Watch Paul Ryan in 2009: 'I don't think we should pass bills that we haven't read, that we don't know what they cost'

Paul Ryan urges patience
(Image credit: Speaker Paul Ryan/YouTube)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was House speaker in 2009, when Congress was working to pass the Affordable Care Act, and she has gotten endless amounts of grief after saying in March 2010 that "we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy." On Thursday, House Republicans are voting on their partial replacement for the Affordable Care Act, the American Health Care Act, without a Congressional Budget Office score, and it's not clear House members have had a chance to read through the bill, which was amended as late as Wednesday night.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who introduced that final amendment, said Wednesday night it would be nice to have a CBO score first. "I wish that we had it, alright?" he said, but there's no time to wait "because I don't expect it probably for a couple weeks."

In July 2009, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was a member of the House with his own health-care plan, and he went on MSNBC to criticize the speed at which the Democrats were moving to push ObamaCare through Congress. "Are Republicans being genuine in their complaint that this is moving too quickly?" asked Carlos Watson. "Well, yes, I don't think we should pass bills that we haven't read, that we don't know what they cost," Ryan said. "I don't think that's being effusive."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/jacafc5zvs1692883516.jpg

Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

"We want to see health-care reform done, but we want to do it right," he said. "And if you rush this thing through before anybody even knows what it is, that isn't good democracy. That's not doing our work for our constituents. What's wrong with going home for August, having town hall meetings, listening to our constituents, and then coming back in September and doing this right?" Watson offered a counterargument, but Ryan doubled down: "You're right, we could work this thing through, but we shouldn't rush this thing through just to rush it through for some artificial deadline. Let's get this thing done right." Ryan has kindly and transparently kept this interview on his YouTube page.

The AHCA was introduced in committee on March 8, less than two months ago. The House passed their version of ObamaCare in November 2009, three months after Ryan complained that Democrats were moving too quickly, and ObamaCare wasn't signed until March 23, 2010.

To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us