Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who was recently tasked by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) with leading the Senate Democrats’ newly combined policy-and-messaging operations, told Politico today that the Republicans who oppose health care reform should give up their own government health benefits.
He said: “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.”
Schumer cited as a positive example that of incoming-Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), who is foregoing his Congressional health care benefits and will seek coverage for himself and his wife on the open market, despite her pre-existing condition. Walsh told CNN this morning: “I was sent to Washington to do what I said I was going to do, and this was a pledge I had out there for a year.”
Schumer said of Walsh’s pledge, “I don’t agree with his views on health care, but at least he is being fair and consistent,” and called for incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) to encourage his members to do the same.
Spokesmen for both incoming House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Cantor dismissed Schumer’s calls, and Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring told Politico: “But if Senator Schumer wants to operate in the world of the illogical, we assume that he, Leader Reid, and Rep. Pelosi will be giving up their own health care since it doesn’t include the public option. We also assume that all three will refuse to accept the extension of current tax rates and volunteer to pay higher taxes for the next two years.”