Following the election of Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) to the U.S. Senate last year, many health care advocates suggested that the House pass the Senate’s version of the health reform bill and then pass a reconciliation “fix” with a simple majority in the Senate to make the bill more progressive and acceptable to House members.
One member of Congress who advocated such a path was Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL). During an appearance on MSNBC’s Hardball, Grayson promoted using reconciliation, which prompted host Chris Matthews to ridicule the congressman, telling him that he is “part of the outside world represented by the netroots” and that he doesn’t represent “the real world of Congress.”
Now that Grayson has been vindicated by Congress passing historic health care legislation (and the Senate is on the verge of doing so as well), Matthews nevertheless refuses to admit he was wrong for ridiculing Grayson. In an interview with James Rainey at The Los Angeles Times, Matthews says it’s actually Grayson who was wrong:
When I spoke to Matthews after his show Tuesday evening, he said that he intended to have Grayson back on “Hardball,” probably soon. But don’t set your DVR in anticipation of some Potomac-sized mea culpa.
Matthews told me that, smoldering YouTube clip notwithstanding, it was Grayson who got it wrong back in January. He said the congressman was obviously referring back then to the House passing a new piece of legislation, rather than signing on to the approved Senate health bill and then having differences reconciled.
“He denied the House had to pass the Senate bill and then have reconciliation,” Matthews said at one point. “I never got an answer from him, all I got was a posture. He wasn’t helping me explain it. He was just taking a position.”
Matthews is flat out wrong about his exchange with Grayson. The congressman clearly told the MSNBC host, “I think that there will be an amendment passed by reconciliation. We already have a bill passed.” Despite the fact that Grayson clearly endorsed this course of action and not the introduction of a completely new bill, as Matthews now claims, the host went on to condescendingly demean Grayson as nothing more than a “true believer who believes he can get things done by willing them to get done!” Watch it:
Matthews owes the congressman an apology not only for ridiculing him but for distorting his position.