The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Florida.
(Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Florida delivered the Weekly Democratic Address. In this week’s address, Murphy highlights the importance of Medicare for America’s seniors and discusses Democrats’ Better Deal to lower health care costs and prescription drug prices.)
This upcoming Monday, July 30th, marks 53 years since President Lyndon Johnson signed into law legislation that established Medicare, one of our nation’s most life-saving programs.
The idea behind Medicare was a simple but powerful one – that a nation as great as ours has a duty to ensure that all of its citizens, including its most vulnerable, can retire with dignity, financial security, and access to high-quality and affordable medical care.
At the time Medicare was established, millions of seniors across America lacked the means to see a doctor, to get medications, or to even meet their most basic health care needs. […]
Republican leaders in Congress continue trying to undermine America’s commitment to its seniors.
I, along with my colleagues in the House, remain strongly committed to defending these programs because these are not entitlements—they are benefits earned through a lifetime of hard work.
(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)
“Hi, my name is Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy, and I represent Florida’s Seventh Congressional District in central Florida.
“This upcoming Monday, July 30th, marks 53 years since President Lyndon Johnson signed into law legislation that established Medicare, one of our nation’s most life-saving programs.
“The idea behind Medicare was a simple but powerful one – that a nation as great as ours has a duty to ensure that all of its citizens, including its most vulnerable, can retire with dignity, financial security, and access to high-quality and affordable medical care.
“At the time Medicare was established, millions of seniors across America lacked the means to see a doctor, to get medications, or to even meet their most basic health care needs.
“In fact, in 1965, the same year that Medicare was signed into law, only about half of all seniors over the age 65 or older had any health insurance at all.
“Today, as a result of Medicare, 98 percent of all seniors over the age of 65 have access to quality health care.
“As proof, my state of Florida is home to more than 4 million Medicare beneficiaries, representing about 20 percent of our total population.
“Medicare, along with Social Security, allows Americans to work hard and to contribute to our nation knowing that, in turn, their nation won’t abandon them in their retirement.
“Despite these accomplishments, Republican leaders in Congress continue trying to undermine America’s commitment to its seniors.
“I, along with my colleagues in the House, remain strongly committed to defending these programs because these are not entitlements—they are benefits earned through a lifetime of hard work.
“It’s why we stood up to hyper-partisan attempts to impose an age tax that would have allowed insurance companies to charge older Americans up to five times more than younger people, no matter how healthy they are. And it’s why we must continue building on the progress we have made, so that every American can have access to quality, affordable health care.
“In fact, Democrats have presented a proposal to lower the cost of prescription drugs and crack down on drug price gouging – and are fighting to allow Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices and for more transparency into price hikes.
“House Democrats are pushing for A Better Deal for seniors and families everywhere. Our agenda is simple. Instead of trying to slash Medicare, we’re working to lower your health care costs and prescription drug prices, to increase your pay through strong economic growth by rebuilding America, and, to clean up Washington and ensure its accountable to you.
“We know our job is to work for the people.
“So, as we approach Medicare’s 53rd anniversary, we must all recommit ourselves to the ideals that helped establish this important program and dedicate ourselves to protecting and strengthening health care for all Americans, especially our seniors.”
Any bolding has been added.
Leader Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference on Thursday:
Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference
Leader Pelosi. Good morning.
Here we are this morning, maybe the last time for many weeks to come, because today the Republican majority closes down the House for 5 weeks, heading home after months spent stacking the deck for the special interests, mortgaging our future with their tax scam for the rich and dismantling families’ health care.
Americans have watched House Republicans relentlessly and cruelly work to drive up their health cost. Republicans voted to destroy protections for people with pre-existing conditions in their Trumpcare bill, but now they’re trying to destroy those life-saving protections in the courts.
In addition, instead of enabling the Secretary of HHS to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices, Republicans handed tens of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the same Big Pharma companies hiking prices up for seniors and families.
The President, during the campaign, you probably remember when he said he was going to ‘negotiate like crazy’ to lower prescription drug prices, enable the Secretary to do that. As I’ve said to you before, ‘negotiating like crazy’ means not negotiating at all, because that’s not what happened.
As you know, the President made a statement which we anticipated was going to be an initiative to negotiate. Instead, it was he pulled his punch, and that day the Pharma stocks went through the roof. Don’t take it from me, just look at the market.
And year after year, Republicans have worked to shatter the sacred promise of Medicare and Medicaid. This is really sad, because these are pillars of financial and health security for America’s working families.
Monday marks the 53rd year, 53rd anniversary since President Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law, delivering essential guarantees of health and economic security for our seniors and their families. The operative word there is ‘guarantees.’
But the Republicans in Congress, and particularly Speaker Ryan in his budgets that he put forth, want to remove the guarantee. If you have no guarantee, you have no Medicare. You have a voucher. Go, seniors and others, shop for your health care, you have no guarantee.
But some people don’t think that Medicare is at risk. ‘Oh, the Republicans would never do that.’ Oh, no, they would, and they have it in their budget. They’ve had it in their Ryan budget again and again.
But don’t just rest on that. In the ’90s and since, the Republicans have said Medicare should ‘wither on the vine. Should wither on the vine. So they have no commitment to Medicare. The only commitment they made in their budget was to turn it into a voucher.
