The people have many questions about the contents of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) but, firstly and perhaps most importantly, they want to know: How many representatives read it before they cast their votes for it on Thursday?
Several members of Congress ducked questions about whether they’d read the 126-page bill. One said he was busy swinging a bat at a ball, and some just came out and said they didn’t get through the piece of legislation that if it gets through the Senate and onto President Donald Trump’s desk will likely kick millions off their health insurance.
We’ve gone through some of Congress’s most outrageous ducks, dives, dodges and embarrassing admissions about the bill.
Here’s how some of them faced the media in the aftermath of the vote, when an MSNBC reporter asked if they’d read the healthcare bill. To their credit, a couple said yes. The others either didn’t answer or said, “We’re still working on it.”
HOLY SHIT: Republican members of Congress run away from MSNBC reporter as he asks them IF THEY’VE READ THE BILL THEY’RE ABOUT TO VOTE ON!! pic.twitter.com/riNGLJeShI
igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) May 4, 2017
The variety of excuses in the hours following were astonishing. A few of the best:
Baseball > reading the bill
OK. What to add, really.
I mean, I tried
South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford went on CNN Thursday morning, where he said he “attempted to read the entire bill,” and, though he didn’t quite get there, he “turned through every page.”
I can’t prove this, but these words bring me back to something I said in a high school English class as I was preparing to write a book report.
My staff read it though
Sanford concluded that, while he didn’t read the bill he voted on, his staff did, and several of his Republican colleagues used the same defense on CNN.
Rep. Tom Garrett said, “Let’s put it this way: People in my office have read all the parts of the bill.” He added that he doesn’t think “any individual” has read the whole thing.
Rep. Chris Collins, too, did not read the thing. But while that may be the case, he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, “I can also assure you my staff did.”
However, back in 2010…
Not reading healthcare bills prior to passing them is starting to become something of a tradition.
In 2010, before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, House Republicans were enraged that they felt Democrats had drafted a bill that was impossible to read in the time given before the vote.
Then-House Minority Leader John Boehner, speaking before his colleagues, shouted “Have you read the bill?” Soon, he again shouted, “Hell no you haven’t!”
One of the Democratic authors of the legislation suggested that there wasn’t any point to his reading the bill before it became law.
Seven years later, politicians are back at it.