Lawson: Florida GOP leaders ‘psychologically intoxicated’ over health care reformby Dara Kam | March 23rd, 2010
Attorney General Bill McCollum’s lawsuit against Democrat-controlled Congress and President Barack Obama’s administration has sparked a political feud not only in the nation’s Capitol but in the state’s as well.
Senate Democratic Leader Al Lawson took offense at Senate President Jeff Atwater’s congratulatory press release lauding McCollum’s legal disparaging of the president’s health care reform.
The president’s office issued an unusually partisan release entitled “Florida Senate Leaders Support AG McCollum’s Legal Challenge to Unprecedented and Unconstitutional Government Health Care Scheme.”
The GOP leaders are “like little boys who are playing marbles and the ones who lost went home,” Lawson, D-Tallahassee said.
“The decorum that existed in the Senate is in jeopardy because of the statements that have been made by the Republican leadership concerning the president’s health care proposal,” Lawson said.
Florida lawmakers are more guilty than their federal counterparts of passing unfunded mandates on to local governments, said Lawson, who’s spent more than two decades as a state legislator.
“There would be so much litigation you couldn’t get through the door if the counties and cities started to file litigation against the legislature for all the unfunded mandates we have placed on them,” Lawson said. “Their challenge appears to be incomprehensible to the Democrats. It’s almost like they’re psychologically intoxicated.”
Atwater’s press release hailed McCollum’s lawsuit.
“Washington politicians have passed an overreaching expansion of bureaucracy – an unfunded mandate on individual states and a tax on the American people. This is nothing more than government intruding on the sacred relationship between a patient and their doctor. Worse yet, Washington is using smoke and mirrors to claim this expansion will not add unsustainable levels of deficit spending. Today, Attorney General McCollum has rightfully revealed an even more egregious aspect of this bad legislation: it violates the individual rights of Americans,” Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, says in the release, which includes quotes from Senate President-to-be Mike Haridopolos, R-Melbourne, and Senate Majority Leader Alex Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami.
Lawson’s office quickly fired off its own response.
“I am deeply concerned that the Republican leadership would actually mislead the public in order to gin up support for their frivolous lawsuit challenging the ability of tens of thousands of Floridians to finally have access to affordable health care. We know this is an election season, and desperate candidates often opt for desperate measures, but to suggest that the entire Senate Leadership is on board with opposition to the President’s plan is not only misleading, it’s dead wrong,” Lawson’s release reads.