Fighting Back: Sen. Cortez Masto: “Democrats are standing with the people of Puerto Rico.”

The weekly Fighting Back post is also an Open News Thread.

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada.

(In the weekly Democratic address, Senator Catherine Cortez Mastro (D-NV) talked about federal response to recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.)
Senator Cortez Masto

I share in the frustrations of Americans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who feel forgotten and neglected. I encourage Americans to volunteer and donate to legitimate organizations helping in relief efforts. Every dollar and every volunteer hour spent brings hope and relief to the people of Puerto Rico and all those impacted by these tragic hurricanes.

“Right now, 3.5 million Americans are without power, food, and clean drinking water in Puerto Rico. Right now, hospitals on the island are unable to serve patients because backup generators do not have fuel. The elderly do not have their medicine. Puerto Ricans are fleeing flooded towns and cities with polluted waters, some with dead bodies floating in them, and looking to mountain streams to find safe drinking water. This is a public health crisis and must be treated like one.

“Senate Democrats are standing with the people of Puerto Rico.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

(Link to Nancy Pelosi Newsroom here)

Transcript: Cortez Masto Delivers Weekly Democratic Address

“Hello, my name is Catherine Cortez Masto, I’m a Senator from the Great State of Nevada.

“In the month of September, Americans in the Caribbean and along the southern United States experienced three hurricanes of the century – Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

“These historically destructive hurricanes flooded homes, closed businesses, and turned the lives of millions of Americans upside down. So many heroes – including brave DREAMers – answered the call to rescue those that were trapped and provide shelter and comfort to the displaced.

“I am proud of the efforts of all of our brave first responders – many gave their lives for their communities. I also want to take a moment to thank the many Nevadan’s participating in the relief efforts, my best wishes go with the Nevada Army National Guard members from Reno and Carson City, who will soon be headed to Puerto Rico. Your actions make us all proud to be Americans.

“This pride is tempered by the recognition that millions are still waiting for help. I share in the frustrations of Americans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who feel forgotten and neglected. I encourage Americans to volunteer and donate to legitimate organizations helping in relief efforts. Every dollar and every volunteer hour spent brings hope and relief to the people of Puerto Rico and all those impacted by these tragic hurricanes.

“Right now, 3.5 million Americans are without power, food, and clean drinking water in Puerto Rico. Right now, hospitals on the island are unable to serve patients because backup generators do not have fuel. The elderly do not have their medicine. Puerto Ricans are fleeing flooded towns and cities with polluted waters, some with dead bodies floating in them, and looking to mountain streams to find safe drinking water. This is a public health crisis and must be treated like one.

“Senate Democrats are standing with the people of Puerto Rico. Republicans in Congress must act now to deliver on the Trump administration’s request for additional funding for search, rescue, and recovery operations.

“We also call on the President to stand with the people of Puerto Rico, focus on saving lives, and tweet less about Wall Street creditors targeting the island. FEMA must waive any requirement forcing the people of Puerto Rico to contribute additional funds to their own relief effort in the middle of a debt crisis.

“We wouldn’t do this to Florida, Texas, or any of the other 50 states. It’s inhumane and irresponsible to keep an open tab on saving lives.

“I commend the efforts of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and of Customs and Border Protection in delivering water and providing rescue workers to assist in relief efforts.

“The impact of these hurricanes will be felt for decades. We must render aid and protect all survivors – documented and undocumented.

“That is why I joined my colleagues to call on President Trump to extend the arbitrary October 5th deadline for DREAMers to request extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status. DREAMers are fellow survivors of these terrible storms.

“And to the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, I want you to know that you deserve and will have the full support of our government as you recover and rebuild.

“Thank you and we stand with you.”

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 very much for being accommodating. At the time we were originally scheduled to meet this morning, we had a wonderful, joyous occasion on the floor of the House, which I’m sure you have all seen, with the return of our colleague, the Majority Whip, Steve Scalise.

What was so exciting for us, though, is he walked onto the floor, he walked onto the floor, with all the challenges that he has had. So thank God that our prayers are answered.

We thank Jennifer, Harrison, and Madison, his family, for the support they gave him, the Capitol Police, the physicians, his staff. So many people made his triumphant return possible today. I give credit to his Italian-American heritage making him so strong, but that’s just a relationship that we have had over the years.

Okay. So earlier this week, Republicans withdrew the latest version of Trumpcare. Americans overwhelmingly made their voices heard. I’m so proud of the outside effort, people telling their stories. There were over 2,000, whether it was phone banks, town hall meetings, visits to Congressional offices, just so much activity on the part of people telling their stories and how Trumpcare would be harmful to [their] family’s health, and economic health as well.

