By Jared Allen - 07/18/09 09:34 AM EDT
Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona responded to President Obama’s Saturday morning radio address in defense of House and Senate healthcare proposals by renewing GOP arguments that those plans will increase government spending, unfairly raise taxes, and fall short of delivering real reform of the healthcare system.
Kyl specifically attacked a pillar of the House Democratic health care proposal to raise $544 billion through new taxes on the wealthiest Americans as an assault on small business –- picking up on a theme developed by House and Senate Republicans last week.
“They propose to pay for this new Washington-run health care system by dramatically raising taxes on small business owners,” Kyl said. “Small businesses create jobs -- approximately two-thirds of new jobs in the last decade.”
Kyl also emphasized more than once in his brief remarks the recent testimony of Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf that the Democratic health care proposals currently working – many say being rushed – through both chambers will worsen the country’s economic outlook by failing to reign in health care spending.
“This week, the Director of the Congressional Budget Office told the Senate Budget Committee that the health care-reform measures drafted by Democrats would worsen our economic outlook by increasing deficits and driving our nation more deeply into debt,” Kyl said. “So, there’s good reason to be skeptical when the President tells us we need to pass the Democrats’ bill to help the economy.”
Following up on remarks he made on Friday afternoon, Obama on Saturday morning pressed again for the need for quick action on the health care front, defending plans offered by Democrats, countering GOP criticism and painting in stark terms what inaction will mean for certain Americans.
“The same folks who controlled the White House and Congress for the past eight years as we ran up record deficits will argue – believe it or not – that health reform will lead to record deficits. That’s simply not true,” Obama said. “I want to be very clear: I will not sign on to any health plan that adds to our deficits over the next decade. And by helping improve quality and efficiency, the reforms we make will help bring our deficits under control in the long-term.”