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Found on the Internets …
In a floor speech yesterday in opposition to the Republican Party’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) spoke of health care as a right not a privilege – and vowed to fight any repeal.
Rep. Lewis, rising:
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my friend for yielding. Mr. Speaker, I rise to oppose this bill.
As elected representatives, we have a mission, an obligation, and a mandate to fight for each and every American. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, who will stand for the American people? Who will speak up for those who have been left out and left behind?
Mr. Speaker, I have said it time and time again — health care is a right. It is not a privilege reserved for a wealthy few. For what does it profit this body to pass this bill and lose our soul? This bill is a shame. It is a disgrace.
Mr. Speaker, today my heart breaks for the disabled, for women, for seniors, and working families. My heart aches for those who are living paycheck-to-paycheck. My heart mourns for innocent, little children whose very life depends on if their families can pay the bills. This is the right and wrong of it. This is the heart and soul of the matter. We cannot abandon our principles. Mr. Speaker, we cannot forget our values.
I have fought too hard and too long to back down now. I will fight any bill that turns the clock back to a darker time. I will fight every single attempt to turn a deaf ear, a blind eye, and a cold shoulder to the sick, to our seniors, and to working families. Mr. Speaker, I will fight every day, every hour, every minute, and every second. I will oppose this bill with every breath and every bone in my body.
We must not give up. We cannot – I will not — give in. Not today, not tomorrow, and never ever. On this bill, there is only one option – and that option is to vote NO. You can do better. Mr. Speaker, you must do better. Vote no on this bill!
(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)
(Link to Nancy Pelosi Newsroom here)
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) delivered the Weekly Democratic Party Address
“Last summer, a foreign power intervened in our presidential election in an effort to influence the outcome on behalf of one of the candidates.
“That power was Russia, and the candidate was Donald J. Trump, now President of the United States. This is not a story made up to discredit Mr. Trump, but the consensus conclusion of the entire U.S. intelligence community.
“More ominously, the intelligence community has concluded Vladimir Putin ordered this meddling and will do it again.
“Congress launched an investigation into how the Russians intervened, how we must protect our democracy in the future, and whether persons affiliated with the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in this effort to undermine our democracy.
“During this week’s hearing, FBI Director Comey revealed for the first time that he is conducting an investigation into whether Trump campaign personnel coordinated their efforts with the Russians, or acted as agents of a foreign power.
“The FBI investigation began in July of last year, based on credible information or evidence to warrant that extraordinary step. That timing is significant.
“It was in July that Paul Manafort was Trump campaign manager, that Trump foreign policy advisor Carter Page travelled to Moscow, that the Trump campaign intervened to defeat a provision in the Republican party platform hostile to Russian interests in Ukraine, and most significant, it was July when Russia began weaponizing the information it had stolen in an effort to attack Hillary Clinton.
“Congress should establish an independent commission that has the staff, resources and single-minded focus necessary to investigate this matter.
“Most important, as the events of this week demonstrate, an independent commission will be able to conduct its work insulated from any political interference.
“The President believes this investigation as an attempt to undermine his legitimacy or credibility. It is not. Only the President is capable of doing that, and regrettably, he is at great risk of doing so.
“During our hearing, Director Comey also testified that there was absolutely no basis for the President’s startling accusation that his predecessor had wiretapped him in Trump tower.
“This was revealed to be utter nonsense.
“When a President of the United States makes claims that are proved baseless, it weakens the Presidency and undermines our security and standing in the world.
“Presidential credibility, once squandered, may never be fully regained.
“If the President should one day assert that North Korea has placed a nuclear weapon on a ballistic missile and action is necessary, it will be an enormous problem should that be untrue.
“If it is true, it may be an even bigger problem if the President has lost the capacity to persuade our allies of the facts, let alone the American people.
“Mr. President, I implore you, the country implores you, you have chosen two superb people to guide you, in General Mattis and General McMaster.
“Seek their counsel. Listen to what they have to say.
“And cherish the trust and hope that was placed in you by virtue of your office, by never again advancing claims that you know – or should know – are simply not true.
Leader Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference on Thursday:
Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference
Leader Pelosi. Good morning, everyone. I was hoping that my grandson Thomas and his brother Paul could shadow me into this room today as they are shadowing me on the Hill. We have many young women from Spelman College also shadowing Members on the Hill today.
What a day for them to come because today marks seven years since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act. It was a great day for our country because the Affordable Care Act stands there strongly with Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, as pillars of economic and health security for the American people.
This historic law made immense progress in expanding coverage and lowering costs for hard-working American families. Improving quality, the ACA instituted landmark protections for every American: no annual lifetime limits; no discriminating on a preexisting condition; children allowed to stay on their parent’s policy until 26 years old; no charging women more for health coverage, being a woman is no longer a preexisting medical condition; and it guaranteed coverage for essential health care, including maternity care, mental health, and addiction rehab.
More than 20 million people, previously uninsured Americans, now have health coverage. The percentage of uninsured Americans is at its lowest ever, a very important point. Since enactment of the ACA, health care costs have been increasing at the lowest rate in the 50 years that this measure has been taken. So it has lowered costs, improved quality, and expanded coverage.
Today, the Republicans are trying to push millions of hard-working American people off of their health coverage and to make health care more expensive for everyone else. Here’s what TrumpCare means for the American people:
Higher cost. TrumpCare forces families to pay higher premiums and deductibles, increasing out‑of‑pocket cost. Higher premiums. That’s a message of the Freedom Caucus, higher premiums, and they are right on that score. Less coverage. TrumpCare will take away health care from 24 million hard-working Americans. A crushing age tax. TrumpCare forces Americans age 50 to 64 to pay premiums five times higher than what others pay for health coverage no matter how healthy they are.
