided that
such majority shall be required to include not
less than 2 members of each party.
(iv) Additional views.–
(I) In general.–A member of a
Rescue Committee who gives notice of an
intention to file supplemental,
minority, or additional views at the
time of the final Rescue Committee vote
on the approval of the report and
legislative language of the Rescue
Committee under clause (i) shall be
entitled to 3 days to file those views
in writing with the staff director of
the Rescue Committee.
(II) Inclusion in report.–Views
filed under subclause (I) shall be
included in the report of the relevant
Rescue Committee under clause (i) and
printed in the same volume, or part
thereof, and such inclusion shall be
noted on the cover of the report,
except that, in the absence of timely
notice, the report may be printed and
transmitted immediately without such
views.
(v) Report and legislative language to be
made public.–Upon the approval or disapproval
of a report and legislative language under
clause (i) by a Rescue Committee, the Rescue
Committee shall promptly make the report, the
legislative language, and a record of the vote
on the report and legislative language
available to the public.
(vi) Submission of report and legislative
language.–If a report and legislative language
are approved by a Rescue Committee under clause
(i), not later than 3 days after the date on
which the report and legislative language are
made available to the public under clause (v),
the Rescue Committee shall submit the report
and legislative language to the President, the
Vice President, the Speaker of the House of
Representatives, and the majority and minority
leaders of each House of Congress.
(vii) Rule of construction.–Nothing in
this subparagraph shall be construed to
prohibit a Rescue Committee from voting on a
report and legislative language under clause
(i) before November 12, 2020.
(4) Membership.–
(A) In general.–Each Rescue Committee shall be
composed of 12 members appointed in accordance with
subparagraph (B).
(B) Appointment.–Not later than 14 days after the
date described in paragraph (1), with respect to each
Rescue Committee–
(i) the majority leader of the Senate shall
appoint 3 individuals from among the Members of
the Senate who shall serve as members of the
Rescue Committee;
(ii) the minority leader of the Senate
shall appoint 3 individuals from among the
Members of the Senate who shall serve as
members of the Rescue Committee;
(iii) the Speaker of the House of
Representatives shall appoint 3 individuals
from among the Members of the House of
Representatives who shall serve as members of
the Rescue Committee; and
(iv) the minority leader of the House of
Representatives shall appoint 3 individuals
from among the Members of the House of
Representatives who shall serve as members of
the Rescue Committee.
(C) Co-chairs.–
(i) In general.–Not later than 14 days
after the date described in paragraph (1), with
respect to each Rescue Committee–
(I) the majority leader of the
Senate shall appoint 1 individual from
among the members of the Rescue
Committee who shall serve as a co-chair
of the Rescue Committee; and
(II) the Speaker of the House of
Representatives shall appoint 1
individual from among the members of
the Rescue Committee who shall serve as
a co-chair of the Rescue Committee.
(ii) Staff director.–With respect to each
Rescue Committee, the co-chairs of the Rescue
Committee, acting jointly, shall hire the staff
director of the Rescue Committee.
(D) Period of appointment.–
(i) In general.–The members of a Rescue
Committee shall be appointed for the life of
the Rescue Committee.
(ii) Vacancy.–
(I) In general.–Any vacancy in a
Rescue Committee shall not affect the
powers of the Rescue Committee, but
shall be filled not later than 14 days
after the date on which the vacancy
occurs, in the same manner as the
original appointment was made.
(II) Ineligible members.–If a
member of a Rescue Committee ceases to
be a Member of the Senate or the House
of Representatives, as applicable–
(aa) the member shall no
longer be a member of the
Rescue Committee; and
(bb) a vacancy in the
Rescue Committee exists.
(5) Administration.–
(A) In general.–With respect to each Rescue
Committee, to enable the Rescue Committee to exercise
the powers, functions, and duties of the Rescue
Committee, there are authorized to be disbursed by the
