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The GOP congressman who destroyed Obama’s sequester scare story
Washington Examiner ^ | 3/12/13 | Byron York

Posted on 03/13/2013 9:07:49 AM PDT by MissTed

The Obama administration has employed a variety of tactics to frighten the public about the possible consequences of sequestration. Air-traffic control towers will be shuttered. Children will be thrown off Head Start. The nation’s guard against terrorism will be lowered.

Republicans, and in some cases the press, have poked some pretty big holes in some of the administration’s most extravagant claims. But no one has done a better job than a little-known GOP congressman, Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland, who took on officials from the Centers for Disease Control at a House hearing last week.

The occasion was a meeting of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. In questions directed toward Tom Frieden, who is director of the Centers for Disease Control, Harris brought up a White House estimate of the number of children in Maryland who would go without vaccinations if sequestration went into effect. The document said clearly: “2,050 fewer children will get vaccines for diseases like measles and whooping cough.”

It was a serious charge, one that could result in suffering and death; the cuts would apparently devastate something known as the 317 vaccination program. From the CDC website:

Section 317 of the Public Health Service Act authorizes the federal purchase of vaccines to vaccinate children, adolescents, and adults. Over its 50 year history, Section 317-purchased vaccine has been directed towards meeting the needs of priority populations; most recently this has included underinsured children not eligible for [the separate Vaccines for Children program], and uninsured adults.

But committee staff had looked into President Obama’s plans for the 317 program long before the sequester ever took effect. And what they discovered was that the president, in his 2013 budget, had proposed to cut $58 million from the program. The administration claimed that the money could be saved through greater efficiencies and would not involve any reductions in vaccinations. (The proposed cuts never took place.) What stunned Rep. Harris and others was that after claiming in the 2013 budget last year that $58 million could be cut without harming vaccinations, the CDC this year claimed that sequestration cuts to the same program, estimated at $30 million, would have devastating effects. So Harris — who is also a medical doctor — brought the subject up in questioning CDC director Frieden:

HARRIS: Dr. Frieden, I have a great deal of concern about a document that my office got from the White House that talked about the cuts that were going to occur due to Republicans and affecting children. And I’m going to read their quote about vaccines for children. It says, in Maryland, about 2,050 fewer children will receive vaccines due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $140,000. Did the CDC assist the White House in preparing that estimate?

FRIEDEN: I would have to get back to you on that.

HARRIS: You as the director don’t know if you assisted the White House in preparing an estimate that was distributed to every member of Congress?

FRIEDEN: On that specific number, I would have to — to give you…

HARRIS: OK, let’s — let’s forget the number. Let’s forget the idea of how vaccines for children are going to be affected by the sequester. Is this the vaccine for children program?

FRIEDEN: No, it is not, sir.

HARRIS: Which program is it? Is it 317?

FRIEDEN: Yes, it is, sir.

HARRIS: And what did the president’s budget do to 317, the president’s prospective budget for 2013?

FRIEDEN: The precise numbers I would have to get back to you.

HARRIS: Does $58 million cut sound familiar?

FRIEDEN: Yes.

HARRIS: And what was the sequester cut?

FRIEDEN: Again, the precise numbers…

HARRIS: Does $30 million sound familiar?

FRIEDEN: I would…

HARRIS: You think that’s around ballpark, isn’t it? So actually, the president cut the program twice as much in his budget. Can I assume that the president’s proposed cut would have reduced funding to 4,100 children in Maryland?

FRIEDEN: As per the justification that was published with that, we’ve looked at ways that we can run the program more efficiently by helping state and local health departments recoup dollars, for example, for insured patients.

HARRIS: And you can’t do that under a sequester, but you can do it under the president’s budget? Is that my understanding of your testimony today?

FRIEDEN: I would have to get back to you on that.

HARRIS: So let me get it — let me get it straight. Under the president’s cut of $58 million to the 317 program, you think you could get around that to avoid cutting vaccines to children, but under a sequester, that the president blames on Republicans, you don’t know if you can do that?

FRIEDEN: We’re going to do everything we can to limit any damage that occurs because of the across-the-board cut, but it reduces our flexibility significantly.

HARRIS: Is it your testimony that under the president’s proposed cut of $58 million in his budget to the 317 program you could have avoided cuts to vaccines to children in Maryland?

FRIEDEN: We believe that we could have maintained vaccination levels, yes.

HARRIS: Very interesting. I yield back the balance of my time for now.

Harris later learned that the claimed $30 million sequester cut was a high estimate; the actual number for sequestration cuts at CDC will be about $18 million, which should make the cuts even easier to work around. (You can watch video of the Harris-Frieden exchange here.)

“I just found it remarkable that under the president’s cuts they could vaccinate everyone, but under the cuts blamed on Republicans they couldn’t,” Harris said in an interview Tuesday. “When they want to do with less, they can find a way. But when they don’t want to find a way to do with less, they claim they can’t do things in a budget-restricted environment.”

