Congressman Eric Massa (D-N.Y.)addressed other issues during his talk with progressive online activists at Netroots Nation 2009. He commented that a statement made by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) last week was an “act of treason.” Mr. Grassley recently made waves after saying that there should not be a government healthcare plan that would “pull the plug on granny.” In the video, above (:38 seconds in) Mr. Massa says:
MASSA: I mean, what Grassley said the other day was an act of treason. I’m sorry. It’s not being called on.
The Senate Finance Committee removed the end of life provisions in the midst of the uproar over Mr. Grassley’s town hall statements. Conservative activists, however, are not buying that the health care legislation is any better.
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform told the Washington Times, :
“The left is hoping that by dropping that, [end of life provision] that they’ve ended one of the major criticisms of the legislation. Maybe Grassley thinks he’s moving forward some watered down bad bill by taking out end of life.
I think what they did was they went to the American people and said, ‘We stuck something in the bill we’re ashamed of. We lied to you about it when you caught it. We lied about it, until too many people had read it, and then we took it out.’
Now their position is, ‘We didn’t have a death panel in the bill, but we took the death panel out, so stop talking about the death panel, because it doesn’t exist because we took it out.’”
Senator Grassley is not taking the attacks lying down. The New York Times is reporting that the Iowa Republican is calling President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “intellectually dishonest” for using the controversy over the Senator’s words to divert attention away from health care legislation being considered in the House.
Mr. Massa has responded to public uproar after this blog posted an exchange he had with progressive activists at Netroots Nation 2009, where he said the following last weekend.:
MASSA: I will vote for the single payer bill.
PARTICIPANT: Even if it meant you were being voted out of office?
MASSA: I will vote adamantly against the interests of my district, if I actually think what I am doing is going to be helpful.
(inaudible participants’ comments regarding the “interests” of the district statement from Mr. Massa)
MASSA: I will vote against their opinion if I actually believe it will help them.
In a conference call today, Mr. Massa told journalists,(audio from call at link):
“There comes a time when members of Congress sometimes must vote against popular opinion because they know it is in the interest of their districts in the country.”
The New York congressman also quoted former president Ronald Reagan to defend his position.:
“We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.”
It should be noted that 1961 audio of the former president is circulating around the web, where Mr. Reagan speaks out against socialized medicine.