In Context: Orrin Hatch's comments about CHIP, people who 'won’t lift a finger' to help themselves
Joe Scarborough seized on a statement by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, that the MSNBC host found "cold and callous" during the final push to pass a tax bill. Scarborough accused Hatch of linking Children’s Health Insurance Program recipients to people who "won’t lift a finger" to help themselves.
Scarborough’s tweet said, "@SenOrrinHatch talking about children's health care: ‘I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves – won’t lift a finger – and expect the federal government to do everything.’"
Scarborough has since deleted the original tweet but went on to defend his comment, tweeting "I'll take down my tweet if anyone thinks it is misleading. Looking at the full context of the speech, it accurately reflects his views: Republicans don't have money for CHIP because: 1/ we spend too much money on poor people, and, 2/ we must give tax cuts to the rich."
Since the initial tweet, reporters and pundits like CNN host Jake Tapper came to Hatch’s defense, saying that the circulating quote was not in reference to CHIP. Hatch, who wrote the Children’s Health Insurance Program that passed in 1997, has not commented on the matter but has retweeted reporters coming to his defense.
Since the funding lapsed on Oct. 1, the program has been at risk of being cut.
Here, we’d like to show our reader’s Hatch’s comments in full context.
Hatch made these statements while being questioned by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, about the Senate GOP tax reform bill on Nov. 30. Brown challenged Hatch’s support of the bill when the money could be allocated to funding CHIP.
Here is Hatch’s response (the bold emphasis is ours):
"Nobody believes in the CHIP program more than I. I invented it. I was the one who wrote it. Kennedy came over and became the one who helped put it through.
"Of course I do. I don’t think I do everything on my own here. I’ve got to have good Democrat friends to do it. I don’t think you do either. But let me tell you something. We’re going to do CHIP, there’s no question about it in my mind. It has to be done the right way. But we -- the reason CHIP is having trouble is because we don’t have money anymore. We just add more and more spending and more and more spending, and you can look at the rest of the bill for the more and more spending. I happen to think CHIP has done a terrific job for for people who really needed the help. I have taken the position around here my whole Senate service. I believe in helping those who cannot help themselves but would if they could. I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the federal government to do everything.
"Unfortunately, the liberal philosophy has created million of people that way who believe everything they are or ever hope to be depends upon the federal government rather than the opportunities that this great country grants them. I’ve got to say I think it’s pretty hard to argue against these comments, because if you look it over, for decades now, we have been spending more than we have been spending more than we having, building more and more federal programs. Some of which are lousy, some of which are well intended, and of which are actually good like the CHIP program. We’re going to get CHIP through. There is no question about that. I’m going to see that it gets through."