MSNBC panel slams Republicans for selling out children's health insurance to fund corporate tax cuts

Steve Schmidt: “Faceless multinational corporations are benefiting from this. ... So this is a bought-and-paid-for corrupted institution.”

From the December 12 edition of MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle:

Video file

STEPHANIE RUHLE (HOST): Steve, nine million kids get their health insurance through [the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)]. Nine million kids who didn't choose poverty. This thing gets wide, bipartisan support. Why is it being held up? Why has this become an issue?

STEVE SCHMIDT: Welcome to 2017 and the collapse of decency, rigor in the congressional policy-making process. It's terrible. 

RUHLE: But this one's a no-brainer. 

SCHMIDT: Of course it is. This was always popular with both Republicans and Democrats, had broad bipartisan support, should never have lapsed. It should absolutely be re-authorized. But again, Congress has an approval level somewhere around 15, 16 percent, and they didn't get there overnight. It's well-earned. And the country despises the Congress because of issues like this. 

RUHLE: A pediatrician from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, which is one of the best children's hospitals in the country, wrote a piece for The Washington Post, and I want to share what he wrote: “Every day I see patients in my practice who stand to lose their health care if Congress does not act to extend CHIP funding. Those of us on the front lines of medicine ... remember well the time that we turned children away solely because their families were working hard to raise themselves out of poverty.” Help me, Eddie. States had enough money for a few months, but it truly is running out. We're going to face January, and states like Colorado have warned people “your kids won't be insured.” Why don't they have money for this? This seems like such -- America voted for bipartisanship. They voted because they felt like President Trump was not an ideologue, and he would be pragmatic. Help me understand why there wouldn't be the money for this. 

EDDIE GLAUDE: Well, there's kind of cruelty and callousness that kind of rule the day.

RUHLE: But who does that win for? Who says, “Right on, man. Don't help the kids?” That's what I just can't figure out.

GLAUDE: You think about what Sen. Orrin Hatch [(R-UT)] said on the floor in the Senate. That we are broke. We don't have the money. And we know that the estate tax that's in the tax plan is actually more expensive than CHIP. What we have here, Stephanie, and I see the emotion. What we're running here is a value deficit. We talk about monetary deficits, but we have a value deficit in this country. What do we value? What do we cherish? How do we extend to our fellows dignity and standing? And the most vulnerable among us, children. 

RUHLE: But what is the Republican rationale? One of Roy Moore's points, I think it was, “Roy Moore loves children, Doug Jones loves abortion.” If it is the party of family values -- 

SCHMIDT: It's not. It's not.

RUHLE: And in order to be a family, that includes children.


RUHLE: Who, at the Republican round table, says, “Let it ride?”

SCHMIDT: The hypocrisy and the rot are worthy of discussion. The meanness, the cruelty. But this is very simple to understand. And it gives me no pleasure to say this.  

RUHLE: It's not simple. I can't figure it out. 

SCHMIDT: I've spent my life in the Republican Party. It gives me no pleasure to say this. This party has demonstrated a complete incapacity to govern. Period. And I think that there will be a tsunami, come 2018, that wipes it away. 

RUHLE: You're still not answering my question. I want to understand who is the body that's saying “This isn't a good political move, we don't have the money?” They have the money when they want the money. 

GLAUDE: Part of what I'm trying to say is that there is a hierarchy of concern:  “We don't have the money because we're busy giving money to our donors.” “We don't have the money because we're governing for the top 1 percent, the top one-tenth of a percent.”

RUHLE: Are there donors -- does Steve Wynn, who you and I have met a number of times. Steve Wynn's a great guy. Steve Wynn, who raises money for the [Republican National Committee], the Grand Poobah over there is like, “Yep. Forget the kids?” Who's the person who says, “Let's not do this?”  

SCHMIDT: They don't care, period. The government is corrupted. It's corrupted. It is not about regular people. It is not about that vulnerable child. This tax bill is a payoff. Corrupt from A to Z, to the special interest constituencies. One thing that Jimmy Kimmel said was wrong. Rich people aren't benefiting from this. Faceless multinational corporations are benefiting from this. They've even taken rich people out of the equation as beneficiaries of the programs. So this is a bought-and-paid-for corrupted institution. And the American people revile it. They've assigned it a 15, 16 percent approval level. And there's good reason for that. But there's no understanding here other than the broad understanding of the magnitude of the corruption. 

RUHLE: And this is for corporate America. 

SCHMIDT: Absolutely.

RUHLE: This is why they don't have the money, because they're giving a corporate tax cut.

GLAUDE: We saw that on the floor with Sen. Hatch responding to Sen. [Sherrod] Brown [(D-OH)]. That's basically what he said, “I co-authored CHIP. We simply don't have the money.” After they just pushed through highway robbery. Called it the current tax cut. 


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