The Avoidance of Stupidity (McConnell Mix)

#SomethingTerrific | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY; left), walks with President-elect Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol for a meeting, 10 November 2016, in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

This ought to be a striking note from Axios:

Senate Republicans are working to finish their draft health care bill, but have no plans to publicly release it, according to two senior Senate GOP aides.

“We aren’t stupid,” said one of the aides.

Then again, this is the twenty-first century, and these are Congressional Republicans.

Haley Byrd (@byrdinator): "A reporter asks Sen. Lindsey Graham if he knows any details on the Senate GOP health care bill. 'None.' Would you like to know more? 'No.'" [via Twitter, 12 June 2017]This is unfortunately not a stupid question: I wonder which of these Republican senators who do not know, or even want to know, what is in the bill, and are skipping out on town halls, will try saying constituents were not saying anything in particular about the content of this particular bill, so they thought it okay with voters to support the bill.

It ought to be a stupid question; this is the sort of thing it is better to be wrong about.

And the word from Steve Benen makes the point that, “By one account, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he’s not only unaware of his own party’s health care blueprint, but he doesn’t even want to know what’s in it”, and apparently he is not joking, at least according to Independent Journal Review reporter Haley Bird:

A reporter asks Sen. Lindsey Graham if he knows any details on the Senate GOP health care bill. “None.” Would you like to know more? “No.”

Benen, for his part, summarizes:

The plan, therefore, is for conservative senators to finalize a plan, quietly share it with the Congressional Budget Office, and then rush it onto the floor for a vote. There would no hearings, no amendments, no expert testimony, no input from industry stakeholders, no bipartisan negotiations, and no transparency.

The word “un-American” is probably used a bit too often, usually to impugn others’ patriotism, but in the case of Republicans overhauling the nation’s health care system, the process is un-American in a rather literal sense. In the United States, we have a legislative system elected officials are supposed to use to pursue their goals and policy priorities. In 2017, however, Congress’ GOP majority has decided to abandon the American policymaking model, without defense or explanation, while pushing life-or-death legislation affecting one-sixth of the world’s largest economy.

There is nothing like this in the American tradition. Republican leaders are being so secretive about their health care overhaul that even other GOP senators have no idea what they’ll soon be asked to pass. Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said yesterday’s he’s “curious” what’s in his party’s proposal, before adding, “It’s not a good process.”

You don’t say.

At every turn, the refrain persists: These are Congressional Republicans. This is who they are, and this is how they do it. Once upon a time, conservatives pretended such manners were inappropriate. But, you know, these are Congressional Republicans, so … yeah, we can be certain that means something. Or … y’know … (cough!) at least it is supposed to, or used to, or something like that … or … y’know … whatever.

____________________

Image note: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY; left), walks with President-elect Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol for a meeting, 10 November 2016, in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Benen, Steve. “The scandalous secrecy surrounding the Republican health care gambit”. msnbc. 13 June 2017.

Byrd, Haley. “A reporter asks Sen. Lindsey Graham if he knows any details on the Senate GOP health care bill. ‘None.’ Would you like to know more? ‘No.'”. Twitter. 12 June 2017.

Owens, Caitlin. “Senate GOP won’t release draft health care bill”. Axios. 12 June 2017.

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