After adding $2 trillion to the deficit, giving the big tax breaks, 83 percent of the benefits going to the top 1 percent, tax cuts for corporations, some of which enable them to send jobs overseas, then they have over a $2 trillion deficit, with the tax cuts plus interest on that money.
So where do they go get the money? Medicare and Medicaid. Over $2 trillion in cuts in Medicare and Medicaid.
Seniors and those who depend on Medicare and Medicaid know that you’re losing your benefits to give a tax break to the rich. That’s the set of priorities of the Republicans in Congress.
And as House Republicans dismantle the pillars of America’s retirement security, they are also blocking action to protect our democracy against Russian attacks. President Trump’s disgraceful, dangerous and damaging behavior with Putin in Helsinki has put the House GOP’s coverup efforts into overdrive.
Last night, House Republicans escalated their effort to shut down Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s attack on our elections by filing a resolution to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein.
Today, House Republicans blocked a vote on Congressmen Engel and Connolly’s SECURE Our Democracy Act, which would punish foreign actors who are attacking our elections.
And last week, the GOP refused to provide a single penny, an additional penny to secure our elections, eliminating State election funding and then voting against a Democratic measure to restore the funding in committee and on the floor.
What is at stake is nothing less than the integrity of our democracy itself, the fundamental responsibility to ensure that every vote is counted, that every eligible voter can vote, and that every vote is counted as cast.
Three election technology – did you know this? – three election technology vendors control the machinery for 92 percent of the total eligible voting population. This is a massive vulnerability, and it requires greater oversight and transparency of our election system. Three vendors, 92 percent of the system.
House Republicans refuse to act for any oversight, any funding, because they are now more concerned about covering up President Trump’s activities than defending our democracy from foreign attack. It seems they took an oath not to protect and defend the Constitution, which guarantees the right to vote, but an oath of office to protect and defend Donald Trump.
On protecting our democracy from Russia, on lowering prescription drug costs, on rebuilding America’s infrastructure, and returning checks and balances to Washington, the contrast between House Republicans and Democrats could not be clearer. At every turn, House Republicans are selling out the American people to put themselves and their special interest donors first. That’s a raw deal for seniors and working families. It’s a raw deal for the air our children breathe, the water they drink.
Democrats are here to offer A Better Deal for the people: Better Jobs, Better Wages, and a Better Future for all, for the people, for lowering your health care costs and prescription drug prices, for increasing your pay through strong economic growth by rebuilding America, for cleaning up corruption to make Washington work for you.
Over the coming weeks, House Democrats will continue that drumbeat across America. Thank you.
Press questioning followed (see transcript)
Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi announced that she will lead a Congressional delegation visit to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands focusing on hurricane recovery efforts, beginning Thursday, July 26.
“Nearly one year after the hurricanes hit, the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are still struggling to heal, rebuild and recover from these horrific disasters,” said Leader Pelosi. “The suffering endured by our fellow Americans on the islands in the months following the hurricanes has been a challenge to the conscience of our nation. We must do better to prevent the loss of life, expedite the recovery, and prepare for the next storm.”
“Democrats are traveling to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to listen, to learn and to shine a light on this crisis,” continued Leader Pelosi. “Our delegation will visit with working families, local officials and leaders, faith groups and community groups to discuss the steps that remain to be taken to put our fellow Americans back on the road to recovery. We are committed to ensuring that every community devastated by the hurricanes will receive the assistance they need, particularly as we face fresh threats from this year’s hurricane season.”
A full list of the delegation is at the link.
After arriving on the island, Nancy Pelosi met with the press and answered questions. Some snippets:
Leader Pelosi. Thank you, [Congresswoman] Nydia Velázquez for the invitation to be here. All who are here came here with a love of Puerto Rico, bringing experiences from natural disasters that have happened in our communities, some bringing expertise from committees of jurisdiction in which they serve. All of us come with a great love of Puerto Rico and a great desire to give Puerto Rico the opportunity to have a boom economy, to leap-frog over any past issues that relate to energy or this-and-that, but to make its own community-based decisions. We came here to listen, we came here to learn: we did not come here to preach. We came here to carry back a message of what the priorities are of the people of Puerto Rico, and we met with the Governor, we have an ongoing conversation with him about how we can expedite, make things happen faster.
We met with FEMA folks, Mike Byrne is here, thank you, Mike, for your leadership today. We took the opportunity to thank hundreds and hundreds of volunteers and workers who have come to help here. So, as [Congresswoman] Nydia [Velázquez] said, it’s to see how far we have come but really to find out what more needs to be done.
Listening to the community-based organizations, the labor unions, visiting the disaster recovery centers, seeing the Casa Pueblo and the initiative there to move away from fossil fuels and to renewables and how that cuts costs but also saves the planet.
As I’ve said, when I’ve come here, many, many times to Puerto Rico, I have always learned how you do things and how culturally appropriate they need to be but what leadership you provide. My carry-back from this is that we need, perhaps, in our legislating, in our advocacy, to find ways to speed things up, to cut red tape, to reduce bureaucratic obstacles to moving resources to the people to build the future and, again, I think there is an opportunity to leap-frog over – renewables – all kinds of new and innovative ways that we have heard from the people of Puerto Rico that they have the aspirations to do.
Questions at the link.
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