Senate the actual and necessary expenses of the Rescue
Committee approved by the co-chairs of the Rescue
Committee, subject to the rules and regulations of the
Senate.
(B) Expenses.–With respect to each Rescue
Committee, in carrying out the functions of the Rescue
Committee, the Rescue Committee is authorized to incur
expenses in the same manner and under the same
conditions as the Joint Economic Committee is
authorized under section 11(d) of the Employment Act of
1946 (15 U.S.C. 1024(d)).
(C) Quorum.–With respect to each Rescue Committee,
7 members of the Rescue Committee shall constitute a
quorum for purposes of voting, meeting, and holding
hearings.
(D) Voting.–
(i) Proxy voting.–No proxy voting shall be
allowed on behalf of any member of a Rescue
Committee.
(ii) Congressional budget office
estimates.–
(I) In general.–The Director of
the Congressional Budget Office shall,
with respect to the legislative
language of a Rescue Committee under
paragraph (3)(B)(i)(II), provide to the
Rescue Committee–
(aa) estimates of the
legislative language in
accordance with sections 308(a)
and 201(f) of the Congressional
Budget Act of 1974 (2 U.S.C.
639(a) and 601(f)); and
(bb) information on the
budgetary effect of the
legislative language during the
75-year period beginning on the
date described in paragraph
(1).
(II) Limitation.–A Rescue
Committee may not vote on any version
of the report, recommendations, or
legislative language of the Rescue
Committee under paragraph (3)(B)(i)
unless the estimates and information
described in subclause (I) of this
clause are made available for
consideration by all members of the
Rescue Committee not later than 48
hours before that vote, as certified by
the co-chairs of the Rescue Committee.
(E) Meetings.–
(i) Initial meeting.–Not later than 45
days after the date described in paragraph (1),
each Rescue Committee shall hold the first
meeting of the Rescue Committee.
(ii) Agenda.–For each meeting of each
Rescue Committee, the co-chairs of the Rescue
Committee shall provide an agenda to the
members of the Rescue Committee not later than
48 hours before the meeting.
(F) Hearings.–
(i) In general.–Each Rescue Committee may,
for the purpose of carrying out this section,
hold such hearings, sit and act at such times
and places, require attendance of witnesses and
production of books, papers, and documents,
take such testimony, receive such evidence, and
administer such oaths as the Rescue Committee
considers advisable.
(ii) Hearing procedures and
responsibilities of co-chairs.–
(I) Announcement.–The co-chairs of
each Rescue Committee shall make a
public announcement of the date, place,
time, and subject matter of any hearing
to be conducted under this subparagraph
not later than 7 days before the date
of the hearing, unless the co-chairs
determine that there is good cause to
begin such hearing on an earlier date.
(II) Written statement.–A witness
appearing before a Rescue Committee
shall file a written statement of the
proposed testimony of the witness not
later than 2 days before the date of
the appearance of the witness, unless
the co-chairs of the Rescue Committee–
(aa) determine that there
is good cause for the witness
to not file the written
statement; and
(bb) waive the requirement
that the witness file the
written statement.
(G) Technical assistance.–Upon written request of
the co-chairs of a Rescue Committee, the head of a
Federal agency shall provide technical assistance to
the Rescue Committee in order for the Rescue Committee
to carry out the duties of the Rescue Committee.
(b) Staff of Rescue Committee.–
(1) In general.–The co-chairs of a Rescue Committee may
jointly appoint and fix the compensation of staff of the Rescue
Committee as the co-chairs determine necessary, in accordance
with the guidelines, rules, and requirements relating to
employees of the Senate.
(2) Ethical standards.–
(A) Senate.–Members of the Senate who serve on a
Rescue Committee and staff of the Rescue Committee
shall adhere to the ethics rules of the Senate.
(B) House of representatives.–Members of the House
of Representatives who serve on a Rescue Committee
shall be governed by the ethics rules and requirements
of the House of Representatives.
(c) Termination.–Each Rescue Committee shall terminate on the day
after the date of the sine die adjournment of the 116th Congress.

