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BILL MOYERS: Welcome. Like just about everyone else, I enjoy a good show, and the inauguration of a president is one of those spectacles of democracy that can make us remember we're part of something big and enduring.

So for a few hours this past Monday the pomp and circumstance inspired us to think government of, by, and for the people really is just that, despite the predatory threats that stalk it. Unfortunately the mood didn't last.

So help me, every now and then, as the cameras panned upward to that great dome towering over the ceremony, I was reminded of something the good feeling of the moment could not erase. It's the journalist's curse -- to have a good time spoiled by the reality beyond the pageantry.

In particular on this crisp January day, I thought about the latest revelation of the skullduggery that often goes on in the shadows below that dome. Just a couple of days before the inaugural festivities, The New York Times published some superb investigative reporting by the team of Eric Lipton and Kevin Sack, and their revelations kept running through my mind. The story told us of a pharmaceutical giant, Amgen, and three senators so close to it they might be entries on its balance sheet: Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus – a Democrat -- and that powerful committee’s ranking Republican, Orrin Hatch. A trio of perpetrators who treat the United States Treasury as if it were a cash-and-carry annex of corporate America.

The Times story described how Amgen got a huge hidden gift from unnamed members of Congress and their staffers. They slipped an eleventh hour loophole into the New Year’s Eve deal that kept the government from going over the fiscal cliff. And when the sun rose in the morning there it was, a richly embroidered loophole for Amgen that will cost taxpayers -- that's you and me -- a cool half a billion dollars. Yes -- half a billion dollars.

Amgen is the world’s largest biotechnology firm, a drug manufacturer that sells a variety of medications. The little clause secretly sneaked into the fiscal cliff bill gives the company two more years of relief from Medicare cost controls for certain drugs used by patients on kidney dialysis.

The provision didn’t mention Amgen by name, but according to reporters Lipton and Sack, the news that it had been tucked into the fiscal cliff deal "was so welcome that the company’s chief executive quickly relayed it to investment analysts.” Tipping them off, it would seem, to a jackpot in the making.

Amgen has 74 lobbyists on its team in Washington and lobbied hard for that loophole, currying favor with friends at the White House and on Capitol Hill. The Times reporters traced its “deep financial and political ties” to Baucus, McConnell and Hatch, “who hold heavy sway over Medicare payment policy.”

All three have received hefty campaign donations from the company whose bottom line mysteriously just got padded at taxpayer expense. Lo and behold, among those 74 lobbyists are the former Chief of Staff to Senator Baucus and the former Chief of Staff to Senator McConnell.

You get the picture: two guys nurtured at public expense, paid as public servants, disappear through the gold-plated revolving door of Congress and presto -- return as money changers in the temple of crony capitalism. Inside to welcome them is a current top aide to Senator Hatch – one who helped weave this lucrative loophole – who used to work for -- you guessed it: Amgen. The trail winds deeper into the sordid swamp beneath that great dome, a sinkhole where shame has all but disappeared. As reporters Lipton and Sack remind us, just two weeks before this backroom betrayal of the public trust by elected officials and the mercenaries they have mentored, Amgen pleaded guilty to fraud. Fraud, look it up. Trickery, cheating, duplicity.

Amgen agreed to pay $762 million in criminal and civil penalties. The company had been caught illegally marketing another one of its drugs. The fact that their puppet master had been the subject of fines and a massive federal investigation mattered not to its servile pawns in the Senate, where pomp and circumstance are but masks for the brute power of money.

With me now is Congressman Peter Welch, Democrat from Vermont. He has just introduced bipartisan legislation to repeal that half billion-dollar giveaway to Amgen. We asked one of its co-sponsors, Republican Richard Hanna of New York, to join us but a previous commitment made it impossible for him to do so. Congressman Welch, welcome.

PETER WELCH: Thank you.

BILL MOYERS: What is it you're actually trying to do?

PETER WELCH: Well, there's two things. One, I want to get the taxpayers their money back. This is half a billion dollars, more than that, that is vintage crony-capitalism at the eleventh hour, in a small room, unknown to 430 members of Congress and probably 98 or 97 senators. A small paragraph, innocent looking, in the fiscal cliff bill, a must-pass piece of legislation for all Americans. And it benefits a single company, turns out to be Amgen, maybe a few others, but this is an Amgen-inspired plan that's going to cost Medicare and taxpayers half a billion dollars. Now I want that money back. But there's a second reason that's even in many ways much more important. Congress is not trusted as an institution.

And when there is no trust for that institution, and then we take actions like this, where for the benefit of a company that's very powerful and well-connected, we charge taxpayers a half a billion dollars extra. That means that that institutional disrespect increases. And it's going to make much more difficult the challenge we have to essentially make the tough decisions on all kinds of policies.