It steals from Medicare. TrumpCare shortens the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by 3 years and ransacks those funds of Medicaid that seniors depend on to get the long‑term care they need, whether in a facility or to stay in their own homes.
It also affects people with disabilities or addiction, et cetera, especially meeting the needs of America’s children who need that assistance.
As bad as TrumpCare was, Republicans have been up all night trying to make it worse. They are scrambling to find a bill that they can pass on the floor. I don’t know if you want to call this, on Trump’s part, a rookie’s error, but you don’t find a day and say ‘we’re going to pass a bill.’ You build your consensus in your caucus, and when you’re ready, you set the date to bring it to the floor.
But so eager were they to, I don’t know, to be mean‑spirited, to say we are going to bring up this bill on the same day as the seventh anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, rookie’s error, Donald Trump. You may be a great negotiator. Rookie’s error for bringing this up on a day when clearly you’re not ready.
And how are they moving to get ready? Here’s how they’re moving. Now we hear Republicans are planning changes to destroy the protections of more than 155 million Americans who get coverage through their employers, eliminating essential health benefits.
You’ve probably seen – I don’t have it here – but essential health benefits that were something we’re very proud of in the Affordable Care Act, I’ll just say that the essential health benefits means Republicans are making being a woman a preexisting condition again. Stripping guaranteed maternity care is a pregnancy tax, pure and simple. Stripping guaranteed maternity care is a pregnancy tax, pure and simple. Pure and simple.
Worsening the addiction epidemic and making it harder to access mental health care, making it more expensive to be sick in America, well, that’s their goal, to Make America Sick Again. Speaker Ryan has called this bill an act of mercy. An act of mercy. There is no mercy here. TrumpCare is a moral monstrosity that will devastate seniors and hard-working Americans.
I talked about what they had been talking about in the essential health benefits. Now, in order to get votes on the far, far right, they are looking at other items, including at Title I in the Affordable Care Act. You probably have this list. These are some of the things we are very proud of that are in the Affordable Care Act that they are now looking at. This will all hurt America’s working families.
And it’s a remarkable thing. It’s clear that this is not a health care bill. This is a tax bill. This is once again Republicans never missing an opportunity to give a tax break to the high end. This is about the biggest transfer of wealth from working class families and those who aspire to the middle class to the richest people in America.
It’s amazing. More than $600 billion transferred upward at the expense of working families. Ironically, some of these families are people who voted for Trump. In some areas, 57 percent of the people who voted for Trump are on the Affordable Care Act. That will be taken away from them, those red areas. That money will probably go with blue areas. Interesting, isn’t it? All terrible.
So in any case, I’ve told the Republicans, and we worked for several hours in the Rules Committee last night, Republicans vote to destroy health care coverage, especially in this brutal form, well, that vote is going to be tattooed to their heads. They can’t say, “Donald Trump made me do it.” He’s not their boss. Their constituents are their bosses. And this vote, as I say, will be their tattoo.
As you know, yesterday, in another diversionary tactic, the Deflector-in-Chief created some kind of a scenario where he either duped or the Chairman of the committee was a willing stooge, he committed a stunt with the White House yesterday raising questions about Chairman Nunes’ impartiality, especially given his history as a part of the Trump transition team.
The Republicans are grasping at straws after their embarrassing performance on Monday, a place where FBI Director Comey confirmed that President Obama did not wiretap President Trump, affirmed an FBI investigation to links and coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign and into whether there was any coordination or connection between the campaign and Russia’s effort to undermine America’s election.
The necessity of an independent investigation is increasingly being recognized. I think that when Chairman Nunes acted the way he did, outside the circle of respect for his committee and his Members and his Ranking Member, outside the circle of just, again, respect for the responsibility that he has as chairman of the Intelligence Committee by being a stooge for the President of the United States, going to him, going to the Speaker, and going to the press before he even went to the Ranking Member of the committee, I think he has demonstrated very clearly that there is no way there can be an impartial investigation under his leadership on that committee. It speaks very clearly to the need for an outside independent commission. As Senator McCain said, no longer does Congress have the credibility to handle this one.
Chairman Nunes is deeply compromised and he cannot possibly lead an honest investigation. As I said, Congress must create a comprehensive independent bipartisan commission to expose the full truth about the Trump‑Russia connection. I’ve said it over and over again: What is it that the Russians have on President Trump, politically, personally, or financially, that they would go to such lengths, such lengths to hide these connections? What are the Republicans afraid of? The truth and an investigation?
And it’s very serious because this has an impact on our national security. When a President‑elect comes into office and flirts with the idea of lifting sanctions on Russia, questions the new START Treaty, praises Putin as some kind of I don’t know what and compares him favorably at the expense of the United States of America, it’s a remarkable thing.
And now – I’m not going to go into it because it’s all unfolding – but we see further connections between his campaign chairman and money connections to Russia and to Russian sympathizers in the Ukraine.
As you probably now, Nikolai Gorokhov, a lawyer who was to be a key witness in U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s Russia probe, he fell four stories. This week he fell from a four‑story building. He’s injured very seriously. And then Denis Voronenkov, a former Russian Member of Parliament, was killed in the city center of Kiev. He was to testify in the trial of the former pro‑Russian Ukraine Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.
So it’s a stunning set of facts that need to be reviewed for our national security, for the security of our nation, for the security of our democracy, and this needs to go outside.
With that, I’d be pleased to take any questions you may have.
Press questioning followed (see transcript)