Barrasso remarks on FOX News
Payoffs to get the Health Care Bill passed
by Senator Barrasso media release
December 21, 2009
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) today spoke with Patti Ann Browne on FOX News’ America’s Newsroom about the Reid healthcare bill. The transcript of the interview is below:
PATTI ANN BROWNE: The Senate is close now to passing its version of health care reform so the stage is set for a showdown with the House in conference committee. Bills from both chambers would have to be melded into one piece of legislation for the president to sign. But the House and the Senate have wildly different opinions on how to achieve reform. Right now joining us is Republican Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming. Senator Barrasso by the way is also an orthopedic surgeon. Thank you for being with us, Senator.
SEN. JOHN BARRASSO: Thank you, Patti Ann.
BROWNE: As we mentioned earlier—big differences between the Senate and House versions. What happens when this goes to conference?
SEN. BARRASSO: The president is so desperate to get anything passed and signed into law. I believe he and the White House are going to try to convince Nancy Pelosi to swallow this whole Senate bill, period--so there is never a conference and it never comes back to the Senate. I think that all principle, all discussion of the way medicine ought to work and how we can improve health care, that's all gone out the window. All they are worried about now is about payoffs and politics and I think it's a terrible mistake for the American people. That’s why the support of this bill now in America is at an all-time low.
BROWNE: I want to get to those payoffs and deals in a moment that you were mentioning. You believe this bill will never make it to conference you're saying?
SEN. BARRASSO: I believe the president is so desperate to sign anything into law, so he can say, mission accomplished. He is going to try to force the House to accept the entire Senate package so it never has to come back to the Senate for another vote.
BROWNE: Ok. We mentioned those deals cut at the last minute to bring in those senators on the fence. Senator Ben Nelson we were reporting earlier only came onboard after getting the so called ‘cornhusker kickback’ for Nebraska—it’s debt forgiveness that the rest of the taxpayers pay for. Senator Mary Landrieu got this ‘Louisiana purchase’. There’s $100 million medical center that was added at the last minute. There isn't even a name attached to that one. There are some mysterious things of $10 billion for medical research infrastructure for Virginia. What is your view of these last-minute deals?
SEN. BARRASSO: Again, we should have been discussing policy and principles--instead it went to payoffs and politics--and the payoffs are just wrong. Who is going to end up paying? The rest of the American people will. I think that's why they wanted to do this, Patti Ann, in the middle of the night. This vote was at 1:00 in the morning. Because they don't want the American people, the Democrats, don't want the American people to know what's in the bill and they don't want the American people to know how the vote went. This is just wrong. It is the wrong policy. The president made a number of promises. Now he's changed all of his promises. He promised that people wouldn't see their tax goes up, they will. The president promised that we would see health care premiums go down--they are going to go up. He said he would protect Medicare. They are going to cut $500 billion from Medicare. The president said if you like the coverage you have, you can keep it. That’s not true. So we are seeing across the board -- he also said this won't add a dime to the deficit. This is going to add trillions of dollars to the deficit. So all that's been promised, this has flipped it all upside-down and it's not the right way to go for health care in America.
BROWNE: Senator, do the Republicans have any recourse or have they been completely marginalized?
SEN. BARRASSO: There was not one Republican vote in favor of this bill. All 60 votes were Democrats. There are two physicians in the Senate--both of us on the Republican side. We have 50 years combined experience in practicing medicine and fighting insurance companies as well as fighting the government. And we know that there are things that we could do and should do to improve health care in this country--and make it more affordable and available and accessible. But this bill doesn't do it. I’m going to continue to speak out about why we need to change this bill. I hope that folks on the house side do not accept the president's desire to just accept the Senate bill and fight for changes that would actually help improve health care in the country. Right now I don't see that happening.
BROWNE: So you see a vote by the Christmas Eve deadline?
SEN. BARRASSO: There's going to be a vote in the Senate scheduled for 7:30 or 8:00 on the night of December 24, again, this is going to be done in secrecy and speed. Because Harry Reid doesn't want members of the senate to go home for the holidays and talk to the folks at home who overwhelmingly oppose this bill that they are trying to force through in the dead of night.
BROWNE: So after that last Senate vote, the vote we saw yesterday was to end debate, the vote on Christmas Eve would be to end debate, and then as we mentioned the theory would be the two would combine. But you’re saying that might not even happen. How Speaker Pelosi could skip that conference and just call for a vote, what happens from that point? Anything? Is there anything left?
SEN. BARRASSO: Well if she is able to convince the House to accept the Senate bill, then it just goes right to the president for his signature. That’s why I think there's not going to be a conference in spite of the fact that there are huge differences between the house and the senate bill. So if this does pass on Christmas Eve, then I would hope that the folks in the house would say, wait a second--this is still not -- it clearly doesn't handle the issue of abortion because right now according to the bill that's through the senate, taxpayer money will still be used to pay for abortion. The House has previously said we don't want that—and I personally don't believe any taxpayer money should be used to pay for abortion. Members of the House on the liberal side are saying this bill doesn't go far enough. I don't know if they are going to go and try to push their point. So we'll have to see. But I think there's not going to be a conference committee. I think Nancy Pelosi is going to try to put down her foot and force this bill through the House the way it came out of the Senate.
BROWNE: Alright Senator John Barrasso, thank you.