BILL MOYERS: You made a tough statement in Washington in which you said actually Congress is less popular than cockroaches and root canals because of actions like these.

PETER WELCH: No, but that's true. I mean, that poll that came out, it actually says it all. People don't trust the institution. And you know what? They're right not to trust it when this kind of thing happens. When there is this back room dealing that comes at enormous expense to taxpayers and enormous benefit to a private, well-connected, for-profit company, we've got to call it out. Those members of Congress who are concerned about the institution, about our lack of credibility, about the necessity of us doing things that are in the public good as opposed to private gain, we've got to call it out.

BILL MOYERS: You voted for the fiscal cliff deal. When did you know that this language was in it?

PETER WELCH: I never knew it. I didn't know until I read the story in the Times, when I was outraged. What happened here was a couple of things. One, this was a lame duck session negotiation. And it didn't even involve Congress, the truth of the matter is. It involved the president and his staff. It involved the Speaker. And it involved the Senate leaders. And that's pretty much it. But it didn't go through any committee process. So there was no opportunity for members to get a heads up that this was something that was cooking. Because had this been made public that Amgen was asking for this sweetheart deal, people would have objected. And they would have been so embarrassed.

BILL MOYERS: You mean other members of Congress?

PETER WELCH: Other members of Congress would have been very concerned, Republicans, too, by the way. I mean, this type of crony capitalism, they don't -- a lot of them really do not like. So we didn't have the process work in its normal way, where something that is going to cost taxpayers a half a billion dollars goes through a committee process and then people can raise questions, challenge the argument that is made by the special interests, and crack and bring it down. This was done just in the secrecy of a private negotiation.

BILL MOYERS: Describe how they get this in without almost no one else knowing it's happening.

PETER WELCH: They immediately get it in because when these negotiations are going on, it involves a very few people. And again, since this was a lame duck session and it was the fiscal cliff, no committees were involved. So it really was at that moment, at the very end of the fiscal cliff negotiations, when the Finance Committee leaders had some opportunity to fashion the final details and put a paragraph in or take a paragraph out, they were able to do it.

Now why did they do it? They did it because Amgen had longstanding ties built carefully and slowly and methodically over time. And obviously, that's a function of their campaign contributions. It's a function of their 74 lobbyists on the Hill. It's their constant care and feeding of members of Congress. And then at a certain point, when the lights are off and the press isn't--

BILL MOYERS: Metaphorically speaking.

PETER WELCH: And Congress doesn't know what's going on, members of Congress -- they can move. And they did.

BILL MOYERS: Some member of Congress, some Senator--

PETER WELCH: That's right.

BILL MOYERS: --had to say, "Okay."

PETER WELCH: That's correct. The information I have on who that was or how that happened is from The New York Times article. But that's exactly right. Because the committee staff is doing a lot of the detailed work. And if a paragraph is going to be put in or taken out, they have to get the okay, usually from the Chair or a ranking member or the two of them.

So those are the people who have the authority to tell a staff, you know, do it. And obviously, staff play a role, because they will advocate to their boss, "We ought to put this in for Amgen." But members of Congress have to act with some restraint.

You know, if you have an enormous position of authority, just because you can do it doesn't mean you should do it. And that's important in the long run, you know? In the short run, this is good for Amgen, really bad for the process, really bad for taxpayers.

But what it does is it breaks down, brick by brick, the trust that we need in each other in an institution in order for it to function. And, you know, every day Americans lose that little brick of trust in that institution, the power of the institution to do good things, even when it wants to, is diminished.

BILL MOYERS: I was struck that just at the time many members of Congress were crying, "We've got to cut spending. We've got to reduce this deficit," some members in the Senate were putting this in in a way that will cost that will add to spending and add to the deficit.

PETER WELCH: And that's true. And it's even worse than that. Because as you mentioned in your opening, two weeks before this, Amgen paid an over $700 million criminal and civil penalty for illegally marketing another drug that they manufacture. So the effect of this is largely that taxpayers are picking up $500 million of the $700 million fine. And you know what--

BILL MOYERS: Amgen's getting about two thirds of the fine it paid back from the taxpayer.

PETER WELCH: That's right. And this is what -- you know that if this were put on the floor for an up or down vote, people would have to put a mask on to vote for it. It would never pass. So, you know, there's some chance we may get this reversed. Because you can't defend what Amgen did. You cannot--

BILL MOYERS: How are you going to get it reversed, Congressman? Because too many of your colleagues want the same process to work for them at some point in their own strategy.

PETER WELCH: Well, that's the obstacle. And the obstacle, too, is that to get -- we've got a simple repeal provision. It's like a one paragraph bill that says, "Repeal this giveaway," in effect. And the challenge for us will be to get that on the floor. The Republicans are the majority. They have the authority to say yes or no as to whether this will get on the floor. So the challenge for us will be to advocate this and essentially correct a mistake.