SEC. 5. EXPEDITED CONSIDERATION OF RESCUE COMMITTEE BILLS.
(a) Qualifying Legislation.–Only a Rescue Committee bill shall be
entitled to expedited consideration under this section.
(b) Consideration in the House of Representatives.–
(1) Introduction.–If a Rescue Committee approves and
submits legislative language under clauses (i) and (vi),
respectively, of section 4(a)(3)(B), a Rescue Committee bill
consisting solely of that legislative language may be
introduced in the House of Representatives (by request)–
(A) by the majority leader of the House of
Representatives, or by a Member of the House of
Representatives designated by the majority leader of
the House of Representatives, on the next legislative
day; or
(B) if the Rescue Committee bill is not introduced
under subparagraph (A), by any Member of the House of
Representatives on any legislative day beginning on the
legislative day after the legislative day described in
subparagraph (A).
(2) Referral and reporting.–Any committee of the House of
Representatives to which a Rescue Committee bill is referred
shall report the Rescue Committee bill to the House of
Representatives without amendment not later than 10 legislative
days after the date on which the Rescue Committee bill was so
referred. If a committee of the House of Representatives fails
to report a Rescue Committee bill within that period, it shall
be in order to move that the House of Representatives discharge
the committee from further consideration of the Rescue
Committee bill. Such a motion shall not be in order after the
last committee authorized to consider the Rescue Committee bill
reports it to the House of Representatives or after the House
of Representatives has disposed of a motion to discharge the
Rescue Committee bill. The previous question shall be
considered as ordered on the motion to its adoption without
intervening motion except 20 minutes of debate equally divided
and controlled by the proponent and an opponent. If such a
motion is adopted, the House of Representatives shall proceed
immediately to consider the Rescue Committee bill in accordance
with paragraphs (3) and (4). A motion to reconsider the vote by
which the motion is disposed of shall not be in order.
(3) Proceeding to consideration.–After the last committee
authorized to consider a Rescue Committee bill reports it to
the House of Representatives or has been discharged (other than
by motion) from its consideration, it shall be in order to move
to proceed to consider the Rescue Committee bill in the House
of Representatives. Such a motion shall not be in order after
the House of Representatives has disposed of a motion to
proceed with respect to the Rescue Committee bill. The previous
question shall be considered as ordered on the motion to its
adoption without intervening motion. A motion to reconsider the
vote by which the motion is disposed of shall not be in order.
(4) Consideration.–The Rescue Committee bill shall be
considered as read. All points of order against the Rescue
Committee bill and against its consideration are waived. The
previous question shall be considered as ordered on the Rescue
Committee bill to its passage without intervening motion except
2 hours of debate equally divided and controlled by the
proponent and an opponent and 1 motion to limit debate on the
Rescue Committee bill. A motion to reconsider the vote on
passage of the Rescue Committee bill shall not be in order.
(5) Vote on passage.–The vote on passage of the Rescue
Committee bill shall occur not later than 3 legislative days
after the date on which the last committee authorized to
consider the Rescue Committee bill reports it to the House of
Representatives or is discharged.
(c) Expedited Procedure in the Senate.–
(1) Introduction in the senate.–If a Rescue Committee
approves and submits legislative language under clauses (i) and
(vi), respectively, of section 4(a)(3)(B), a Rescue Committee
bill consisting solely of that legislative language may be
introduced in the Senate (by request)–
(A) by the majority leader of the Senate, or by a
Member of the Senate designated by the majority leader
of the Senate, on the next day on which the Senate is
in session; or
(B) if the Rescue Committee bill is not introduced
under subparagraph (A), by any Member of the Senate on
any day on which the Senate is in session beginning on
the day after the day described in subparagraph (A).
(2) Committee consideration.–A Rescue Committee bill
introduced in the Senate under paragraph (1) shall be jointly
referred to the committee or committees of jurisdiction, which
committees shall report the Rescue Committee bill without any
revision and with a favorable recommendation, an unfavorable
recommendation, or without recommendation, not later than 10
session days after the date on which the Rescue Committee bill
was so referred. If any committee to which a Rescue Committee
bill is referred fails to report the Rescue Committee bill
within that period, that committee shall be automatically
discharged from consideration of the Rescue Committee bill, and
the Rescue Committee bill shall be placed on the appropriate
calendar.
(3) Proceeding.–Notwithstanding rule XXII of the Standing
Rules of the Senate, it is in order, not later than 2 days of
session after the date on which a Rescue Committee bill is
reported or discharged from all committees to which the Rescue
Committee bill was referred, for the majority leader of the
Senate or the designee of the majority leader to move to
proceed to the consideration of the Rescue Committee bill. It
shall also be in order for any Member of the Senate to move to
proceed to the consideration of the Rescue Committee bill at
any time after the conclusion of such 2-day period. A motion to
proceed is in order even though a previous motion to the same
effect has been disagreed to. All points of order against the
motion to proceed to the Rescue Committee bill are waived. The
motion to proceed is not debatable. The motion is not subject
to a motion to postpone. A motion to reconsider the vote by
which the motion is agreed to or disagreed to shall not be in
order. If a motion to proceed to the consideration of the
Rescue Committee bill is agreed to, the Rescue Committee bill
shall remain the unfinished business until disposed of. All
points of order against a Rescue Committee bill and against
consideration of the Rescue Committee bill are waived.
(4) No amendments.–An amendment to a Rescue Committee
bill, or a motion to postpone, or a motion to proceed to the
consideration of other business, or a motion to recommit the
Rescue Committee bill, is not in order.
(5) Rulings of the chair on procedure.–Appeals from the
decisions of the Chair relating to the application of the rules
of the Senate, as the case may be, to the procedure relating to
a Rescue Committee bill shall be decided without debate.
(d) Amendment.–A Rescue Committee bill shall not be subject to
amendment in either the Senate or the House of Representatives.
(e) Consideration by the Other House.–
(1) In general.–If, before passing a Rescue Committee
bill, a House receives from the other House a Rescue Committee
bill consisting of legislative language approved by the same
Rescue Committee as the Rescue Committee bill in the receiving
House–
(A) the Rescue Committee bill of the other House
shall not be referred to a committee; and
(B) the procedure in the receiving House shall be
the same as if no Rescue Committee bill had been
received from the other House until the vote on
passage, when the Rescue Committee bill received from
the other House shall supplant the Rescue Committee
bill of the receiving House.
(2) Revenue measures.–This subsection shall not apply to
the House of Representatives if a Rescue Committee bill
received from the Senate is a revenue measure.
(f) Rules To Coordinate Action With Other House.–
(1) Treatment of rescue committee bill of other house.–If
a Rescue Committee bill is not introduced in the Senate or the
Senate fails to consider a Rescue Committee bill under this
section, the Rescue Committee bill of the House of
Representatives consisting of legislative language approved by
the same Rescue Committee as the Rescue Committee bill in the
Senate shall be entitled to expedited floor procedures under
this section.
(2) Treatment of companion measures in the senate.–If,
following passage of a Rescue Committee bill in the Senate, the
Senate then receives from the House of Representatives a Rescue
Committee bill approved by the same Rescue Committee and
consisting of the same legislative language as the Senate-
passed Rescue Committee bill, the House-passed Rescue Committee
bill shall not be debatable. The vote on passage of the Rescue
Committee bill in the Senate shall be considered to be the vote
on passage of the Rescue Committee bill received from the House
of Representatives.
(3) Vetoes.–If the President vetoes a Rescue Committee
bill, consideration of a veto message in the Senate under this
paragraph shall be 10 hours equally divided between the
majority and minority leaders of the Senate or the designees of
the majority and minority leaders of the Senate.

