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The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina.
Senate Republicans are working in secret on their own Trumpcare bill. They won’t tell you what it is, but they want you to believe it’s more moderate. There’s nothing moderate about undermining protections for people with pre-existing conditions by repealing the essential health benefits protections. There’s nothing moderate about gutting Medicaid by $834 billion and in the same bill give $900 billion in tax giveaways to a few wealthy families, and insurance and drug companies. Repealing the ACA would once again institutionalize the kind of discrimination against the sick and aged that has plagued hard-working families for generations. Passing the Republican bill would turn the clock back on civil rights and humaneness.
(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)
(Link to Nancy Pelosi Newsroom here)
“Hello. I’m Congressman Jim Clyburn. I proudly represent the 6th Congressional District of South Carolina and serve as the Assistant Democratic Leader in the United States House of Representatives.
“Let me begin by wishing House Majority Whip Steve Scalise a full and speedy recovery. I also wish the same for Matt Mika, the former staffer and volunteer who was also shot in last Wednesday’s senseless and cowardly attack.
“I cannot find sufficient words to express thanks and appreciations to Special Agents David Bailey, Crystal Griner and Henry Cabrera, members of the Dignitary Protection Corps, for their brave and sacrificial actions which contained and eliminated a clear and present danger to only God knows how many dedicated public servants. Having spent several years under their watchful protection, I know first-hand of their hard work and dedication. I wish for them speedy recoveries as well. I’m keeping them and their families in my prayers.
“No issue is more important to the people of America than their health, and the health of their families. And in my opinion, no issues are more important to the health care of Americans than accessibility and affordability. The ACA repeal legislation recently passed by House Republicans – without a single Democratic vote – would have devastating effects on families all across the country. President Trump pushed hard and relentlessly for its passage. Recently, however, he called the bill ‘mean.’
“When President Obama proposed the ACA, he hosted a bi-partisan, bicameral town-hall type roundtable in the Blair House. It was broadcast, in real time, by C-SPAN, and when the bill was introduced in the House, it went to three committees that debated its pros and cons extensively. Republicans and Democrats offered scores of amendments and many of them were accepted.
“I was serving as House Majority Whip at the time, and when the bill was debated on the floor, I called it the Civil Rights Act of the 21st century. I gave it that moniker because the ACA outlaws many forms of discrimination in health care. It outlaws discrimination against women who were often charged more for health care coverage than men. It outlawed discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions.
“The ACA repeal bill that House Republicans passed and sent to the Senate would rip away health care from 23 million Americans, and raise costs and roll back protections for millions more.
“Now, Senate Republicans are working in secret on their own Trumpcare bill. They won’t tell you what it is, but they want you to believe it’s more moderate. There’s nothing moderate about undermining protections for people with pre-existing conditions by repealing the essential health benefits protections. There’s nothing moderate about gutting Medicaid by $834 billion and in the same bill give $900 billion in tax giveaways to a few wealthy families, and insurance and drug companies. Repealing the ACA would once again institutionalize the kind of discrimination against the sick and aged that has plagued hard-working families for generations. Passing the Republican bill would turn the clock back on civil rights and humaneness.
“It does not have to be this way. Democrats are eager to work with our Republican colleagues to deliver accessible and affordable quality health care to all Americans, but Republicans must set aside their repeal efforts. It is my fervent hope that this is the path we choose going forward.
“Thank you for listening and God bless.”
Any bolding has been added.
Leader Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference on Thursday:
Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference
Leader Pelosi. Good morning, everyone.
Over the weekend, I had the great privilege of accompanying a CODEL to Galveston, Texas, to witness and be part of the commissioning of the USS Gabrielle Giffords. This is so exciting.
The ship of course, honors Gabby’s service in Congress, but it’s her bravery and the triumph of the human spirit that have made her one of the most respected figures in our country – as I said in my remarks there, one of the most beloved, respected and admired people in our country.
In honoring that triumph of the human spirit, we need to call on the same kind of courage as we address the tragedy that happened yesterday in Washington, D.C. Our hearts are broken over the assault that was made, really, on all of us, but personally heartbroken over the of what happened to [Whip] Steve Scalise, our colleague.
Our thoughts and prayers are with him and Matt Mika as they continue with the care that they need but also to, as we do pay tribute to them, identify with them, use all of our energy, just like sports, Chad [Pergram]. You have all your energy for them to get well. We all have to pray and identify with their concern.
The sorrow in this House is matched by our endless admiration for the heroism of the Capitol Police, especially Special Agents Crystal Griner, David Bailey and Henry Cabrera. As you know, we had a tragedy in 1998 in the Capitol when two of ours, Capitol Police, lost their lives.
But every single day, they risk their lives to protect us, the Members of Congress; you, the press who covers us; our staff; and also our visitors, probably most importantly, our visitors to the Capitol, to come to this great temple of democracy, an icon of democracy in the world. And so we thank them.
I always reference our Founders because they were so God-blessed us so with their leadership, and they knew that we would have our differences and disagreements – they certainly had their own – that we would debate with passion and intensity. They certainly did.
But they knew at the end of the day, we had to stand not as Democrats and Republicans or as they were then, Federalist and Democratic Republicans, but as Americans. In their wisdom, they chose this creed for America: E Pluribus Unum. Our goal, always striving to reach that goal.
Yesterday was a difficult day for us here for sure, but not long after the shooting in Alexandria, there was news of a shooting at a UPS facility in my district, in San Francisco, killing Benson Louie, Wayne Chan and Mike Lefiti, and wounding two others.
