Gibson: Ryan Is The One Who Changed Positions On Medicare (UPDATED)

Rep. Chris Gibson defended the 2012 spending plan passed by House Republicans last week, saying the plan crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) would not create a voucher system for Medicare.

In Ryan’s plan, the federal entitlement program would require future enrollees to buy coverage from one of several private plans, which Gibson says is not a “voucher” program because the system itself is still government-run.

“Ryan changed his position,” Gibson said.

I was opposed to vouchers and remain opposed to vouchers because my read of this is we’ll end up with another bailout. If you end up sending checks out to all senior citizens and tell them to fend for themselves, when/if they get swindled then we’re left with a situation where we’re not going to allow that to stay and we’ll end up reissuing new checks. I want to see Medicare stay a government program. I was impressed that Ryan changed his mind on that and embraced the bipartisan approaches of premium support.”

The Kinderhook Republican campaigned against vouchers for Medicare in 2010, but in February said he was open to having a discussion about a voucher-based system, where benefits are capped.

Gibson is holding a number of town hall meetings in his 10-county district, answering questions from constituents about the federal budget. He is also continuing his push for alternative sources of energy including nuclear, even though public support has sharply fallen following the disaster in Japan.

UPDATE: Senior organizations, as well as the DCCC, reject Gibson’s notion that the voucher program and premium support are the same. “That is not insurance, just a very partial subsidy,” said Mike Burgess of the Statewide Senior Action Council.

Share Your Thoughts On Indian Point

Manhattan Democratic state senator Liz Krueger has launched a new online survey asking New Yorkers to share their thoughts on the controversial Indian Point power plant, which is up for license renewal in 2013.

Krueger has been a staunch opponent of the power plant for many years now.

“I have been calling for the closure of Indian Point since 2003, but the devastation seen in Japan has served as a powerful reminder that sometimes the worst case scenario does happen, and we cannot go about our lives pretending it never will,” said Senator Krueger.

“I’ve been very clear on where I stand with Indian Point, as have several other elected leaders, including Governor Cuomo, but now it’s time to hear from the public. I want to know where people stand on this issue.”

This argument has been heating up lately, in the wake of what happened in Japan. We reported on SOP yesterday that Indian Point has released a new ad informing New Yorkers that their plants are earthquake proof.

Here’s Sen. Krueger’s comments on the issue:

Trump Attack Of The Day

The Club for growth is at it again. On Monday, they hit Trump for being a liberal that supported universal healthcare, Tuesday they attacked him for supporting the Supreme Court’s position on eminent domain, and today they are going after the billionaire businessman for his support of President Obama’s decision to bailout the Big 3 car manufacturers back in 2008. (And also taking a veiled shot at Trump’s past business failures.)

“If there’s anyone who should know the value of filing for bankruptcy, it’s Donald Trump. He should have known that the $13.4 billion government bailout of the auto industry just put off the inevitable while putting taxpayers at risk,” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola.

“Bailouts and nationalizing whole industries can cripple free markets and has hampered our economic recovery. We need our next President to understand that economic freedom leads to growth and prosperity for all, and that the government should never be in the business of picking winners and losers.”

Like previous days, the Club for Growth has Trump quotes to back up their allegations. Today, they come from a 2008 interview Trump gave to Fox News’ Neil Cavuto.

“No. I think you should have the Big Three. I think, frankly, they should do dip financing. I think the government should stand behind them 100 percent. You cannot lose the auto companies. They’re great. They make wonderful products,” Trump said. “Maybe they’re making too much. Maybe they’re not making too much. I mean, I just brought a Dodge Ram truck from Arrigo Dodge, who’s a member of one of my clubs and great guy.”

Here And Now

It’s the one-year anniversary of the BP oil spill and the energy giant is trying to influence Congress with campaign contributions.

Fred Dicker on inmate Alan Hevesi: “(H)e could be any one of the dozens of state officials – including a governor -who in recent years have been linked to, or caught in, serious crimes.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is looking to reorganize and streamline state government for the first time since 1927.

Same-sex marriage advocates have hired consultant Jennifer Cunningham to run a short, intense $1 million campaign in the run-up to another Senate vote and are coordinating with the Cuomo administration to avoid a repeat of 2009.

Mayor Bloomberg established a new campaign committee, but says he’s not running for anything.

The Rev. Al Sharpton was at yesterday’s White House summit on immigration reform.

Facing a massive ticket-fixing scandal, the NYC police officers union says the practice is one of courtesy, not corruption.

The Glens Falls Post-Star agrees with AG Eric Schneiderman on hydrofracking in the Delaware Basin.

Donald Trump claims he offered to build a $100 million ballroom at the White House so the president could stop holding functions on the lawn in tents.

“Donald’s as serious as a heart attack” about running, said GOP pollster Tony Fabrizio, who has been in frequent contact with the developer-turned-reality TV star-turned potential presidential contender.

Trump picked up some new defenders: Carl Paladino and John Catsimatidis.

More >

Extras

The IDC will rebut at the LCA show, as will Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Will the governor attend? No word yet.

President Obama will raise campaign cash at the Waldorf on April 27.

Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries wants to establish rules for neighborhood branding. “It’s the Wild West in New York City right now,” he says.

Kathy Hochul has outraised her NY-26 opponents, but they’re outspending her by far.

Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mayor Michael Bloomberg talked immigration reform at the White House with the president.

It’s an “immigration offensive”, says Ben Smith.

Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer wants to see proof of Donald Trump’s net worth.

