-Written By Phocion
You may or may not be aware, but this week the President and Congressional Republicans released TrumpCare: their most luxurious, gold-plated, "wonderful" solution for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. Sure, this plan – tarred and feathered from all sides of the aisle – will cause health insurance premiums to skyrocket even further, potentially pushing tens of millions of Americans off their health insurance, make insurance too expensive for the sick and working class while cutting taxes for insurance company CEOs, defund Planned Parenthood, reduce money to fight cancer, gut Medicaid, and strip away substance abuse and mental health treatment for 1.3 million Americans, BUT THAT IS NOT WHY WE'RE HERE!
TrumpCare finally (finally!) gives the American people what they elected him to do and repeals the tax on tanning beds.*
*That sound you hear are the giddy shrieks of thousands of potential prom queens up and down the Jersey Shore. Also, these guys are pretty excited about it, too.
Now again, sure, we should probably shouldn't be making it easier for citizens to give themselves skin cancer for obvious reasons, as many have argued…
…but one brave Congressman is prepared to push back against the HATERS and LOSERS looking out for public health.
Enter: Representative Jason Smith, a Republican from Missouri's 8th Congressional District.
- The Place: House Ways and Means Committee, 1100 Longworth House Office Building, 1 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003
- The Time: Around 9pm ET
- The Situation: Debate, markup, and passage of the TrumpCare bill in committee… (only days after it was introduced, before the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office could even calculate the cost of the bill and how many people may lose health insurance, and jammed through in the middle of the night. The exact scenario that the GOP endlessly bitched about eight years ago during the ACA fights. And yet, some wonder why people despise politics so much. Ugh.)
Anyways. We're a few hours into the markup, and Congressmen are volleying back and forth about the tanning bed provision when it gets to Representative Smith, who is ready to drop the mic and shut this whole thing down.
First, Rep. Smith wants to make it clear that he is a card-carrying feminist. He won't stand for a tax that is paid 80% by women. Again, he may be totally fine with defunding Planned Parenthood, but he will not stand for a War on Women by way of the tanning bed tax. And how does Rep. Smith, distinguished member of the United States House of Representatives know about this 80% figure? Did he ask one of his staffers to get the numbers from the Congressional Research Service? No. He Google'd it. Like any red-blooded American, Rep. Smith Google'd it, and he is proud of it.
And if we can just pause a moment to appreciate the coolness, the calmness, the confidence, and the looong, dramatic pauses like he's laying out the evidence before he unveils to everybody that he's figured out the identity of the real killer. A mixture of the stand-up routines of Pete Holmes and Todd Barry with a sprinkle of CSI Miami's Horatio Caine – it's an Oscar-worthy bit of performance art.
Nevertheless, Rep. Smith is not done EVISCERATING this tax. He points out that he loves ice cream and that it is not healthy for him.
* yeah, we can tell*
But it isn't taxed! If tanning beds are taxed, why isn't my beloved ice cream taxed, he wondered.
Rep. Levin, defending ice cream and all that is holy, was quick to point out, "Sorry bro, but ice cream doesn't cause cancer like tanning beds. That's just the facts, b"*
*Not a direct quote, I'm told. *
Then comes the moment that Rep. Smith decides to drop the hammer.
"If you look at the number one cause of cancer, it’s not tanning beds. Do a Google search. It’s the sun."
Rep. Smith and Google are here to tell you that:
Rep. Levin (D-MI09) claps back with some humor. “I’ll tell you why, because it’s a little hard to tax the sun.” The committee laughs. And it's cutting. Rep. Smith, who came out swinging is now backed into a corner and on the ropes.
His only remaining move: throw Spain under the bus, claiming that "Spain taxes the sun" (when Spain actually taxes solar panels).
(Head to the 1:30 mark. Or, watch the whole thing, I guess. It’s really up to you.)
His colleagues are skeptical, to say the least. But, Rep. Smith says he'll send them an article defending his claim.
Presumably one he looked up on Google.