Fighting Back: Rep. Betty McCollum “You deserve a better deal than the one you are getting now”

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

Found on the Internets

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Rep. Betty McCollum from Minnesota who serves St. Paul and surrounding suburbs.

Representative Betty McCollum

“No matter where you live – a big city, the suburbs, a rural community, or a tribal nation – you know that our families, students, seniors, and small business owners are facing real challenges.

“For too many people, wages are not growing fast enough to keep up with the cost of living.

“Many businesses can’t find workers with the required skills. Too often workers can’t afford the education and training they need to secure better-paying jobs.

“Drug companies are gouging us with skyrocketing prescription drug prices.

“And, across the country, our economy is being held back by outdated infrastructure and a widening digital divide.

President Trump and Republicans have no solutions to address these problems.” […]

“House and Senate Democrats came together this week to announce A Better Deal for America’s families.

“Democrats in Congress are taking on the real challenges facing America and finding solutions that are responsible, compassionate, and effective.” […]

“This week, Members of Congress begin going home for the August recess.

“This is a chance for citizens to hold their Senators and Representatives accountable by asking tough questions: What are you doing to help working families get ahead? What are you doing to protect my family’s healthcare?

“You deserve answers. And you deserve a better deal than the one you are getting now.

“That’s exactly what Democrats are working for: better jobs, better wages, and a better future for every American.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

(Link to Nancy Pelosi Newsroom here)

Transcript: Congresswoman Betty McCollum Delivers Weekly Democratic Address

“Hello, I’m Betty McCollum. In Congress, I represent the hardworking families of St. Paul, Minnesota and its surrounding communities.

“Minnesota has beautiful summers and really cold winters. But no matter the weather, we get up every day and head to our jobs with the expectation of getting our work done.

“That’s the exact opposite of what’s happening right now in Republican-controlled Washington.

“This week I found myself agreeing with Senator John McCain when he delivered a blunt statement to his own party: ‘We are getting nothing done.’

“The American people expect Congress and the White House to do the people’s business

“Instead, we have a do-nothing Congress and a President who offers inappropriate insults, rather than inspired ideas.

“No matter where you live – a big city, the suburbs, a rural community, or a tribal nation – you know that our families, students, seniors, and small business owners are facing real challenges.

“For too many people, wages are not growing fast enough to keep up with the cost of living.

“Many businesses can’t find workers with the required skills. Too often workers can’t afford the education and training they need to secure better-paying jobs.

“Drug companies are gouging us with skyrocketing prescription drug prices.

“And, across the country, our economy is being held back by outdated infrastructure and a widening digital divide.

“President Trump and Republicans have no solutions to address these problems.

“In fact, the chaos Republicans are causing is denying families, businesses, and communities the certainty they need to invest in the future.

“The American people deserve a better deal.

“Like many of you, I come from a working class family. Growing up in South St. Paul, my family struggled.

“As a young mom, I raised my kids, worked at Sears, and went back to college – all at the same time.

“When my kids got sick, we took the bus to go see the doctor.

“I know my story isn’t unusual. Americans work hard every day to support our families. All the while, we keep our eyes focused on a better future.

“But there are times when life is not easy and we can all use a little help.

“That’s why House and Senate Democrats came together this week to announce A Better Deal for America’s families.

“Democrats in Congress are taking on the real challenges facing America and finding solutions that are responsible, compassionate, and effective.

“The bickering, name calling, and game playing in Washington – it needs to end. It’s time to get to work!

“Democrats believe every American can contribute to the success of our nation. That starts by ensuring everyone has the skills they need to get a good-paying job and climb the career ladder.

“Democrats are determined to lower the cost of college, create more skilled apprenticeships, and make it easier for businesses to train workers.

“Democrats are ready to invest in modern infrastructure, the roads, bridges, and transit system of tomorrow. And we want to expand high-speed internet to every corner of America. These investments will move our economy forward and support millions of jobs.

“Democrats will put your families first by cracking down on unfair foreign trade, corporations that ship jobs overseas, and drug companies that gouge patients.

“In the heartland, we expect our leaders to respond to the challenges we face rather than catering to billionaires and Wall Street.

“We expect the federal government to be a partner that works with farmers and Main Street businesses, helps families afford career training and college, and makes sure veterans receive the benefits they have earned.

“We know that protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink is good for all of us.

“And we know that every American family needs affordable, quality healthcare.

“Yet Republicans keep putting the 1 percent first. They are still pushing failed trickle-down policies and rolling back the protections that Americans count on.

“This week, Members of Congress begin going home for the August recess.

“This is a chance for citizens to hold their Senators and Representatives accountable by asking tough questions: What are you doing to help working families get ahead? What are you doing to protect my family’s healthcare?

“You deserve answers. And you deserve a better deal than the one you are getting now.

“That’s exactly what Democrats are working for: better jobs, better wages, and a better future for every American.

“Thank you for listening.”

Any bolding has been added.

The Democratic Party’s new initiative can be found here: ‘A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future’.

~

Leader Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference on Thursday:

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Leader Pelosi. Good morning, everyone. Here we are, the end of the summer part of the session, we’re going into August.

By the time we come back in September, we will be meeting many challenges: raising the debt ceiling, keeping government open, extending reauthorizing State Children’s Health Insurance Program, community health centers, flood insurance, so many things that the can has been kicked down the road on, and that’s just to name a few. So, so far, not much happening here.

As you know, today we will be debating what’s called the minibus, not an omnibus, everything, a minibus and it’s on the subject of security.

As you know, all of us, anyone who serves in government or civically involved, takes an oath of office to protect and defend, support and defend the Constitution of the United States. Our first responsibility is to protect the American people and our Constitution. If people are not safe, how can we proceed in any other way? Democrats believe in a strong national defense.

Sadly, the so called security minibus before the House this week serves neither our national defense nor our upholding our oath of office. It is founded on phony numbers and narrow thinking that will create destructive uncertainty for our military. And at the same time, it will starve us on the domestic side.

We believe that a measure of our strength is, of course, our military might. But it is also the health and education and well-being of the American people in so many ways.

So what they want to do here is bring a bill to the floor that is $70 billion over the sequestration limit, forcing a 13 percent cut of all defense accounts. So with their fraudulent accounting, they are cutting our national security by 13 percent rather than adding the money they think they’re adding.

It would squander billions of taxpayer dollars on, well, a down payment by $1.6 billion on President Trump’s immoral, ineffective and expensive border wall. You know the one that we weren’t going to pay for, that he promised.

It also eliminates ARPA-E [Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy], the advanced energy research vital to our energy dependence, to our national security and to keeping America the innovation superpower of this century.

I feel particularly protective of that because ARPA-E was part of our competitiveness legislation when we had the majority. The bill was signed by President [George W.] Bush. It was part of the Innovation Agenda. It has created so many jobs, strengthened our country by giving us more options in terms of energy. That would be eliminated.

In order to be the strongest possible America, we, again, must measure our strength not only in military might, but in the health and well-being of the American people.

Okay. And so here we are and the health and well-being of American people is in mortal danger as the Senate continues votes on Trumpcare. Republicans may call their latest iteration we call it the ‘repeal and run plan.’ They may call it ‘skinny.’ But it is huge in terms of the cost increases and coverage losses it will cause for hard-working American families. The CBO found that the premiums will soar, plans will evaporate and millions of families will lose health coverage.

Democratic and Republican Governors put out a letter late yesterday. I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but we certainly will make it available to you. And in the letter, among other things, they said the Senate should also – they were talking about rejecting some things – but the Senate should also reject efforts to amend the bill into a ‘skinny’ repeal, which is expected, they said, to accelerate health plans leaving the individual market, increase premiums and result in fewer Americans having access to coverage.

That is bipartisan, Democratic and Republican governors sending that letter. You’ll have it. Do you have it, have the letter? We’ll make sure that you do.

The cruelty and contempt that Republicans are showing for the health-care of American working families is mind-boggling. Except what could be surprising these days?

Last week, some of you were here when we had our four Ranking Members come forward and talk about four initiatives several initiatives, four main ones that had bipartisan support, some of which are in the Republican bills. They relate to cost sharing, they relate to reinsurance, and the list goes on, but outreach and the rest.

And so we, again, extend the hand of friendship. I think some of you may have seen, C-SPAN showed it over and over, our hearing that we had on the Steering and Policy Committee, [Co-Chairs] Rosa DeLauro and Eric Swalwell, about thirty Members were there to ask questions of our witnesses, who were superb, objective. This is nothing partisan or ideological or philosophical. It was just, how does this work? How do we get better results?

Again, reinforcing what our New Dems have sent out in a letter. Had a press conference with all of you earlier this month, but also a large number of Members have sent to the Speaker: Let’s just do the four most important things and maybe find some other common ground. But everything that we’ve been asking them to do they have expressed support for.

So in any event, we should join together. The American people want us to do that in a constructive, bipartisan way, to stabilize the insurance marketplace now before Congress leaves Washington for August. We have to have a clear message about the cost sharing. Hopefully, the President will honor that. He has so far. We need him to do it again.

Again, as I mentioned last week with our Ranking Members, we proposed measures with bipartisan support. There were other places we hope we can make at the beginning of the year we had hoped, beginning of the session we had hoped we could find bipartisan agreement.

Infrastructure, it’s never been partisan, jobs that could come from infrastructure. Again, lifting the debt ceiling, appropriations bills [and] keeping government open.

The appropriations process, as an appropriator, I can tell you, it is the culture there to get it done, to work in a bipartisan way, to get it done in a way that gives us assurance that government will be open.

And, again, tax reform. We thought we could work together on tax reform. But we haven’t seen any evidence of any legislation coming so far, and we look forward to receiving it. As a matter of fact, they haven’t been able to pass a budget; months after a budget would’ve been due.

Okay. So there we have that. I’m very excited that earlier this week we went to Berryville, Virginia, House and Senate Democrats, to roll out a Better Deal under the leadership of three very, and you’ve seen them, you know, three great leaders of our messaging: [Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Co-Chairs] Cheri Bustos of Illinois, David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Hakeem Jeffries of New York. We worked with the Senate. And we’re very proud of Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages and Better Future; creating jobs and raising income.

We know that the economy can never really fully turn around unless we increase the purchasing power of America’s working families, of the great middle class. Their confidence to consume injects demand into the economy, creating more jobs, and we hope that under our plan that we can create ten million more jobs in the next five years.

And it’s not only about increasing the paycheck. It’s about lowering costs for families. For example, one is to take aggressive action to lower the cost of prescription drugs, still the biggest contributor to any increase there is in healthcare, although we’ve lowered the rate of increase in health care in our country. For as long as it has been measured, this is the lowest rate of increase.

Still, the biggest impact is from the cost of prescription drugs. That’s an issue we’ve been working on for a long time. We hope we could find bipartisan support to do that.

And another is by cracking down on monopolies that raise costs and hurt competition. This has a very direct impact on the bills that people have to pay every month.

And then, again, giving every American the tools that they need to succeed in the 21st century, with a massive new national commitment to apprenticeships, lifetime learning, paid-on-the-job training. It’s very exciting.

So we look forward to this August break where we take this home with us, have town meetings, roundtables, whatever works in someone’s district, across the country to listen, to see how this A Better Deal, which sprang from the community, sprang from our Members, but now, as they say, road-testing it to see what suggestions people have.

But it’s, again, a very exciting prospect for our country. And most of what we’re talking about can be done in a very bipartisan way.

Any questions?

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

~

Reaction to the Better Deal plan:

This week, Democrats unveiled ‘A Better Deal’ an ambitious economic agenda aimed at creating good jobs, lowering the cost of living and building an economy that gives every American the tools to succeed in the 21st Century. In doing this Democrats have created policy proposals to add 10 million more good paying jobs, take aggressive action to lower drug prices and crack down on monopolies and mergers which needlessly drive up the cost of living for millions of hard-working men and women across America.

The past six months of the Trump Administration have shown the toxic influence of special interests in the Republican agenda and their shameful inaction to introduce any fresh ideas on jobs, infrastructure or tax reform. Democrats know that hardworking Americans deserve better, and that’s why they’re committed to giving them a better deal.

Links to news organizations around the country are included at the link.

~

  4 comments for “Fighting Back: Rep. Betty McCollum “You deserve a better deal than the one you are getting now”

  1. JanF
    July 29, 2017 at 8:50 am

    House Democratic Party leaders held a press conference Friday morning.

    Transcript here.

    Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined House Democrats to discuss the Senate’s defeat of ‘skinny’ Trumpcare and the need for bipartisan cooperation to update and improve the Affordable Care Act.

