The weekly Fighting Back post is also an Open News Thread.
The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Congresswoman Terri Sewell of Alabama.
(For Congresswoman Terri Sewell, the Republican Tax Scam is a stark reminder of just how far we have to go to recognize Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision for equality & fairness.)
This weekend, our country will come together to celebrate Martin Luther King Day, and to remember Dr. King’s legacy of equality, compassion and action in the face of injustice.
But remembering is not enough. Fifty years after King’s death, many Americans continue to suffer from the same injustices they endured five decades ago.
Our country needs action.[…]
Our working families are facing real challenges that require immediate action, but instead of tackling these challenges, Republican leaders have spent their time pushing a tax bill that gives huge giveaways for special interests and the wealthy, while driving up costs for working and middle class Americans. […]
This weekend in honor of Martin Luther King Day, Democratic Members of Congress from across the country will be hosting events to talk with constituents about the consequences of the tax bill and our plan to fight for working families.
The American people deserve better than what they’re getting from the Republican Congress’s relentless campaign to put the wealthy and well-connected ahead of everyone else.
You deserve A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, and a Better Future.
(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)
(Link to Nancy Pelosi Newsroom here)
“Hi, I’m Congresswoman Terri Sewell, representing Alabama’s 7th Congressional District, the civil rights district, and a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
“This weekend, our country will come together to celebrate Martin Luther King Day, and to remember Dr. King’s legacy of equality, compassion and action in the face of injustice.
“But remembering is not enough. Fifty years after King’s death, many Americans continue to suffer from the same injustices they endured five decades ago.
“Our country needs action.
“We need action to ensure that working Americans have the resources and opportunities they need to compete in today’s workforce.
“We need action to provide our children with an education that prepares them for 21st Century jobs.
“We need action to ensure that all Americans have a chance to compete on a level economic playing field.
“Dr. King saw economic success for all Americans as a keystone of equality. He recognized that economic issues were civil rights issues. ‘The struggle for genuine equality means economic equality,’ Dr. King told a rally of sanitation workers in Memphis, barely two weeks before his death. He said, ‘For we know now that it’s not enough to integrate lunch counters. What does it profit a man to be able to integrate a lunch counter if he doesn’t have enough money to buy a hamburger?’
“Five decades after his death, Dr. King’s words still ring true today. Income inequality is on the rise, our middle class is shrinking, and a competitive education is more expensive than ever.
“So when I see families in my district who are struggling to find work, when I meet mothers who can’t take time off to care for their children, when I see the poverty that still exists in America, I am reminded of what Dr. King said about the ‘fierce urgency of now.’ He said, ‘There is such a thing as being too late. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.’
“Our working families are facing real challenges that require immediate action, but instead of tackling these challenges, Republican leaders have spent their time pushing a tax bill that gives huge giveaways for special interests and the wealthy, while driving up costs for working and middle class Americans.
“In fact, an estimated 83 percent of the tax bill’s cuts go to the top 1 percent of America’s wealthiest households. Meanwhile, the tax bill’s temporary benefits for the middle class workers evaporate after just a few years, resulting in a tax increase for 86 million middle class families.
“Instead of simplifying the tax code or making it fairer, the GOP tax bill sticks working Americans with $1.5 trillion in debt in order to pay for corporate tax cuts.
“While passage of the GOP tax bill will have tragic consequences for our working Americans, I can promise you this: I promise that our fight for middle class Americans is far from over.
“This weekend in honor of Martin Luther King Day, Democratic Members of Congress from across the country will be hosting events to talk with constituents about the consequences of the tax bill and our plan to fight for working families.
“The American people deserve better than what they’re getting from the Republican Congress’s relentless campaign to put the wealthy and well-connected ahead of everyone else.
“You deserve A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, and a Better Future – and that’s the strong economic agenda that Democrats are fighting for in Washington.
“A Better Deal means creating jobs and wages in communities that have lagged behind.
“A Better Deal means lowering the cost of living for families across America
“And A Better Deal means giving every American the tool to thrive in the 21st Century.
“This Martin Luther King Day, let us be imbued with renewed faith in our collective ability to bring about social and economic change. Let us recommit ourselves to the unfinished work of King’s vision.
“There is a fierce urgency. The time for action is NOW, and that’s why House Democrats are fighting for better jobs, better wages, and a better future.
“Thank you and happy Martin Luther King Day!”
Any bolding has been added.
Leader Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference on Thursday: CSPAN.
Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference
Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for accommodating the floor schedule by being here later in the day.
It’s so sad, and I’m sure you share the sympathy that we all have for the people of our great State of California and southern California.
Mudslides have taken the lives now of 17 people, killed in the mudslides, a compounded tragedy for some of the communities affected by the wildfires. And, of course, that erosion, et cetera, contributes to the mudslides. They are still searching hopefully to save more lives. Such a very sad thing. So sad.
This weekend we observe with great joy, pride and celebration Martin Luther King Day – weekend, really, for us, in some places it goes on and on.
Last year on Martin Luther King Day, we launched our initiative to protect the Affordable Care Act. It was the great outside mobilization that came together prepared to go forward to tell stories, to be present in town hall meetings, be present at Members’ offices, be present here in Washington, D.C. and successfully stave off their repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
They have done some damage, but it is a strong bill, and many people, millions of people, are still protected.
