(Revised 11/1/09 to fix broken video link)
Rep. Roy Blunt paid a pre-Halloween visit yesterday to Fox News where he hoped to scare the faithful with his take on the House Health Care Bill. Blunt summoned up his personal roster of Halloween horrors: spending tax money on the regular citizens of the United States rather than clients of corporate lobbyists, and doing the job we hired him to do — which often involves mastering complicated legislation – rather than attending fundraising soirees with corporate lobbyists. You can see the interview here
After listening to this interview, don’t you wonder why Blunt thinks he can estimate future costs better than the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)? Maybe it was his experience as one of the movers and shakers who forced Medicare Part D through the House without a clear assessment of its costs and benefits.
And what’s with Blunt’s surprise that far-reaching reform is complex and lengthy, and that the legislative process results in amendments from the floor? I thought he’d been around for awhile? As Sean at Firedup! notes, lengthy documents didn’t scare him nearly so much in the the past.
Maybe Blunt is just trying to forestall questions about that elusive Republican alternative health care plan he was charged with developing yea these many months ago. Of course, he tries to make this failure into a feature. As Steven Benen observes:
When pressed on why … Republicans haven’t offered a proposal of their own, GOP leaders will routinely say there are a handful of Republican-backed bills.
This response must have become a reflex for poor Roy by this time — he now spits it out without even being asked. Of course, as Bennen adds:
It’s a fairly shallow cop-out — none of the various GOP plans have been embraced by the caucus and/or its leadership.
Perhaps the reason for all this Republican kvetching about the great, big, bad, hard-to-read health care bill can be found in another observation by Benen:
I suspect part of the problem is that Republicans have noticed that health care reform is … what’s the word …tricky. Can GOP lawmakers come up with a proposal that covers the insured, offers consumer protections insurers don’t like, doesn’t raise taxes, lowers the deficit, and ensures exactly zero government intervention in the free market? It seems unlikely.
It is telling, I think, that of all the goals enumerated by Benen, the only one that Republicans like Blunt rally to fight for is the last, which is arguably the most questionable.