SEC. 6. FUNDING.

Funding for each Rescue Committee shall be derived in equal
portions from–
(1) the contingent fund of the Senate from the
appropriations account “Miscellaneous Items”, subject to the
rules and regulations of the Senate; and
(2) the applicable accounts of the House of
Representatives.

SEC. 7. RULEMAKING.
The provisions of this Act are enacted by Congress–
(1) as an exercise of the rulemaking power of the Senate
and the House of Representatives, respectively, and, as such,
the provisions–
(A) shall be considered as part of the rules of
each House, respectively, or of that House to which
they specifically apply; and
(B) shall supersede other rules only to the extent
that they are inconsistent therewith; and
(2) with full recognition of the constitutional right of
either House to change such rules (so far as relating to such
House) at any time, in the same manner, and to the same extent
as in the case of any other rule of such House.

Cartoon courtesy of Tom Stiglich

Young couple (drive two Ferraris and own a $700,000 home) charged $21 for 3-day hospital stay. Average senior pays $1,364.

The corporate exec was sincere when he explained to me why he didn’t pay most of his workers a wage higher than $14.25 an hour:

That rate keeps them under $30,000, and that’s about the cutoff for Medicaid and many other public assistance programs for a family of three.  Without Medicaid they would have to pay for health insurance and that isn’t cheap.

