Key point:"Will Eric Cantor urge every Republican who is going to be for repeal to not take government health care themselves and to drop their existing health care?" [Schumer] asked.
January 04, 2011
New York Senator Chuck Schumer is pushing Republican members of Congress who oppose last year’s health care legislation to decline health coverage for themselves and their families.
Democrats have been trying to cast Republican members’ acceptance of federal health benefits as hypocritical, as they seek to repeal last year’s health care legislation, and got a boost this morning from Rep.-elect Joe Walsh, an Illinois Freshman who told CNN this morning that he’s keeping a promise not to accept health care benefits, despite his wife’s pre-existing condition.
"It was a central value to us when we passed health care, and a central value to the American people, that members of Congress should get the same health care as eveyrone else," Schumer told POLITICO this morning. "It seems unfair that house Republicans want to deprive middle-class Americans of the same health care as members of Congress but to keep it for themselves."
"Will Eric Cantor urge every Republican who is going to be for repeal to not take government health care themselves and to drop their existing health care?" he asked.
Schumer called Walsh "a very good example."
"i don’t agree with his views on health care, but at least he is being fair and consistent ," he said, adding that Walsh is evidently "not schooled in the ways of Washington.
A spokesman for Speaker John Boehner, Michael Steel, dismissed Schumer’s call.
"This is ‘junk food’ political rhetoric: superficially appealing, but utterly empty. Members of Congress, including Sen. Schumer, get the same type of employer-sponsored health care coverage from private-sector companies as tens of millions of Americans. That has nothing to do with the Democrats’ health care law, which is already destroying jobs, and will ultimately bankrupt our country," he said.
Walsh declined, in the CNN interview, to suggest his colleagues are hypocrites. His own decision appears to be independent of his opposition to the new federal law.
"This is my decision," he said. "I believe there are a couple of other freshman that feel the same way. i feel I was sent to Washington to be something different."