At least three House Republicans who voted Thursday to pass their party’s health care bill have admitted to not thoroughly reading the legislation.
The admissions echo criticism levied against Democrats when the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was passed seven years ago. The landmark legislation, which squeaked by in the House after several failed efforts, now moves on to the Senate, where it faces daunting challenges because of the same ideological splits between conservative and moderate Republicans that nearly killed it in the House.
South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford, who has criticized the legislation, said he attempted to read the entire bill but failed to get through some of the details.
“I wouldn’t say — yes,” he told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota Friday on “New Day.” “I turned through every page. As to whether or not I got through some of the details on some of the pages, no. But, yes, I attempted to read the entire bill.”
Sanford said because he was mostly concerned with the amendments to the bill, he paid the most attention to those pages. But he depended on his staff for most of the bill.
“I read it as thoroughly as I could,” he said. “You have an entire staff to really vet these things.”
He added, “So I read through the bill. I had my staff read through the bill.”
New York Rep. Chris Collins also admitted that he did not read the full health care bill before voting for it.
“I will fully admit, Wolf, I did not. But I can also assure you my staff did. We have to rely on our staff,” Collins told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Thursday on “The Situation Room.”
Collins said he had several meetings to discuss how this plan would affect Americans and he’s “very comfortable that we have a solution to the disaster called ‘Obamacare.'”
Blitzer pressed further: “This legislation affects one-fifth of the US economy, and millions of millions of Americans. Don’t you think it was important to sit down and read the language of this bill?”
Collins replied that he likely wasn’t the only congressman who didn’t read the bill in its entirety.
Virginia Rep. Tom Garrett also said he hadn’t read the bill but, like Sanford and Collins, relied on his staff.
“Let’s put it this way: People in my office have read all the parts of the bill,” he said Thursday on MSNBC. “I don’t think any individual has read the whole bill. That’s why we have staff.”
In 2009, then Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan slammed Democrats for voting for the ACA without having read the entire bill.
“I don’t think we should pass bills that we haven’t read that we don’t know what they cost,” he said then.