HHS Secretary Tom Price testified yesterday before the Senate Finance Committee on his department’s budget, and not surprisingly, there was a fair amount of discussion of the Republican plans on health care policy. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) asked the committee’s chairman, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), whether the panel would hold any hearings on the GOP’s proposal.
The Utah Republican, apparently unsure how to respond, had an aide whisper a talking point in his ear.
Hatch eventually told McCaskill that he doesn’t know if the committee would hold a hearing on the still-secret legislation, but Democrats had been invited to “give your ideas” about the issue.
McCaskill wasn’t having it.
“No, that’s not true, Mr. Chairman. Let me just say, I watched carefully all of the hearings that went on [when the Affordable Care Act was crafted]. I was not a member of this committee at the time, although I would have liked to be. [Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa] was the ranking member. Dozens of Republican amendments were offered and accepted in that hearing process.
“And when you say that you’re inviting us – and we heard you, Mr. Secretary, just say, ‘We’d love your support’ – for what? We don’t even know. We have no idea what’s being proposed. There’s a group of guys in a back room somewhere that are making these decisions. There were no hearings in the House.
The clip of McCaskill’s unscripted comments started making the rounds rather quickly, and for good reason. As The New Republic’s Brian Beutler noted, “Like Obamacare or not, decent people should be furious about this. Not a word of what Claire McCaskill says here is hyperbolic or inaccurate. The reason Senator Orrin Hatch is acting like he’s been caught here is because he has. What Republicans are attempting to do to the health care system is the legislative equivalent of a mugging.”
From the DAILY BEAST:
Thursday, former FBI director James Comey publicly testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The last senator to question him was John McCain (R-AZ), and his inquiries focused on the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server use as well as the ongoing investigation of Russia’s tampering with the U.S. presidential election.
Which, of course, is what you might have expected the senator to ask about. But McCain’s line of questioning was a bit scrambled.
“So [Clinton] was clearly involved in this whole situation where, fake news—as you just described it, big deal—took place,” McCain said. “You’re going to have to help me out there.”
“I’m a little confused, Senator?” Comey responded.
McCain then mistakenly addressed the director as “President Comey,” which Twitter’s data account called the hearing’s most-tweeted moment.
The senator released a statement following the hearing, casting blame on a late-night baseball game.