Fighting Back: – Joe Kennedy: “You deserve a country that will pick you up, not leave you to fight alone.”

The weekly Fighting Back post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

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The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Rep. Joe Kennedy of Massachusetts.

Rep. Kennedy

[The Republican plan] means that the biggest, strongest, boldest nation in the world doesn’t think its people can summon the strength to shoulder a neighbor’s burden. It means that in your moment of deepest need, your government will tell you you’re better off on your own than with 320 million Americans fighting by your side.

But this country knows better. This country is better. […]

And in [times of need], it is not your bank account or your job title or your skin color or your zip code or your religion or your sexuality or your gender that matters.

It is your humanity. It is your hurt and your fear. It is the fact that you are on the ground and you deserve a country that will pick you up, not leave you to fight alone.

That belief underscores the Democratic vision of American health care: a shared promise, a common bond that we fortify not just out of sympathy for the suffering, but so that it is there for us, too, when we need its sturdy brace. […]

In the weeks ahead, keep your heads raised. Keep your voices loud. Help us tell the story of a better, fairer, stronger country. And if you do, we will make it so.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

(Link to Nancy Pelosi Newsroom here)

Transcript: Transcript of Rep. Joe Kennedy’s Address

Hi, everyone. I’m Congressman Joe Kennedy from Massachusetts.

Five years ago, I got the call everyone dreads. Lauren, my wife, had collapsed at work. She was being rushed to the emergency room of a Boston hospital.

It’s a moment painfully familiar to many. Time stops. You fight to push your breath down your throat. Your brain gets stuck on a highlight reel of worst-case scenarios. You are dazed. You are sick. You are terrified.

We were among the lucky ones. Lauren was OK. Testing revealed no life-threatening disease or impending danger, no worst nightmare confirmed. Most critically, our health coverage gave us the support we needed to focus on the one thing that mattered most: her recovery.

For any family, that is what health care is about. Not buzzwords like CBO scores or growth rates or high-risk pools, but the simple ability to keep the people you love safe and healthy and whole. A commitment we make to care for each other, because we know someday we will need that care too.

Trumpcare shatters this proudly American commitment. It fundamentally restructures our country’s health care into two systems — one, for the powerful and privileged, the healthy and wealthy; and another, lesser system for everyone else.

It threatens to trap the vast majority of working Americans in a series of excruciating, impossible choices. Mortgage or medication. Child care or doctor visits. Being by your loved one’s hospital bed or keeping your job.

Speaker Ryan calls this freedom. I call it agony. President Trump calls it greatness. I call it gutless.

That’s what this bill does. But here’s what it means.

It means that the biggest, strongest, boldest nation in the world doesn’t think its people can summon the strength to shoulder a neighbor’s burden. It means that in your moment of deepest need, your government will tell you you’re better off on your own than with 320 million Americans fighting by your side.

But this country knows better. This country is better.

We take care of each other. We pull for each other. We accept the responsibility that comes from citizenship with pride and with gratitude.

Because it doesn’t matter how big or tough or rich or brave you are — you cannot be invincible. Our health is our great equalizer. That stubborn reminder that even the mighty need mercy. Any one of us can fall, and each of us will.

And in those moments, it is not your bank account or your job title or your skin color or your zip code or your religion or your sexuality or your gender that matters.

It is your humanity. It is your hurt and your fear. It is the fact that you are on the ground and you deserve a country that will pick you up, not leave you to fight alone.

That belief underscores the Democratic vision of American health care: a shared promise, a common bond that we fortify not just out of sympathy for the suffering, but so that it is there for us, too, when we need its sturdy brace.

Because if it was our son or daughter or mother or father in that hospital room, we would beg for the strength and shoulders of our neighbors. We would pray for a system that refused to let us fall.

In the weeks ahead, keep your heads raised. Keep your voices loud. Help us tell the story of a better, fairer, stronger country. And if you do, we will make it so.

Thank you, and God bless America.

Any bolding has been added.

~

Leader Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference on Thursday:

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Leader Pelosi. Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for being here.

I’m honored this morning, or now afternoon, to be joined by the distinguished Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Committee, Congressman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi. Congressman Thompson has been a champion for protecting the homeland of our country and really has been a persistent advocate, dissatisfied sometimes in what has happened. He’ll talk about that.

