Fighting Back: “Democrats believe that health care is a basic human right”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.

(Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

“Democrats believe that health care is a basic human right, and that includes the ability to afford your prescriptions. As we know, for many people, this is a matter of life and death. Unfortunately, the pricing of prescription drugs is the ultimate example of a rigged system in my home State of Michigan as well as all across the country. Democrats promise to keep doing everything we can to bring down the cost of the medications you need. It’s time for our Republican colleagues to join us.”

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Senate Democrats have not provided a transcript for the address.

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Leader Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference from Thursday was on the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Leader Pelosi. Good morning, everyone.

I’m very privileged to be here with a distinguished group of Democratic Members. Thanks to Ranking Members Eliot Engel, Maxine Waters, and Adam Schiff for their outstanding leadership on their committees of jurisdiction and their fierce commitment to defending America’s national security in the region and around the world.

And thanks also to Representatives David Price, Lloyd Doggett, Jan Schakowsky, Gerry Connolly, Peter Welsh, Barbara Lee and John Yarmuth for joining us and for your strong leadership, all of you, in Congress as you defend the Iran Nuclear Agreement.

I carried in this book because I display it with great pride in my office and show it to people who come by, and this is the ‘Democratic Members’ Statements in Support of the Iran Nuclear Agreement.’

I believe that the Iran Nuclear Agreement was one of the great diplomatic achievements of our time. To be able to bring Russia and China, along with the other members of the National Security Five, plus Germany. It was remarkable. It was remarkable.

For years, we had been trying to get China and Russia to do any sanctions on Iran. Never, never, never. And now they were willing to join in this nuclear agreement that has a recognition of their importance in all of this.

So for the President to destroy the successful Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, it gravely endangers our global security and defies comprehension.

This was an agreement and I show you this book because we didn’t ask people to sign a letter. We asked them to study the agreement, to review the validation of Ambassadors and Generals and Admirals and military people across the board, to review the recommendations of nuclear physicists, some of them Nobel laureates, saying that this agreement should be the template for future nuclear nonproliferation agreements, to ask their questions, to talk to their constituents, to make their own decisions and make their own statements about this.

So, I was very, very proud of the strong support that the Members came to their own conclusions about supporting the agreement. It was an excellent piece of work, this, but also the agreement.

So, as I said, the President’s action is very troubling.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, again, was masterful diplomacy. It brought the P5, the permanent members of the Security Council, plus Germany and the EU together for an agreement that was heralded by, as I said, generals, top physicists, Nobel laureates, ambassadors, diplomats, national security and nonproliferation experts and global leaders.

The JCPOA is working. Its historic restrictions and rigorous inspections have prevented Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and made the American people and our allies safer.

Even senior Trump administration officials have confirmed that Iran has remained in compliance with the agreement. President Trump’s dangerous action leaves America isolated in regard to Iran. It erodes our international credibility during a critical moment with North Korea, and it recklessly puts the catastrophic threat of a nuclear armed Iran back on the table.

Democrats have no illusions about the Iranian regime. Democrats remain strongly committed to stopping the advancement of Iran’s ballistic missile programs, its egregious human rights abuses in Iran and its unacceptable support of terrorism in the region.

But the Trump administration’s reckless, rash decisions are no substitute for real global leadership. Democrats will continue to show strong, smart leadership to keep our country safe.

[Other members of the House speak here]

It’s really hard to explain to anyone why they think it’s a good idea to reject this agreement, because it is an agreement that said that Iran would not have a nuclear weapon for a number of years, possibly ever, in terms of the language of the agreement. Without the agreement, Iran was on a path to have a nuclear weapon in 1 or 2 years.

So to those who keep saying this is important for us to stop them from getting a weapon way down the road, you have just given them license to go forward in a year or two, making the world a more dangerous place, making nuclear activity desired by others in the region.

Very, very sad. We take an oath to protect and defend. That is our first responsibility. I do not think the President is honoring that oath by what he did.

I’m glad that we’re joined by our colleagues who spoke, others who have been working on this issue. Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Congressman John Yarmuth and Congressman Peter Welch are with us, and other Members who have been just saying that there is no plan B; how do we make sure that the world knows that we are committed to nuclear nonproliferation and we’re willing to make the important decisions and tough decisions to do so?

Mr. [Gerry] Connolly has set a high standard for the President. I hope he understands what’s at stake. And this isn’t about photo ops. It’s about global leadership.

Any questions?

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

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One comment of note:

Q: Can you comment on that idea, that the President is fulfilling a promise to voters to try and get better deals?

Leader Pelosi. It’s interesting how selective the President is about fulfilling his promises. Remember carried interest and what a villain that was? And, oh my gosh, he was going to get rid of that, and so many other things. Remember how he was going to protect American workers, and he passed a tax bill that gives corporations a tax incentive to create jobs overseas? Don’t get me started with his campaign promises.

So, the fact is over 60 percent of the American people in the poll that just came out said they wanted the agreement to be sustained.

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Trump Trumpets Feeble Plan on Prescription Drugs

After accusing the pharmaceutical industry of ‘getting away with murder’ and making multiple bold promises to lower drug prices ‘very substantially in the not-too-distant future,’ President Trump and his Administration have not taken any serious action on the issue.

Even worse, the pharmaceutical industry has a firm grip on this Administration, wielding influence in top positions – including Alex Azar, Trump’s HHS Secretary and former top pharmaceutical executive.

