THE OFFICIAL TRUTH SQUAD -- (House of Representatives - October 31, 2007)
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Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. I thank the gentleman from Georgia for heading this program tonight to bring about the Truth Squad, which when I'm not here on the floor, I'm in my office turning on C-SPAN to make sure that I can find out the latest of what the actual facts are, because we can't always be assured that we hear them correctly from the other side of the aisle.
Actually, that's where I want to begin on this one. I was tuning in as I was doing some work at my desk for the last 10 or so minutes of the other side of the aisle, and I was a little bit amused by their closing comment. They seem to be chagrinned by the fact that they don't have the opportunity to get the message out, if you were listening to them, that the President seems to be able to have the bully pulpit and be able to get the record straight out to the American public, and they don't. I had to scratch my head at that time because I thought, well, gee, doesn't the Democrat Party now control both this House, isn't Nancy Pelosi now the Speaker of this House? Isn't HARRY REID now the lead in the Senate as well? I thought the Democrat Party was the majority party.
And I know that every time that I leave this Chamber during the day there are microphones out there waiting for speakers to speak. And they're not coming to me to ask for comments; they are looking to the Democrat majority. So I think they were a little bit flippant or disingenuous, if you will, when they're saying that they're not able to get the message out. I think what they are really saying, though, is the message that is getting out is not a truthful message, and some of the points that you've already made.
And if I may just touch upon a point or two here. If you go back in time a little bit to when President Clinton was in office, he laid out the groundwork of what his vision was for health care in this country. He told us where he would like to take this country and maybe where his wife would also like to take this country when it comes to health care. And he said that he wanted government-run healthcare. He wanted universal, socialized, Washington-controlled health care. And how would you get there, he said? Well, he laid it out in plans; he put it out in a book, almost, for us. He said, you get there not overnight, although I guess Hillary Clinton tried to do that, but he said, no, you get there incrementally. First what you do is you insure the indigent children, then you will insure all the children, and eventually you will insure all the adults as well. And what does that bring you to? Well, that's socialized, government-run and controlled health care. Now, that may be something that he would like and maybe a small segment of this country would like, but when I go back to my constituents, they remind me that Washington government may not be the most effective and efficient entity in the entire world of delivering services. They remind me of what happened back when Katrina occurred and we had FEMA step in to try to deliver services, and it was abysmal. They remind me continuously, regardless of which party is in control, earmarks, and we can talk about that ad nauseum later on probably, about the waste, fraud and abuse when it comes to spending their hard-earned dollars on earmarks.
They remind me, also, some of them who were trying to leave this country during this past summer for a summertime vacation and they found out that they needed to get a visa in order to do so. And they could not get their visa even though they put in their request one, week, two weeks, three weeks, eight weeks, nine weeks in advance. A very basic function of the U.S. government to supply visas to people, and they couldn't get them on time. They remind me that the government couldn't even do one of their basic functions.
They remind me, finally, when it comes to what is one of the most seminal issues when it comes to any government, and that is to protect your borders, and they say, you know, Congress, here under this majority, can't even get that issue resolved and done. We can't get the money to the border security guards. We can't get that fence built along there. If the government can't do those functions, they ask me, why in the world do we want to turn over our control, life-and-death situations, really, and you're a physician, you know this, to an entity that can't run the functions that they're doing right now.
They tell me, the American public, my constituents tell me that they want to make sure that health care remains in their hands, that health care remains as a private matter in the sense of a doctor-patient relationship. Maybe you want to comment on that at some point, where they're in control of the delivery, of the questions and the asking and what have you and the needs for the services, and the doctor is in control of the services that are being provided. They don't want big brother, if you will, stepping in and saying, well, no, we're going to exclude you, include you and what have you. So they are very hesitant to go down the direction that Bill Clinton wanted this country to go down and now this Democrat majority wants us to go down as well.
And if the gentleman would continue to yield.
Mr. PRICE of Georgia. I would be happy to yield.
Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. The very definition of a middle-class entitlement, which, as Bill Clinton would say, is the next step to go to socialized, government-run health care, well, the very definition of a middle-class entitlement can be seen in what the Democrats are trying to do right now with SCHIP. Look at the numbers. And I know I don't have a chart behind me like you do to have these numbers right next to me, but let's think of these basic numbers.
Right now the SCHIP program, as originally intended, was to fund indigent care for children, at what level? Two hundred percent of poverty. Ballpark figure, that's around $42,000 for a family of four; that's what is defined as poverty for that family. The medium income, that's the middle income in this country, for a family of four all across this country on average is about $48,000. So, $48,000 is the middle range. Any time you're going to start spending more, providing a government-run program for somebody making more than the middle by definition now becomes a middle-class entitlement, and that leads us to government-controlled health care.
So, when they're talking about providing services above 200, 250, 300, well, 300 percent of poverty, that would put you at approximately $62,000 for a family of four. In New Jersey, we're at 350 percent of poverty; that puts you around $72,000 for a family of four. So, by definition, they're telling us that they are not trying to create a program for the indigent and the poor in this country. By the very definition of the words they're using and the facts that are out there, they are trying to create an entitlement program for the middle class. And then of course the question is, who is going to pay for that?
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