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Weiner Offends The GOP On House Floor: You’re All ‘Owned’ By The ‘Insurance Industry’!

By Zaid Jilani on February 24, 2010 at 4:40 pm

"Weiner Offends The GOP On House Floor: You’re All ‘Owned’ By The ‘Insurance Industry’!"

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Today, the House of Representatives debated the Health Insurance Industry Fair Competition Act, legislation that would repeal the 65 year exemption health insurance companies have from anti-trust regulations.

Speaking on the House floor this afternoon, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) lambasted Republicans for being “a wholly owned subsidiary of an insurance industry,” prompting an offended Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) to lodge a complaint:

WEINER: You guys have chutzpah. The Republican Party is the wholly owned subsidiary of the insurance industry. They say this isn’t going to do enough, but when we propose an alternative to provide competition, they’re against it. They say we want to strengthen state insurance commissioners and they’ll do the job. But when we did that in our national health care bill, they said we’re against it. They said we want to have competition but when we proposed requiring competition they’re against it. They’re a wholly owned subsidiary of the insurance industry. That’s the fact!

LUNGREN: Mr. Speaker I ask that the gentleman’s words be taken down.

WEINER: You really don’t want to go there, Mr. Lungren.

A minute later, Weiner returned to the floor and withdrew his words, and then substituted them by clarifying, “Make no mistake about it, every single Republican I have ever met in my entire life is a wholly owned subsidiary of the insurance industry!”

Lungren once again immediately demanded that Weiner’s words be taken down. Weiner once more finally returned to the floor to withdraw his words, and ended his statement by saying that he has had “enough of the phoniness. We are gonna solve this problem because for years our Republican friends have been unable to and unwilling to. Deal with it!” His colleagues applauded his remarks. Watch it:

At the end of the debate, the House voted 406-19 to repeal the insurers’ long-held exemption from anti-trust laws.

Transcript:

WEINER: You guys have chutzpah. The Republican Party is the wholly owned subsidiary of the insurance industry. They say this isn’t going to do enough, but when we propose an alternative to provide competition, they’re against it. They say we want to strengthen state insurance commissioners and they’ll do the job. But when we did that in our national health care bill, they said we’re against it. They said we want to have competition but when we proposed requiring competition they’re against it. They’re a wholly owned subsidiary of the insurance industry. That’s the fact!

LUNGREN: Mr. Speaker I ask that the gentleman’s words be taken down.

WEINER: You really don’t want to go there, Mr. Lungren. [...] Make no mistake about it. Every single Republican I have ever met in my entire life is wholly owned subsidiary of the insurance industry. That is why —

LUNGREN: Mr. Speaker I ask that the gentleman’s words be taken down once more.

WEINER: Look, the point is very simple, there are inequities in the present way we distribute insurance. There are winners and there are losers. The winners are the insurance industry. [...] There is not bipartisanship on this particular issue. The people who sit on this side, at the risk of offending anyone, generally support the idea of standing up for the American people in their battle against big insurance. And the people generally speaking who sit on this side of the chamber and specifically speaking as well in a lot of cases, simply won’t permit that to happen and haven’t for a generation. Well, that is going to end now. [...] Enough of the phonyness. We are gonna solve this problem because for years our Republican friends have been unable to and unwilling to. Deal with it!” (applause)

Update

The roll call of the vote is now up. GOP Reps. Akin (MO), Boehner (OH), Brady (TX), Broun (GA), Buyer (IN), Franks (AZ), Garrett (NJ), Jenkins, Jordan (OH), King (IA), Lamborn (CO), Linder (GA), Moran (KS), Paul (TX), Price (GA), Ryan (WI), Sensenbrenner (WI), Tiahrt (KS), and Westmoreland (GA) voted against.

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