Senators use Twitter to argue about ‘death panels’

Sens. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) took to Twitter Friday to clash over comments the latter made regarding end-of-life provisions included in healthcare reform legislation.

Specter initiated the tussle, tweeting about a call he made to Grassley’s office.

“Called Senator Grassley to tell him to stop speading (sic) myths about health care reform and imaginary ‘death panels,’ Specter said on Twitter. “Had to leave a message – for now. I will talk to him soon.”

The Pennsylvania Democrat’s phone call demonstrates growing tension between his party and Grassley, who is the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee and lead GOP negotiator on healthcare reform.

Earlier this week, the Iowa Republican echoed claims first made by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) that the provision would create a government “death panel” that will decide end-of-life issues.

Such decisions “ought to be done within the family. We should not have a government program that determines if you’re going to pull the plug on Grandma,” Grassley said.

Just under one hour later, Grassley tweeted a response to Specter’s “death panel” claim. 

The five-term senator objected to Specter’s charge that he used the phrase “death panel.”

“Specter got it all wrong that I ever used words ‘death boards’. Even liberal press never accused me of that. So change ur (sic) last Tweet Arlen,” Grassley tweeted.

Specter and Grassley’s Twitter feud is a rare instance of lawmakers exchanging barbs using the microblogging site.

Grassley did receive flack from some media outlets for taking a hard line against the end-of-life provisions.  He announced Thursday that the Finance Committee would drop end-of-life provisions from its version of the bill “because of the way they could be misinterpreted and implemented incorrectly.”

UPDATED Specter backs down from ‘death panel’ barb at Grassley

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) on Friday afternoon backed down from comments he made on Twitter accusing Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) of spreading “myths” about “death panels.”
The fifth-term Democrat took to Twitter again:

 

Senator Grassley is not available on the phone today, but I will talk to him as soon as possible to clarify his position on living wills.

I believe it is appropriate to council people on their choices, but no one should tell anyone else

what to do about health care near the end of their lives.

Specter seems to have moderated his comments on the end-of-life provisions included in some versions of healthcare reform legislation.

Earlier on Friday, Specter accused Grassley of spreading fear that the government would create a “death panel” if health reform passed, an assertion former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) first made this week.

Grassley never used the phrase himself, but said yesterday that such decisions ‘ought to be done within the family. We should not have a government program that determines if you’re going to pull the plug on grandma.”

After reading Specter’s remarks, Grassley tweeted:

Specter got it all wrong that I ever used words “death boards”. Even liberal press never accused me of that. So change ur last Tweet Arlen

The Senate Finance Committee, of which Grassley is ranking member, removed an end-of-life clause from the committee’s version of the bill that provided incentives for doctors to consult with patients on care in case of a terminal illness or other life-threatening ailment.

The Iowa Republican said the committee removed the provision “because of the way they could be misinterpreted and implemented incorrectly.”

Cross-posted to the Briefing Room

UPDATED [5:07pm]: Specter tweets he will try to persuade Grassley to keep end-of-life clause in the Finance Committee bill:

I will try to persuade Senator Grassley that the availability of counseling is appropriate and should be included in health care reform.

 

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Advertisements
Published in: on August 15, 2009 at 4:51 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://independenteyesonamerica.wordpress.com/2009/08/15/senators-use-twitter-to-argue-about-death-panels/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: