“If I become president, I will repeal Obamacare,” Mitt Romney declared when he was running for president, pushing back against conservative attacks on the health care legislation he signed into law as governor of Massachusetts. “My bill was 70 pages. His bill is 2,700 pages.”
For years, conservatives such as Romney made the length of Obamacare one of the major attacks on the health care law. It was used to convey the idea that it was too complex, too expensive, and too intrusive.
Yet Republicans are on the verge of joining Democrats in supporting a bill that’s even longer, and Romney has served as one of the bill’s primary negotiators.
Though there are a number of different versions of Obamacare, the closest parallel to the current piece of Senate legislation is the version of Obamacare that passed the Senate on Christmas Eve 2009. That version was 2,409 pages long.
Yet the bipartisan infrastructure package — released in the dead of night (to use a popular Obama ere Republican term) — has clocked in at 2,702 pages.
In reality, of course, the length of legislation is less important than what’s in it. In this case, it’s more significant that this bill contains hundreds of billions of dollars in unnecessary spending and questionable “pay fors.” But, in a small way, it’s another demonstration of how the Republican Party has shifted away from its traditional posture of claiming concern for excessive government spending when Democrats are in power.
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