Are we really going to spend three whole hours having productive discourseVideo below the fold.
REP. JOE BARTON, R-TX (10/30/2013): There is a famous movie called The Wizard of Oz.Well! Do go on.
REP. JOE BARTON, R-TX (10/30/2013): And in The Wizard of Oz, there is a great line. Dorothy, at some point in the movie, turns to her little dog Toto and says, "Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore". Well, Madame Secretary, while you're from Kansas, we're not in Kansas anymore.Lemme just stop you right there. The dog name is Toto. Not "Tow-tow."
But the Democrats, when their turn came up, were a little more on point.REP. BRUCE BRALEY, D-IA (10/30/2013): One of the things that keep coming up in this hearing because you are from Kansas is references to The Wizard of Oz.For the love of God!!
REP. BRUCE BRALEY, D-IA (10/30/2013): And people went to see the Wizard because of the wonderful things that he did. And the Affordable Care Act is doing a lot of great things in Iowa.Really? You're going to use the Wizard to defend your program to say how great it is? Did you watch the movie? Umm... the Wizard is a charlatan. The Wizard is a two-bit huckster who never gave people anything they didn't already have.
So for the most part, the hearing was substantive, with a smattering of silly. But that's not to say there wasn't anyone who was just there to film their next campaign ad, like Colorado Republican Cory Gardner, who apparently spent the first two hours of the hearing pounding Red Bull and snorting coffee grounds waiting his turn.10/30/2013:(audience laughter)
REP. CORY GARDNER, R-CO: Why won't you go into the exchange? You're a part of this law. You are literally in charge of this law. Should you be any different than all of the other Americans out there who are losing their health insurance to this?
HHS SECRETARY KATHLEEN SEBELIUS: I'm part of the 95% with affordable, available health coverage. ... If I have affordable coverage in my workplace, I am not eligible to go into the marketplace.
REP. CORY GARDNER, R-CO: Madame Secretary, I would encourage you to be just like the American people, and enter the exchange, and agree to find a way to do that, Madame Chair.
HHS SECRETARY KATHLEEN SEBELIUS: It's illegal.
Did you hear her? It's illegal. Doesn't stop him. "Well, break the law! I encourage you to join millions of Americans who break the law every day!"
That was some impressive grandstanding, populist nonsense, young man, delivered with real passion. But let this Missouri Congressman show you how not to take no hypotheticals for an answer.10/30/2013:(in Billy Long voice) "Madame Secretary, look. Let me ask you this. Hypothetically, let's say the South had won the war, and you yourself have a terrible nut allergy. Would you give up your health insurance then?
REP. BILLY LONG, R-MO: If it is possible for you to go into the exchange, like all these millions of Americans that are going into the exchanges, will you commit to forgo your government insurance plan that you're on now, and join us in the pool?
HHS SECRETARY KATHLEEN SEBELIUS: Sir, the way the law is written....
REP. BILLY LONG, R-MO: It's a yes or no. Let's say that you're wrong on that. Yes or no? If you're wrong.
HHS SECRETARY KATHLEEN SEBELIUS: But I don't want to give this....
REP. BILLY LONG, R-MO: Will you? Yes or no?
Let me try this. Hold on, hold on! Let me finish!! If... if... if... Americans spoke French and bats saw with their eyes instead of their ears, would you then sign up for Obamacare? Would you do it then? Would you do it then?
Madame! Madame! Listen! Listen to me! If I was storing fish in my neck right now as I was speaking... (audience laughter) so that I could digest them later, would you sign up for Obamacare? Would you do it??
Madame Secretary, I yield my time."
But of course, the master of anti-Obamacare grandstanding, Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, who made clear no matter how shitty an insurance plan is, some people like it that way.REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN, R-TN (10/30/2013): What do you say to Mark and Lucinda in my district, who had a plan, they liked it, it was affordable, but it is being terminated, and now they do not have health insurance? ... I will remind you, some people like to drive a Ford, not a Ferrari, and some people like to drink out of a red Solo Cup, not a crystal stem. You're taking away their choice."You're taking away their choice, and I believe in choice. Except obviously in marriage and reproductive rights. (audience laughter and applause) But still, I believe in mostly... actually, you know what, now that I think about it, hold on. Lemme just... really... I actually only believe in cup or car choice. That's it, it's only just those two."
But, it's hardly surprising that Blackburn came to the hearing with a witty line prepared like that. She's been looking forward to this hearing for a while.REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN, R-TN (10/24/2013): The more we heard today, the more questions we had, so we'll be ready for Secretary Sebelius when she comes before us next week.What the fuck do I have to do with this? (audience laughter and applause)
REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN, R-TN (10/27/2013): We want her to talk with us, before she is out the door.
REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN, R-TN (10/22/2013): We're looking for answers.
REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN, R-TN (10/21/2013): She's got time for Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, but she doesn't have time to come to those of us who are tasked with overseeing this.
What do I... what?? You got time to come... huh??
Kathleen Sebelius chose to come here. It was her choice! Some people like to go before Congress and drink out of a red Solo.... Freedom hater!
Seems like Blackburn has a lot of questions for Sebelius. Hopefully three hours will be enough time for the Congresswoman to get all the information she so desperately... wait, whoa... wait, is she... she's getting up.
That's weird. She's getting up. At 10:21, she's getting up, and she's... is she leaving? Oh my God, she's walking out of the room!
Was she going back to research some insurance facts, perhaps to refill her red Solo Cup? What?STUART VARNEY (10/30/2013): Joining us now is Representative Marsha Blackburn, who was in the hearing, asked some terrific questions. She joins us now from a camera right there on Capitol Hill."Not a problem at all, Stuart, happy to be here. You're not interrupting anything."
What's so important to tell the tiny amount of Americans who watch Fox Business Network that it couldn't wait until the hearing you demanded was over?REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN, R-TN (10/30/2013): Some people don't want to be sipping chardonnay from a crystal stem, they want to be drinking beer from a red Solo Cup. You know? Choices.(wheezing laughter from Jon)
We'll be right back.