Former Gov. David Paterson will deliver the commencement address at Paul Smith’s.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is staffing up.

AG Eric Schneiderman invested in a musical version of the 1952 Joan Crawford western.

Before there was a Tea Party, there was GOP Yonkers mayoral candidate John Murtagh. (Or so says his first mailer).

Will NYC Council meetings and hearings soon be webcast by enterprising members of the public?

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s SAGE commission include some of his big donors.

Purdue University will pitch the Bloomberg administration tomorrow.

Sen. Mike Gianaris will explain the “deal” on redistricting to DL21C members on April 30 20 – that’s tomorrow, thanks for the correction!

Not good. More here.

Sen. Patricia Ritchie is happy with the state Health Department.

More trouble for the WFP’s Data & Field Services.

Guy Noir, private eye, to Bloomberg’s rescue.

Even Robin Williams can’t catch a break from the NYPD for biking on the sidewalk.

ProPublica won a Pulitzer – a first for an on-line only publication.

Trump’s Monetary Ties To Disgraced Former Pols A Non-Issue In NY

Donald Trump has been getting a lot of heat from the right lately for some past liberal views as well as giving thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates in New York. Moreover, several of those pols (from both parties) who received funds from the real estate mogul are either in jail, facing charges, or forced out politics because of a scandal.

However, that’s one part of The Donald’s past that will likely be easily forgivable because as Bill Mahoney from the New York Pubic Interest Research Group put it, “this is New York State.”

“[Trump] has written checks to dozens of candidates,” said Mahoney.

“If you’re going to write 90 checks like he did, then the odds that at least one of those New York State elected officials hasn’t been convicted of a crime over the past decade are about as good the odds you pick a NCAA tournament bracket perfectly.”

NYPIRG has been lobbying lawmakers in Albany for several years to pass comprehensive ethics reform.

New Hevesi Mug Released

The state Department of Correctional Services this afternoon released a compelling and somewhat haunting mugshot of inmate 11-R-1334, also known as disgraced former comptroller Alan Hevesi.

hevesi, alan 11-R-1334-1

He is currently serving 1-4 years in Ulster Correctional Facility in Napanoch. He was sentenced Friday in the massive pay-to-play pension fund scheme that also toppled his political advisor Hank Morris.

The sentencing of the 71-year-old Hevesi was delayed last month after the Democrat had reportedly taken ill and was sent to the hospital. Hevesi resigned in 2006 in the wake of allegations that he used a state employee to act as chauffeur for his wife.

Health Department Yanks Camp Regulations

Following criticism from lawmakers that the new regulations for summer camps that govern games like tag, kick ball and wiffle ball as a nanny state run amok, the state Department of Health has decided to pull the regulations.

“The guidance that we had provided has been eliminated,” said DOH spokeswoman Claudia Hutton. “It (the rules) had been prepared under the previous administration and we felt that withdrawing it was the appropriate thing to do.”

The rules were pulled following lawmakers and media reports critical of the proposal, which would have listed games like Red Rover, tag and other summertime staples as dangerous.

The rules were meant to close a loophole for summer and day camps operating in doors that did not have the same oversight for outdoor camps.

The public comment period on the regulations runs through May 16 and the Health Department will issue new guidelines after that date, Hutton said.

Extra! Extra! Sweet Corn Defeats Onion

The results are in on the state Farm Bureau’s somewhat unscientific poll on which vegetable should be given the honor being designated the official state vegetable of New York. The winner: sweet corn in a landslide.

“The results are a-maize-ing,” said Julie Suarez, New York Farm Bureau Director of Public Policy (Yes, I did laugh at that. What of it?).

The Farm Bureau, the state’s largest agriculture lobbying organization, began its informal Facebook poll after Sen. David Carlucci, D-Clarkstown, introduced a proposal to make the onion the official state vegetable. Sen. Michael Nozzolio, R-Fayette, Seneca County, has a competing measure that would give sweet corn the designation.

In the Farm Bureau’s survey, sweet corn received 725 votes compared to onions with 311 votes. Other vegetables like cabbage, potatoes and pumpkins received 240 votes.

The real winners, say the earnest folks at the Farm Bureau, is the awareness that’s been raised for agriculture.

“Certainly there are bigger pressing issues in Albany, but at the same time naming an Official State Vegetable recognizes the importance of the vegetable industry to the economy of Upstate New York and the farm towns of Long Island,” Suarez said. “We appreciate the efforts of Senators Nozzolio and Carlucci to highlight the importance of our state’s vegetable farms to our New York consumers.”

Chocola On Trump: We’ve Seen This Show Before

As Liz noted earlier, the conservative Club Growth — which has ties to both possible GOP presidential hopefuls Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney — has come out swinging against reality-show host and businessman Donald Trump.

Club For Growth President Chris Chocola appeared last night on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell to again bring up Trump’s previous positions for things like a single-payer health care system.

“He’s been on a lot of teams over the years, when he ran in 2000, we’ve seen this show before,” Chocola said.

In addition to the Club for Growth, Karl Rove attacked Trump for his past positions.

Though some have said Trump’s candidacy is a publicity stunt, it seems that more in the establishment are taking him seriously.

“There’s an infatuation in the media with him and I’m increasingly convinced he’s going to run,” Chocola said.

He added: “Donald Trump has embraced a lot of bad ideas in the past. We think if he’s going to be a serious presidential candidate, it’s time to pull back the curtain, get beyond the showmanship and look at the serious analysis of his policy positions.”

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