Sen. Max Baucus, the Montana Democrat who, along with Majority Leader Harry Reid, was the prime mover of Obamacare through to passage by the U.S. Senate, attended a citizens forum in Libby, Montana regarding health care reform and other issues, along with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius.
One attendee, Judy Matott, asked Baucus 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 he “essentially” wrote the Senate health care bill, but didn’t actually read it. “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.”
No, Senator, we do want you to read laws, especially 3,000 page laws, before your vote inflicts them on the public without you or the public knowing their details, quirks, intended and unintended consequences, loopholes, exceptions, costs and hidden costs, and enforcement provisions. “Statutory language” is not supposed to be a foreign language: if the person who “wrote” the legislation can’t understand it without translation by “experts,” then it is, by definition, an incompetently written, incompetent, responsible law.
I am not sure which is more horrifying: a Senator admitting that he didn’t bother to read his own legislation, or the fact that he sees nothing wrong with that. The first means that he is completely irresponsible and dishonest, since advocating complex legislation one hasn’t read is misleading and reckless. The second means that in today’s culture in Congress, such lack of diligence and responsibility is considered normal and acceptable.
Judy Mattot is 100% correct. It is indeed “the most despicable, irresponsible thing.”