And after pocketing massive windfalls from the GOP tax scam, big pharmaceutical companies – like Pfizer – are buying back millions in their own stock and even laying off hundreds of workers, instead of lowering the costs of prescription drugs for hard-working American families.

Pensacola News Journal Op-Ed: Drug companies not using tax windfall to cut prices

President Trump campaigned on promises to bring down the cost of prescriptions. You’d think the massive tax cut he signed into law in December would be the perfect opportunity for drug companies to take some of their windfall and bring down those prices.

Since Trump took office in January 2017, the prices of over 2,500 drugs have increased by at least double digits and almost 40 have increased by triple digits or more.

So these [drug] companies reaped major windfalls from the new tax law and they could be spending it any way they want — keeping it for shareholders, reinvesting in research and development or, in a rare opportunity to help consumers without hurting shareholders, reversing this trend of constant price increases. The quickest way to reward shareholders is to announce stock buybacks, and for the most part that’s what they did.

POLITICO: Trump’s ‘America First’ agenda on drug pricing could backfire around the world

President Donald Trump wants Americans to get lower prices for medicines — and the rest of the world may pay for it.

His “America First” message on drugs at home, coupled with pro-pharmaceutical industry policies abroad, could lead to higher costs for patients around the world — without making drugs more affordable for those in the U.S.

President Trump keeps talking the talk. But it’s time to actually walk the walk. Hard-working American families deserve real action to lower the soaring cost of life-saving medication.

Democrats are offering A Better Deal on Prescription Drug Prices – a bold, ambitious plan to fix the broken prescription drug price market. The President and his Administration should work with Democrats to offer real solutions for struggling families, not waste their time bragging about pointless window-dressing policies.

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Next Up: Republican Farm Bill

Dear Colleague Letter on GOP’s Radical Farm Bill

May 11, 2018

Dear Democratic Colleague,

Next week, House Republicans plan to push forward a partisan, radical Farm Bill that fails America’s farmers and food-insecure families. House Republicans’ proposal was unanimously rejected by House Agriculture Committee Democrats, led by Ranking Member Collin Peterson.

I am writing to strongly urge all Democratic Members to refrain from offering or cosponsoring amendments, so that we can reject this bad bill and return to the table to craft a balanced, robust Farm Bill. This bad bill reflects a bad process, in which the GOP leadership cynically rejected a decades-long bipartisan tradition that weds our rural and urban communities together.

The Republican bill America’s farmers at a time of great challenge and economic uncertainty. Farm prices are plummeting and the self-inflicted damage of Trump’s tariffs is growing more dire. Yet, this bill would kill good-paying rural jobs, cut a gaping hole in the farmer safety net and shift opportunity away from America’s small towns with cuts to vital rural development and energy initiatives.

At the same time, this bill steals food off the tables of millions of children, seniors, veterans, individuals with disabilities, students and working families to pay for the GOP Tax Scam’s massive handouts to corporations and the top one percent. Every dollar in SNAP for hungry families returns money to farmers, to our economy and to the Treasury, but Republicans are senselessly and cruelly taking a hatchet to this smart, life-saving initiative.

Our Caucus must reject this harmful bill. It is vital that we speak out, including during the floor debate, and stand strong and stand united to improve the lives of the 16 million men and women of agriculture and the nearly 41 million Americans who are food-insecure.

Please colleagues, no amendments. Thank you for your continued leadership to fight to give America’s farmers and working families A Better Deal, with Better Jobs, Better Wages and a Better Future.

Best regards,
Nancy Pelosi

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  3 comments for “Fighting Back: “Democrats believe that health care is a basic human right”

  1. JanF
    May 12, 2018 at 7:44 am

    Pelosi Statement on President Trump’s Prescription Drug Price Proposal

    Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued this statement on President Trump’s prescription drug price proposal:

    “Instead of putting forth a bold initiative, the President pulled his punch. The President is breaking his promise to the American people to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, which would save seniors billions of dollars at the pharmacy.

    “This weak plan abandons the millions of hard-working families struggling with the crisis of surging drug prices. The President’s proposals are yet another giveaway to Big Pharma, and do nothing to hold wealthy drug companies accountable for their unconscionable price gouging.

    “The American people deserve real action to lower the soaring cost of life-saving medication. Democrats are offering A Better Deal on Prescription Drug Prices, our bold, ambitious plan to fix the broken prescription drug price market.

    “Democrats have a strong, detailed plan to allow Medicare to negotiate for lower prices, stop price gouging, increase transparency in pricing, and expand access to life-saving medications while encouraging innovation and lowering the soaring costs of prescription drugs for everyone. We are firmly committed to fighting the outrageous price hikes and profiteering that are devastating children, seniors and working families across the country.

    “The President should work with Democrats to offer real solutions for struggling families, not waste their time bragging about meager, window-dressing policies.”

    The broken promises keep piling up. It is almost as if Trump was lying about what he planned to do once in office!

  2. JanF
    May 12, 2018 at 10:58 am

    VOX Explainer: The 6 most interesting parts of Trump’s mostly disappointing drug price plan

    “We’re gonna see those prices go down. It’ll be a beautiful thing to watch,” President Donald Trump said in the Rose Garden on Friday. It’s a big promise. But the actual plan his administration put out doesn’t back it up. In fact, stocks for pharmaceutical companies soared after Trump’s remarks.

  3. bfitzinAR
    May 12, 2018 at 11:44 am

    Jan – thanks for putting this together for us. I’m so glad we’ve got folks like Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters… who keep fighting back for us. Just slowing them down helps. Tweeted. {{{HUGS}}}

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