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Taking GOPer Bachmann a Bit Too Seriously

2:10 PM EDT on July 10, 2009

Back when the Senate kicked off its health care debate, Republicans tested out a new line of attack against health committee chairman Edward Kennedy's (D-MA) draft bill: Its investment in encouraging walking and biking amounts to inexcusable government waste.

Never mind that walking and biking have scientifically proven public health benefits. Never mind that the Federal Highway Administration is already promoting the activities the new health care bill would expand.

b4eb3_bachmann_crazy.jpgRep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN): Walking and biking don't belong in a health care bill. (Photo: More About Politics)

The Republicans pushed their anti-pork line against the legislation's "community transformation" grants for a time. But Sen. Mike Enzi (WY), the health committee's senior GOPer, ultimately failed in a bid to prevent the bill from spending money on sidewalks, bike paths, streetlights, and other health-related infrastructure items.

The House has recently begun its health care discussions, however. And none other than Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) -- whose greatest hits include calling for an investigation into the president's patriotism -- is on the case against the bill's proposed public health grants.

Bachmann wrote on her blog:

Essentially, we’re talking about federal funding for bike paths, lighting, jungle gyms, and even farmers markets.

Inthe House bill, at least the spending is capped -- $1.6 billion peryear.  The Senate bill leaves the sky the limit – leaving the amount ofspending up to the Obama Administration.

Whilethese projects may have merit, they certainly don't belong in a healthcare reform package.  With priorities like this running amok on CapitolHill, is there any doubt that health care costs will only continue toskyrocket under government-run health care?

To return to an earlier theme, let's take Bachmann a bit too seriously for a moment. The chances that she will actually vote for Democratic health legislation are effectively zero. So we can safely assume that her goal here is to burnish her fiscal-conservative credentials by picking a project to deride as "pork."

How about the government's estimated $1 billion in unnecessary Medicare payments? Was Bachmann at all concerned when health industry lobbies said they'd rather not be bound by White House savings targets? Apparently not; it's people walking more that truly frightens the congresswoman.

(h/t Minnesota Independent)

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