Monday marked the one year anniversary since the Pulse shooting that killed 49 in Orlando. Saturday marks 2 years since nine people were shot to death at the bible study of Mother Emanuel, in Charleston.
On average, more than 90 people lose their lives to gun violence in America every day. Within many families and communities across America, the anguish that we are feeling personally in Congress today is altogether too familiar. We hold everyone in our thoughts and prayers.
Our most important focus right now from a substantive and policy standpoint is to defeat the Republican healthcare bill in the Senate. It’s very curious to see that they are writing their bill in private; they are keeping the bill secret from the public, trying to keep the American people in the dark about the consequences.
The secret Trumpcare bill would be just as destructive as the bill that passed the House, from what we’re hearing. Senate Republicans aren’t making Trumpcare any better; they’re just working harder to obscure the consequences families across America would face.
Big issue: Preexisting conditions. Senate Republicans planning to gut essential health benefits is just a more insidious way to charge a fortune to American families with preexisting conditions.
Medicaid: Senate Republicans are just coming up with a new timeline to destroy the Medicaid expansion and inflict suffering on all of those depending on Medicaid coverage. I remind you that this is a middle class benefit for those seniors in nursing homes. It’s tremendously important to our veterans. Between one million and two million veterans depend on Medicaid.
And in the House bill, and we’ll see what’s happening in the Senate bill, Medicaid excuse me, Medicare, Medicare, Medicare. As the Republicans said in the 1990s, and this has been their path, ‘Medicare should wither on the vine.’ That’s their plan.
And one path to that is the [Paul] Ryan budget, which takes away the guarantee of Medicare and replaces it with an inadequate voucher. Seniors, now you go shop for your care. This is a deconstruction of something that means a great deal to the health and financial well-being of America’s families, not just the seniors, but the families that they are a part of.
And so, as I mentioned what it means in the Ryan budget to make it a voucher, but in the bill, the House-passed bill, and we’ll see what the Senate comes up with, they shorten the solvency of Medicare. They take it in the wrong direction after we, in the Affordable Care Act, extended it for so many, many years.
Again, so Trumpcare means higher healthcare cost, tens of millions of hard-working Americans losing health coverage, gutting key protections, a crushing age tax, and stealing from Medicare. You know that very well. Millions will lose their care; for others, cost will go up, benefits will go down; a crushing age tax, if you’re 50 to 64 years old; and undermining Medicare, Medicare, Medicare.
Meanwhile, insurers are saying that the Trump administration sabotage is driving up America’s health premiums and cost. Let me just read to you some of them. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan said, ‘There has been a discussion in Washington about whether to continue cost share reduction funding or not.’
This is one way that the Trump Administration is sabotaging the Affordable Care Act. It is the law of the land. There are Republicans who are saying we must fund the cost-sharing reduction. We must do that. Not to do it means, predictably, premiums will go up. That’s just unfair to the American people, wrong to do.
Anthem in Ohio said, ‘An increasing lack of overall predictability simply does not provide a sustainable path forward to provide affordable plan choices for consumers.’ And so we’re just saying to the President, do what you did for the first month of May, and now let us continue with the funding of that.
And for these and other ways, they’re trying to have a self-fulfilling prophecy as they undermine the Affordable Care Act, not extend reinsurance, not deal with the cost share reductions. They’re making bad things possible for the American people, even in the absence of their repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Just by saying they want to repeal it admits that it is the law.
So I thank you for your interest and welcome any questions you may have. The good news is, it’s all over. The Warriors won so beautifully. The bad news is I can’t go to a game because I’ve been here. And people said, wouldn’t you like it to go to seven games so you can see a game? I said, no, we want to win. We want to win. And how wonderful we win on the home court.
Any questions? Yes, sir.
Press questioning followed (see transcript)
As Senate Republicans work secretly in back rooms on their version of Trumpcare, no one seems to know what’s in it. It’s being crafted with such secrecy, even HHS Secretary Tom Price has not seen the bill. And it turns out, we’re not the only ones who think the American people deserve to know what’s in the dangerous bill, and how it will affect American families:
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) when asked about the secrecy of the bill: “Well join the crowd. I’m in the same category.”
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) when asked about comfort level with secret health care bill process: ‘None.’
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY): ‘I think it’s being written, uh, by someone somewhere but I’m not aware of who or where … If you get a copy of it, will you send me a copy?’
Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA): ‘Would I have preferred a more open process? The answer is yes.’
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC): ‘I hope they start sharing with Members.’
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich: ‘Mistake’ to write health bill in secret.
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): ‘Do I think that’s the best way to go? No, I’m a process person.’
Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI): ‘This is, unfortunately, a fact-free zone around here … Around here, the last step is getting information, which doesn’t seem like necessarily the most effective process.’
Senator Bob Corker (R-TN): ‘I would have liked to have seen a public process – get buy-in from the public … but that’s obviously not what’s going to happen.’
Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS): ‘Everybody ought to be at the table.’
Yeah, we agree. Here’s what we know for sure: Senate Republicans aren’t making Trumpcare better. They are just working harder to obscure the disastrous consequences Trumpcare will have in the lives of hard-working families across America – with soaring costs for less coverage, gutting protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and destroying Medicaid.
As the destructive Trumpcare legislation moves through the Senate, Democrats will continue to fight with all our strength to protect the American people Trumpcare’s assault on health care.