But as we go into the Fourth of July weekend, we’re here to talk about something about our democracy and what our Founders sacrificed for us to be able to have the sacred right to vote, how that has been fought for over the years for women for the African American community, for women later, and what it means now to have an assault on it by a foreign power.

Before I yield to Mr. Thompson, though, I just wanted to say something about the health care bill. As you know, [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell is postponing the vote on this bill, and it’s a setback for them, but it is not a victory for us. This is progress in terms of exposing the bill for what it is, but more needs to be done.

And, again, the Republicans will probably go behind closed doors, as they are, to write a bill, and we’ll know what it is when we see it. But if they do as the House did, they will only make matters worse.

And what does that mean? Higher costs or fewer benefits, a terrible age tax, undermining Medicare, stealing from Medicare and Medicaid I should have said, and gutting key protections.

That’s what they want the American people to swallow. As they do this, they’re making an assault on Medicaid, which is, again, very dangerous to children and other living things should they succeed. If you are a senior in a nursing home, if you’re a child with a severe disability, a complex diagnosis, the list goes on and on.

One in 10 veterans takes advantage of Medicaid. One in 10 of our veterans. So they hurt children, seniors, veterans, families in our country. Every sector of the health care system is opposed to their bill. You wonder, how could they cook this thing up?

Well, you know, all of this is, again, to give a tax cut to the wealthiest people in our country while they take health care away from America’s working families. The biggest transfer of wealth in our country’s history, $700 billion, $800 billion from working families to the wealthiest and corporate America.

Here we are. It’s the end of the first two quarters of the year, but, say, almost 6 months that the Republicans have been in this session of Congress, over 5 months since the President has been in office. No jobs bill, no infrastructure bill, no tax reform bill, no health care bill, no legislation to uphold the full faith and credit of the United States of America. No nothing except, again, taking away protections for clean air and clean water for our children. So, again, it is a poor record that they have, and one would wonder why they can’t get something done.

And one of the things that they have not done is paid sufficient attention to the assault on our electoral system that the Russians perpetrated in the last campaign, for one example. They’re doing it in other countries. They may have done it here before.

They hacked our democracy. Twenty-one state and local election systems were penetrated. Unless we act, they will do it again. The integrity of our democracy is at stake. And on this weekend, as we go into the Fourth of July, we think it is our patriotic duty to honor the Declaration of Independence. Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness: that’s what our health care bill is about. Our democracy, the integrity of our elections: that is essential to a democracy as well.

So we couldn’t be better served in protecting the American people, the oath we take to protect and defend our Constitution, the American people globally, here at home, and the rest, than by our distinguished Ranking Member on the Homeland Security Committee, Mr. Bennie Thompson, whom I introduced earlier – not introduced; you know him, but whom I presented earlier. He is going to speak for himself, but I want to say how much we appreciate his relentless, strong leadership in protecting every aspect of the American people, including the integrity of our voting system.

He has the idea and we all support it of a task force, and he is joined by [Congressman] Bob Brady, the Ranking Member on the Homeland Security Committee. So it is A Task Force on Election Security. To tell us about it, I yield to the distinguished gentleman from Mississippi, Mr. Thompson.

Congressman Bennie Thompson Opening Remarks

Congressman Thompson. Thank you very much, Madam Leader.

Our system of democracy is admired by people all over the world. How we select our officials is something most countries would want to emulate. But, finally, there’s broad admission that Russians have had something to do with how that process of selecting our officials works.

And so we’ve looked at it. Committees have finally decided to begin the process of looking backward in terms of what happened. Some of us are concerned that we are not looking forward. We have elections in 2018. We don’t know to what extent the Russians have really compromised our systems.

We feel that something should be looking at that, those 21 States that have been identified so far as having some intrusion on their system. And since we have, from Secretary Johnson’s standpoint, identified our election system as critical infrastructure and we have offered assistance to states to look at it and see whether or not we can be helpful, we think it’s important that this task force, made up of Congressman Brady with House Administration and myself and a number of other people that we will hear from, as we look and really try to find out exactly what has happened and how do we recommend corrective activity, corrective action.