A raise to $31,000 can leads to a disaster for a family:

This year, the average (health insurance) annual premiums are $7,188 for single coverage and $20,576 for family coverage. The average premium for single coverage increased by 4% since 2018 and the average premium for family coverage increased by 5%. The average family premium has increased 54% since 2009 and 22% since 2014. – Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

Ferrari plus nearly free healthcare!

Even if your company offers a health plan, getting a raise can still be very bad news. In those plans, some $11,000 in annual premiums on average are paid by a family, and the remaining $9,500 by employers.

The much-touted $15 minimum wage (equals equals $31,200 a year) means no Medicaid for your family. That leaves you only eligible for private or company insurance that reduces your pay $2.50 an hour minimum and up to $10 an hour maximum.

No wonder that 75 million Americans are on Medicaid today, compared to just 50 million in 2010.

It is especially attractive, because if you work “under the table”, or have a business that “reports” low income, you can get Medicaid regardless of huge real estate investments or even owning multiple mansions, thanks to changes enacted by the Affordable Care Act.

Someone could own a home worth $850,000, a Lamborghini, a second vehicle, hundreds of acres of farmland, and still technically be eligible for Medicaid. These Americans would be considered wealthy by any standards, but by sheltering their net worth under the current tax laws, they would be legally eligible for Medicaid. – KFF

The only folks who can’t take advantage of the goodies in Medicaid (and still own terrific assets) are all 47 million seniors on Medicare. The elderly face a unique “assets test.” That’s just for seniors, and there are no exceptions for the elderly.

The insane rule is that you can’t have more than $2,300 in the bank, other savings, etc. The government can even investigate you to learn whether you made large gifts from prior savings to your children during the past 60 months.

The usual reason that seniors want Medicaid is to pay for nursing home care. Medicare pays nothing, but Medicaid covers it all. About 40% of nursing home residents are on Medicaid.

America’s nursing homes charge more than $85,000 annually at list price and that’s what you’ll pay until you are dirt poor and qualify for Medicaid. Insurance companies and Medicaid cut special deals and pay nowhere near that amount.

Some friends have suggested that Medicaid and Medicare are about the same thing.

Let me count some of the ways they are starkly different:

  1. Annual premiums: Medicaid is $0. Medicare is minimum $3,468 a year for a couple. High earners pay as much as $5,700 each.
  2. Inpatient hospital care:  Medicaid co-pay is $3 for each day in the hospital, up to $21 for the entire stay. Medicare co-pay for even one day is $1,364, and if you re-enter the hospital after 60 days, each time another $1,364 is due. For Medicare hospital days 61-90: an added $341 co-pay each day, and days 91 and beyond: another $682 each day. After 60 days beyond the 90 lifetime limit, Medicare pays nothing and you are responsible for all hospital bills.
  3. Short Procedure Unit: Medicaid co-pay is $3 for Surgical Center (ASC) visits. Medicare co-pay is 20% of the charges, no matter how high the cost. Some common procedures may be billed in excess of $10,000 list price.
  4. Brand name drugs: Medicaid co-pay is $3 for each prescription or refill. Medicare requires monthly co-pays up to $100 or more per prescription, depending on the drug. For example, Xarelto co-pay is about $1,200 annually. Medicare pays for all additional drugs only if an individual spends more than $6,350 a year out-of-pocket.
  5. Outpatient x-rays:  Medicaid co-pay is $1 for the total  service (not for each x-ray). Medicare co-pay is 20%. X-rays generally cost $260 to $460 each. Some are more than $1,000 list price.
  6. Physician visits: Medicaid co-pay is $0. Medicare co-pay is 20%.
  7. Chiropractor visits: Medicaid co-pay is $1 for each visit. Medicare will only cover chiropractic care as a treatment for a condition called spinal subluxation. Co-pay is 20%.
  8. Emergency services: Medicaid pays everything. Medicare co-pay is 20% of all charges, plus set fees for procedures and supplies. Average ER visit is $775.
  9. Blood and blood products: Medicaid pays everything. Medicare minimum co-pay is 20% of all charges.
  10. Drugs: Medicaid pays all costs for high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, asthma, epilepsy, heart disease, psychosis, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, depression, and anxiety drugs, as well as anti-Parkinson agents, anti-manic agents, anti-convulsants, anti-neoplastic agents, oral contraceptives, test strips, lancets, meters, and needles. Medicare co-pay is 20%
  11. Dental visits: Medicaid pays everything. Medicare pays nothing.
  12. Skilled Nursing Facility: Medicaid pays everything. Medicare co-pay is $0 for days 1-20; $175 for days 21 to 100; and you pay everything for days 101 and beyond.
  13. Nursing Home Care: Medicaid co-pay is $0. Medicare pays nothing for long-term care.

