Article leading up to Rep. Jim Costa's "decision" on whether to vote for ObamaCare, coincident with early announcement of tiny water increase by Obama to deliberately starved San Joachim valley.
- If Costa does win, Soros will get his wish, as remaining farmers will either starve or have to leave the state.
3/19/10, "Costa to announce healthcare decision Saturday,"
Bakersfield.com, by C. Bedell
"Congressman Jim Costa said he was still on the fence about healthcare reform Friday,
but had positive things to say about the package's estimated cost and defended the way Democratic leaders may go about passing it.
Costa, who Bakersfield's other congressman called a deciding vote, plans to announce his position on the legislation Saturday. He outlined three key things he's looking for in the massive proposal and said the
- 600 calls that had come into his Washington, D.C., and district offices the previous two days were split 50/50 on the issue.
The "Blue Dog" Democrat from Fresno also strongly denied accusations being made largely on conservative blogs that he and Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Atwater, were
essentially bribed to vote yes when the federal Bureau of Reclamation announced this week that growers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta
- will receive 25 percent of their contracted water allotment due mostly to wet weather,
up from a forecasted 5 percent in February.
- "That's absolutely false and almost laughable," Costa said, arguing he's been fighting for valley water for 30 years.
Costa said he's been looking at three main issues in deciding whether to vote yes or no on the healthcare package:
* The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office's "scoring" of the proposal's cost, which came in Thursday. The CBO estimated the $940 billion proposal could reduce federal budget deficits by $138 billion over the next 10 years."...
- (I will look for links but I believe this has already been retracted. ed.)
(continuing, Bakersfield.com): "I thought that was positive," Costa said, arguing a primary reason to reform the healthcare system is to keep Medicare and Medicaid from going bankrupt. "Doing nothing is not a solution to the problem."
* Whether Bakersfield Memorial Hospital and a hospital in Fresno are adequately reimbursed for the disproportionate number of Medicare and Medicaid patients they see.
* Whether the rules -- in the form of such things as exemptions, incentives and penalties -- are fair to both workers and owners of businesses where staffing fluctuates with the seasons....
- On the other side of the local political aisle, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, said Friday he's been "educating" undecided Democrats about the perils of the bill and encouraging their constituents to let them know of their opposition -- including those in Costa's 20th District.
Part of McCarthy's pitch: the bill increases taxes and unduly burdens small businesses at a time both would be bad for job creation and the economy in general. He also criticized a proposal to link the healthcare legislation
- to a measure making the U.S. Department of Education the only provider of student loans, limiting options for borrowers and killing some 30,000 private sector jobs.
While McCarthy said he has seen Costa recently, he has not spoken with him. Undecided Democrats aren't making themselves very available to Republicans who may pressure them, McCarthy said.
- In addition to Costa, McCarthy said the House Democrats to watch are Cardoza, Loretta Sanchez of Orange County and Jerry McNerney of Pleasanton.
"It's going to come down to a small number of Democrats that will decide this," McCarthy said. "That's why
- Congressman Costa could really determine whether this bill does or doesn't become law."
Costa and McCarthy had very different takes Friday on some of the controversies brewing around the legislation.
- McCarthy said the Congressional Budget Office's estimated cost of the legislation and effect on the deficit are merely preliminary. Costa said the CBO has a long record of producing credible numbers, including for Republican proposals such as the prescription drug bill.
McCarthy said it's appropriate to question whether there's a link between the Bureau of Reclamation's early water allocation announcement -- which typically comes April 1 -- and the healthcare vote.
- But he was quick to add that if there was a deal, it was poorly negotiated because farmers
- deserve much more water than was promised given the amount of precipitation that's fallen and been stored.
"There are a lot of different transactions where there could be no direct correlation, but it's amazing how things come out," McCarthy said, referring to confirmed side deals made to capture yes votes. "There should be questions."
- "But take the premise (there was a water deal)," McCarthy said. "It's the worst negotiating we've ever seen."
Costa bristled at the suggestion he was bought off. He said he's been lobbying the Obama administration for more water since the day the president took office and that way back in February
he asked the feds to move up their water allocation announcement so farmers could use the information to seek loans and plant crops.
- And when he requested an early announcement about how much water farmers could expect, Costa said
there was no telling when the healthcare vote would take place.
- "This is nothing but the Republican political spin machine, from the Drudge Report to some of these people on Fox News, trying to use every sort of technique to take people's eyes off what's important -- the merits of this major reform," Costa said."...
Reference: 11/19/2009, "Congressional Water Report- KMPH Fox 26 Central San Joaquin Valley News Source, by Rich Rodriguez