Fighting Back: “Democrats are committed to protecting Americans access to health care.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas.

(Congressman Lloyd Doggett of Texas, a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee, delivered the Weekly Democratic Address. In this week’s address, Doggett highlights Republicans’ latest assault on protections for Americans with pre-existing medical conditions, in contrast to Democrats’ agenda to lower health care costs and prescription drug prices For The People. )

“This week, in a United States District courtroom in Fort Worth, a Texas Republican relied upon their tax changes to demand termination of any protection for Americans who have a pre-existing medical condition. The Trump Administration agreed, refusing to defend this current, vital safeguard upon which 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions rely. […]

“The best way to guarantee that we strengthen health care and protect pre-existing condition coverage – the best way to strengthen and change the law for the better – is to change the lawmakers. To have a Congress that puts the needs of families ahead of the special interests.

“Ensure you make your voice heard. Together, we can stop the undermining of our health care security.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Transcript: Congressman Lloyd Doggett Delivers Weekly Democratic Address

“Hello, I’m Congressman Lloyd Doggett, and I represent communities deep in the heart of Texas from San Antonio to Austin. My neighbors are telling me to defend their access to health care.

“Amidst all the noise of the repeated tweetstorms from what some of his own employees have recently described as ‘Crazytown,’ President Trump has teamed up with his House Republican enablers to undermine health insurance protections for millions of Americans.

“Remember the courageous vote last year of the late Senator John McCain? His powerful thumbs down stopped Republicans in what was their 60th plus attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“But it didn’t stop them, later, from driving up families’ health care costs with provisions in their Republican tax scam for the wealthy.

“This week, in a United States District courtroom in Fort Worth, a Texas Republican relied upon their tax changes to demand termination of any protection for Americans who have a pre-existing medical condition. The Trump Administration agreed, refusing to defend this current, vital safeguard upon which 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions rely.

“Who will suffer from this Republican collusion to strip protection for pre-existing conditions? People like Priscilla, in San Antonio who asked me to help her father, who was recently diagnosed with cancer. If Republicans win, he could lose essential coverage. Priscilla just wants him to be able to enjoy his first grandchild and fight his cancer, not his insurer.

“Over the past year, we’ve heard countless stories from families all across America just like Priscilla’s – from mothers of children with heart conditions, from the loved ones of people with asthma, diabetes, mental illness, substance abuse and every other type of malady.

“Yet Republicans keep trying to destroy the protections people with pre-existing conditions need to afford health care.

“Last year, 217 House Republicans voted for the Trumpcare bill that would have undermined these key safeguards. And they still haven’t learned their lesson.

“Recently, I introduced, myself, an amendment in the Committee on which I serve to reaffirm protections for pre-existing conditions. But every single Republican committee member voted once again to deny this critical guarantee.

“So as President Trump showers himself with these tweetstorms of self-pity – there is little pity or willingness to help those who would be stripped of affordable health insurance. At the White House, in Congress, and now at the courthouse, Republicans are there pulling out all the stops to stop this important protection.

“Apparently, our Republican colleagues are afflicted with their very own special type of pre-existing condition: it’s called ‘amnesia.’ They have forgotten about all the suffering, for so many, before the Affordable Care Act became the law of the land. They would return us to an era of discrimination – back to the days of fine print and junk insurance policies. If you could afford coverage, then it probably wouldn’t cover you when you need it most.

“Instead of calling out Trump’s dangerous and misguided attacks on our healthcare, Republicans keep enabling him. I know it’s difficult for folks across the country to determine the truth about who claims what in Washington. But over twenty-five patient groups, including the Diabetes, Heart and Lung Associations, Susan G. Komen, American Cancer Society, the March of Dimes, and the MS Society, they all got the facts here. They said, we should ‘not replace critical protections in current law.’ Recognizing the immense suffering that would be inflicted by this Republican approach, these nonpartisan groups said that this is ‘not acceptable for the patients we represent.’ And it is certainly not acceptable.

“The best way to guarantee that we strengthen health care and protect pre-existing condition coverage – the best way to strengthen and change the law for the better – is to change the lawmakers. To have a Congress that puts the needs of families ahead of the special interests.

“Democrats, we’re For The People – and we mean to take real, specific action to: lower your health care costs and those prescription drug prices that have soared at ten times the rate of inflation; increase your pay through strong economic growth by rebuilding America; and clean up this awful corruption to make Washington work for you.

“Ensure you make your voice heard. Together, we can stop the undermining of our health care security. Thank you so much.”

Any bolding has been added.

~

Leader Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference on Thursday:

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Leader Pelosi. Good morning, everyone. Welcome back. Perhaps you’ve been here the whole time.

It’s eight legislative days. We have eight legislative days before the end of the fiscal year.

In Congress, I am pleased to say, as a former appropriator – you’re always an appropriator – that the Appropriations Committee, left to its own devices, can act in a bipartisan way. It’s the poison pills from on high that create the problem.

But I do want to commend Congresswoman Nita Lowey, our Ranking Member on Appropriations Committee, for the outstanding leadership she has provided there and the victories that Democrats have won that are not, shall we say, at the top of the news but are at the top of our agenda.

