Republican senators step up calls on Obama to produce Medicare plan

Amanda Carey Contributor
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Republicans on Capitol Hill are planning to stick it to President Obama for not following a law that requires the president to produce a proposal that addresses Medicare’s financial instability.

Senator John Cornyn of Texas will be sending a letter to President Obama Wednesday afternoon, signed by at least a majority of Senate Republicans, that will call on the president to immediately submit a proposal to Congress that addresses Medicare funding.

The letter will note that by not presenting a proposal, the Obama administration will be in violation of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernizations Act of 2003.

At the time of this publication, the letter had 35 Republican signatures, though more were expected to follow.

According to the letter, a proposal “would help prevent the bankruptcy of this vital program for Americas seniors and keep the federal government from going further into debt.”

The letter also notes that in 2008 the Bush administration complied with the law and submitted a legislative proposal to Congress though it was never acted on.

“Your Administration, however, has failed to submit such a proposal for the last three years,” the letter will say. “This not only defies federal law but also abdicates your Administration’s responsibility to lead.”

The law in question says that once a certain threshold is reached in the percentage of Medicare funding that comes from the general revenue fund (45 percent), the president is required to submit a plan to Congress that addresses the program’s instability within 15 days of submitting a budget proposal. The provision is known as the “Medicare Trigger”.

That trigger has been reached the last six years.

Cornyn’s letter stresses the legal requirement on the president, but also points out that the largest claim on the federal budget over the next 75 years is Medicare, which is predicted to cost a total of $35 trillion.

On Tuesday, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin submitted a similar letter to the president.