First lesson for Harris: What happens in DC won't stay in DC
It didn't take long for Andy Harris to have his Welcome to the Big Leagues moment in Washington.
On the first day of orientation for new House members, the Congressman-elect from Baltimore County asked a question about health benefits at a closed-door session. Within hours, if not minutes, the exchange got out, and Harris was being slapped around on the Internet.
Politico, which broke the story, portrayed him as an anti-Obamacare Republican greedy to get his hands on government-subsidized health benefits. The paper reported Harris "demanding to know" why he couldn't get coverage the day he was sworn in and reacting "incredulously" when told he'd have to wait a month before the coverage started. (It's the law, apparently).
Harris's spokeswoman Anna Nix was quoted as saying that Harris was merely pointing out the inefficiency of government-run health care. But that's not the way it came out in the piece by Glenn Thrush, which noted that Harris had attacked incumbent Rep. Frank Kratovil over the health care issue, even though the Democrat voted against the legislation.
A spokesman for Kratovil, who lost to Harris earlier this month, was quick to jump on the story.
"Despite railing against the evils of government-subsidized health care for the last two years, Andy Harris chose to introduce himself on the national stage yesterday by demanding earlier access to his taxpayer-subsidized government health care benefits, and expressing shock that he would instead be treated like all other federal employees in having to wait 30 days for his coverage to kick in," said Kevin Lawlor in an email. "It has taken Rep.-Elect Harris less than two weeks to start grabbing national headlines for his arrogance and sense of entitlement."