So, on our committee, we’ve done a resolution of inquiry asking for data as to what is going on, and obviously that resolution of inquiry failed on a partisan vote. The Republicans voted against it. Democrats voted for it.

So, basically, this task force is the only option available to us right now to really collect the data, talk to witnesses, have hearings, bring in state officials, local officials, experts in cyber as to what’s going on and with the end result of publishing a report that we hope that can become the basis for legislation.

And hopefully we can correct whatever inaccuracies or intrusions that have gone on for our 2018 elections. And it’s not proper for the leadership in the White House to sit and try to blame President Obama for not doing something and here we are, latter part of June, going into the Fourth of July recess, and there’s nothing definitive from the White House addressing this.

So we think now is the time to act. And the establishment of this task force is what we propose to do. Hearings, collection of data, talking to witnesses is how we propose to do it. If Republicans decide they really want to come and join us, they are absolutely welcome to do it. But we think, in light of no activity, we’re left with no choice but to establish this task force and move forward.

Thank you.

Leader Pelosi. Thank you very much, Mr. Thompson.

Thank you very much. Any questions on the task force first, on how we go forward with that?

Well, again, I’m very proud of the ongoing efforts that Mr. Thompson has been making in this regard. And, again, we are finding out things that we didn’t even know before. For example, is it how many states have been compromised in all of this –

Mr. Thompson. Twenty-one.

Leader Pelosi. Twenty-one states. And some states don’t even realize that they have been yet.

So the confidence in the electoral process and confidence that people’s votes will be counted as cast is very important. But if we have a disruption of the system because of foreign intervention, that’s an attack on our country. It’s an attack on our democracy.

So thank you, Mr. Chairman, and we’ll be announcing when we’ll be having some meetings soon. I informed the Speaker this morning of the fact that you have taken the lead on this and that you have the support of our caucus as we go forward. Thank you.

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

~

Dems on the Job – June Edition

While House Republicans continued to drop the ball in June, Democrats worked day and night to put forward policies, host briefings, and speak to constituents about their work to create jobs, raise wages, and improve the lives of hardworking Americans across the country. [At the link] is a sampling of the legislation and activities that Members led in June.

~

  3 comments for “Fighting Back: – Joe Kennedy: “You deserve a country that will pick you up, not leave you to fight alone.”

  1. JanF
    July 1, 2017 at 6:46 am

    Leader Pelosi’s exhortation to her colleagues:

    Dear Democratic Colleague,

    Leader Mitch McConnell’s postponing the vote on Trumpcare is a setback for the Republicans and their destructive bill. Again, behind closed doors, they are preparing a new version. And just as Republicans did in the House, there is fear Senate Republicans will make their bad bill worse.

    Working with our Ranking Members, I will keep you posted on developments on Trumpcare.

    With appreciation for the inside maneuvering of Senate and House Democrats and thanks for the intense outside mobilization, we must continue to make the Republican bill too hot to handle.

    Congressional Republicans have frightened America’s families, especially those with children with special health needs and seniors who rely on long-term care through Medicaid. They have failed to recognize that 1 in 10 veterans is on Medicaid.

    As you know, Trumpcare fundamentally means higher health costs, tens of millions of hard-working Americans losing health coverage, gutting key protections, a crushing age tax, and stealing from Medicare. All of this to give a massive tax break to the wealthiest in our country.

    Trumpcare is opposed by every sector of health care delivery in our country, and the overwhelming majority of the American people. Only 12 percent of Americans support the Senate Trumpcare bill, in a USA Today/Suffolk University poll out yesterday. Personal stories have had a dramatic impact on public opinion.

    As we go into the 4th of July recess, let us honor our Founders’ commitment to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness by continuing to #ProtectOurCare. Please continue the drumbeat across America in town hall meetings, press events, and providing stories to be amplified by our friends on social media. I hope you will also take some time to have a happy July 4th with family and friends.

    Thank you for your leadership.

  2. JanF
    July 1, 2017 at 6:56 am

    Rep Joe Kennedy earlier this year:

  3. bfitzinAR
    July 1, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Across the age spectrum we’ve got good people in the Dems – and representing us in Congress. Competent and good is a combination that ultimately wins against evil. Just hope “ultimately” is sooner rather than later.

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