Republicans keep trying to spin the rushed passage of their unvetted bill to repeal Obamacare as something other than what it is: a disaster that will endanger the well-being of millions of Americans, if it passes. But Speaker Paul Ryan's press secretary came up with a whole new dizzying spin.
House Republicans voted to repeal Obamacare this week and replace it with a hastily cobbled together mess of a bill that nobody supports. And they did it without even reading the bill or waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to calculate exactly how much this monstrosity will cost the country, which many of them admitted even while voting for it.
Unless you listen to Speaker Paul Ryan’s press secretary, Ashlee Strong, who offered an entirely different version of reality on Twitter:
Strong’s claims are not exactly true, as even Republicans have pointed out this week. On Thursday, when the House voted, on a strictly partisan basis, to pass its repeal bill, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was immediately critical:
A bill — finalized yesterday, has not been scored, amendments not allowed, and 3 hours final debate — should be viewed with caution.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) May 4, 2017
Meanwhile, several Republican members of the House, who voted for the bill, admitted they had not read it. On the day of the vote, Virginia Rep. Thomas Garrett said he had not read the bill and then dismissed his constituents who had protested the bill, saying they would die without the coverage offered under Obamacare, because they probably didn’t vote for him anyway.
Illinois Rep. John Shimkus told a reporter that he had not read it because he “just got back from baseball practice.”
As House Republicans were knocking back beers and celebrating with Donald Trump in the White House Rose Garden, Senate Republicans were already declaring that bill dead on arrival. Several Republican senators said they would not vote for the House bill, as it did not provide adequate coverage for pre-existing conditions and had not been thoroughly vetted or scored.
The House GOP’s own site about the bill, and its FAQ section, was, as the Washington Post put it, “woefully out of date,” until the site got a total overhaul this week — eliminating almost all of the questions and answers previously posted.
So no. Contrary to Ryan’s press secretary, this particular bill was not available online for more than a month and was not scored before the vote took place.
In an apparent attempt to deflect the immediate criticism on Twitter, Strong tweeted that the CBO had scored the repeal bill twice, in March. But again, that bill — the one that was so unpopular, Strong’s boss had to cancel the vote altogether because he could not find enough support among his own caucus — was not the bill Republicans voted on this week.
After hours of ridicule on Twitter for telling such blatant and easily debunked lies, Strong invoked a standard Republican deflection and blamed it all on the supposedly intolerant left.
No matter how House Republicans, or their staff, try to spin this bill — the harm it will do and the shameful way it was passed, without even letting their own caucus read it ahead of time — the truth is out there.
And the truth is that repealing Obamacare is unpopular, unwise, unaffordable, and just plain cruel. Millions will suffer as a result. And those millions will make Republicans who voted for this bill pay for their cruelty come Election Day.