Harry Reid defending ObamaCare with lies

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has been making headlines with his comments on the Senate floor. Calling citizens liars, acting on behalf of the Koch brothers was round one, followed by a denial that he’d ever said that.

While generally despicable, this sort of commentary from Reid is not uncommon. Some might explain it away by pointing out that he’s getting old, and has been in Washington for too long. This sort of situation definitely makes a case for term limits, however that’s a debate for another time.

No, perhaps it is time to revisit a time-honored portion of the Constitution that Senators and Representatives have enjoyed — arguably has kept quite a few, like Reid, from facing legal issues over statements they have made.

Article I, Section 6 of the Constitution protects them from facing legal action for statements that they make on the floor of either house. While it’s idealistic to think that the Framers intended this to prevent problems arising from unintentionally erroneous statements, that probably wasn’t the case. Even then, politics was a blood sport, so they wanted the freedom to beat each other verbally without any restrictions against lying about each other — or the public.

Reid, if one does not buy senility or insanity as an excuse, has been trying to elevate this practice of fibbing on the floor to an art form. His latest target was fellow member Tom Coburn, and Reid definitely is reaching for new depths with this one. Coburn is a medical doctor and is battling cancer.

Also, he has enrolled in ObamaCare, and initially lost access to his physicians because they did not accept the government insurance plan. They do now, but Coburn has been doing some digging to find out how many other cancer treatment centers were refusing to accept patients covered by ObamaCare.

Because of the low payments being given to facilities and doctors, there apparently are quite a few cancer centers that are choosing not to participate, which is limiting choices for ObamaCare participants. Coburn had been pointing out that this was a real problem, and that it wasn’t the fault of the cancer centers. The bottom line was that the payments offered under the program simply weren’t enough to cover costs. Reid took exception with that.

Reid suggested that Coburn was taking too narrow a view of the law. “Dr. Coburn is very good at getting into the weeds and trying to find something that he thinks makes sense, but I think we need to look at the overall context of this bill,” he replied when asked about Coburn’s comments during a Senate press briefing. “It really brings a lot of people in from the cold so that they have the ability to get health insurance, which they’ve never had the opportunity [to do] before.”

Note that this was during a press briefing, so theoretically Reid’s statements should not be covered by the Constitutional exemption. However, it doesn’t change the fact that Reid is definitely implying that Coburn is either lying, or overstating the situation for his own benefit. Presumably, Reid also believes that he would never do the same, and certainly wouldn’t outright call anyone a liar.

Perhaps it is time to consider whether or not our leaders deserve exemptions from legal problems simply because of the offices they hold. When the Constitution was written, it was a different age. This is a theme that is often brought up by Democrats when they are fighting for what they want, so it’s only fitting to mention it now.

There’s no denying that there was a great deal of hatred spewed over the years by politicians, from the very beginning. However, now it has become so toxic that it is becoming a hindrance to meaningful debate on issues. Some might suggest that there aren’t meaningful debates anymore because of all the back-biting and lies being tossed around the floor. And why shouldn’t we hold our leaders to a much higher standard?

Maybe we need to make a change — call it “The Reid Amendment”, and remove the exemption from legal action against Senators and Representatives for lying on the floor. If nothing else, it might force them to actually do some work, instead of wasting their time and ours formulating how best to smear their opposition.


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