One of the other complaints people have been making about Congress a lot is that when we have a big bill like the fiscal cliff, that certain provisions get snuck in. And they're right about that. And that's where the process has to act with more restraint. If the bill is about the fiscal cliff, urgent issue for this country and its wellbeing, let's not use that as a freight train for certain members on behalf of certain special interests to get sweetheart deals part of this.

BILL MOYERS: There are a lot of Tea Party members in the House, elected in 2010, when the Republican surged back. But many of them were elected opposing government spending and corporate giveaways like this. Do you think you'll get some support from the Tea Party in the House?

PETER WELCH: I do. I actually do. You know, a lot of the Tea Party folks are ferociously concerned about spending. And they especially hate the crony capitalism type of spending. In these giveaways to private companies for private gain. I mean, the Amgen CEO in 2010 made $21 million. It's a $17 billion company in sales. It has a $64 billion market capitalization.

In the news, even though this is, you know, small potatoes for them in some ways as you mentioned in your opening the head of Amgen gave the good news. To the Wall Street analyst to give a little bit of boost to the Amgen stock price.

So I mean, you can't -- it doesn't get worse than this. And it confirms people's expectations or their views that this institution is not on the level. And you know what? Those of us in Congress from the Tea Party to progressive members of the Congress have a responsibility to do everything we can to build trust in that institution so that when it does make tough decisions on taxes, on spending, on energy policy, that America has some credibility that we got it more right than wrong.

BILL MOYERS: Tell me about the lobbyists. Who are these people?

PETER WELCH: Well, the problem with lobbyists, a lot of them come off the Hill, a lot of them come out of Congress. Many members of Congress leave the capital and go to K Street. And it's a real reflection of how money has overtaken politics. And the real problem with that system is not the individual lobbyists. A lot of times they'll have legitimate points to present to members of Congress.

The problem is the amount of money that lobbyists represent. And what tends to happen in Congress is that the concerns of those lobbyists, the concerns of Amgen, become much more of the topic of discussion, debate, and resolution than the concerns of middle America, the concerns of the farmers.

You know, in Congress, we didn't even vote in the House on a farm bill. This is the first time in the history of this country where a House Agriculture Committee, on which I sat, but in a bipartisan vote, we worked together, passed the farm bill, and the House didn't even take it up for a vote. But Amgen was able to have their provision, $500 million, put into the bill with no problem.

BILL MOYERS: I brought with me the Justice Department press release that came out in December about Amgen's crime. Quote, "Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, New York, U.S. District Judge Sterling Johnson, Jr. accepted a guilty plea by American biotechnology giant Amgen Inc. for illegally introducing a misbranded drug into interstate commerce. The plea is part of a global settlement with the United States in which Amgen agreed to pay $762 million to resolve criminal and civil liability arising from its sale and promotion of certain drugs. The settlement represents the single largest criminal and civil false claims act settlement involving a biotechnology company in U.S. history." How does a company that just pleaded guilty to criminal charges in federal court and is slapped with three quarters of a billion dollars in fines even allowed a place in the negotiations in the Senate?

PETER WELCH: Yeah, you would think they would be shunned. And you would think that they would have absolutely no opportunity to come in and get the fine paid by the taxpayer. But the way it works is that they've established relationships with those 74 lobbyists. They've established relationships with the very substantial political contributions they've made to all kinds of people on the Hill. And they have established relationships in part because they have facilities in many districts that members of Congress represent.

And they were able, in effect, to be in the room when most of us in Congress, let's say in the House, 435 members were not in the room. We were not in the discussion. We didn't know it was happening. So if you're that well connected to the people who will be at that table, at that moment, when the final draft is being put together, and no one has a chance to get a heads up to review it, to ask a question, then you can sneak something in and get away with it. And that's essentially what happened.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, what you're saying is that Amgen's friends in the Senate recouped some two thirds of the fine they just paid for fraud?

PETER WELCH: That's right. That's exactly right.

Well, a lot of the worst things that happen in eroding trust and really hurting the economy are legal. This is legal. What Amgen did now is legal. Should it be? Is it ethical? Is it the right thing for the country? Absolutely not. But they literally accomplished in the back room, with their access to important people, what they could never have accomplished on the floor of the House or on the floor of the Senate.

BILL MOYERS: Congressman, people out there -- you're right, people out there are disgusted. But they're also despairing. They've seen this time and again. They've see, we report on it. They see it. They get angry. And then nothing happens.

PETER WELCH: Well, that's right. And that's why I'm so glad that Congressman Hanna, we've got a bipartisan bill here.

BILL MOYERS: Republican.