Harris has sent the CDC a list of follow-up questions. But he believes the Centers never really intended to deny children vaccinations — only to try to scare Congress into ending sequestration. “They’ve been caught with their hand in the cookie jar,” Harris said. “I suspect that they would have vaccinated everybody normally. I think there is going to be no decrease in childhood vaccinations from the sequester.”

In the end, though, the vaccination episode is one of the most revealing of the whole sequestration fight. Is this how the Obama administration has operated from agency to agency, across the whole government? “There is a part of me that wishes this weren’t just the tip of the iceberg, but I think it is,” said Harris. “I think this is just one case where they got caught embellishing the effects of sequestration.”


TOPICS: Front Page News; Government; Politics/Elections; US: Maryland
KEYWORDS: 113th; 2014election; 2016election; abortion; andyharris; bho44; byronyork; deathpanels; election2014; election2016; maryland; obamacare; sequester; tomfrieden; zerocare
Ha! Awesome exchange!
1 posted on 03/13/2013 9:07:49 AM PDT by MissTed
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To: MissTed

bump.

looks like “stupid old man” in congress is dead and replaced by a information age congressman.


2 posted on 03/13/2013 9:12:45 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: MissTed
a little-known GOP congressman, Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland

That's why he's little known. Most people don't believe that such a creature as a Republican from Maryland exists. It's sort of like the Yeti, Sasquatch, the Jersey Devil...


3 posted on 03/13/2013 9:13:57 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: MissTed
Good for Rep. Harris, he took this turkey to the woodshed.

Tom Frieden is an MD. I would have liked Rep. Harris to ask him why he's probably out right lying or at least lying by omission. Medical doctors supposedly have ethics and he was trying to mislead a Congressman about vaccinations for children. Pathetic!

4 posted on 03/13/2013 9:22:08 AM PDT by jazusamo ("Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent." -- Adam Smith)
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To: MissTed

Good post.


5 posted on 03/13/2013 9:23:41 AM PDT by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: MissTed

bkmk


6 posted on 03/13/2013 9:25:36 AM PDT by Sergio (An object at rest cannot be stopped! - The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight)
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To: MissTed

Gotta love Andy. They thought they could BS him.


7 posted on 03/13/2013 9:31:45 AM PDT by RedMDer (Support Free Republic)
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To: MissTed

Psst...Congressman...this administration is filled with lying smarmy bassturds. Thought you might want to keep that in mind....


8 posted on 03/13/2013 9:33:30 AM PDT by Adder (No, Mr. Franklin, we could NOT keep it.)
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To: MissTed

“I would have to get back with you on that.”
Incompetence? Underhanded? I don’t appreciate either one.

Glad this Congressman did his homework and let the facts prevail. Keep shining the light.


9 posted on 03/13/2013 9:38:38 AM PDT by convocation
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To: Buckeye McFrog
Most people don't believe that such a creature as a Republican from Maryland exists. It's sort of like the Yeti, Sasquatch, the Jersey Devil...

The further north and west you go, the more conservative the state is.

10 posted on 03/13/2013 9:41:43 AM PDT by kevkrom (If a wise man has an argument with a foolish man, the fool only rages or laughs...)
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To: MissTed

Thanks for posting this. Very enjoyable reading!


11 posted on 03/13/2013 9:42:36 AM PDT by GBA (Here in the Matrix, life is but a dream.)
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To: MissTed

Great exchange


12 posted on 03/13/2013 9:43:18 AM PDT by CPT Clay (Follow me on Twitter @Clay N TX)
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To: Pride in the USA; Stillwaters
Harris has sent the CDC a list of follow-up questions. But he believes the Centers never really intended to deny children vaccinations — only to try to scare Congress into ending sequestration. “They’ve been caught with their hand in the cookie jar,” Harris said. “I suspect that they would have vaccinated everybody normally. I think there is going to be no decrease in childhood vaccinations from the sequester.”

This is one point I'll have to disagree with Rep. Harris about. I'm cynical and suspicious enough to suppose that the CDC would, in fact, allow children to go without vaccinations if the Obozo administration thinks the suffering and deaths of some kids can be blamed on the "Republican" sequestration.

13 posted on 03/13/2013 9:49:19 AM PDT by lonevoice (Today I broke my personal record for most consecutive days lived)
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To: MissTed
: I would have to get back to you on that.

Sounds somewhat like the Hillary defense..."I can't remember..."The Progressives know everything except they just can't remember it.

14 posted on 03/13/2013 9:49:50 AM PDT by Don Corleone ("Oil the gun..eat the cannoli. Take it to the Mattress.")
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To: CPT Clay

Agreed. This is a keeper.


15 posted on 03/13/2013 9:50:45 AM PDT by tanknetter
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To: MissTed

I saw that live. Andy Harris eviscerated that particular lying leftist from CDC.


16 posted on 03/13/2013 9:55:14 AM PDT by jwalsh07
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To: MissTed

What it proves is that government lies. The liberal claim that somehow neutral third parties can run things objectively is put to lie.

