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During the debate over what later became the health care bill that was recently signed into law by President Obama, a number of federal representatives and senators both admitted that they had not read it.
Some, including Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) even boasted of this fact. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) famously stated that “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”
Presumably the actual people who wrote the bill might have at least some idea what was in it. Unfortunately that isn’t the case with Max Baucus (D-Mont.), lead sponsor of the Senate bill that became law. He admitted as much Monday during a constituents meeting in the small Montana town of Libby, as reported by the Flathead Beacon, a local newspaper.
According to Baucus, the idea of him reading a bill allocating nearly $1 trillion of federal funds is “a waste of time:”
The visit by Sebelius, following a town hall-style meeting earlier that day in Missoula, was part of an effort by Baucus to show the health secretary some of the needs of rural states, and to defend and explain the controversial health care reform effort Democrats recently passed.
“We’ve got a long way to go, but we’ve made great progress here,” Baucus told the crowd of about 40 gathered at Libby City Hall. [...]
Judy Matott asked Baucus if he would work to improve Libby’s image, and then asked him and Sebelius, “if either of you read the health care bill before it was passed and if not, that is the most despicable, irresponsible thing.”
Baucus replied that if Libby residents assembled an economic development plan, he would do what he could to help, and he took credit for “essentially” writing the health care bill that passed the Senate.
“I don’t think you want me to waste my time to read every page of the health care bill. You know why? It’s statutory language,” Baucus said. “We hire experts.”
In response to Matott’s question and another from a woman asking if the health care law was Constitutional, Baucus gave a broad defense of the changes, comparing them to programs like Social Security and Medicare that were unpopular when passed but have proven beneficial to Americans over the long term.
Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, left, is greeted by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Regional Administrator Jeff Hinson, right, after a town hall meeting with Sen. Max Baucus in Libby.
“It’s not perfect, nothing’s perfect, but I’m telling you, ma’am, it’s a good start,” Baucus said. “Mark my words, several years from now you’re going to look back and say, ‘eh, maybe it isn’t so bad.'”
“Don’t think so,” Matott replied.
Sausage making is starting to look good by comparison.
The Oakland County Democrat Party has requested and accepted the resignation of operations director Jason Bauer over accusations he notarized campaign filings for a fake Tea Party candidate.
“We are saddened by this situation, but cannot condone his alleged actions,” the OCDP said Sunday in a released statement. “For the sake of the organization, we must part ways effective immediately.”
In a primary day upset, political newcomer Rick Scott narrowly defeated state Attorney General Bill McCollum for the Republican nomination in the Florida gubernatorial race.
Recent polls had suggested McCollum was pulling ahead in the contest. The attorney general was making a name for himself on the national stage and had the backing of heavyweights like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
The final votes in Alaska are still being counted but it seems all but certain that Joe Miller, a political novice promoted by Sarah Palin and the Tea Party movement, is ousting senator Lisa Murkowski in the GOP primary, the biggest upset of the 2010 election year.
Barring an unlikely turnaround in uncounted absentee ballots, Murkowski will lose despite having one of the best-known names in Alaskan politics.
Arizona Senator John McCain avoided a primary defeat after three decades in Congress, fighting off a Republican challenger, the Associated Press has reported.
McCain defeated former congressman J.D. Hayworth, withstanding an anti-incumbency trend that threatened his candidacy earlier this year and putting him in a position to win a fifth Senate term.
A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction Monday to stop federal funding of embryonic stem cell research that he said destroys embryos, ruling it went against the will of Congress.
The ruling by U.S. district court Judge Royce C. Lambert said all embryonic stem cell research involves destroying embryos, which violates the Dickey-Wicker Amendment included in federal spending bills.
A West Australian high school teacher has sparked controversy after setting her students an assignment to plan a terrorist attack to kill as many innocent people as possible.
The society and environment teacher at the Kalgoorlie-Boulder High School asked Year 10 students to pretend they were terrorists planning a chemical or biological attack on “an unsuspecting Australian community”.
Last Tuesday, Rep. Russ Carnahan’s office was reportedly vandalized and “firebombed” at 2 AM in the morning. Hours later police arrested a suspect for the crime and held him for several hours.
Police then released the suspect and the Carnahan camp went silent. Carnahan employees were seen dumping documents into a dumpster but refused to talk to reporters. There was a complete information blackout.