PETER WELCH: A Republican, a very good member from New York. And there's a lot of us who really take seriously that we've got two jobs. One is to try to make good decisions on policy that are going to get America going again. But the other (and each of us with a vote has this job) is to try to restore trust in the institution. And that means that when there is this kind of egregious rip off, we've got to stand up and do everything we can to help expose it and to help reverse it. So I want the money back for the taxpayers. I mean, I'm a frugal Vermonter. So that matters. And let's get it.

BILL MOYERS: Don't you fear retaliation? You're up against a powerful corporation, a whole system that works, as you've just described it, and mighty members of the Senate?

PETER WELCH: Well, I don't. Vermont's a great state to represent. And people there are practical and they're fair. They won't like this. And they're going to have the final say about whether I pay some price, because I'm standing up to this Amgen deal.

But secondly, what's the point? I mean, I've got a job to do. This is clearly wrong. And, every day, if I can get up and try to fight the battle that is nowhere near as tough as what it is for middle class families raising kids, trying to figure out how to pay the tuition, trying to figure out how to pay the heating bill in a cold winter, how to make it by the end of the month. I mean, that's the people that have the tough job. So everything that I can do to just display some fairness and awareness of what they're doing, let's do it.

BILL MOYERS: Congressman Peter Welch, thanks for coming by. And good luck to you.

PETER WELCH: Thank you.

U.S. Rep. Peter Welch on Amgen’s Sweet Senate Deal

A recent article in The New York Times reported on a cost-control exception provided to Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology firm. According to the report, the sweetheart deal — hidden in the Senate’s final “fiscal cliff” bill — will cost taxpayers half a billion dollars. Bill talks to U.S. Representative Peter Welch (D-VT) about the bi-partisan bill he recently sponsored to repeal that giveaway, and the political factors that allow such crony capitalism to occur.

“When there is this back room dealing that comes at enormous expense to taxpayers and enormous benefit to a private, well-connected, for-profit company, we’ve got to call it out,” Welch tells Bill. “Those members of Congress who are concerned about the institution, about our lack of credibility, about the necessity of us doing things that are in the public good as opposed to private gain, we’ve got to call it out.”

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  • http://www.facebook.com/pat.elgee.5 Pat Elgee

    Hopefully Rep. Welch will be successful in repealing this theft from the American People.
    Amgen should be brought to court for this theft as well and pay back double their take.
    Can The People call for impeachments of the Slime Three?

  • Anonymous

    Thank you. Where is the TEA party when you need them, eh. Since Obama has a second term, maybe they will hibernate thru the next 3 years!

  • Bruce

    Please name the Senators responsible for the Amgen sweetheart deal?

  • Annie

    Mitch McConnell Republican from Kentucky, Max Baucus Democrat from Montana, and Orrin Hatch Republican of Utah.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pat.elgee.5 Pat Elgee

    Max Baucus, Mitch McConnell, Orrin Hatch–check out story 3. This is theft. The Slime Three give Amgen half a billion dollars, but they get back campaign contributions in the millions, so they are really stealing for themselves.

  • blowfish

    I’m guessing that Moyers didn’t name these three on his talk show, nor did he ask Welch to name them because he wants to keep on having folks from the Congress on his show and naming names wouldn’t be nice.

  • Rick C.

    Accepting money to allow influence of a Congress member’s vote when they do not act in the public interest is not “… defending the constitution…”. Those guilty of such immoral and self-serving actions should be tried for TREASON or at the very least, should be impeached. This should be the law of the land. We could pay off national debt with all the money used to make all the dirty little deals with our elected representatives. How can “we the people”
    tolerate this?

  • Rick C.

    Doesn’t RICO cover this?

  • Anonymous

    Moyers named all 3 on the show . He even showed their photo’s!

  • Ellison Ferrall

    This is putrid! Good luck Congressman Welch. Baucus Hatch and McConnell have taken money from Amgen and two of the three have had their Chiefs of Staff go to work For Amgen. Here is a Definition of bribery:
    n.
    1. Something, such as money or a favor, offered or given to a person in a position of trust to influence that person’s views or conduct.
    2. Something serving to influence or persuade.

    Isn’t bribery of a trusted official like a Senator a crime? Baucus, Hatch, and McConnell: You may not know how to spell bribery but maybe you know the meaning of the words “Appearance of Impropriety.” After all, Amgen just pleaded guilty to fraud and was given the largest fine in Biotech history. The three of you just gave Amgen a $500 million gift from the American taxpayers. Have you no shame? The three of you have shamed yourself, your party, your country and our Congress. Shockingly our Congress has become one of the most corrupt legislative bodies in the world! The rating of our Congress by the American people ranks at the lowest in US history. The 3 of you have besmirched our Congress and our country. I hope each of you will resign immediately!

  • MollyDodd

    I really appreciate learning about this back-room wheeling and dealing from Bill Moyer’s program. I wish the big Sunday morning talk shows would discuss these issues instead of having the same talking heads on every week…now they’ve started to talk about the 2016 election! We need to have more people talking about the things we hear on Bill’s program. Thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/meredith.potter.7 Meredith Potter

    I am going to be sick.

