Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Sanctity of Bribes

Mark this down as something you don't see everyday:

In a stunning moment during the Senate Finance Committee markup Sen. Tom Carper defended a secret deal that the White House, Baucus, and PhRMA had reached. The White House has long denied the deal. Carper publicly acknowledges that part of the deal was that PhRMA would run millions of dollars worth of campaign ads in support of health care reform.

According to Carper the “golden rule” in Congress is that secret back room deals in exchange for advertising buys must be honored. Carper's statement below,

I was not involved in negotiations with PhRMA but I believe that the administration was, obviously PhRMA was, and I presume this committee was involved in some way in those negotiations.

And what PhRMA agreed to do through those negotiations is to pay about
80 billion dollars over 10 years to help fill up half the donut hole. That's my understanding. And they are prepared to go forward and to honor that commitment. As I understand it, the commitment from our colleague Senator Nelson would basically double what was negotiated with PhRMA.

And whether you like PhRMA or not -- remember I talked earlier today in our opening statements, I talked about four core values, and one of those is the golden rule, treat other people the way I want to be treated?

I'll tell you -- if someone negotiated a deal with me and I agreed to put up say, 80 dollars or 80 million dollars or 80 billion dollars and then you came back and said to me a couple of weeks later -- no no, I know you agreed to do 80 billion and I know you were willing to help support through an advertising campaign this particular -- not even this particular bill, just the idea of generic health care reform? No, we're going to double -- we're going to double what you agreed in those negotiations to do. That's not the way -- that's not what I consider treating people the way I'd want to be treated.

That just doesn't seem right to me.

So not only does Carper publicly acknowledge a deal that's been denied by everyone involved, but he then goes on to defend Pharma's bribe as some sort of sacred pact. Possibly worse is that this crap is so embedded in our political culture that he isn't the slightest bit ashamed in publicly revealing the shadiness of their deal.

It's good to see that the "centrist" Democrats like Carper who base their careers on pretending to be concerned about spending are more than happy to put the brakes on legislation that would actually lower costs solely because it dares to cut into Pharma's already obscene profits.

But like the rest of the Douche Caucus, if it doesn't make them the center of attention or benefit one of the industries that keeps them on retainer, they couldn't care less. Not that any of this is new information, it's just that you usually don't get someone like Tom Carper saying these things out loud.

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