Barney Frank Chews Out GOP For Squandering Bipartisanship Opportunity

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) told TPM the that House GOP has lost his vote for their bill repealing the Medicare cost-cutting Independent Payment Advisory Board after proposing to offset it with medical malpractice reform.

Frank is one of some 20 Democrats cosponsor of the IPAB-repeal bill, but said the GOP’s medmal offset is a bridge too far that will alienate other Dems as well. Asked whether he’ll vote for it now, Frank said, “Of course not.”

“It’s typical of their irresponsible approach. They talk about wanting to have bipartisan cooperation but they don’t want it,” Frank told TPM on Monday. “They have a lot of Democratic support to repeal [IPAB] and they know it. They were dangerously close to having some bipartisanship and they couldn’t accept that.”

“They’re taking two very different issues and putting them together in an effort to coerce Democrats,” he added. “This is nothing more than an overreach to appease the right wing.”

Frank said he opposes IPAB because he believes other federal programs, most notably the military, should be cut to balance the budget, as opposed Medicare providers. He emphasized that hospitals, which could face cuts under IPAB, are “major sources of employment” and shouldn’t be on the hook.

He added that he supports some cost-cutting policies in Medicare such as asking wealthier seniors to pay higher premiums.