Medicare mambo: First District Congressman Kevin Hern tried turning the Medicare tables on President Joe Biden after Biden said in his State of the Union address that “some” Republicans want to sunset Medicare and Social Security.
Immediately, Hern tweeted that it is Biden who wants to cut Medicare.
Later, Hern said, Biden’s “audio doesn’t match the video” on the matter.
“The only person we know in Washington who’s cutting Medicare is Joe Biden,” Hern said separately. “He’s cut $4.7 billion from Medicare Advantage.”
Hern is referring to a new administration rule aimed at recovering overpayments to Medicare Advantage providers. The administration says Medicare Advantage audits have been too lax for decades and that the money is owed to the federal government.
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Providers mostly disagree, and Hern asserted that Biden is opposed to Medicare Advantage because it’s through private health insurance companies.
Biden’s claim that some Republicans want to “sunset” Social Security and Medicare refers to a broader proposal by Florida Sen. Rick Scott for all federal spending programs. It hasn’t gotten much support from fellow Republicans, but apparently discussions were such that they caused former President Donald Trump to chime in.
The Republican Study Committee’s most recent budget proposal, for which Hern was primarily responsible, proposes many changes, mostly administrative, to Medicare and Social Security but says the programs must be preserved. It does recommend raising the eligibility age for both, which some consider a reduction of benefits.
In any event, if any congressional Republicans were even mildly in support of reducing Medicare and Social Security, they loudly went on the record Tuesday night in firm support of the popular programs.
Deauthorization: Fourth District Congressman Tole Cole was among a bipartisan group refiling legislation to repeal the 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force, or AUMFs, which are still being used to deploy military forces in the Middle East.
Opponents say the AUMFs allow the executive branch to circumvent its constitutional and statutory duties to consult Congress before entering the country into armed conflict.
Supporters say modern warfare requires presidents to have discretion in such matters.
With the 1991 AUMF, Congress OK’d U.S. involvement in the Gulf War after Saddam Hussein’s Iraq invaded Kuwait. The 2002 resolution enabled President George W. Bush to invade Iraq.
The new legislation would leave in place a 2001 AUMF authorizing military action against those responsible for the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Over the past 21 years, the resolution has been used to justify deployment of American military personnel to Afghanistan, the Philippines, Georgia, Yemen, Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iraq and Somalia.
According to the U.S. Constitution, only Congress can declare war. But that’s only happened 11 times in the nation’s history, with the last occurring in 1942, when Axis members Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria were formally added to the United States’ World War II enemies.
Dots and dashes: New U.S. Sen. Markwayne Mullin’s Senate Armed Services subcommittee assignments are Airland, Emerging Threats and Capabilities and Readiness and Management Support. … U.S. Sen. James Lankford said new Biden administration emission regulations for heavy-duty vehicles are too tough and will “crush smaller trucking companies.” … Third District Congressman Frank Lucas called for legislation to squeeze China’s access to capital markets if it threatens Taiwan. … Second District Congressman Josh Brecheen is among those asking why some South Carolina high school students were kicked out of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, allegedly for wearing stocking caps with “Rosary Pro-Life” stitched on them. … Mullin said he cancelled DirecTV after the satellite television provider dropped Newsmax over a contract dispute. … Lucas wants to know about a Russian attempt to hack into Brookhaven, Argonne and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories. … Army Capt. Ben Cohen has joined Cole’s office on a one-year Department of Defense fellowship. … How close was the 2022 fight for control of the U.S. House? A report by Inside Elections found that as few as 6,675 more votes would have left Democrats in the majority.
— Randy Krehbiel, Tulsa World