Grassley: ‘It’s Time for the Grassroots to Rise Up’

by Robert Costa
The Corner/National Review
October 14, 2009

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee approved the Democratic health-care-reform package spearheaded by Sen. Max Baucus (D., Mont.), by a vote of 14 to 9. The lone Republican vote in support of the Baucus plan was cast by Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine. Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R., Iowa), the ranking member of the committee, tells NRO that Snowe’s vote “gives Democrats bipartisan prestige they don’t deserve.”

“I hate to be negative about Senator Snowe’s vote, since she’s so meticulous and so thorough,” says Grassley. “Still, the Democrats are going to brag about her vote as a symbol of bipartisanship, even when it’s not. Look, the president took me aside in early August and asked me if I’d be comfortable being one of three Republicans voting with Democrats on a bipartisan bill. I told the president that three Republicans, or one Republican, voting with the Democrats is not bipartisan at all.”

Grassley says that Snowe’s vote also adds new complications to the GOP’s Obamacare opposition strategy in the Senate. “Senator Snowe’s vote could give cover to the ten Democrats on the fence. I know that many Democrats have expressed concerns about this bill and other plans,” says Grassley. “I’ll still talk to them, and urge them to speak up, but the reality is that we may now be up against a movement of 60 Democrats committed to giving the president anything. If 60 Democrats stick together, it will not be a good thing for the American people. Republicans will try to fight it where we can, but if we can’t, we’ll just have to do all that we can to slow this bill down.”

“The Baucus bill has moved leftward since the White House pulled the rug out from bipartisan negotiations,” says Grassley. “If you take this bill, and add it to what Speaker Pelosi is concocting in the House, and what the Senate Health Committee is doing, it’s clear that we’re on a slippery slope toward a major expansion of the federal government. You think this is bad, well, you haven’t seen anything yet. There are so many untold stories about the Democrats’ plans, especially for the millions of Americans who think their premiums won’t go up. With these new mandates, premiums will go up.”

“The American people have to be aware that the Democrats are doing something here that has never been done before. For over 225 years, the federal government has never told Americans that they have to buy health insurance,” says Grassley. “Now the Democrats will add new taxes related to the mandates. The IRS will collect them. And, when this is all said and done, we’ll still have 25 million Americans without health insurance.”

“It’s time for the grassroots to rise up, just like they did with the stimulus bill,” says Grassley. “Americans need to ramp up their efforts and show their concern about this health-care bill by calling their congressman in record numbers. Tell them that the Democrats’ plan will lead us to more of the big debt that we can’t afford. This bill is one fish, like the stimulus, that, if it lies around too long, will start to stink.”

In the end, says Grassley, “This health-care debate is directly tied to the concerns Americans had about the stimulus, and about nationalizing General Motors. Americans don’t want health care nationalized, either.”

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