We built that on that weekend, inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King when he said, ‘Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhuman.’ He said, ‘inhuman, because it often results in physical death.’ He was our inspiration. The cause was a great one. We prevailed.
This year on Martin Luther King Weekend we honor his commitment to equality. ‘Our struggle is for genuine equality, which means economic equality.’ He also said, ‘God never intended for one group of people to live in superfluous inordinate wealth while others live in abject deadening poverty.’
And so this weekend, inspired by Dr. King’s call for fairness, equal opportunity and equal access to equality, we honor him by holding teach-ins across the country, town hall teach-ins on the GOP tax scam. It is really important for the American people to continue to realize how damaging the GOP tax scam is to our economy and to opportunity for all Americans.
I am very proud of the work that has been done by the outside groups to spread the word, to tell the stories of how different parts of the bill affected their communities. This weekend we are going to have these teach-ins in a large number of Members’ districts. Some Members are coming together, some more Members will be involved than the number of events would indicate, but we are very proud of all the work that is being done.
It is really important for people to remember that 83 percent of the benefits of the tax bill go to the top 1 percent, that under the bill 86 million middle class American families will be paying higher taxes, that there is up to at least a $1.3 trillion tax break for corporations unpaid-for.
We are borrowing money from the future, from our children’s future, to give tax breaks to corporations now. I mean, really? And to the wealthiest 1 percent in our country. And some think that it adds up to $2 trillion if the Fed increases the interest rates – but nearly $2 trillion added to the deficit.
Eighty-three percent of the advantage to the top 1 percent; 86 million middle class families have their taxes increased. Nearly a trillion and a half dollar tax cut for corporate America – unpaid for and nearly $2 trillion added to the national debt.
And that is a staggering opportunity cost for what we could do with those resources. For example, to invest in infrastructure, to increase the solvency of Medicare and Medicaid, education, veterans, and families.
Today the Republican [Administration] announced Medicaid work requirements that are purpose-built – their purpose is to chip away at our nation’s promise of dignity and security for working families.
It’s really sad, 83 percent of the benefits go to the top 1 percent. Now, let’s talk about working poor people. It’s really sad. The elderly, disabled, pregnant women, and children will all suffer from today’s draconian decree and that we will fight.
Instead of working in a bipartisan way to put the middle class first, Republicans pillaged the middle class, sold out our children’s future to big corporations and the richest. Republicans spent 2017 rigging the system even further against working people, and they are planning the same for 2018.
In addition to what they just did on a Medicaid work requirement, just think, they are afraid of their own shadow. They won’t even put it down on paper to have a budget. They announced over the weekend they probably won’t have a budget because they don’t want the American people to see the violence they have done to priorities that should be in the budget that meet the needs of the American people.
Democrats believe that America deserves better. We believe in A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future. Create jobs and raise incomes for American workers, that is for sure. Lower the cost of living for American workers. We can start by lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and they have just nominated somebody to be head of HHS who is the master of increasing the cost of prescription drugs. And give every American the tools to succeed in the 21st century.
We believe it really is A Better Deal, that we should be working together in a bipartisan way to create growth that will reduce the deficit, generate good-paying jobs, and do so, again, in a bipartisan, transparent way instead of having trillions of dollars’ impact on our economy with this GOP tax scam bill that was done in the dark of night, and, again, in a way that is not transparent, bipartisan, or good for America’s working families.
With that, I’m pleased to take any questions you may have.
Press questioning followed (see transcript)
From the press conference regarding DREAMers:
Q: The House Speaker just said he really likes that bill and can see it getting the support of more than half of his conference. Can you see it becoming the vehicle for a compromise on DACA?
Leader Pelosi. Do you think it is a vehicle if he gets half of his caucus? Do you think Democrats are going to vote for that bill? That is completely out of the question.
It has no prospect for success. Zero.
Leader Pelosi. Well, half of the Republican caucus is not a majority of the House, and the Democrats simply won’t support that bill. I mean, it doesn’t share any of the values that we have been talking about all along, so it’s a non-starter. I wouldn’t waste my time on it. […]
We have to have a deal in hand. How much more information does anybody need? How much more reality do people have to face? You know, they are saying, ‘Oh, people are not losing any protections by not having a DACA bill passed.’
No, they are losing protections every day, over 100. Over 15,000 already have lost protections because of what the President did to lift the DACA executive order.
So we need to do it, and we need to do it now, and people are on a good course to get it done. And, you know, people say, ‘Oh, is there going to be another CR?’ Only, only if we would need it to do the implementation of it, you know, take it to the floor, this or that.
But there is no point in having another CR, unless we have an agreement on DACA and on funding. You know, we have disaster. There are a number of issues that have to be dealt with tout suite?
Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced they would approve state Medicaid waivers that would impose work requirements on Medicaid:
“Today’s announcement is a shameful violation of the letter and spirit of Medicaid. The vast majority of Americans who rely on Medicaid are already working hard to support their families. This mean-spirited decision will have a particularly damaging impact on women, including women currently taking care of seriously ill family members and those who have chronic health conditions of their own.
“The Trump Administration and the Republican Congress have spent a full year engaged in spiteful sabotage of affordable, quality health care for the American people. Today’s decision, together with Republican Congress’ cynical plans to gut Medicare and Medicaid to pay for massive tax cuts for the rich and for corporations, compounds the crisis for vulnerable Americans. Republicans must stop the sabotage, and focus on delivering affordable, quality health care to the American people.”
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