Fighting Back: “The Republican president chose to raise people’s health premiums for no reason other than spite and cruelty”

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

Yesterday, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi held a press conference on the latest health care sabotage from the Republicans.

(Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi held a press conference today following President Trump’s decision on Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and his shameful decision to cut off the Cost-Sharing Reduction payments required under the Affordable Care Act, a spiteful decision that will cause health premiums to spike by at least 20 percent for hard-working Americans.)
Nancy Pelosi

Last night, the President single-handedly decided to raise America’s health premiums for no reason other than spite and cruelty.

Cost-sharing reduction payments are essential to lowering health insurance costs. Because of President Trump’s decision to cut them off, these cost-sharing payments premiums will soar, according to the nonpartisan CBO headed by a Republican appointee, appointed by the Republicans in Congress. The CBO says that, ‘Premiums will soar. Refusing to make these vital payments spikes America’s health premiums by 20 percent in 2018.’

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

(Link to Nancy Pelosi Newsroom here)

Transcript: Pelosi Remarks at Press Conference Following the Trump Administration’s Decision on Iran Nuclear Agreement, Health Care Sabotage

Leader Pelosi. Good afternoon – I guess it’s good. I don’t know – it’s an expression – a figure of speech. Good afternoon. Whether it’s good or not depends on how you view what the President just said. I say the Iran Nuclear Agreement is the best way to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear-armed state. President Trump’s refusal to recertify is a grave mistake that threatens America’s security and our credibility during a very critical time. The President is ignoring the overwhelming consensus of nuclear scientists, national security experts, generals and his own cabinet including, reportedly, the Secretary of Defense [James Mattis] and the Secretary of State [Rex Tillerson].

The fact is – Iran remains in compliance with the nuclear agreement. If they did not, we would not be supporting certification. If Iran were not in compliance, our allies would walk away. They are not. Supporters of the agreement harbor no illusions about the Iranian regime – that is why the agreement is based on truth, not trust. It set up the toughest detection inspection, and verification framework ever negotiated. Threatening this agreement does not isolate Iran; it isolates America.

This week, Members met, our Members – House Democrats – met with four European Ambassadors, signators to the agreement, who said, ‘If the U.S. backs out of the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action], we will not.’ Even former Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that, ‘Abandoning the deal would be a mistake,’ he said, ‘Even if America decides to pull out of it, no one will join, not the Chinese, not the Russians, not even the Europeans. It will serve the Iranians.’

President Trump’s actions at this time are particularly dangerous and unhelpful as we try to prevent North Korea from obtaining full nuclear weapon capability. At the time, when we did the agreement, 29 U.S. scientists called the JCPOA – said ‘it could serve as a guidepost for future nonproliferation agreements.’ It went on to say, ‘this is an innovative agreement with much more stringent constraints than any previously negotiated nonproliferation framework.’

Brent Scowcroft, advisor to Republican presidents, said, ‘There is no more credible expert on nuclear weapons than energy secretary Ernie Moniz who led the technical negotiating team.’

At the time of the agreement, I was very proud of our Members because they studied the agreement. They sought validation from, as I said, generals, scientists, ambassadors, experts in national security – and got that validation that this is the way to go. They sought verification every step of the way and they resisted an outside mobilization against the agreement and there was positive mobilization as well.

So information, validation, clarification, mobilizations – so much went into this decision. I want to hold up this book because it is a treasure to me. It is the Democratic Members Statements in Support of the Iran Nuclear Agreement, summer 2015, where they made their own studies, came to their own conclusions, put out their own statements and put in a book, signed it as a record of why we went down this path with knowledge and clarity and determination to honor our oath to protect and defend.

The President is being frivolous with this. He has made some charges in his statement in which we agree – yes, the missile program is something we need to address and we have done that in sanctions. We don’t like their support of some organizations that we view as terrorists in the Middle East – Hamas, Hezbollah, et cetera – we agree and we have sanctions to address that. But to tattoo them to the Nuclear Agreement is just plain dangerous and wrong.

In addition to that, the President put forward some statements that are blatantly not true and I depend on all of you to do the fact-checking on some of the statements that he made. One in particular was that the regime was ready to fall until we did this agreement. What? On the basis of what is he making that statement? The regime in Iran was ready to fall – did you know that? And then we came in and bolstered them.

The other he talks about, money that went to Iran – its Iran’s money. He does not tell the American people – the money that went to Iran is Iran’s money that if they had challenged us in international court on it, we would have lost and it would have cost more.

So a little bit of – I don’t even call it knowledge – but a little bit of stuff is a dangerous thing when you are not giving the public the whole truth.

If that weren’t enough today, last night, as you know, in the past 24 hours, the president is taking radical and reckless steps that imperil the security of our nation – we discussed that – and the health of the American people. Make no mistake – last night, the President single-handedly decided to raise America’s health premiums for no reason other than spite and cruelty.

