Iím more frustrated with the misinformation about whatís out there about the health care bill and the role I played. It was not Bart Stupak and the right-to-life Democrats who injected abortion into the debate, we tried to keep it out of the debate. We had to respond to amendments put forth in committee … when pro-choice groups put their amendments in to pay for abortion, for some of us, we could not accept that legislation, and so we did our counter-amendment.
I get all the blame for it … I guess [I feel] frustration that people donít know the history after all we went through.
On the Scrutiny the Health Care Vote Brought
I used the media scrutiny to get our message across. There were times when the Democratic leadership did not want to negotiate with us. I felt ... we handled it appropriately; we got what we wanted. Weíre proud of that.
The frustrating part was when they attacked my friends, my family, my faith, who I lived with on Capitol Hill … it really got pretty personal.
People donít realize, we didnít go through the regular channels to negotiate the executive order. We met away from here, away from the White House, so we could have a conversation without media scrutiny. The hardest part was ditching the media, but we were able to do so at least for a few hours.
His Advice to Incoming Members of Congress
I would tell new members coming in, ďStop and enjoy this experience. Get to know your colleagues.Ē I know my colleagues well, but I always went home every weekend, and never really traveled much abroad. Thatís part of the learning process, and I encourage them to do that.
You have many opportunities to do many, many things here ó as long as you stay true to your district and go back to your district. I kept myself so busy I never had time to do some of the neat things youíre allowed to do, so you know they say that as youíre going along, always stop and smell the roses ó they should do that.
This is a great country, and Iím sure theyíll take care of it for us.
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