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Collins: Once health bill passes 'we can have the chance to really explain it'

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Chris Collins rarely takes his words right out of the mouth of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

But on an appearance on MSNBC late Thursday, Collins -- one of President Trump's most vociferous supporters -- appeared to echo some controversial comments Pelosi uttered seven years ago.

Serving as House speaker in 2010,the Democratic congresswoman defended the passage of Obamacare amid all the controversy surrounding the bill by saying: "We have to pass the [health care] bill so that you can find out what’s in it....”

And in response to a question about how he can defend the controversial Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare when he returns to his district in April, Collins told MSNBC's Brian Williams: "In my district, right now there’s a lot of misunderstanding about what it is we’re doing and one we get it done, and then we can have the chance to really explain it.”

Not surprisingly, Collins' nemesis of the week -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo -- took to Twitter to lacerate the upstate congressman.

"Unbelievable. Rep. Chris Collins says they have to pass the bill first so they can explain what’s in it," Cuomo tweeted.

Moments later, Cuomo added: "Allow us to explain: 2.7M New Yorkers lose coverage/510K jobs in NYS at risk/$6.9 billion loss in funding."

Cuomo and Collins have been sparring all week over an amendment that Collins and Rep. John Faso, R-Kinderhook, got added to the health law. That proposal would bar the state from charging upstate and Long Island counties for a share of Medicaid costs -- a move that would leave the state's Medicaid program with a $2.3 billion hole.

But the latest dust-up brought to mind how hard Republicans hammered Pelosi over her comments seven years ago.

"No wonder the American people are fed up with Washington," Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., said in response to Pelosi's comments.

Asked to explain Collins' similar comments, Collins' spokesman, Michael McAdams, said: ""Unlike Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats, Congressman Collins is fully aware of what is in this legislation. He has met with hundreds of groups and thousands of constituents to talk about the need to lower premiums, expand consumer choices, and remove job-stifling taxes and regulations, all of which would be accomplished with this bill.

"When answering a question about future meetings in his district, he addressed the reality that the bill is scheduled for a vote today and that he will continue talking with his constituents about health care policies going forward," McAdams added.




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