Republican members of Congress, perhaps best known for the daily lies they tell themselves and others, often about matters of life and death, have been painfully honest at least about one thing: they don’t read.
According to CNN, three GOP congressmen have readily volunteered the information that, no, they didn’t read all of the monstrous health care deprivation bill that they just helped to pass, that’s what staffers are for! The bill, which the House approved by a narrow margin on Thursday, could end health insurance coverage for some 24 million Americans, cause premiums and deductibles for the oldest and sickest people in the country to skyrocket, and block women from accessing reproductive health services in several different ways.
When asked by CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Friday whether he’d read the entire bill, South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford (who voted for the version of the American Health Care Act that passed Friday, but against the one that tanked six weeks ago) replied that he’d definitely turned all the pages of the bill like a big boy, but didn’t read all the words on them. Here’s that exchange.
Camerota: Did you read the entire bill?
Sanford: Yeah. I wouldn’t say every—yes, I turned through every page—as to whether or not I got through some of the details in some of the pages, no. But, yes, I attempted to read the entire bill.
Camerota: But you glossed over some of it?
Sanford: You would too if you read through it. Yes. But again it was relatively modest as these bills go, we’re talking a couple hundred pages as opposed to a couple thousand.
Camerota: But, I mean, why not dive into it? Why can’t you say that you read it thoroughly?
Sanford: I read it as thoroughly as I could. I think the Amendments, which were really the bigger question for me….were actually only a couple of pages long, and I absolutely in detailed form read through those…I read through the bill, I had the staff read the bill.
Virginia Rep. Tom Garrett also told MSNBC on Thursday that he had not read the entire bill, but had relied on his staff to read most of it for him. “Let’s put it the way, “ said Garrett, “People in my office have read all the parts of the bill. I don’t think any individual has read the whole bill. That’s why we have staff.” Garrett gently explained that he didn’t know a single member of Congress who had read the bill in its entirety, just a few hours before the bill was passed. Guessing there was no cram sesh either, as Republican leaders selected theme music from Rocky to play during a “pep rally” meeting that took place ahead of the vote.
Finally, between an interview with Wolf Blitzer on Thursday and another with the Buffalo News, New York Rep. Chris Collins indicated not only that he did not read the entire AHCA, but he also had no idea that the bill, if ratified, would cost his state $3 billion in federal funds now used to insure 19,000 of his constituents.
“I could probably tell you I read every word, and I wouldn’t be telling you the truth,” said Collins. “We rely on our staff, and we rely on our committees, and I’m comfortable that I understand this bill in its entirety, Wolf, without poring through every word.”
When a Buffalo News reporter asked Collins to comment on the draining of federal funds from his state, should the bill he voted for be made law, Collins replied, “Explain that to me.”
Would the vote have turned out differently if all the lawmakers who ultimately supported the measure had bothered to read it? Would it make any material difference to the millions of Americans in danger of losing their health insurance if their elected officials had bothered to lie about having read the bill? The answer to both these questions, I think, is: no, fuck these ruthless ghouls.