Again, while we were happy on the day that the bill was pulled again, we must be ever vigilant. They’re talking about doing it next year. It’s like a zombie. It keeps rising up and we have to keep putting a stake in its heart.

But in any event, it’s really important that we defeat it. And we have to be vigilant because the President is threatening to withhold vital payments which help to lower costs for most Americans, cutting the enrollment period in half and disrupting enrollment and slashing funding for advertising.

The idea is, when I say most Americans, I mean most Americans in the exchanges. It’s important to have the outreach because the more people in the program, in the insurance plan, the lower the cost, the healthier the country and they’re jeopardizing that. But we will try to make up with it in crowdsourcing and other messages to people to sign up.

[We’re] so happy it’s pulled, ever vigilant, always prepared to protect our care. And I thank again all of the groups. The Little Lobbyists, the children who were here when the announcement was made. That was a happy coincidence. To all of the groups – whether it is patient groups or health care providers, religious groups, and the rest, who said, ‘No way.’

Again, because of what the President has been saying, over the coming days, families will suffer the consequences of Republicans’ sabotage efforts, the insistence on wasting this month. We wasted a month on another bad Trumpcare effort instead of moving in a bipartisan way to stabilize the market and lower costs.

And we’ve called upon the Speaker [Paul Ryan] to let us join. The Senate is engaged in bipartisan conversation on this. Senator, Mr. Chairman, Lamar Alexander, and I guess they call them Vice Chairs on the Senate side, Vice Chair Patty Murray, are engaged in that negotiation. We think that the House should play a role in that too, and we’ve called upon the Speaker to do that.

Again, this is a very busy time – their tax bill, which we’ll get to in a moment. But right now the urgent matter before us that we have to pass legislation on is the DREAM Act. In our meeting with the President, he made a commitment to support the DREAM Act. He had said in a previous meeting with us that he would sign the bill if it came to his desk.

It is overwhelmingly supported by the American people. The DREAMers, they make America dream again with their courage and their optimism of their families. And God bless their parents for providing our country with such a beautiful future.

So we’re hoping that whatever else the Republicans in the Congress want to do, or the President, to move the bill along, that it will be very, very soon.

Again, we want to move forward to have an infrastructure bill. We have our agenda, A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Pay, [Better Future]. Infrastructure is an important part of that, and I’ll get to it. But first this Ryan-McConnell framework.

Whatever you do when you talk about this tax plan, don’t call it reform, because it is not reform. It’s just more of the same trickle-down economics that want hard-working middle class families to pay more. And we say, ‘Not One Penny’ more in deficit exploding tax breaks for the wealthiest in our country.

Some of you came yesterday or if you viewed our hearing that we had under the leadership of Richie Neal, our Ranking Member on Ways and Means, we had a beautiful panel to talk about what happens under [tax cuts] – it was a coincidence. This was planned a long time ago. And here it is the day that they release their tax plan so we could review it with some experts.

And one of them was Bruce Bartlett. Bruce Bartlett was, as some of you may know, part of Jack Kemp’s supply-side economic initiatives, and he was there to talk about, and really we were interested in his view, as to when you have a big tax bill that increases the deficit more than a trillion dollars. Is it true that that will be made up, and dynamic scoring, whatever Republicans want to call it, that the growth that will spring from it will pay for the trillion dollars? He said, ‘It’s not true. It’s nonsense.’ He even resorted to calling it ‘BS.’ I won’t use the full term.

And here he was, a supply-side economic a la Jack Kemp, saying it just isn’t true that you can make up, that the growth, potential growth, comes from cutting taxes for the rich. It comes from investing in the American people.

Nothing brings more money – I’m saying this now – to the Treasury than investing in the education of the American people, K through 12, early childhood education, higher education, lifetime learning for our workers.

But don’t take it from me. Take it from Bruce Bartlett, a supply-sider way back in the day who is saying it just isn’t so.

So when the Speaker and others say to you, ‘Oh, we care about the deficit, and even though it’s going to be 1, 2, or 3 trillion dollars increase in the deficit, you’ll see in the out years, it will make up for it,’ it never has, but they keep saying it.

I often wonder what happened to the deficit hawks in the Republican Party, because they seem to be an endangered species. They don’t seem to care about the deficit anymore.

On the other hand, we on the Democratic side are pay-as-you-go. You want a tax cut, pay for it, you want to make an investment, pay for it, so that we’re not increasing the deficit.

So this is not, again, a tax reform. It’s a tax giveaway. Same old, same old.

So, again, we want to fight their rigging the system even further for the wealthy and well connected. And, again, it’s hard-working middle income families that are the backbone of America, indeed the backbone of our democracy.

