Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Murtha, Courtney and submarines...

2nd District Congressman Joe Courtney was the featured speaker at morning breakfast event in Pomfret hosted by the Northeastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce. It was pretty usual, all the right topics discussed from education and health care to energy and defense.

And although Courtney made a point of mentioning the upcoming visit of PA Congressman Jack Murtha next week to Electric Boat, you might say he downplayed it a bit. Which is both understanding and surprising.

It is undertanding in the sense that the last thing he needs to do is build up hopes that may very well get dashed later on in the year. Murtha is certainly a player, and his support for advanced funding for a second sub would almost certainly guarantee the money in the 2008 Defense Budget - at least the House version. It's doubtful the Senate will put that extra $400 million in its version - and whether it could survive a conference committee is a question no one knows for sure right now.

But it is also surprising that Courtney didn't make more of this visit - because Murtha is a major player these days. He is best known as an outspoken critic of the Bush Administration's Iraq War policy, and has led the fight to cutoff funding and withdraw the troops.

But even more importantly - at least for Courtney - is that Murtha can bring some weight to the issue of building two subs a year.

Courtney's predecessor, former Republican Congressman Rob Simmons, did an admirable job of keeping the submarine force in the spotlight in Washington, and was successful last year in at least getting the "authorization" to speed up the Navy's plan and start building two a year in 2009 - not 2012 as the Navy has scheduled now. But what Simmons didn't get was a vote from the Appropriations Committee to actually put the money for that in the budget.

Courtney is on the verge of doing just that - at least on the House side. Getting Murtha to visit EB is a pretty big deal in this context and it's surprising that Courtney isn't taking bigger credit. But under the circumstances, it's also understandable.


Blogger Weicker Liker said...

Chris Murphy, Joe Courtney and the Democratic Majority just can't stand it that Medicare Part D has been largely successful.
If Medicare Part D beneficiaries are so confused, why wre we getting a 52nd plan to choose from?

Their actions have been misguided for several reasons:

1) The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the Secretary of Health and Human Services "would not be able to negotiate prices that further reduce federal spending to a significant degree.

2) Competition among private insurers has led to a drop in the initial estimate of average monthly premiums from $37 per month to $24 or less per month.

3) Individuals are currently saving an average of $1,200 per year.

4) Over 38 million seniors are currently covered under Medicare Part D, including 86% of those eligible in CT.

5) 74% of enrollees say they are pleased with the choice they made when selecting their Medicare drug plan.

6)Medicare Part D has cost 25% less than previously estimated.

Why are we messing with a successful program?

3:29 PM  
Blogger Ray Hackett said...

You make all good points, but there are still some parts of the program that could use some fixing up. I don't think the penalty people are assessed for missing the deadline is very fair...and it certainly would be nice to do something about that donut hole. People who reach it are people who really need the drugs.

8:27 AM  
Blogger mccommas said...

Apparently our fearless Congressman Joe Courtney and his buddies at the Norwich Bulletin don't find it distressing that Eastern Connecticut’s future is totally dependent on a dirty crook like John Murtha.

7:30 AM  

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