March 3, 2010

Alan Grayson and Michele Bachmann faced off on Larry King Live and no fireworks, but Alan Grayson did do a nice job of beating back Michele Bachmann's lies during the segment.

Laffy did a live blog which summed it up pretty well. Lie, wash, rinse, repeat, distract and we're going to see this bill pass. I think Bachmann kept herself in check more than she would have had Grayson not been there. She didn't come back at him other than on the accusation of trading judgeships for votes, which frankly I've not heard anything about until watching this interview. I would imagine we'll be hearing more on that before long if there's any truth to it. Coming from the likes of Bachmann I'll take it with a grain of salt for now.

Transcript via CNN.

KING: Joining us in Washington, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Republican of Minnesota. She is campaigning and championing what's billed as the Declaration of Health Care Independence.

And Representative Alan Grayson, Democrat of Florida. Last fall in a speech on the House floor he said that the Republican health care plan is don't get sick, but if you do, die quickly. All right, Congresswoman Bachmann, what's wrong -- since it's happened so many other times -- with an up and down -- up or down vote?

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN: An up or down vote is a good thing, Larry.

It's just how many votes will it take?

Will it take 60 votes or will it take 50 votes?

And that's what--

KING: But what's wrong with majority rules?

BACHMANN: Well, because that's not how the Senate works. The Senate works with 60 votes. And now, what the president is promoting is a nuclear option, which is 50 votes. So we should have an up or down vote--

KING: But it used--

BACHMANN: But it--

KING: It used that -- but it used a -- it used that majority rules on the Bush -- Bush tax cuts. It was 51 votes.

BACHMANN: Well, the House uses straight majority rule. The Senate doesn't.

So what this would mean, Larry, is that the Senate has to break their own rules in order to pass the bill.

KING: And that's wrong?

BACHMANN: Oh, I think so. Sure.


And Congressman Grayson, why do you think they should break this rule, which they have done in a few times in the past?

REP. ALAN GRAYSON: My esteemed colleague from Minnesota is entirely wrong. There's nothing in Senate rules that prevents reconciliation. It's been used 22 times overall and 14 times by Republicans. If it's good enough for tax cuts for the rich twice under Bush, it's good enough to provide health care for all Americans.

KING: All right. Let's get into some specifics.

Congresswoman Bachmann, if you agree there's a problem with -- with insurance in the United States and 38 million uninsured, what's wrong with the president's plan?

BACHMANN: Well, the problem is, number one, it's a job killer.

Number two, it's a government takeover of 18 percent of the economy and it's going to be massive tax increases. Plus, it will cut $500 billion from Medicare from vulnerable seniors.

So there's not a lot of up side, especially when you consider the perilous situation we're in. "Time Magazine" today said that the president's spending is laying the groundwork to double taxes in 10 years. That's before this health care bill passes.

So we're looking at massive increases in taxes going forward with all this spending. And that makes a lot of Americans very nervous.

KING: Alan, why do you favor it?

GRAYSON: Well, again, that's simply not the case. Look, we spend 17 percent of our income on health care. No one else in the entire world spends more than 11 percent of our income. And yet we're 50th in life expectancy in the world. The Japanese live more than five years longer than we do. And we are 46th in infant mortality, below Cuba.

How could we spend so much money and get so little?

The system is broken and it needs to be reformed. That's what this bill does.

KING: In a nutshell, what--

GRAYSON: It keeps Americans alive.

KING: Michele -- Congressman Bachmann or Congresswoman Bachmann, what's your solution, in a nutshell--

BACHMANN: In a nutshell--

KING: -- agreeing that there's a problem?

BACHMANN: I agree that there's a problem. We should let Americans buy any health insurance policy they want in the United States, purchase it with their own tax-free money and then fully deduct the rest of the expenses. That's what the real issue that Americans are facing right now is the high cost of health care. Unfortunately, President Obama's bill won't bring down the costs for average Americans -- or really for very few Americans, if any.

KING: Would that idea, Congressman Grayson, allow for many of those -- most of the 38 million to have insurance?

GRAYSON: According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Democrats' plan will provide insurance to over 80 percent of people who don't have it. And that's what we need more than anything right now in this country, because there's 122 people who are dying every single day in this country because they have no health care.

According to a Harvard study, if you take two people who are absolutely physically identical -- same race, same age, same gender, same -- same smoking experience and same weight -- two people who are identical except one has health care and the other one doesn't, then the one without health care is 40 percent more likely to die each year.

That's what we have to end. And we have to make health care not only universal, but we have to make it affordable and accessible. Too many people find that they get the health care that they need until they need it.

KING: Michele, why can't you come together on this?

BACHMANN: I think that we can come together. But I think a big question that has to be addressed right now, Larry, is, what in the world is going on in the White House?

Because today, the president offered a judgeship to the brother of a member of Congress. Tonight, the president has that same member of Congress at the White House, pressuring him to change his vote on health care.

We need to have an -- an independent investigation into this matter, because we've seen the Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase the union loophole.

And now, the big question is, is the White House trading health care votes for judgeships?

This is a pretty serious issue, Larry.

KING: Do you have to respond to that, Alan?

GRAYSON: Well, my esteemed colleague from Minnesota has just deployed another weapon of mass distraction that the Republicans use from time to time to try to change the subject away from health care.

BACHMANN: Corruption--

GRAYSON: And she's doing it again--

BACHMANN: Corruption isn't a distraction, corruption is an issue. We need to know--

GRAYSON: What's the issue here--

BACHMANN: We need to know if this is corrupt.

GRAYSON: The issue--

KING: Let him--

GRAYSON: The issue is that we need--

KING: Let Alan finish.

GRAYSON: -- affordable health care in this country that is accessible to people and that covers everyone. That's the issue. If you want to go off on a tangent, you're doing a disservice to the American people.

BACHMANN: Corruption isn't a tangent. This is a very real issue. We need an independent investigation. This is pretty serious, if you offer a judgeship to a brother of a member of Congress and the same night you have that member at the White House, where the president's twisting his arm to ask that member of Congress to switch his vote on health care?

This is very serious.

KING: Alan--

BACHMANN: We have to have an independent investigation.

GRAYSON: What we need--

KING: Are we going to get a health--

GRAYSON: What we need--

KING: Alan, are we going to--

GRAYSON: -- Larry--

KING: OK. Alan.

GRAYSON: -- is health care--

KING: Are we going to get a health care bill?

GRAYSON: -- for Americans. Yes, we're going to have a health care bill. I have to tell you, the speaker has been very consistent about this now for weeks and for months. It's going to happen. It's going to happen because that's what America needs and that's what American deserves.

KING: All right, we will --. And in the weeks ahead, pending it, we're going to do a lot on this subject and have both of you back.

Thank you very much.

BACHMANN: Thanks, Larry.

GRAYSON: Thank you, Larry.

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