Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) did not discount what he called “public reports” that Republican lawmakers were drinking on the job, telling Salon that it was affecting their job performance.
“It’s a fact we all have to live with,” Grayson said in an interview published on Tuesday. “It’s making them violent and abusive towards America.”
Grayson did not identify any Congress members by name, but told Salon that “you can smell alcohol on their breath as they’re voting gleefully to shut down the government and create chaos.”
Huffington Post correspondent Jennifer Bendery wrote on Twitter on Monday night that, “About every other House lawmaker I just talked to smelled like booze. It’s only 9pm.” Bendery’s account corroborates a Post report from Saturday that other media members witnessed or smelled unidentified lawmakers drinking in the midst of negotiations over shuttering government offices.
Grayson also accused House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) of stymieing a vote on a “clean” continuing resolution — one providing funding for the government that also includes the Affordable Care Act — out of self-preservation.
“He enjoys his golf games with the president, and he doesn’t want to lose that perk, and so he’s desperate to maintain his relevance, and that means maintaining his position at all costs,” Grayson told Salon. “Even the kind of costs we’re seeing now for the country.”
While Republican opposition has hinged on the new healthcare law, Grayson also accused Republicans of wanting to roll back other public health programs, such as the mandate requring emergency rooms to provide health care for patients unable to pay for their services.
“When you talk to them privately, what you find is that if they could repeal Medicare they would,” Grayson argued to Salon. “If they could repeal Medicaid they would. They are literally offended by the idea that people would get the care they need to stay healthy or alive even though they can’t afford it. They regard it as some kind of crime against nature.”
[Image via MSNBC]