If all that doesn’t disturb you, consider the stupidity of the current political promise to enshrine Medicare for All, a program with fatal flaws that date back to its inception in 1965.

Medicaid for Everyone has a more logical beneficial foundation, and maybe this time it could include the old, the sick, those soon to die, and not just the young and sometimes quite wealthy.

Medicare destruction initiated by Trump, sounds like Paul Ryan. Mr. President feeds us “fake news” to enrich healthcare industry

“As long as I’m president, no one will lay a hand on your Medicare benefits,” President Donald Trump told the seniors at The Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center. He was celebrating the October, 2019 signing of his executive order to allegedly “protect and improve” the program.

Most of the audience clapped, but some had fallen asleep, and they were wiser for it.

Since he sauntered down the steps of Trump Castle to announce his candidacy, the President has promised not to touch our Medicare and Social Security, and he almost managed to keep this pledge for the first three years of his reign. October marked the end of that promise, and probably the beginning of the end for Medicare for Seniors.

Here’s a chart that shows Paul Ryan’s three main goals that Republicans need to accomplish to lead to the destruction of Medicare – outlined while he was Speaker of the House:

Trump’s executive order manages to fulfill two of Ryan’s three ways to “fix” Medicare:

  1. Higher premiums for seniors – The current mandatory $271 a month ($3,252 a year) Medicare A & B premium per couple will increase 6.43% next year, while the Social Security COLA increase will be 1.6%. Medicare premiums currently eat up an average of about 10% of Social Security benefits, but rates of 20% or more are expected as the government initiates the Trump doctrine.
  2. Increased profits for insurers – The establishment effort to end Medicare began in earnest with the Balanced Budget Act of 1997  This Bill Clinton fiasco allowed insurance companies to compete with Medicare by selling Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. These were government-subsidized private policies with HMOs and other cost-cutting features. Since 1997, Republican and Democrat government trustees have reduced traditional Medicare benefits and drastically hiked premiums – all in an effort to end the public Medicare program and replace it with MA.

As a result of intentional policies to privatize senior healthcare, the growth of Medicare Advantage plans has continued – with more than one in three retirees now enrolled:


Trump’s executive order will make traditional Medicare far more expensive than today, and since beneficiaries pay a portion of the cost, senior couples will get hit with premiums projected to reach as much as $6,000 to $7,000 annually.

The President will accomplish this with his mandate that the secretary of Health and Human Services examine raising traditional Medicare reimbursements to “more closely reflect the prices paid for services in [Medicare Advantage] and the commercial insurance market.”

Currently, traditional Medicare negotiates prices to lower them on behalf of seniors. Payments to hospitals and doctors are often half or even a third paid by for-profit healthcare plans. It’s no secret that the medical profession and investors hate Medicare, because it cuts into their huge profits.

By removing Medicare’s ability to negotiate, doctors and hospitals will be able to double or triple prices., leading to double or triple premiums for seniors.

And the more traditional Medicare spends, the higher the reimbursement to Medicare Advantage insurers, since the two are tied together by what is spent on the public program.

So, it’s no secret that insurance companies, hospitals, doctors and Wall Street are in love with Trump’s plan, which will allow even more profits to all.

Why is Trump doing this to seniors?

Republicans like Trump and Ryan consider Medicare “socialism” – simply because it serves the public without giving money to investors. They want a “capitalist” Medicare that allows as much profit as possible for the industry.

Since we pay doctors and hospitals much more than they collect in other countries, Medicare negotiations have kept the costs for 60 million seniors more reasonable. Instead of ending price-cutting in traditional Medicare, we should extend this policy to all healthcare programs.

While there are flaws in the Medicare for All advocated by progressives, the most required feature – besides increasing benefits – is that it would reduce reimbursements to current Medicare levels, or just the opposite of the Trump doctrine.

