Before the Senate moved to begin debate on repealing Obamacare, a Senate subcommittee hearing saw Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine and Democratic Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island get caught on a hot mic, with Reed calling President Donald Trump “crazy” and Collins responding: “I’m worried.” It’s a reminder that the lawmakers on Capitol Hill aren’t just machines voting along party lines. They also have concerns about what’s happening in the White House, just like their constituents.
It’s currently unclear whose mic was on at the time, but the Washington Post transcribed Collins beginning the dialogue exasperated, discussing cuts to various budgets: “I swear, [the Office of Management and Budget] just went through and whenever there was ‘grant,’ they just X it out with no measurement, no thinking about it, no metrics, no nothing. It’s just incredibly irresponsible.” Reed replies with a supposed reference to the President: “Yes, I think — I think he’s crazy. I mean, I don’t say that lightly and as a kind of a goofy guy.”
The dialogue continues into both lawmakers openly wondering what’s going to happen if a budget isn’t settled soon:
“You know, this thing — if we don’t get a budget deal, we’re going to be paralyzed.” “I know,” Collins replies.
“[Department of Defense] is going to be paralyzed, everybody is going to be paralyzed,” Reed says.
“I don’t think he knows there is a [Budget Control Act] or anything,” Collins says, referring to a 2011 law that defines the budget process.
“You’ve got [Budget Director Mick] Mulvaney saying we’re going to put in all sorts of stuff like a border wall. Then you’ve got [Treasury Secretary Steve] Mnuchin saying it’s got to be clean,” Reed continues. “We’re going to be back in September, and, you know, you’re going to have crazy people in the House.”
The conversation then shifts to Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas, who recently said of his female GOP Senators who voted against repealing Obamacare: “if it was a guy from south Texas I might ask him to step outside and settle this Aaron Burr-style.”