Cost-sharing reduction payments are essential to lowering health insurance costs. I don’t know if the term is thanks to President Trump’s decision – but because of President Trump’s decision to cut them off, these cost-sharing payments premiums will soar, according to the nonpartisan CBO headed by a Republican appointee, appointed by the Republicans in Congress. The CBO says that, ‘Premiums will soar. Refusing to make these vital payments spikes America’s health premiums by 20 percent in 2018.’

Middle-income families will be hit the hardest – because of President Trump’s decision last night middle-income families will be hit the hardest. Taxpayers will pay more. Ending these payments will increase the deficit by nearly 200 million dollars over ten years. What was he thinking?

Yesterday’s executive order also – earlier in the day – seeks to raise premiums on Americans with pre-existing medical conditions. Sorry, if you have a pre-existing medical condition, you better be very, very rich. And it will push Americans to pay for some junk initiatives he is proposing with few protections and little coverage. To add insult to injury – last week, last Friday, the contraceptive coverage rule reaches into the lives of hundreds of thousands of women, overruling their right to basic preventative care and forces them to pay a huge new cost, leaving it up to their employer to decide if they have access to contraception that they can afford. Congress must act immediately clarifying the language to restore the vital cost-sharing reductions payments and reversing the chaos the President has tried to sow on Americans’ health.

This is a matter of life or death. I asked them do this earlier in the year when the President first came in. I said this is very simple language – one or two sentences – that will resolve this and it will serve your purpose when you come up with a health insurance bill.

Then in the spring omnibus we tried to get them to do it again. Again, it is a matter of life or death. The GOP will try to blame the Affordable Care Act but they have purposefully, brazenly, cruelly and spitefully acted to sabotage the law and the health care it provides. It’s a matter of life and death.

Questioning followed.


Leader Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference on Thursday:

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi held her weekly press conference today. Below is a transcript of the press conference:

Leader Pelosi Opening Remarks

Leader Pelosi. Good morning, everyone. Let’s see how much we can get done in 20 minutes. I’ll try to be brief with my answers. I’ll try.

So here we are. It’s such a sad time for us in California with the wildfires. Mother Nature is really raging out there with the wildfires, the hurricanes and the rest. So much uncertainty in the lives of so many American people, and we want to make sure that we meet their needs. But it really is still raging in Northern California and Southern somewhat as well.

And here we are going home today, a day early, as if we have time to spare, when we have no jobs bill, no infrastructure bill, no commonsense action on gun violence prevention, no vote on a bipartisan DREAM Act, no CHIP reauthorization. Instead, Republicans, or the President, is sabotaging health care, and we have no action in the Congress.

As you know, there is the Ryan-McConnell tax cut framework. It’s not tax reform. It’s a tax framework. It raises taxes on the middle class, slashes taxes on the wealthiest one percent and explodes the deficit. Explodes the deficit.

And what’s so sad, is because when I say no DREAM Act, I mean, excuse me, no S-CHIP, State Children’s Health Insurance Program, no CHIP Act — it’s being held up because they’re insisting that the Children’s Health Insurance Program be paid for out of accounts that serve children, like inoculations and the rest, while they want to give tens of billions of dollars of tax cuts to the high-end, unpaid for.

And we’ll be talking some more about their tax cuts for the wealthy later.

What time is it, 1 o’clock?

Staff. 1:15.

Leader Pelosi. 1:15 today. So hopefully you’ll join us then. We’ll go into more detail about the opportunity costs for the American people. It increases the deficit, tax cuts at the high-end, and has a terrible impact on the budget. More on that later.

Again, in terms of the DREAM Act, we are still optimistic that there are enough Republicans who care about the DREAMers to join in a bipartisan way to pass that legislation and to do so soon.

Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands, how sad. This is a real challenge to the conscience of our nation. These are American people, American citizens, who fought and died in our wars, who are so much an important part of who we are as a nation and the President is dismissing them in such a way.

I wanted to address one issue that we’ve been working on with our Members, especially our committees of jurisdiction, and that is the issue of nuclear first use. I put this in the category of urgent. We take an oath to protect and defend, and the law under which the President of the United States has authority to exercise first use is one that is ancient. It’s from 1946. It was in a different world and now I think it is necessary for us to address it.

There are all kinds of proposals out there, one saying – declaring – the United States of America will not engage in first use of a nuclear weapon. I like that one the best. Others which talk about if the President were to use nuclear power, it would be with the advice of some people in his Cabinet, who would they be? That’s part of the discussion and so more to come on that. I believe that if we go forward with anything like that it has to be in a bipartisan way, because it’s about all Presidents, no matter who he or she may be down the road.

That’s, again, part of the — it takes us to the Iran agreement, again, part of the ‘Stop the world, I want to get off’ agenda of the President: walk away from the Paris Agreement and not engage in diplomacy in terms of North Korea, walk away from the Iran agreement, which seriously endangers the world, but not only that, jeopardizes our credibility, our standing on how we deal with North Korea.

