It’s rare when the Morning Joe crew unanimously agrees on an issue. It’s simply extraordinary when the issue is ObamaCare.
Host Joe Scarborough and a liberal panel mocked congressional Democrats on Friday for griping about high premiums under ObamaCare, after the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced Thursday that the federal government would continue to subsidize health care premiums for members of Congress and their staffs.
After co-host Mika Brzezinski reported the latest development in ObamaCare’s rocky implementation, Scarborough burst out in laughter:
Hold on, hold on. Members of Congress, Harold [Ford, Jr.], were furious that they were going to be held to the same law that they passed, right?
Panelist Harold Ford, Jr., a former Democratic congressman, admitted “it’s odd.” Even the reliably liberal Brzezinski appeared to recognize the hypocrisy, adding: “there’s a lot of odd things going around.”
Scarborough and Mike Barnicle each took turns mocking members of Congress:
SCARBOROUGH: You mean we're going to have to live by the laws that we passed on the American people?
BARNICLE: We're going to have to worry about the same things that our constituents are forced to worry about? Please!
When Brzezinski added that some congressmen had claimed their staffers would leave Congress for the private sector, Barnicle mocked the legislators once again, crying: “the horror!”
Scarborough didn’t let President Obama off the hook, either. The MSNBC host blasted the administration for ignoring small business owners’ concerns with the new health care law:
So Harold, when small business owners are telling the Obama administration: you know, if you do this we’re going to lose some of our best employees – and the administration says oh, no no. You all are so crazy. What? What are you talking about? It’s happening on Capitol Hill. They said: we’re going to lose our best staffers if ObamaCare is implemented up here.
Scarborough later turned to the upcoming midterm elections, warning that Democrats in Congress who voted for ObamaCare, but are seeking special protection from higher premiums under the law, would pay a political price:
This is the 30-second ad...This is set up so easily for these Democrats who have been – these Democrats who passed this.
I guess, even when it comes to the Lean Forward network, a broken clock is right twice a day.
See the full transcript below:
August 2, 2013
6:04 a.m. Eastern
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: The White House is stepping in once again when it comes to the way ObamaCare is being implemented. First it was a decision to delay the employer mandate, and now the president has personally intervened to allow the government to continue helping members of Congress and their staff when it comes to paying their premiums. Members of Congress were furious that they would soon be forced to pay thousands of dollars –
JOE SCARBOROUGH [laughing]: Hold on, hold on. Members of Congress, Harold [Ford, Jr.], were furious that they were going to be held to the same law that they passed, right?
HAROLD, FORD, JR.: It’s odd.
BRZEZINSKI [laughing]: Ah!
SCARBOROUGH: It is odd. They got so angry.
BRZEZINSKI: There’s a lot of odd things going around.
SCARBOROUGH: And, by the way, the president goes up to see the Democrats this week. What is the first thing, Mike [Barnicle], they are yelling at him about?
MIKE BARNICLE: What about my premiums?
SCARBOROUGH [laughing]: Exactly. [Mocking members of Congress:] You mean we’re going to have to live by the laws that we passed on the American people?
BARNICLE [mocking members of Congress]: We’re going to have to worry about the same things that our constituents are forced to worry about? Please!
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, God. I’m sorry, Mika –
BRZEZINSKI: No, actually, they take their vacations when their –
BARNICLE: Five weeks. Five weeks.
BRZEZINSKI: Usually when things are just, like, happening, they leave. Alright. They [members of Congress] would soon be forced to pay thousands of dollars in additional costs through ObamaCare’s insurance marketplaces. Some even warned that lawmakers would leave Washington and their staffers would look for work outside of government service.
BARNICLE [laughing]: The horror!
SCARBOROUGH [laughing]: Hold on a second!
BARNICLE: The horror!
SCARBOROUGH: So hold on. So Harold, when small business owners are telling the Obama administration: you know, if you do this we’re going to lose some of our best employees – and the administration says oh, no no. You all are so crazy. What? What are you talking about? It’s happening on Capitol Hill. They said: we’re going to lose our best staffers if ObamaCare is implemented up here.
FORD, JR.: You would have thought they would have come up with a different set of answers or excuses for why – it’s not the exact same argument –
SCARBOROUGH [laughing]: Oh, it’s awful.
BARNICLE: The three scariest words on Capitol Hill, among the staff and among the elected officials, are: the private sector.
BARNICLE: Forced to go look in the private sector. Woo!
SCARBOROUGH: So what’s the way –
BRZEZINSKI: But now the administration is set to announce a plan that lets the federal government continue paying its share of congressional health plans. In turn, those employees would be ineligible for any tax credits or subsidies.
SCARBOROUGH: It’s crazy. You know, one of the first things we passed when we got up there. In fact, it was the first thing – you remember [former Connecticut Congressman] Chris Shays? Great guy, great congressman from Connecticut, love Chris. We passed what was called the Shays Act. And it was radical, first day we were up there, and it made Congress live by the same rules that the rest of the country lived by.
BARNICLE [joking]: That’s terrible.
SCARBOROUGH: That didn’t last long. So now, seriously, how embarrassing that they passed this law. Again, small business owners, Harold, have been complaining about it –
FORD, JR.: This is one of those things that – you know, you and I understand you are going to hear, come next summer and fall as the campaigns get going.
SCARBOROUGH: This is the 30-second ad.
FORD, JR.: Right, it’s one of those things that’s easy to explain, easy to convey and it’s hard to dispute. There may be some caveats to this – I don’t know what they are – but this is an easy one to make a 30-second ad out of.
SCARBOROUGH: Listen. The 30-second ad – how you would not like and I would not like [in mocking, ominous narrative voice] – Congressman Scarborough voted for ObamaCare to raise your health premiums. And yet, he had the president exempt him from ObamaCare. Let’s exempt Congressman Scarborough from Congress.
[Laughing:] Or something like that. This is set up so easily for these Democrats who have been – these Democrats who passed this.