I’m pleased to commend Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who’s the Ranking Member, soon to be Chair, of VA/MILCON; Marcy Kaptur, Energy and Water; and Leg Branch, Tim Ryan. They are part of minibus one – minibus one – which we expect and hope will be resolved soon that will come to the Floor.

And minibus two – you understand it’s not omnibus, it’s minibus. Omnibus two is Ag Committee with Sanford Bishop; and Transportation, David Price; Financial Services with Congressman [Mike] Quigley; and Interior with Betty McCollum. That has the EPA in there. And hopefully that will come to a conclusion soon as well.

Minibus three is the biggie, the two biggest: Labor HHS and Defense. Labor HHS, Rosa DeLauro; the Defense Subcommittee, Peter Visclosky is our Ranking Member. So, I thank them for their leadership.

The Senate has served in a bipartisan way on the appropriations bills, and not as much so in the House, but close. And so we hope that some of the poison pills that rain upon these bills from on high can be resolved. It may not be in the committee. Hopefully so, but, otherwise, they’ll come to another part of the discussion.

I also want to thank Lucille Roybal-Allard, who’s our Ranking [Member] on Homeland Security Subcommittee of Appropriations, for the important work that she is doing to protect our children; and Jose Serrano on Commerce, Justice, Science, what he is doing to protect our census. And, of course, Nita Lowey has State and Foreign Ops, but she’s also the Ranking Member of the whole committee, I thank her for her leadership. We haven’t seen a vehicle for those. Perhaps they’ll be part of the CR, I don’t know.

But I spent time on that because that’s what we’re spending time on here, is to have appropriations bills as much as possible completed by the end of the fiscal year, which there are only 8 days left, as I mentioned, and to do so in a way that reflects what we’ve won in the fight.

Remember, we had the fight. It took five CRs for the Republicans to grasp the idea that we needed parity in terms of the increases in the allocations, that domestic would be treated the same as defense in terms of the amount of money that would be increased. We never get to their number, because they start way ahead. But this is an infusion of resources on the domestic side.

And I remind that the domestic side, a third of it, 34 percent of it, is about Veterans Affairs, the State Department, Homeland Security, and the antiterrorism activities of the Justice Department. So, it is a strong security piece in the domestic side that we were fighting for as well.

So, with that, I will say that this week – that’s what’s going on now. But this week – that’s what’s going on in the Congress. This week in the courts, the Republicans renewed their assault on America’s health care, once again targeting the pre-existing condition benefit. Over 130 million families have a pre-existing condition in their families, and the Republicans are taking that benefit to court.

Oral arguments began for this outrageous Republican Texas v. U.S. lawsuit, which tries to bring the cruelest parts of the Trumpcare bill back from the dead. Now, you understand it’s Texas versus the U.S. It would follow that the U.S. would defend its position, the law of the land, but it has said that it will not defend that position.

If Republicans succeed, again, the health care of 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions namely asthma, diabetes, cancer. It includes babies, little children, seniors, babies born with a heart defect, anything. A pre-existing condition will be excluded in an affordable way from having access to quality health care.

Sadly, the threat to America’s health care does not stop there, but that’s a very prominent place that it is manifested.

Another place is what’s going on in the Senate. This week, the nation has witnessed the confirmation hearings for one of the most radical, anti-health care, anti-choice Supreme Court nominees in recent history, a nominee who thinks that President Trump is above the law.

We recognize the right of a President to make appointments. We have a disagreement over a couple of things in the terms of issues and values. Apparently, there’s also a disagreement about stare decisis. If something is established law, it is established law.

But when you go beyond the various cases that come before the court and say the President is above the law and should not be questioned – he’s far too busy to be questioned. He didn’t feel that way in contradiction to his vile proposed questions that he wanted posed to President Clinton. I’m sure you’re familiar with them.

If Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed, Roe v. Wade, affordable health care, voting rights, commonsense gun violence prevention, freedom for LGBTQ Americans, communities of color and immigrants are all on the chopping block, just to name a few. And if he doesn’t believe in stare decisis of established law, everything is on the table – again, voting rights, civil rights, Brown v. The Board of Education.

Our focus has been, since his name came forward and he was proposed, on health care and Roe v. Wade, because they have such clarity and immediacy for the American people in their lives, and that might be a way to stop this nomination.

With their culture, they have a culture now, these Republicans – I’ve identified this about them in 2005 and 2006, and here they go again, with their culture of corruption, cronyism, and incompetence. Republicans are selling out the American people to put their special interest friends first.

The GOP’s corrupt special interest agenda is manifested in the indictments of two sitting Republican Congressmen, the first two GOP Members to endorse President Trump. Isn’t that something remarkable? The first two people in the Congress to endorse President Trump, indicted.

Instead of draining the swamp, which is a phrase we used in 2006 – President Trump hijacked the term and betrayed the mission. Instead of draining the swamp, Republicans have turned Washington into a cesspool of self-enrichment for special interests, and the American people are paying the price.

