It certainly makes sense that Representative Rehberg wasn’t available for comment today, as the absurd budget he pushed through his Appropriations Subcommittee was hammered today by pediatricians and the actuary who oversees Social Security.
It’s been well-documented that the Rehberg budget will hurt women’s health and reproductive rights, but today we learned it will also cost the Social Security program $6 billion dollars in waste while harming American children.
One of the cuts in the Rehberg budget was an initiative to combat waste and fraud in the Social Security Disability program. According to the Chief Actuary for Social Security, that Rehberg cut will increase fraud and cost the Social Security program $6 billion dollars:
“With this reduction in funding for 2013 of about $752 million, assuming that the funding levels assumed in all other years in our baseline estimates are unaffected, we would expect program benefit/payments to be between $5 billion and $6 billion more,” Social Security Chief Actuary Stephen Goss estimated in a letter to Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) Thursday.
The Rehberg budget was also slammed today by the American Academy of Pediatrics, who said that it was a misguided attempt to balance the budget on the backs of children:
“Specifically, the bill eliminates funding to implement the Affordable Care Act and its key child health reforms, including guaranteed coverage for children with pre-existing conditions, dependent coverage for young adults until they turn 26, and increased payment rates within the Medicaid program. The bill also eliminates funding for the law’s Prevention and Public Health Fund, which has already helped modernize vaccine systems, support breast-feeding, reduce tobacco use, and address the childhood obesity epidemic, among other initiatives.
“In addition, the bill defunds the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Title X Family Planning Program, and significantly reduces funding for Title VII workforce programs and the Health Resources and Services Administration. Collectively, these programs and agencies devote needed resources to help bolster the pediatric workforce, conduct life-saving research, and provide low-income families with preventive health screenings, among many other achievements.
These are non-partisan sources who see just how reckless the Rehberg budget is.
Today’s news encapsulates the problem with Representative Rehberg. It’s not merely that he is an ideologue who puts his “values” ahead of the needs of his constituents; it’s that he is simply reckless. Whether it’s writing ideologically vapid and intellectually bankrupt bills that would have ended Medicare or allowed lead in children’s toys and impurities in our drugs, Representative Rehberg simply never thinks before he acts.
Can we really afford to send someone like that to the Senate?