Rep. Weiner Rips Republican for Reading Hoax Memo on House Floor
March 20, 2010
(ChattahBox)—With Republicans led by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) pledging to do everything in their power to kill the healthcare reform bill, apparently their tactics also include forwarding a fake Democratic memo to media outlets. The so-called “doc-fix” memo seems to have originated from Republican lobbyists on K street and from there, it was promptly emailed to the media from Boehner’s office. Politico took the bait and published the fake memo yesterday, but removed it when House Democrats could not trace the memo to any Capitol Hill office and realized it was a hoax and the Republicans could not authenticate it. But that didn’t stop Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) from reading the fake memo on the House floor on Friday. An outraged Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) then rose to challenge Garrett to produce a source for the fake memo, which he of course, was unable to do. After that, fireworks ensued on the House floor.
The hoax memo claims to have been sent to “Democratic health and communications staff” and urges lawmakers not to bring up possible changes to doctor’s Medicare reimbursements after the healthcare bill passes. The source on the memo is etched out with black marker and marked with a “draft” stamp. And the language used in the memo echoes Republican talking points. A Democratic aide told Talking Points Memo. “If this were a Democratic communications person who wrote this, they should be fired, because this looks like Republican talking points.”
And Kristie Greco, spokesperson for Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) called the hoax memo a Republican dirty trick. “The memo is a fake,” she said. “It’s an under-handed and unethical attempt to distract from the health care debate. If opponents of health insurance reform had a credible policy alternative they wouldn’t have to resort to nefarious games.”
When Republican leaders were asked yesterday to authenticate the hoax memo, which their offices were busy circulating yesterday, they backtracked from the fraudulent memo, saying a memo was not the issue. The fake memo is still being promoted on the right wing blogs The Drudge Report and BigGovernment.
The hoax memo can be found here.
After a day of Republicans promoting a hoax memo in an attempt to undermine healthcare reform, Rep. Weiner was visibly angry when Rep. Garrett read it on the house floor:
“What they’re doing is producing fake memos,” said Weiner. “That memo that he read from has no source. He will not return to the microphone to tell us what it was because he took something that was created by the opponents of health care — and there are a whole lot of them, mostly paid for by the health insurance industry — and came to the rostrum with a fake document,” declared Weiner.
At that point Republicans tried to interrupt Weiner, with Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) screaming, “Parliamentary inquiry.”
“I don’t yield for that,” said Weiner. “There is no reluctance to talk about the real CBO score: $1.2 trillion in savings for the American people. That’s the fact. That’s nothing we’re hiding from.”
The presiding House Speaker asked Weiner if he would yield the floor to Republicans. “Will the gentleman yield?” “I will yield only if the person will tell us the source of the document,” said Weiner.
After a bit of an eruption on the House floor, Weiner regained control and continued:
“Ladies and gentlemen, what you saw just now is a microcosm for this debate: A real piece of legislation that for a year we’ve been working on and a fake document that they won’t even give a source for,” he said.