ABC’s Bill Weir: Voters Sent Senator Landrieu to Washington to ‘Get as Much Sausage’ as Possible

Good Morning America’s Bill Weir on Sunday defended the $300 million in pork that Senator Mary Landrieu acquired for her state, spinning, "The people of Louisiana sent her to Washington to get as much sausage as they could, you know, she could."

Landrieu provided the 60th vote on Saturday to bring the Senate’s health care bill up for debate. In return, millions in new funding will go to Louisiana. Guest George Stephanopoulos touted the money as a real bargain: "But I think Democrats are saying it's a pretty cheap vote. $300 million. Without Senator Landrieu's vote yesterday, this bill would have died, would have been very difficult to put it back together."

It didn’t seem to occur to either Stephanopoulos or Weir that one job of a senator might be to not waste millions in taxpayer money.

Just prior to that exchange, Weir actually demonstrated the dense, indecipherable language of the health care bill. Standing in front of all 2000 pages of the legislation, he quoted:

BILL WEIR: And here's a sample from page 432: "The federal medical assistance percentage determined for a disaster-recovery FMAP adjustment State stated under paragraph 1 shall apply for purposes of this title, other than with respect to the disproportionate share hospital payments-" bear with me, I'm getting to the good part- "described in the section 1920-" Actually, there is no good part. It goes on like that for 2000 pages. And translated into English, that one passage would expand Medicaid to states that have had experienced a disaster in the last seven years. But, only one really state fits that description. So, they could have saved four pages with one word- Louisiana.

Weir explained, "And why does this bill randomly devote four pages and least $100 million to Louisiana? Well, because Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu was among the Democrats threatening to kill this bill." He then launched into his "sausage" defense.

A transcript of the November 22 segment, which aired at 8:05am EST, follows:

BILL WEIR: [Weir is standing next to the 2000 page health care bill.] And here’s the quote of the morning. It was German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck who said if you like laws and sausage, you should never watch either being made. And that 100-year-old quip took on new meaning this week for anyone who actually tried to read this behemoth. And here's a sample from page 432: "The federal medical assistance percentage determined for a disaster-recovery FMAP adjustment State stated under paragraph 1 shall apply for purposes of this title, other than with respect to the disproportionate share hospital payments-" bear with me, I’m getting to the good part- "described in the section 1920-" Actually, there is no good part. It goes on like that for 2000 pages. And translated into English, that one passage would expand Medicaid to states that have had experienced a disaster in the last seven years. But, only one really state fits that description. So, they could have saved four pages with one word- Louisiana. And why does this bill randomly devote four pages and least $100 million to Louisiana? Well, because Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu was among the Democrats threatening to kill this bill.

SENATOR MARY LANDRIEU (D-Louisiana): I am not going to be defensive about asking for help in this situation. And it is not $100 million fix. It's a $300 million fix.

WEIR: There you go. That's a lot of kielbasa. And for the bottom line on this, let's bring in George Stephanopoulos, host of This Week. Getting ready, George. The wheeling and dealing is just beginning, I imagine. And the people of- Well, they voted- The people of Louisiana sent her to Washington to get as much sausage as they could, you know, she could. What's at stake for the people at Nebraska and Arkansas?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, we'll find out. I have Senator Ben Nelson on the program later. But I think Democrats are saying it's a pretty cheap vote. $300 million. Without Senator Landrieu’s vote yesterday, this bill would have died, would have been very difficult to put it back together. So, they say, it was important- they also would argue that this money is justified. Louisiana has been awful hard hit and they need this kind of help. But, this is only the beginning of the wheeling and dealing. You've got at least three or four senators, like Mary Landrieu, you showed, like Ben Nelson who is on my program today. Like Blanche Lincoln, the Senator from Arkansas. Like Joe Lieberman from Connecticut who could hold this bill hostage in the coming weeks. And they’re going to demand several things One thing they're all unified on, as Rachel reported, the public health insurance option in this bill will have to come out or be dramatically changed for them to allow this bill to go forward.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org