    Nancy Pelosi: “Right now we go forward recognizing the value of the Affordable Care Act which last night was once again protected and we take great pride in that but we also know that there are updates and improvements that we can make.

    So we call upon the Speaker to establish a process: we can go right to the Committees and have a discussion on how we keep America healthy. We call upon the President to release the funds, the Cost Saving Reductions that are essential to having the law be effective and those two things are very, very important to us.

    We’re very proud of the work of our Ranking Members throughout this whole process and really since about three days after the election, how we all worked together – recognizing that the Affordable Care Act was still at risk, to arrive at a place where we can go forward to improve it rather than repeal it.”

    • JanF
      July 29, 2017 at 8:54 am

      Leader Pelosi sent this letter to Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell:

      July 28, 2017

      The Honorable Paul Ryan
      Speaker of the House of Representatives
      H-232, United States Capitol
      Washington, D.C. 20515

      The Honorable Mitch McConnell
      Majority Leader of the Senate
      S-230, United States Capitol
      Washington, D.C. 20515

      Dear Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell,

      As leaders in Congress, we have a responsibility to pivot from the current debate on health care and to work in a bipartisan fashion to lower costs, improve quality, and expand coverage, while strengthening the stability of the marketplaces.

      For the past several months, Democrats have conducted hearings, town halls and forums to learn how the Affordable Care Act can be updated and improved to meet the health needs of the American people.

      Some of what we have heard is consistent with Leader McConnell’s market stabilization section in the BCRA. These provisions include a Short-Term Stability Fund, Long-Term State Stability and Innovation Program, and Cost-Sharing Subsidies. House Democrats are prepared to support these vital measures and exchange ideas on how we go forward in other respects.

      Moreover, it is essential that the President commit to honor the law and affirm that the Cost Saving Reduction payments will continue.

      Respectfully, Democrats extend the hand of friendship, and look forward to our working together in the regular order for the good of the American people.

      Thank you for your consideration.

      best regards,

      NANCY PELOSI

      Democratic Leader

    • JanF
      July 29, 2017 at 8:55 am

      And she sent this letter to her members:

      Dear Democratic Colleague,

      Thank you for your tireless leadership in the fight to defeat Trumpcare. The stories of the American people, the strong unity of Democrats, and the tenacity of the outside advocates were vital to this success.

      As we pivot from the current debate, we want to work in a bipartisan fashion under the regular order for the good of the American people.

      For several months, our Ranking Members have been receiving ideas from Members on ways to update and improve the Affordable Care Act. We look forward to continuing that conversation.

      On a positive bipartisan note, some of what we have heard is consistent with Leader McConnell’s market stabilization suggestions, which hopefully can be enacted soon. A description of these provisions, which were contained in BCRA, is attached.

      Moreover, it is essential that the President commit to honor the law and affirm that the Cost Saving Reduction payments will continue.

      I hope you have a restful and productive August recess, and that Members will continue to carry A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future to constituents across America.

      Thank you for your leadership.

      best regards,

  2. JanF
    July 29, 2017 at 9:02 am

    From Nancy Pelosi’s news conference on Thursday, she talked about taking time to develop a positive message and included an aside showing how difficult it is to buck the big money, even when you have a filibuster proof Senate:

    When we won the House in 2005 and 2006 we started right after the 2004 election, and we knew that we had to have a positive message as we went forward.

    And it took time to develop it, listening, listening to Members, taking it on the road, and we came up with Six for ’06, a New Direction for America, Six for ’06. And we had six proposals that we would pass into law. Five of them became law, one did not. You know what it was?

    Enabling the Secretary of HHS [Health and Human Services] to negotiate for lower drug prices, the cost of pharmaceutical drugs. We couldn’t get 60 votes in the Senate.

    But that took a lot of work. So the messaging part of it, keeping us disciplined, focused, working with the Senate on the messaging part. President Bush was at 58 percent in January when we started this. By September he was in 38 percent. He gave us a gift. He was going to privatize Social Security, so we could go to that place. And that messaging part was central to Democrats sticking together.

    I hope that “A Better Deal” works as well as “Six for ’06”. Our country’s future well-being requires that we take back at least one house of Congress – and then be poised to regain power after the 2020 national election.

Comments are closed.