Rutland County Sen. Kevin Mullin is the latest GOP lawmaker in Vermont to appear on Fox News to address comments by MIT economist Jonathan Gruber that have come to light in recent weeks. Senate Minority Leader Joe Benning of Caledonia County appeared on the network earlier this week.
Mullin said dealing with the fallout of Gruber’s comments is “a complicated issue.” The Shumlin administration announced Wednesday that Gruber will no longer receive payment for his work, but his team of researchers and graduate assistants will continue to be paid.
“The state’s in the position where the work is almost finished, but it’s going to be a work that the public is not going to have confidence in,” Mullin said.
During a 2011 hearing of the House Health Care Committee, then-Chairman Mark Larson read aloud comments written by John McClaughry, a former state senator and policy advisor for President Ronald Reagan. McClaughry, in his published commentary, said Shumlin’s health care proposal would lead to higher taxes, ballooning costs, poor health care facilities, disgruntled providers and long waits for care, among other concerns.
“Was this written by my adolescent children by any chance?” Gruber asks on a video recorded by True North Reports and released last week to the online site Watchdog.org.
In other videos that came to light last week Gruber credited “the stupidity of the American voter” with getting the federal Affordable Care Act passed.
Asked if Vermonters could trust Gruber, Mullin’s answer was clear. “Absolutely not,” he said.
“No one in Vermont is defending Professor Gruber. Everyone is very, very disappointed and we’re trying to make the best of a very bad situation,” Mullin said.
What would Mullin say to Gruber if given that opportunity?
“I would just let him know that he should be ashamed. That despite his obvious abilities as far as an economist and a mathematician, that the American people can make informed decisions, that it needs to be a transparent and open government and that’s not the way to conduct oneself,” Mullin said.