Coming out of a meeting to lay out
their new strategy to defund Obamacare as a condition for government-funding and debt-ceiling bills, Republicans said they had the momentum.
What is the Republican evidence for their newfound momentum? Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a former chair of the Republican Study Committee, explained:
“All the momentum is in our direction. Warren Buffett said yesterday, ‘Scrap the bill.’ The AFL-CIO said last week, ‘Repeal the bill if you’re not going to fix it.’ Everyone knows this thing isn’t ready. Everyone knows.”
Here’s the problem with that evidence: Warren Buffett did not say that, and definitely not yesterday. And though certain unions within the AFL-CIO have well-documented problems with Obamacare, that sweeping statement misrepresents the union’s position.
Debbie Bosanek, a spokesman for Buffett, told Business Insider that she alerted Buffett to the quote, and said he was shocked that it was attributed to him.
“It is a very false representation,” Bosanek said. “Mr. Buffett never, ever said Obamacare should be scrapped. He never said it, and he never thought it.”
The confusion stems from a website called Morning Money, which originally apparently dredged up 3-year-old comments and painted them as new. Buffett’s comments came in a 2010 interview with CNBC, when he did say he would scrap the Senate’s version of the bill. He criticised it for not attacking costs in an aggressive-enough manner. But he added that though he didn’t like the Senate bill, he would vote for it rather than do nothing.
In 2012, Buffett told Bloomberg TV the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Obamacare was the right one, and he said that the law was “the right step” toward controlling costs.
The Weekly Standard and other conservative blogs picked up on the 2010 comments as new. They later added updates and/or clarifications. Morning Money didn’t respond to a request for comment, but it later updated its story to note that the comments came in 2010. Its corrected version is still a misinterpretation, as Buffett was most critical of the then-current health-care system.
Meanwhile, the AFL-CIO passed a resolution at its convention last week complaining that the law will be “highly disruptive” to Taft-Hartley multiemployer health plans run by many member unions. The AFL-CIO pressed the Obama administration, unsuccessfully, from a waiver from Obamacare rules that would have encouraged employers to stay in the Taft-Hartley plans, at a likely cost to taxpayers of $187 billion over 10 years.
Some unions were pressing for the AFL-CIO to pass a resolution that called for the repeal of Obamacare, which didn’t end up happening.
These two examples point to more evidence of a Republican bubble that wildly misinterprets the left’s problems with the health-care law. And in doing so, they misinterpret the strength of their own position.
The AFL-CIO and Warren Buffett don’t want to defund Obamacare, and they don’t reinforce Republican-led arguments against it.
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