Tallahassee Mayor Gillum — who raised early campaign cash from liberal luminariesGeorge Soros, Jane Fonda and Norman Lear — has tried to position himself as the most progressive candidate in a three-way Democratic primary field that includes former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham and Winter Park businessman Chris King.
“As we move forward with ensuring every American has affordable health care coverage, I stand with Senator Sanders ‘Medicare for All’ proposal. It moves us closer to affordable healthcare as a right for everyone in Florida and this country, and I’m proud to support it,” Gillum said in a statement today timed to coincide with the latest collapse of Republican efforts to overhaul Obamacare.
“Obamacare is the law of the land forever now,” a fuming U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Okeechobee, said today after House Republicans failed to enact — or even bring to a vote — a long-promised health care overhaul.
Rooney was elected in 2008 to a Palm Beach-Treasure Coast congressional district. He voted against the Affordable Care Act in 2010, then watched his party campaign in the next four election cycles on a pledge to repeal Obamacare.
Rooney, who since the 2012 redistricting has represented a central Florida district, was prepared to vote today for the bill backed by President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan. But a scheduled vote on the legislation was called off this afternoon because the GOP didn’t have enough votes to assure passage.
“It wasn’t a hard vote. We’ve been campaigning to repeal Obamacare for eight years…We wanted to put our marker down that the thing we’ve been campaigning on for eight years we were willing to do,” Rooney said.
“The American people rank the congressional approval rating below Fidel Castro, who is dead. And today they’re right. We failed the American people. There’s no other way to say it. We failed. They put their trust in the Republican Party to lead and we didn’t,” Rooney said.
He continued: “Obamacare is the law of the land forever now. That was our one chance to repeal it, get rid of it, make it better. … Fifty years from now we’re going to look back at this day as the day we could have done something about it and we didn’t.”
Rooney predicted portions of the Affordable Care Act will “start failing” and Congress will have to take “emergency actions to fix those parts of it that are failing. But it will still be Obamacare.”
Rooney, on his way to the airport to return to his District 17, added: “I probably shouldn’t be so emotional, but this is a boiling point…I’ve been here too long. I’m no longer the new guy that can act like things are going to get better…We finally got our chance to govern and we blew it. We blew it.”
The video was filmed at one of the coffee chain’s Gainesville locations and features activist Cara Jennings telling Scott, “You cut Medicaid, so I couldn’t get Obamacare.” Scott at one point can be heard replying to Jennings, saying he has created 1 million jobs in the state.
The video has been viewed more than 250,000 times since it was posted to YouTube on April 5.
Following a ceremonial bill signing Wednesday in Boca Raton, Scott said he hadn’t seen the video. When asked why he didn’t try to talk more with Jennings, Scott said, “She was not someone you could talk to.”
“I am pro-life. I believe in the sanctity of life,” Scott said.
He then said lawmakers have more than $5 million in the state budget for health prevention services.
Asked about Medicaid expansion, Scott said, “If the federal government wants to have a program, they should fund their program. But don’t come to the state of Florida and ask us to tax our taxpayers for a federal program. I don’t believe in that. I don’t go to the federal government and say, ‘Fund my program.’ If they have a program, they should fund it.”