Yesterday, we had a very interesting session with our Members, with four Ambassadors, the Ambassador of the [E.U.], the Ambassador of the U.K., Ambassador of France, Ambassador of Germany. They presented to our Members and, bottom line, basically said, ‘If the U.S. walks away from this, we are not. We are there in this agreement with Iran, unless Iran violates the agreement.’ There is no evidence that they have.

At the same meeting we also heard from Secretary of State, former, John Kerry; former Secretary of Energy Moniz; former Secretary — I say that because he was on the phone — Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew and former Deputy Under Secretary of State [Wendy Sherman], who was magnificent in terms of the negotiations and all the rest.

So in any case, they all spoke to the fact that this made the world safer, it was an agreement that Iran is not in violation of, that it has transparency and we would know and could tell if they were and it was even mentioned that former Prime Minister and former Defense Minister of Israel Ehud Barak said we should not walk away from this agreement.

Now, this is going to be – we don’t know, because the Republicans have not shared any of the information with us, what form any legislation there would be, that they would send over to us. But there are several different options, and we’ll see when the President makes his announcement and we’ll see when the Republicans decide what to do about it. But even those who voted, who were opposed to it before, understand that walking away has serious consequences.

Anyway, here we are again: no jobs bill, no infrastructure, no gun violence prevention, no DREAM Act, no CHIP bill, no nothing and the Members are going home. The Speaker said this morning, he’ll keep us in until Christmas to do his tax cuts for the rich.

Why don’t we just stay in tomorrow and get moving on some of this so we can have a bipartisan discussion on how we can simplify, have real tax reform that creates good-paying jobs, reduces the deficit and grows our economy instead of making threats about the Christmas holiday?

Okay. So here we are. Any questions? Chad?

Press questioning followed (see transcript)



Pelosi Statement on Trump Executive Order to Sabotage Americans’ Health Care

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement after President Trump signed an executive order designed to split the insurance risk pool to drive Americans into skeletal health insurance plans and spike premiums on Americans with pre-existing conditions:

“Thanks to President Trump’s executive sabotage, the millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions could lose access to the affordable health coverage they and their families rely on.

“The President’s cynical executive order is designed to force families across America to pay the most when they can afford it the least. After an accident or an illness, those pushed into shoddy Trumpcare plans will find they’ve been paying for coverage that doesn’t cover much at all, saddled with desperate choices and crushing medical bills.

“The American people overwhelmingly rejected Trumpcare, but President Trump is still spitefully trying to sabotage their health care, drive up their costs and gut their coverage.”


Pelosi Remarks at Press Event on the Ryan-McConnell Middle Class Tax Hike From Ending the State & Local Tax Deduction

Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Ways & Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA) and heartland House Democrats in highlighting the disastrous effects of the Ryan-McConnell plan to end the state and local tax deduction, raising taxes on families across America.


Remarks at Press Event Unveiling Bill to Defend Title IX

Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Congresswoman Jackie Speier and the leadership of the Democratic Women’s Working Group to unveil the Title IX Protection Act, a bill to codify the 2011 campus sexual assault guidance and 2014 Question and Answers document on sexual violence issued by the Obama Administration and the 2001 guidance on sexual harassment, which was issued by the Clinton Administration and later reissued in 2006 under the George W. Bush Administration.




  1. Yesterday: Pelosi, Schumer Joint Statement on News Reports President Trump Will Cut Off Vital ACA Payments, Spike Premiums

    Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer released the following statement after news reports that President Trump will unilaterally cut off the Cost-Sharing Reduction payments required under the Affordable Care Act, thereby increasing Americans’ health premiums by 20 percent or more:

    “Sadly, instead of working to lower health costs for Americans, it seems President Trump will singlehandedly hike Americans’ health premiums. It is a spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage leveled at working families and the middle class in every corner of America. Make no mistake about it, Trump will try to blame the Affordable Care Act, but this will fall on his back and he will pay the price for it.

    “President Trump has apparently decided to punish the American people for his inability to improve our health care system. Trumpcare collapsed because Americans overwhelmingly recognized the cruelty and higher costs it meant for them and their loved ones. Now, millions of hard-working American families will suffer just because President Trump wants them to.

    “If these reports are true, the President is walking away from the good faith, bipartisan Alexander-Murray negotiations and risking the health care of millions of Americans.”

  2. @KamalaHarris: “Trump’s decision earlier this week endangers health care for our friends, family, and neighbors.”

    Since taking office, Donald Trump has sabotaged the Affordable Care Act in a callous and desperate attempt to force Congress to repeal the law. In recent weeks, he has gutted funding for recruitment, deleted publicly available information about how Americans can get care, and even reversed birth control coverage requirements.

    This week, Trump took his assault on our health care one step further by canceling funding that reduces the cost of health care for millions of lower-income Americans. […]

    Congress has the authority to compel the federal government to make these payments and stabilize the health care markets.

    There is so much work we have to do to guarantee health care as a right for every single person in this country. But with Trump in the White House and the Republicans in control of Congress, we have to focus all our energy on preserving the progress we’ve made.

    Vote in 2018 as though your life depends on it. Because it does.

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