  • gerald berke

    He said the white house was involved: why did Moyers not pursue this. Is this crony news reporting on the subject of crony capitalism. Why is it the congress that is blamed when they may have had full support of the white house. Moyers does not appear here to be an honest broker…

  • aammmartin@hotmail.com

    Where is Sen. Proxmire’s Fleecing of America awards when we need them? I remember in one of Proxmire’s last eletions he only spent about $600 which included his filing fees. Besides being an incumbent of decades he was wildly popular because of his Golden Fleece awards and though he was a liberal, these awards showed that he was a fiscal conservative. Someone should pick up this mantle again and run with it.

  • Michelle

    Thank you, Congressman Welch. Our system is currently supporting corruption at a level equal to any developing country! We are relying on lawmakers such as you to put the checks and balances back into our system! Occupying Wall Street did very little so far, we need you and your colleagues to follow through!

  • Anonymous

    ….oh my
    ….a 700 million dollar plus fine followed by a forgiving 500 million dollar cost-control exception for a corporation serving private interests?….all manufactured by bribes and corrupt politicians solely at the expense of the American people?
    ….that’s like having 50 dollars of my 70 dollar parking ticket paid for by you, the taxpayer….if I didn’t know better, I’d swear organized crime was running this country….

  • tom durkin

    An act so steeped in perfidy that the elected players in yet another sordid Amgen tale should be thrown out and prosecuted for high crimes and treachery.

  • Anonymous

    Until those elected officials who choose to be
    involved in ongoing questionable activities are made to do the same jail time as
    those who holdup a gas station for a couple hundred Dollars it will never end !
    As long as they are allowed to profit personally from the system and escape any
    legal indictment and associated punishment, it will only encourage an even
    larger number of future members of Congress to ignore their obligations to their
    constituents and commit similar crimes. When senior members of Congress freely
    exhibit behavior like this, it also promotes the belief that this type of
    behavior is condoned by the party leadership and is absolutely necessary for
    a successful career in government. In other words, it has become a
    self-perpetuating exercise condoned by the leadership of both political
    parties. In the likely absence of any future legislation enabling a level
    of punishment that fits the crime, enacting term limits for members of
    Congress is the only reasonable action remaining !

  • Michelle

    How can we help Rep. Welch to repeal this travesty of a bill? The big names holding America hostage had no trouble lining their pockets, did they? How many kids will go hungry after more people get laid off from these two-faced members of Congress? How many seniors will die from lack of care because these horrible people who fleece Medicare and then complane it’s full of fraud?? They should know, since they’re the one’s doing the stealing!!

  • Anonymous

    Baucus is just another Conservative wearing his Blue Dog Democrat clothing. He sold the American people down the river during the healthcare debate when he supported his friends in the so-called healthcare insurance industry by blocking any and all debate on a Medicare-for-All Healthcare System like what all other industrialized western countries have had for over sixty years !

  • Sherry

    Thank you Senator Welch. I would like to know who in the Senate supports you.

  • Disappointed Tom

    This is a hideous malfeasance for these three SLOBS. I pray they are incarcerated with common criminals – they will feel right at home but then I will sorry for those common criminals.

  • http://twitter.com/thepiffler thepiffler

    Wishing won’t make that or much else happen you have to tell you Corporate PerHOOD owned networks you will no longer watch their propaganda and go PBS and Aljazerra.

  • Jeff

    I have to laugh when congress compllins that the president has too much power. These senators should be fired but it would take an act of god to do so.

  • J dog

    Speaking as a long-time Amgen shareholder I find this a little troubling. However, Amgen has been increasing buybacks and increasing dividends so this is really a good think for Amgen shareholders. The new CEO is all about rewarding shareholders and I applaud him for this. Go AMGEN !

