At some point you think the embarrassment would get to be too much for either Sheila Jackson Lee or her constituents. Evidently, we're not to that point yet.
Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas) claimed that there was no financial penalty for not having health insurance under the new health care law, saying that it was in fact an "incentive" to get people to do the right thing.
At a House Judiciary Committee hearing about the individual mandate to buy insurance, Jackson-Lee said, "I would make the argument, one, that it [the individual mandate] is an incentive to do right - that it is not penalizing you because a penalty is punishment, and you're not punished if you have health insurance, in fact.
"And so, you are in fact incentivized to have health insurance rather than take the negative, which is to suggest that because you have a penalty you're being punished," she said.
Honestly, I find it beyond frightening that a member of Congress can be this uninformed about the very legislation that they are voting for and defending. Here's the verbatim text from the legislation:
"If an applicable individual fails to meet the requirement of subsection (a) [have government-approved insurance]... there is hereby imposed a penalty with respect to the individual, Section 5000A of the law reads."
Another section of the health care law, entitled "Payment of Penalty," stipulates that if an individual fails to carry a government-approved health insurance policy for any month during the year, they must pay a maximum penalty of $750.
Of course, there is always the possibility that Jackson-Lee isn't stunningly uninformed about what she's discussing. She might really know what the legislation says and does. In that case she's a liar. Either option isn't flattering for her or those who continue to elect her.