House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) sent out a statement yesterday that was brazen, even under the standards of today’s House leadership.
After the Republicans have introduced at least 35 health care bills — any one of them better than the Democrats’ three competing House plans — Hoyer still says that the Republicans don’t have an alternative. His office released the following statement Monday:
“In June, House Republicans pledged to introduce a bill to reform America’s health care system. Now, over 100 days and numerous excuses later, the “Party of no” has not only failed to produce legislation, but they have yet to offer any real solutions or ideas on how to make health care more affordable and accessible to American families.”
What is Hoyer’s definition of legislation? The Republican Study Committee (under whose banner more than one hundred conservatives gather) has introduced 35 health care related bills since January. These range from comprehensive bills (H.R. 3400, Empower Patients First Act) to bills that improve or clean up specific aspects of health care, like defensive medicine (H.R. 1086, Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2009). The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed submission back in May called "The GOP’s Health Care Alternative" and which talked about the Patients’ Choice Act, a health care alternative Republicans introduced in the House and Senate.
Maybe Hoyer feels he can feign ignorance of all these bills because the president has repeatedly ignored calls by House Republicans to meet with them on the health care measures. President Obama — in his big health care address earlier this month — insisted that he has an open door policy and would meet with anyone who has a good idea. Obama said, “I will continue to seek common ground in the weeks ahead. If you come to me with a serious set of proposals, I will be there to listen. My door is always open.” He probably meant to say, “No Republicans welcome.”
Since January, the RSC has asked to meet with President Obama to swap health care ideas. The RSC has submitted four formal requests and at least a dozen staff inquiries, but as of yet there has been no commitment from the administration to grant the RSC a meeting with the president. Apparently, running off to Copenhagen to help Chicago get the 2016 Olympics is more important to Obama than what he calls a moral and fiscal ‘imperative.’
Politico’s Glenn Thrush is helping spread the misinformation by titling a blog post last Friday, "Where’s the GOP’s Health Care Alternative?," which Hoyer linked to in his bulletin on the GOP. Thrush gives the Dems’ complaint top billing and then degenerates into relaying the quibbling between Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Rep. Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) communications director Brad Dayspring. Thrush barely paid lip-service to the GOP alternatives when he mentioned Cantor pointed “to a handful of Republican counter-proposals that have been released in recent weeks.”
Though the suggestion alone probably pains them, Hoyer’s staff might want to glance at HUMAN EVENTS occasionally so they don’t continue to send out inaccurate statements. HUMAN EVENTS had a ‘Conservative Alternatives Day’ September 8 that listed some of the best alternatives — health care and otherwise — that the GOP produced this year. This included at least three op-eds on health care written by the congressmen who sponsored the legislation.
(Note to Mr. Hoyer: Sir, if you call and ask, we’ll give you a complimentary subscription.)