  • ccaffrey

    SICK of hearing “We’re a Nation of Laws” to the swell of patriotic music. Well, so is North Korea! Right now we’re a nation of “letter of the law” manipulation by people in power to serve people in power. If we do not stop the flow of money into campaigns and the revolving door of influence between Congress and for-profit corporations feeding off the government trough. These are the same legislators who want to cut SERVICES to the most vulnerable, while they are pouring money back into the coffers of corporate criminals who receive billions of dollars from these same programs!! We hear about “good business principles”. What company would continue to do business with someone who has defrauded it, much less allow them to set their own non-negotiable prices?! We require judges to recuse themselves from proceedings where they have a personal or financial interest. Why, for God’s sake wouldn’t we require the same from those MAKING the laws! At least that’s an interim step until we can come to our senses and allow pulbicly-financed elections PERIOD. What it will save us in the long run is incalculable!
    We’ve got this revolving door with corporations and Wall Street in Congress, we’ve got ALEC passing off corporate bills in the states, we’ve got laws allowing money to flow in to elections with no way to identify the donors, we’ve got private prisons and states allowing corporations to use prison labor for private industry (the new workforce) for slave wages (the new wages) and people wonder why our prisons are full to the gills (at taxpayer expense) for relatively minor offenses?
    This situation with Amgen is far from an isolated incident. Mr. Moyers, you need to have some of the people on your show from the whistleblower site,Taxpayers Against Fraud .(and POGO) Go to the website http://www.taf.org and you will find judgment after judgment for hundreds of millions of dollars against major pharmaceutical companies and health care providers for defrauding the Medicare and Medicaid program. They get fines. Cost of doing business. Until we start sending some people to prison, and I mean the BIG fish, not just the little “mom and pop” operations, NOTHING will change.
    Maybe scarier still is the power being given to corporations “investor-states” on a par with sovereign nations throught the Trans Pacific Partnerships. It is STAGGERING!!
    For now, these three Senators need to be brought up for the strongest measures allowable. If colleagues are afraid to do it because these powerful members “know where all the bodies are buried” TOUGH. Let it rip! Let’s clean house!.
    Corporations are NOT people. Thomas Jefferson warned against big business. When he spoke of commerce he was envisioning an agrarian nation with commerce conducted small scale. He didn’t hate government. He wanted it proportional. I think he would approve of whatever we can put in place to protect the people from ownership by transnational corporations.
    There is an addiction to wealth and power that will bring us the rest of the way down. Every major faith has warnings against it. It really is an addiction that goes far beyond needs and speaks to insatiable wants. Since the addicts can’t see they have a problem, it’s up to us to do a public intervention! And NOW!

  • McMike

    Am I the only one disturbed by the fact that he admits to voting for a major bill that he did not read or understand? He only learned about the contents of the bill he voted for in the media! He almost whines about being fooled in the bill he voted for without reading. It is a stunning admission of the irrelevance of electing Congressmen, who simply do as they are told by the leadership.

  • Anonymous

    Business as usual in the Fascist States of Amerika

  • Mrs. Martin

    Thank you, Senator Welch. This is a bedeviling practice that goes on all too often, even in the Sandy relief bills. It is totally unacceptable. I have asked Speaker Boehner to do something about it. Now I see that Republicans are just as much guilty as Democrats. I am an independent, but you are obviously the kind of Democrat that I could vote for, and even if your crusade is unpopular in Congress, the people will thank you. In a time when Congress wants to raise taxes, and spends far too much, it is time to go after fraud, waste, and payoffs to special interests (call it abuse). The Treasury is not everyone’s candy store. When you get done with this project, you could well move on to the problem of members of Congress raiding the funds of social programs, like social security, that are supported by payroll taxes. Mitt Romney called the spending of social security funds by others just “plain wrong”. Those so-called “Borrowers” will not be the re-payers. The Treasury will have to re-imburse social security out of taxpayer money, so we can all pay this over again. I can think af a good four-letter word for this that is a crime. We need a watchdog with some integrity. I am pleased to be able to describe you with this seldom deserved adjective–a man of integrity.

  • Tom

    As always, thanks for bringing an important issue to light which otherwise would go unnoticed. The same should be said for the New York Times reporters who broke the story. This country will suffer from the loss of papers and their investigative journalism.

  • larry

    Dear Bill, I almost always agree with you and admire your show, but you failed as a journalist when you did not ask Congressman Welch why he voted for a bill without having read it. I admire the Congressman’s efforts to rescind this piece of pork, but really—can’t we expect a Rep to know what’s in a bill before he or she votes for or against it? This is basic and is the first reform needed in this regard.

  • Anonymous

    Well, it’s up to everyone to contact their senators and congresspeople!

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.rittenour.543 David Rittenour

    I absolutely agree and have said to people I know time and again that this is just another reason why campaign finance reform needs to happen. 4-year cycles instead of 2 for the House, Senators should be appointed again, lobbying in any form should be illegal with mandatory jail sentences (no bail or probation) and elections should be funded largely (maybe not entirely) by public money with strict spending limits and a much shorter time frame for the process, much like we have here in Canada & the U.S as well. It won’t stop all corruption, but believe me it helps a lot.

    The 4-year cycle part is critical, because as is with the 2-year cycles, every member of congress is already working on their re-election campaign the moment they’re in office!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.bishton.35 Mark Bishton

    How does Harry Reid not see this before it gets voted on?

  • http://www.facebook.com/karl.wilson.9210256 Karl Wilson

    Stop being cowards! I’m not talking about the congresspeople; I’m talking about the American people. What a bunch of cowardly ignorant people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/karl.wilson.9210256 Karl Wilson

    Are you joking? They don’t give a crap about you. If you want change; kill the dirtbags.

