Rep. Peter Defazio (D-Oregon) said Friday that while he is being told that Senate budget staffers were concerned that the Medicare disparity fix would run afoul of parliamentary reconciliation rules, it's actually much simpler than that.
"What I hear is really going on is a couple of East Coast senators don't like it," said Defazio, declining to name names. The issue involves rural states that receive much less in the way of Medicare reimbursement, leading doctors in those areas to be reluctant to accept Medicare patients.
Defazio also reached out to HuffPost to take issue with an earlier post saying that he often makes loud noises before major votes and wasn't a definite no on health care reform legislation. What we should have said is that Defazio, who has been described as the "squeakiest liberal wheel in the House," often makes such noises -- but often follows through.
"Are you referring to the stimulus bill, which I voted against? Or the cap and trade bill, which I voted against?" Defazio argued.
"I don't remember a time when I've been saying 'Gee, this is really bad and I really have to see these changes,' and the changes don't get made, and I vote for the bill anyway."
Defazio said he's committed to his threat to oppose the bill. "I have raised a concern here that must be addressed in a way that is not just an empty promise. And in the past when I asked for two changes that I didn't think were too much to ask for in the cap and trade [bill], when they were desperate for votes -- take out the speculators and don't take away EPA authority -- and they said no and I voted no."
The same was true with the stimulus, he said. "On the stimulus, I said, 'Look, if you put in these tax cuts and cut my transportation, I'm voting no.' They did and I did. I don't often say I'm going to vote no and raise serious concerns and then change my mind. But there are many members like that. I'm not like that."
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