SeniorCare may be back
SeniorCare is not going anywhere.
The popular Wisconsin prescription drug program for the elderly got a reprieve Thursday night when Congress approved more money for the Iraq war.
Sen. Herb Kohl and David Obey, House Appropriations chairman, inserted a two-year extension of SeniorCare into a bill President Bush has promised to sign.
Because Bush cannot use a line-item veto to kill it, Congress overruled federal bureaucrats who demanded that SeniorCare be ended by next January.
Gov. Jim Doyle praised the tactic. He said the 102,000 SeniorCare clients would have had major disruptions converting to Medicare Part D, which is what Washington health officials had demanded.
Now, SeniorCare will continue through 2009 as if nothing ever happened.
Two Wisconsin Republicans condemned the way it was extended.
Jim Sensenbrenner of Menomonee Falls said it was added in the middle of the night with no hearings and if Bush had the line-item veto it would be the first thing to go.
Paul Ryan of Janesville says SeniorCare has nothing to do with the war and he would have supported a separate bill for it.
The House approved the non-war spending items separately, 348-73.
Ryan and Sensenbrenner were the only ones from the state voting no.
The Senate made it all one package, voting 80-14 in favor.