So that’s why we’re advocating A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future. Creating jobs, and raise incomes for American workers; lowering the cost the cost; whether it’s prescription drugs or the cost of living for American families; and giving every American the tools they need to have a place in the 21st century.

Today, one of our DPCC – that’s our Democratic Policy and Communications Committee – Co-Chairs Cheri Bustos will lead House and Senate Democrats in unveiling a new plank for A Better Deal: universal high speed internet. So important to rural America, rural America, every farm, school and neighborhood in America must have high speed broadband.

Democrats will continue to give Americans A Better Deal for everyone, every day, everywhere.

Sadly, we are confronting the situation in Puerto Rico and the [U.S.] Virgin Islands. We will continue to this is a challenge to our conscience. All of these hurricanes have had terrible consequences. This one seems to be almost Biblical in its proportions, and the challenge that it is to our conscience must be met.

So we’re hoping that we will soon have a supplemental that continues to meet the needs of the people of Puerto Rico and the [U.S.] Virgin Islands and the other hurricane affected areas, that we will be able to get it as soon as possible. It’s all about time, because time makes a difference. We’ll be able to get medical personnel and supplies, water, food, technologies that relate to communication and transportation and energy and generators and the rest. We have to move as quickly as possible.

And, again, we can’t make the people of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands whole right now, but we can give them great hope that we understand the challenge and we are here to meet it.

And I have some specifics on that if you want to ask some questions about that.

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

Highlight quote when asked about HHS Secretary Price:

Well, I don’t think he should be in there in the first place, because what does the President do? The President appointed somebody to Health and Human Services who doesn’t believe in health care for all Americans. He appointed somebody at EPA who doesn’t believe in clean air and clean water. He appointed somebody at the Department of Education who doesn’t believe in public education, to Labor who doesn’t believe in workers’ rights.


Democrats on the Job – September Edition

This month, House Democrats kept the drum beating on their bold economic agenda A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future by introducing two new planks to increase jobs for hard-working Americans. Democrats proposed the Child Care for Working Families Act to offer affordable child care and early learning, as well as a universal high-speed internet initiative to increase accessibility in rural community.

These proposals are part of Democrats’ focus on creating jobs, raising wages, and improving the lives of hard–working Americans. Below is a sample of the activities that Members led in September

(See link for more details)


Pelosi Statement on Radical Republican Budget

San Francisco – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released this statement as Republicans prepare to bring their budget to the floor next week:

“A budget should be a statement of values, but the chief purpose of this radical Republican budget is to hand tax breaks to billionaires on the backs of hard-working Americans and add trillions of dollars to the debt. This extreme budget also slashes vital lifelines of the American people by an astounding $5.4 trillion – including Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security Disability Insurance.

“Democrats know that the American people deserve A Better Deal, with better jobs, better wages and a better future. We are fighting to tilt the playing field back to the side of the American worker, by raising wages and creating ten million good-paying American jobs in the next five years, reducing the soaring cost of living for families and giving every American the tools to succeed in the 21st century through lifetime learning, including apprenticeships and paid on-the-job training.

While Republicans give out trillions of dollars of tax cuts to their high-end friends and stick the middle class with the bill, Democrats will fight tooth and nail to put economic power back in the hands of the American people.”




  1. House Democrats held a press conference on the crisis left in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

    Call for Immediate Action on Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands

    Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Michelle Lujan Grisham and other House Democrats to call for swift legislative action to assist Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands following Hurricane Maria. Below are the Leader’s remarks:

    Thank you very much, Congresswoman [Nydia] Velázquez for bringing us together this morning. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to the people of our entire country and that includes Puerto Rico. […]

    We can’t make them whole right this minute, but we can give them hope immediately and that is what we must do. We want the people of Puerto Rico to know that their plight challenges the conscience of our country, challenges our conscience, and we must meet that challenge. So that would take the form, that would take the form of doctors, helicopters, heavy trucks, water, food, generators, temporary housing, medical supplies, that were needed yesterday. We must move more quickly.

    To the people in the Virgin Islands, we share your concerns equally, and again, we want to give you hope as we try to make you whole. Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands need resources, they need our focus, and they need the full commitment of this Congress and this Administration now and into the future.

    As sad as the situation is, it does provide an opportunity for the islands to redo their grids so that they will be leaders into the future of how people receive their electricity, their communication and the rest. […]

    We’re calling on our colleagues, Democrats and Republicans alike, to move quickly. Time, the most valuable commodity of all, which makes the biggest difference in how people can be – needs can be addressed in the relief effort, time is very important.

  2. Democrats care and try to help. Republicans see easy marks and salivate over what they can make out of other people’s pain.

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