U.S. House Member Touts Panel To Rework Entitlement Programs
On Friday, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) said that Congress and President-elect Obama should establish a bipartisan entitlement reform commission that "would restore confidence in government and the marketplace" as part of an economic stimulus package, CongressDaily reports.
Wolf and Rep. Jim Cooper (Dâ'Tenn.) have drafted similar bills that would establish such a panel. The lawmakers plan to reintroduce the legislation next year.
According to Wolf, because an entitlement reform bill would not likely make it though the House Ways and Means Committee, a bipartisan commission is a better option.
On Thursday, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) said he hopes to address entitlements.Â However, he suggested that fiscal restraint is no longer a priority given the current economic downturn, CongressDaily reports.
Rangel said, "We have to look at it, and even though we haven't talked about it, it hasn't been that long ago that we never talked about Medicare and health care," adding, "I think under this administration, the whole idea that government has to be small and it's not our responsibility, and privatization, that's off the table."
In a letter to Obama, Wolf wrote that a bipartisan panel is the best way to address the $53 trillion in unfunded obligations of Medicare, Social Security and other entitlement programs.If the bill is not approved, he will continue to offer the proposal in the House Appropriations Committee, according to CongressDaily (Sanchez, CongressDaily, 11/21). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.