Republicans want government of, by and for the special interests. Democrats are For the People. Democrats are For the People, with a bold, historic commitment, with a sharp contrast between House Democrats and Republicans, and it couldn’t be clearer.

Our For the People agenda is lowering the health care costs and pre-existing, excuse me, prescription drug prices. Of course, we’re fighting the pre-existing conditions. For the People, lowering your health care costs and your prescription drug prices, increasing your pay, with strong economic growth by rebuilding America and cleaning up corruption to make Washington work for you.

Over the coming weeks, House Democrats will continue to develop legislation. We don’t take anything for granted in the election, but there’s a good chance that we will have the gavel on the Democratic side, and we will be ready. We will be ready to deliver our commitment For the People, what I mentioned. And we’ll continue to be ready to take action that we’ve tried to get the Republicans to do – and hopefully they will before this session is over to protect Dreamers and to advance gun violence prevention, commonsense legislation.

We’re fighting For the People. We will challenge Republicans for leaving families behind. And we will hold the President accountable – the beauty of our Constitution’s system of checks and balances.

All the beautiful other freedoms, of the press, which I believe is the guardian of our democracy, came in the Bill of Rights. In the body of the Constitution from the start, the separation of power and the checks and balances, so essential to our freedom. We will honor that.

Any questions?

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

~

Pelosi Sends Letter to Speaker Ryan Joining Poor People’s Campaign in Calling for an End to Policies Harming America’s Children

Washington, D.C. – Today, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan joining the religious and moral leaders of the Poor People’s Campaign in calling for an immediate end to policies that do harm to children.

Leader Pelosi wrote, “Disturbingly, the last 20 months of policymaking in Washington have represented a profound moral failure at the expense of children in every corner of America, from rural towns to urban centers… I enclose the Poor People’s Campaign letter calling on you to convene a bipartisan hearing this month to shine a light on policies that have done harm to our children. It is my hope that politics are set aside, and that GOP House leadership join Democrats to forge solutions that will halt the damage.”

The full letter is at the link.

~

Dear Colleague: Be Ready!

Dear Democratic Colleague,

Welcome back from the August District Work Period. I hope it was beneficial to your constituents and to you personally. As we approach the end of this Congress, we must Be Ready for the prospect that we will be in the Majority in January.

To that end, our Ranking Members and Members of the Caucus are developing legislation to deliver on the commitment we have made in our agenda –

For The People:

– Lowering health care costs and prescription drug prices;
– Increasing pay through strong economic growth by rebuilding America;
– Cleaning up corruption to make Washington work for the American people.

Further, we have repeatedly called for Republicans to bring up vital legislation to protect Dreamers and to advance gun violence prevention. We must Be Ready to act on these measures that have bipartisan support in Congress and across the country.

Let us continue this conversation with our Ranking Members and with each other in the coming weeks.

Thank you for your leadership on behalf of your constituents and all of the American people.

Best wishes,
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

~

  3 comments for “Fighting Back: “Democrats are committed to protecting Americans access to health care.”

  1. JanF
    September 8, 2018 at 7:19 am

    Pelosi Remarks at Press Event as Oral Arguments Begin in GOP Lawsuit to Destroy Protections for People with Pre-Existing Conditions

    Washington, D.C – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined House Democrats and individuals with pre-existing conditions for a press event, as oral arguments began in a federal District Court in Texas on Wednesday in Republicans’ Texas v. United States lawsuit to strike down protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Democrats highlighted the urgent need to protect Americans’ health care from Republicans’ continuing attacks.

    Nancy Pelosi: Last year, House Republicans voted to rip away protections from millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions. That’s over 125, 130 million families in our country. Thankfully, families across America rose up to defeat Trumpcare and its brutal attacks on health care of those who need it most.

    But now, with this lawsuit being argued today, the Republicans are yet again trying to drag us back to the dark days of discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions. If the GOP succeeds with this lawsuit, a baby born with a heart defect, a parent diagnosed with cancer, any of the 130 million Americans, including 68 million women and girls, people who have asthma, diabetes, depression or any other illness or injury that is no fault of their own, of course, could be denied affordable health care coverage their entire life. […]

    In the Congress, in the courts with the Kavanaugh nomination and with this despicable lawsuit, and in the White House with their sabotage campaign: families’ health care will never be safe while the Republicans control Washington. Hiking families’ premiums by thousands, voting to allow insurance companies to impose an age tax, handing massive tax breaks to Big Pharma as they hike pharmaceutical drug prices on families and seniors, and shattering the guarantee of Medicare – which they say should whither on the vine – and Medicare and Medicaid by pushing budgets that cut $1.4 trillion from Medicaid and half a trillion from Medicare.

    Families deserve a government that works For the People. A Democratic majority would mean real progress For the People: lowering health care costs and prescription drug prices, increasing pay through strong economic growth by rebuilding America, and cleaning up corruption to make Washington to work For the People.

  2. bfitzinAR
    September 8, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    Our team is good. And when we have the power, we do good. Holding the Good Thought for getting that power again.

  3. anotherdemocrat
    September 8, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    I’m so proud of my friend Lloyd! Fighting the good fight, and he’s a great speaker.

Comments are closed.