Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) will deliver the televised Republican response to President Barack Obama's joint address to Congress on Wednesday, the GOP announced on Tuesday.
“Dr. Boustany has been a tireless advocate for reform that lowers health care costs and expands access for the American people at a price our nation can afford,” House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said. “He understands why a Washington bureaucrat – as Democrats have proposed – should never get between a doctor and his patient. I’m pleased Charles has agreed to speak to the American people about a Republican vision for reform and the need for both parties to come together to craft a responsible proposal at a time when people across the country are focused on jobs.”
Boustany, a doctor of more than 20 years, has been one of the GOP's more moderate voices on health care reform. A member of the House's Ways and Means Committee, he has long criticized the bill's price tag and questioned its protections for doctors' rights and end-of-life care. He has also routinely excoriated Senate Democrats for even considering reconciliation, a Senate parliamentary maneuver, to pass a health care reform bill without GOP support.
The decision to tap Boustany arrives only days after Boehner petitioned the major television networks to allot his party time to respond to the president's address. "The opposing party has typically been granted this opportunity not
only in the case of the annual Presidential State of the Union Address
to Congress, but at other times when the President has come before
Congress as well," Boehner wrote in a letter on Friday. The major networks have since agreed to air the brief spot.
"I’m pleased the President will speak to Congress tomorrow night, and I look forward to presenting commonsense reforms that Republicans and all Americans can stand behind,” Boehner said on Wednesday.
Interestingly enough, it is the the second time Republicans have tapped a Louisiana lawmaker to deliver a response to Obama.