March 31, 2011 10:15 am ET - by Matt Finkelstein
Last night on the House floor, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) offered a bizarre new theory about President Obama's decision to intervene in the Libyan crisis. In the midst of a rant about health care reform, Gohmert nonsensically suggested that Obama might be trying to "deplete the military" in Libya, so he can call up the Commission Corps established in the Affordable Care Act:
GOHMERT: It's a bad bill. And then when you find out that the prior Congress not only passed that 2,800 page bill with all kinds of things in it, including a new president's commissioned officer corps and non-commissioned officer corps. Do we really need that? I wondered when I read that in the bill. But then when you find out we're being sent to Libya to use our treasure and American lives there, maybe there's intention to so deplete the military that we're going to need that presidential reserve officer commissioned corps and non-commissioned corps that the president can call up on a moment's notice involuntarily, according to the Obamacare bill.
Despite the claims in right-wing chain emails, the health care law did not give Obama some sort of "private army." The legislation did create the Ready Reserve Corps, a new component of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, but there was nothing nefarious about it. The purpose of the Ready Reserve Corps is simply to make the Public Health Service — which previously "did not have a reserve component to call upon" in times of crisis — better prepared to respond to emergencies.
As FactCheck.org noted after the bill passed, "The truth about the new Ready Reserve Corps is a lot less interesting than the conspiracy theories." But of course, Gohmert has always been more interested in conspiracy theories than the truth.
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