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Congressman to GOP: “I don’t have to be nice to nobody when you’re being nasty to poor people”

A remarkable exchange in the House Rules Committee on Friday, March 24 laid bare the difference between the priorities of the Republican Party and the priorities of the ruling party’s opponents. Congressman Alcee Hastings of Florida began challenging Republican Greg Walden of Oregon on the moral choice of removing the health insurance of 24 million people and cutting hundreds of billions of dollars away from Medicaid while granting $2,800,000,000 each year in tax benefits to the 400 wealthiest families in America.

Alcee Hastings: “Tell me about the $800 billion that’s being taken out of Medicaid, when in fact all we had to do was leave the taxes that are here for very wealthy people. 400 people are receiving a very substantial increase in their tax benefit…”

Greg Walden: “I know…”

Alcee Hastings: “… just when they don’t need it. Do you not see how that affects Medicaid?”

Greg Walden: “OK, I’m going to try and bring the tone down here just a little bit.”

Alcee Hastings: “I’m not going to bring my tone down. I’m mad as hell about what you all are doing and I don’t have to be nice to nobody when you’re being nasty to poor people.”

While the Republicans are trying to end health care for 24 million people in order to give the 400 wealthiest families in America a $2,800,000,000 tax break, they’re distressed that people are upset about this. They’re worried about the tone of dissent.

I can tell you this: Alcee Hastings is not alone. When the privileged are pampered and the downtrodden are further trodden upon, there’s something wrong in America. Something sick in America. Why, it’s enough to make a person angry. It’s enough to make us change our tone. A saying by Finley Peter Dunne comes to mind: “Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” If the Republicans keep trying to hurt vast numbers of people in order to send more money to their tiny cadre of already-fabulously-wealthy friends, they’re going to find themselves very distressed about the tone of Americans. Very distressed indeed.

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