"What's happening here is a scam," said Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), a former Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.
"A pure and simple scam on the American people and especially on the seniors," Gregg thundered on the Senate floor.
But while the letter gave Republicans some sharper talking points on the final full day of debate, it just sort of felt like the issue fell with a thud in the snow outside the Capitol, whereas two weeks ago, it might have added fuel to the fire against the bill.
You can read the Elmendorf letter at http://bit.ly/8YbG0t .
Republicans say the bottom line is that Democrats cannot say this bill would lower the deficit, that it actually would raise the deficit, because Medicare money is set aside from the regular budget.
It's an argument that we will certainly hear more about in the coming weeks.