  • http://www.facebook.com/karl.wilson.9210256 Karl Wilson

    The people in government don’t give a crap about you. Get sick and die for they don’t care. You must act. You must get angry and fight the scum.

  • http://www.facebook.com/karl.wilson.9210256 Karl Wilson

    They probably all took payoffs to shut up. It’s the way things are done in most of the world. Pay the protestors to leave and shut up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/karl.wilson.9210256 Karl Wilson

    Don’t get too rich from corruption or you will beheaded soon. There’s a growing movement to kill those with wealth and power in the US. Our forefathers wouldn’t have accepted this. Kill a CEO for mommy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/karl.wilson.9210256 Karl Wilson

    They should just be gunned down in public. Save the time. If you see a CEO getting a coffee at Starbucks, shoot him on his way out. If you see one in a car passing you, swerve to run him off the road. The same goes for politicians. If action isn’t taken to stop the corruption and its gets worse, we’ll just have to get rid of the elites AND their families like in the old days.

  • http://www.facebook.com/karl.wilson.9210256 Karl Wilson

    Shame and hoping for the supposedly good congresspeople to take action against these evil folks isn’t going to change a damn thing. Join the revolution. Soon we will be stringing the corrupt from the trees.

  • http://www.facebook.com/karl.wilson.9210256 Karl Wilson

    No one supports him. He’s probably a poser, or hypocrite, too. You are a slave in the corporate kingdom of America. It’s all about the money in America. Anyone who speaks out gets shut up. You and your children are going to have to live with the crimes of the ruling classes as most of the world does.

  • http://www.facebook.com/karl.wilson.9210256 Karl Wilson

    Are you going to pay the Mexican Mafia to eliminate them all? That would be nice.

  • http://www.facebook.com/karl.wilson.9210256 Karl Wilson

    All the corrupt need to be killed. They are killing the average American. They are bloodsuckers. Kill them all and their families.

  • Anonymous

    Karl, you seem unstable; talking about killing people is unhelpful and can get you into trouble. I understand your contempt for corrupt politicians. I also feel that way but I am not telling anyone to kill them. that is wrong/evil.

    also, I don’t find that all politicians are corrupt.

    Keep it sane and righteous, Karl.
    Regards,
    Gerri

    Subject: [moyersandcompany] Re: U.S. Rep. Peter Welch on Amgen’s Sweet Senate Deal

  • http://www.facebook.com/deleriously.happy Jeannine Seymour

    Am I the only one who finds it harder and harder to watch our greatest journalist uncovering the horrors of this political disgrace we call the US Congress? My poor heart cannot take another Amgen, or Filibuster Reform defeat, or betrayal by corrupt politicians who do not care if their misdeeds are discovered because nothing ever happens to them. They’re not prosecuted; they are rewarded with re-election. I do not believe human beings of intelligence and conscience can bear this any longer. We are a soul-sick nation, dying a slow, tortured, agonizing death. Sometimes at night, while trying to sleep with images of madmen shooting children and slimy backroom deals like this one swirling in my head, I pray to see it through God’s eyes, in that way this world appears sometimes as perfect, warts and all, leading inexorably to a happy ending. Tonight, I know, that glimpse of perfection will not come. Tonight, I feel hopeless and angry, fearful for my precious grandbaby not even 6 months old, and ready to march on DC again, to turn every officeholder out. Every one of them. This grinding misery has got to stop. Same for the states. It will not end until we, the people, pull the plug. I have no more patience for petty tyrants and thieves, or the wimps who abide them. Churchill once said, “After a while, the bombs just bounce the rubble.” We’re at that stage. I hope I’m not the only one who sees it that way.

  • Trevor Sutherland

    America..home of the brave, land of the free-baloney! Home of the captured, land of the enslaved..to the banks,corporates and politicos whose survival and existence they depend and rely on to stay just that way.

  • yahoo

    Another Vermonter steps up to the plate and does whats right. There a 49 other states. Let’s quit whining and move on. Spread the load. Don’t vote for anyone with an ‘R’ after their name. nuf said.

  • http://www.facebook.com/donald.p.macdonald Donald P Macdonald

    Congressman Welch (D) is supported by Vermont’s two members of the Senate, Patrick Leahy (D), and Bernie Sanders (P). Notice no (R) delegates. The (P) would be (NDP) in Canada. Maybe it’s time to think more like Canadians. Vermont has been doing it for years. THINK LIKE A CANADIAN. We will all be better off.

  • beairdboy

    Thank You!!!

  • MSH
  • CAM Miller

    This “sweetheart deal” hidden in the Senate’s “fiscal cliff”bill is exactly why the American taxpayer doesn’t trust or have faith in anything Congress does regarding the deficit … they give a lot of lip service to cutting programs beneficial to the people and why they’re no longer affordable … Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, Education, Food Stamps, you name it. If it applies to the needs of the people, its on the chopping block. And, yet, “Corporate welfare” continues to consume more and more taxpayer dollars … why is that? And, how do we change their modus operandi?

