Desperate to rush its latest Obamacare repeal through Congress, Republicans don't want anyone to know what's in the bill — and they also want to complain that critics don't know what's in the bill.
Republicans can’t have it both ways.
As they try yet again to rush through a repeal of Obamacare, they are simultaneously refusing to allow public debate on the bill, while also complaining that critics of the bill don’t understand what’s in it.
The hypocrisy ought to be obvious.
Yet that’s exactly the kind of mendacity that Louisiana Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy, one of the cosponsors of the bill, engaged in once again on Fox & Friends Thursday morning.
Trying to respond to late-night host Jimmy Kimmel’s constant pummeling of Cassidy and the repeal he’s sponsoring in the Senate with South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, Cassidy insisted Kimmel just doesn’t understand what’s in the bill — because he hasn’t personally spoken with Cassidy.
KILMEADE: Most of the opposition is really not coming from Democrats, yet, even though they're not happy with it. It's coming from Jimmy Kimmel out in Los Angeles. He called you out again last night, watch.
KILMEADE: Your thoughts?
CASSIDY: Yeah, so, Jimmy doesn’t understand, not because he’s a talk show host -- because we’ve never spoken. He’s only heard from those on the left who are doing their best to preserve Obamacare. He’s not heard from me. We’ve not spoken, and I would love to talk to him about this.
Americans aren’t supposed to have to schedule a personal consultation with a member of Congress in order to understand pending legislation. They’re supposed to get that information via public hearings and subsequent press coverage they generate. Hearings are where legislative details are debated and that's where compromises are forged.
Quite simply, there’s supposed to be rigorous public debate, sponsored by Congress, especially when momentous issues are being targeted.
Republicans fear that debate and they’re not allowing it to happen. Yet they simultaneously blame critics for not allegedly not understanding the details of their bill?
The current approach would be considered quite shocking if Republicans hadn’t done the exact same thing in July, as they wrote their health care repeal bill in secret, released it just before the vote, refused to hold hearings, and refused to consider amendements.
In other words, the GOP ripped up regular order of Congress in order to try to ram through a historic bill in unprecedented fashion. And now they’re doing it again.
At one point this week the GOP briefly considered holding a single, sham hearing before a committee that has absolutely no jurisdiction over health care. But even that plan was scrapped, as outside opposition to the bill continued to snowball. Republicans simply cannot risk a public debate on the topic prior to the voting.
Cassidy himself has already dismissed the complete lack of transparency, and specifically the lack of a Congressional Budget Office scoring of the bill, which every spending bill voted on by the United States Congress is supposed to receive.
"I just don’t care about the coverage numbers, because their methodology has proven to be wrong," Cassidy told Politico.
For the record, Kimmel seems to have a very firm grasp on what Republicans are trying to do. And so do insurance and medical groups that now forcefully oppose the GOP bill.