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ThePlumLIneGS whorunsgov plumline
Posted at 12:34 PM ET, 03/02/2012

Pelosi: Ryan-Wyden Medicare plan is `lipstick on a pig’

In the interview with Nancy Pelosi I wrote about below, she also talked about the role that Medicare and campaign finance reform would play in this fall’s House elections. Though she said she thinks Dems are in a “strong position,” she declined to predict that Dems would take back the lower chamber.

Republicans have argued that the new Medicare plan embraced by both Paul Ryan and Dem Senator Ron Wyden will blunt Dem attacks over Medicare, because the plan now has “bipartisan cover.” Some Dems have privately worried about this, too.

But Pelosi scoffed at the idea, arguing that Ryan-Wyden still would ultimately end Medicare as we know it, as we know it, and that this is a case Dems can take to the American people.

“What they’re trying to do is put lipstick on a pig — that would be Ryan — and call it Monique — that would be Wyden,” Pelosi said. “But it’s still a pig.”

The Ryan-Wyden plan would offer seniors quasi-vouchers to pay for private health insurance but would also preserve traditional Medicare as an option. Pelosi argued that this still ensures that Medicare will “wither on the vine,” adding: “The Republican plan would break the Medicare guarantee.”

Asked to respond to the Republican argument that Dems are imperiling Medicare by not offering a plan of their own to shore up its finances, Pelosi said: “They want to break the Medicare guarantee. Period. It’s about them. They’re in power in the House. They want to break the guarantee. The public doesn’t support that.”

In 2005, Pelosi helped engineer the defeat of George W. Bush’s Social Security plan by insisting that Dems not offer a plan of their own. Speaking about the Dem Medicare message, she advised: “Keep it simple.”

Pelosi vows to push Disclose Act.

In another interesting bit of news, Pelosi said Dems may bring what’s know as a discharge petition to force another House vote on the DISCLOSE Act. Though the GOP controls the House, if Dems can get 218 signatures on a discharge petition, it would compel a House vote.

Pelosi acknowledged that it was all but impossible to get enough Republicans to sign such a petition. But she said pushing for one could force a public debate on DISCLOSE at a time when the public’s frustration with Super PACs and unlimited spending on our elections is rising.

“Whether we can get a bill passed or get a bill brought to the floor, we can present the case to the American people,” she said, adding that a “movement across the country” had developed to push the issue into the national conversation. Pelosi also noted that McCain-Feingold had initially started as a discharge petition on the minority side, and that in that case, it had worked.

Asked if she would run for Speaker if Dems take back the House, Pelosi said: “That’s up to my colleages. But we have to win first.” Asked if she’s open to another run, she said: “Sure.”

By  |  12:34 PM ET, 03/02/2012

 
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