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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of December 3 - 9, 2003


Lame excuse

As the smoke cleared after the U.S. House voted to approve a $400 billion Medicare bill, Idaho Congressman Butch Otter had some explaining to do.

For awhile, Otter was the guy with his finger in the dike, holding back more red ink. Yet, in the wee hours of the morning, he became one of a handful of Republicans who changed their votes after hours of lobbying by the White House. Until they flip-flopped, the bill was failing 216 to 218. It passed 220 to 215.

In the face of President Bush’s desperate last-minute push, Otter twice reiterated his opposition. He opposed the bill because it makes no provision to pay for the $40 billion a year drug benefit for senior citizens and it cost too much overall.

Why the change of heart? Otter said he learned that if the bill weren’t approved, another more expensive Senate bill supported by moderate Republicans and Democrats would likely be approved.

What a lame excuse. There’s only one way lawmakers can stop bills that cost too much. There’s only one way they can keep the public from being fleeced in the name of presidential year politics. That way is to vote No.

By caving in, Otter joined the rest of Idaho’s congressional delegation in an orgy of drunken spending under way in the nation’s capital. The spending spree is projected to push the federal deficit past $500 billion this year—a number that endows future generations with one of the world’s worst hangovers.



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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.