Rep. Steve Knight silent as Senate passes bill stripping health care, hiking taxes on his own constituents

Rep. Knight hoped that the Senate would improve the much-maligned House tax bill. But the Senate only made it worse.

After facing intense backlash for his crucial vote in support of the House-passed tax bill, Rep. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) said he would “wait and see” what the Senate passed.

While the bill supported by Knight in the House was bad for Californians, the Senate version would be catastrophic. It fixes none of the problems that made the House bill a tax hike for Californians, and it includes a partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Yet Knight hasn’t bothered to make any public comment about the Senate bill — not through his official Congressional office, his Facebook page, nor his Twitter account.

The partial repeal of the ACA would cause 13 million people to lose their health care, including an estimated 34,000 in Knight’s district. A full repeal of the ACA, supported by Knight earlier this year, would have caused more than 2.6 million Californians to lose their health insurance, including more than 46,000 of Knight’s own constituents.

Constituents have taken to social media to lambaste Knight for his support of the House version of the bill, and Knight’s silence is worrisome.

In the coming weeks, a conference committee of senators and representatives will sort out differences between the two bills. That compromise bill will then go to both the House and Senate for approval.

His silence on the Senate bill, and what he would like to see in a compromise bill, is in contrast to bravado before the original House bill. Prior to the House bill, Knight said that his “number one priority” was ensuring that California residents would not be unduly burdened with more taxes related to state and local taxes.

Yet when he failed to incorporate his top priority, Knight betrayed his own word — and his constituents — and supported the bill without hesitation.

In the past, Knight has been more willing to take orders from Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan, the Republican Speaker of the House, than open to listening to his own constituents.

Since Republicans are hoping to finish the bill before the end of the year, Knight will have to break his silence at some point. Maybe he is just waiting for Speaker Ryan to give him permission.