  • Anonymous

    This needs to go viral

  • Rick C.

    YES! Thank you Bill Moyers and Co. I am tempted to move back to Kentucky so I can vote against that self-righteous…Mcconnell. Hopefully, Moyers can stir this and networks will catch on. “Budget slashing Republicans” – my ass. Democrats just as bad. No member of Congress should be allowed to serve more than 2 consecutive terms. That would help some. Stiff sentenances for corrupt officials – Hard time or death. This kind of betrayal of the public trust is nothing short of treason. It destroys the foundations of out government.

  • Donna Farmer

    Unfortunately not anything less than what I’ve come to expect.

  • Dr Harry

    Impeach the three slime bags!
    Barach Obama, now is your chance to start cleaning house as you promised in 2008. Have them impeached, fined, and thrown out of Congress as an example.

  • Michael Wesolowski

    candidates should not need money to participate in the election system.

  • Michael Wesolowski

    candidates should not need money to participate in the election system.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Shoeless1 David Rickerson Sr.

    The main stream media is owned by the same people buying the politicians, don’t expect any real news from any of them. Back in 2001 D. Rumsfeld told the American people the Pentagon had lost 2.3 Trillion dollars. A campaign was to launch to find the monies. However the office which housed all these records was destroyed the very next day. AS always backup records were kept in another location…The solomon bros. building in NYC. It also housed thousands of wall street fraud investigations and the Enron scandel. This building too was destroyed on 9/11. It was the third skyscaper to collapse in NYC that day. A 47 story structure which fell in it’s own footprint at mostly free fall speed. Unless I miss my guess you never even heard of it. Building 7 or WTC 7. And the mainstream MEDIA wins another one along with the US government. WE need to impeach. WE cannot depend on anyone else any longer.

  • Polly Ticks

    Rick C. is right on the money. People in the public trust, who knowingly and purposefully break that trust, should receive greater punishment than a common criminal. This not only goes for elected officials but for members of other services like police and military. No one is forced into any position of trust so once someone accepts that honor, and the advantages that go with it, they had better do what is right for the public. A common criminal might take my wallet or my car, but a person in a position of trust can steal my pension, my livelihood, my health or my freedom, so consequences for breach of trust must be greater.

  • bobbiebarnhill

    McConnell, Hatch, and Baucus worked this deal. Hatch
    and Baucus could not do this on their own. McConnell is lying.

  • NotARedneck

    I doubt that any member of Congress has the time to read a fraction of what passes through.

  • NotARedneck

    He may have read the bill before the 11th hour amendment. This is the REAL issue. Too many clauses put in by the criminal right wing scumbags – both RepubliCON and “conservative” Democrats – designed to help their corporate supporters and the Military Industrial Complex.

  • Progress Kentucky

    ProgressKentucky.com is working 24/7 to elect a new senator in 2014 for exactly this reason. Do some research and you’ll see a similar pattern of legislation and largess for sale in how McConnell killed a bill to repeal oil subsidies. Astoundingly, he wouldn’t even allow Republican senators to vote for the Hurricane Sandy relief bill until a New York billionaire did a $5,000 a plate fundraiser for him.

  • corfu

    Congressman Welch,

    Please don’t let these SEnators get away without
    being questioned by their piers. we depend on you!

  • n2space2002

    I want McConnell OUT of office – and one way to do that is to pressure Congress to pass a bill BANNING / OUTLAWING lobbying….need I suggest that it be termed, the “McConnell Bill”, so that he and his cronies appreciate the scorn the public feels for those elected, who have shown their scorn toward us.

  • Rick C.

    It is hard to believe that congress doesn’t have the backbone to police itself. To me, this strongly imlies that MOST elected officials are involved in similar shady deals

  • Carol Wagner

    I am sure this isn’t the only back room deal. We absolutely cannot trust congress . This is one of the reasons we need line item veto. Don’t know what can be done. More of this “calling out” should be done.

  • http://www.facebook.com/carolyn.caffrey Carolyn Caffrey

    Here’s a kicker. I just saw a campaign ad for Max Baucus asking people to support him in his fight against Citizens’ United!! Can you get any more hypocritical than that? I hope the Dems in Montana are beating the bushes for a candidate to primary Baucus OUT of office. They should be able to do it on this last Amgen debacle alone!

  • Anonymous

    Good people in Montana but their wilderness environment tends to make them lean to the Conservative side. However, they are always ready to help their friends and neighbors which makes their choice of Baucus as their political representative a bit puzzling ! After all, who really believes the questionable content of campaign ads !

  • Jim Schultz

    Has Rep. Welch been able to revers this? What information can you give? The Reps Vt and DC offices did not know?