How important is the existence of Medicare and its regulated low premiums and negotiated healthcare costs?

Medicare today is the only healthcare plan available under law for the vast majority of seniors. You can’t buy any of the plans your children and grandchildren purchase. You are automatically enrolled and even the Affordable Care Act excludes someone older than 65.

Jeff Bezos could go on Medicaid if he played it correctly, but the average working Jill can’t

Medicaid rules changed when President Barack Obama pushed through the Affordable Car Act (ACA) and he ensured that the very rich could join low-cost Medicaid, while the working class had to pay high medical expenses, either at work with private insurance or retired under Medicare.

While I’m sure Jeff Bezos would never stoop his mightiness to rub elbows with regular folks on Medicaid, it is amazing that he could so by following these steps: Continue reading “Jeff Bezos could go on Medicaid if he played it correctly, but the average working Jill can’t”

Federal Reserve is now big part of National Debt for bailing out banks; Social Security $$ not owed to us?

What government pretends to owe…

National DebtThe Social Security Trust Fund of some $2.8 trillion is often listed in charts – such as the one above – as part of the National Debt. This particular graphic, the latest available, is from the Federal Reserve, an institution that is part of the huge debt and is owed $2.465 trillion by taxpayers.

The difference between the Social Security “debt” and the Fed debt is an amazing accounting sleight of a sharp pencil. Continue reading “Federal Reserve is now big part of National Debt for bailing out banks; Social Security $$ not owed to us?”

N Y Post can’t stand fact that worker earned a big pension while pub’s boss is worth $15,700,000,000

Retired NYC sanitation worker makes $285K a year from pension

That New York Post headline made many folks angry. Do garbage collectors get pensions worth more than they deserve? Are evil unions behind this? Or dopey Dems? Or a PC still running only DOS?

To illustrate their point, the newspaper published a photo, sort of artsy-fartsy, of a trash truck. That’s to show those readers, who live in gated communities, that there is a device, which removes that garbage the help takes out to the curb on Tuesdays and Fridays.

But back to that big pension – $285,000 a year.

The facts often get in the way of a sensational story, and this one is not an exception. Continue reading “N Y Post can’t stand fact that worker earned a big pension while pub’s boss is worth $15,700,000,000”

Ryan thinks he is John Galt – defender of the rich, enemy of the poor, not a denizen of the swamp?

Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged, begins with a simple question: Who is John Galt?

The answer comes in the last third of that 1957 book, where Galt emerges as the champion of capitalism and defender of Rand’s Objectivism philosophy, which has opposed:

  • Child and Adult Care Food Program
  • Federal Housing Assistance
  • Food Stamps
  • Head Start
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program
  • Medicare & Medicaid
  • Nationalized Health Care
  • School Lunch and Breakfast Programs
  • Social Security
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program
  • State Children’s Health Insurance Program
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
  • Title XX Social Services Block Grant Program
  • Trade Adjustment Assistance
  • Workers’ Compensation

Galt was not real, but he was a hero to the children of many wealthy families. These sheltered capitalists-in-training saw Ayn Rand as a hero, because she espoused that caring for nobody but yourself was not selfish, but a virtue. Continue reading “Ryan thinks he is John Galt – defender of the rich, enemy of the poor, not a denizen of the swamp?”

If all you want for Christmas is your two front teeth, it’s time to borrow $6,400 or pay 1/3 price in India

Visit Victoria Station while in Mumbai for implants

If our politicians ever make the effort to visit the “little people” – those neglected voters, who don’t live in gated communities and suck gin in the Capitol – our selected leaders will see smiles without front teeth. And that is just the beginning of their constituents’ dental problems.

Some 140 million Americans have no dental insurance, and for most who do pay premiums, the coverage won’t cover the cost of replacing those two front teeth with implants

Medicaid and Medicare will pay nothing.

If you search the web for how to afford dental implants, the usual answer is borrow the money. A few suggested contributing more to your Health Savings account (as if everyone has an account). One advised asking for charity on the Internet. I am surprised no one said: write a check or pay with cash. Continue reading “If all you want for Christmas is your two front teeth, it’s time to borrow $6,400 or pay 1/3 price in India”