Everyone has an agenda. It’s just another argument in favor of small government.


17 posted on 03/13/2013 10:05:20 AM PDT by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: MissTed

I just watched the video of this. The CDC guy knows he is being demolished and looks like a deer in the headlights.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKbMhr-cfh8

This is what happens when a Dem is confronted with logic and reality, and cannot drop back on non-arguments “you’re a racist!” like on TV news shows.


18 posted on 03/13/2013 10:14:38 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: jazusamo
Good for Rep. Harris, he took this turkey to the woodshed.

At which, John McCain and Lindsey Graham roundly criticized Harris for not creating a positive environment.

19 posted on 03/13/2013 10:21:29 AM PDT by 11th Commandment (http://www.thirty-thousand.org/)
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To: lonevoice

And if they did go without vaccinations, they’d probably be better off.


20 posted on 03/13/2013 10:27:13 AM PDT by demshateGod (The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.)
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To: FreedomPoster

Thanks for the link. I enjoyed watching it even more than reading the transcript. ;)


21 posted on 03/13/2013 10:48:02 AM PDT by MissTed ( Private Tagline - Do Not Read!)
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To: lonevoice

“Back in my teaching days, many years ago, one of the things I liked to ask the class to consider was this: Imagine a government agency with only two tasks: (1) building statues of Benedict Arnold and (2) providing life-saving medications to children. If this agency’s budget were cut, what would it do?

“The answer, of course, is that it would cut back on the medications for children. Why? Because that would be what was most likely to get the budget cuts restored. If they cut back on building statues of Benedict Arnold, people might ask why they were building statues of Benedict Arnold in the first place.”

— Thomas Sowell, “Budget Politics”

http://townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/2013/03/05/budget-politics-n1525553/page/full/

In the very next sentence in his article, he describes this as a “deliberately extreme” example.

Indeed.


22 posted on 03/13/2013 10:55:44 AM PDT by jiggyboy (Ten percent of poll respondents are either lying or insane)
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To: kevkrom
The further north and west you go, the more conservative the state is.

Yes, I know. Garrett County is basically West Virginia with Orioles fans and jousting.


23 posted on 03/13/2013 11:24:23 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: MissTed

Harris appears to be the real thing...his ACU rating, lifetime, is 90.00. Now, he has only been around since 2010...but still, this is encouraging.


24 posted on 03/13/2013 11:26:30 AM PDT by SoFloFreeper
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To: MissTed

All I can add is Bravo Zulu, so that’s all I’ll do.


25 posted on 03/13/2013 11:27:58 AM PDT by Hemingway's Ghost (Spirit of '75)
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To: MissTed

The deer-in-the-headlights thing just doesn’t come through on the transcript!

I figured people would like that. You’re welcome.


26 posted on 03/13/2013 11:43:37 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: MissTed

>> Ha! Awesome exchange!

Nothing against the congressman, but a child could expose the charlatans.


27 posted on 03/13/2013 12:00:37 PM PDT by Gene Eric (The Palin Doctrine.)
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To: jiggyboy

Very interesting insight from Thomas Sowell, thanks.


28 posted on 03/13/2013 12:40:47 PM PDT by lonevoice (Today I broke my personal record for most consecutive days lived)
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To: jazusamo

Did you know Rep Harris is also a doctor?


29 posted on 03/13/2013 1:06:57 PM PDT by foxfield
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To: foxfield
Thanks...I had no idea and didn't even think to check. That's probably why he went after Frieden like he did, he knew he was hiding the truth.
30 posted on 03/13/2013 1:15:34 PM PDT by jazusamo ("Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent." -- Adam Smith)
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To: MissTed

FINALLY!!Our side needs to start doing ONE on ONE !! They need to pick someone on the Democrat side to do this to at EVERY meeting!! Beat the SNOT out of them verbally and with FACTS!!


31 posted on 03/13/2013 1:46:04 PM PDT by Ann Archy (ABORTION........the HUMAN sacrifice to the god of CONVENIENCE.)
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To: MissTed

Good Job!


32 posted on 03/13/2013 1:48:05 PM PDT by 1035rep
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To: MissTed

OUTSTANDING!!! Bravo Zulu, Rep. Harris.


33 posted on 03/13/2013 6:15:56 PM PDT by NonValueAdded (If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, you've likely misread the situation.)
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To: MissTed; Abundy; Albion Wilde; AlwaysFree; AnnaSASsyFR; bayliving; BFM; cindy-true-supporter; ...

Harris gave Frieden a thumpin’!

Maryland “Freak State” PING!


34 posted on 03/13/2013 7:12:52 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (Drag Me From Hell!)
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To: MissTed

Andy Harris is a Doctor, I believe a medical Doctor.


35 posted on 03/14/2013 4:17:34 AM PDT by saturn
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks MissTed.
a little-known GOP congressman, Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland

36 posted on 03/24/2013 10:39:13 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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