Rep. Joe Kennedy III slams Paul Ryan, GOP for 'act of malice' Obamacare repeal

Rep. Joseph Kennedy III defended Planned Parenthood and slammed the GOP's American Health Care Act multiple times this week, over the course of a 27-hour committee hearing.

Kennedy, who has served as the representative for Massachusetts' 4th District for three terms, sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee -- a body that hotly debated the GOP's newly unveiled American Health Care Act, and eventually moved to pass AHCA legislation in a 31-23 vote.

Before the vote, though, the grandson of late Robert F. Kennedy made sure his concerns were heard when he called the Republican-crafted Obamacare replacement an "act of malice."

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"I was struck last night by a comment I heard made by Speaker Ryan, where he called this repeal bill, quote, an 'act of mercy,'" Kennedy started. "With all due respect to our speaker, he and I must have read different scripture."

"The one that I read calls on us to feed the hungry, feed the naked, to shelter the homeless and to comfort the sick. It reminds us that we are judged not by how we treat the powerful, but how we care for the least among us," Kennedy continued.

"There is no mercy in a system that makes healthcare a luxury. There is no mercy in a country that turns its back on those in most need of protection -- the elderly, the poor, the sick and the suffering. There is no mercy in a cold shoulder to the mentally ill. There is no mercy in a policy that takes for granted the sweat, the tears and the sacrifice of working Americans that they shed every day so that they might care for their family's basic needs: food, shelter, health and hope for tomorrow. There is no mercy for the 2.6 million people who will lose their job if Obamacare is repealed. This is not an act of mercy. It's an act of malice.

Watch Rep. Kennedy's full remarks below:

The Democratic official also spoke during the hearing in strong support of an amendment on behalf of the seven Planned Parenthood clinics in Massachusetts that Kennedy says serve roughly 33,000 patients per year.

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"Yesterday we spoke of mercy -- for the elderly, the poor, the sick and the suffering who this legislation clearly leaves behind. But this is about more than mercy, it is about common decency," Kennedy wrote in a statement released after the committee vote. "Because there is nothing more universally human than the stubborn truth that fortunes change. That no one among us is immune to illness or addiction or bad luck or real loss. So we fortify a system of shared protections that are deep and strong enough to catch any brother or sister who falls. Shame on those who take that protection for granted."

The AHCA has passed the House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce committees. It now moves to the House Budget Committee.

Graphiq