Fighting Back: “Democrats will not rest until we honor our obligations to those who risked their lives for us.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Rep. Carolyn Maloney announcing House passage of the Never Forget the Heroes Act which will make permanent and fully fund the 9/11 Victim Compensation program.

(In this week’s address, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney discusses the bipartisan effort to honor the sacrifice of the heroes of 9/11 and their families by permanently authorizing the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund via the passage of H.R. 1327, the Never Forget The Heroes Act.)

“These [first responders] are remarkable people who did not hesitate in the hour when we needed them most.

“These are people who believed their government when we told them that the air was safe. And so, with every breath they took of that toxic dust-filled air their personal odds grew worse and the danger to their health increased.

We now have a moral obligation as a nation to take care of them. First and foremost, because of their sacrifices for this country and, secondly, because of the terrible, toxic lie our government told them.

‘Never forget’ has no meaning if it’s just a campaign slogan or a bumper sticker or a hashtag. It only has meaning if it comes with a real commitment – a commitment that ensures that our first responders, survivors and their families will never have to go without the support they so urgently need – the support they have so valiantly earned.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Transcript: Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney Delivers Weekly Democratic Address

“Hi, I’m Carolyn Maloney, and I have the privilege of representing parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens in the United States Congress.

“So many of us know exactly where we were and what we were doing when we learned our nation was under attack – that planes hit the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and that an incredible group of heroes brought down a third plane in Shanksville, Pennsylvania that was heading to Washington, DC.

“September 11th, 2001 is a day that defined a generation and forever changed our nation.

“We remember the images of the tens of thousands of firefighters, police officers, federal and local law enforcement officers, medical workers, construction workers and other heroes who responded, without hesitation, when they heard the news.

“They put aside all thoughts of self and rushed to Ground Zero, the Pentagon and the Shanksville crash site. And they began to dig through the smoking ruins looking for survivors, and then, for months afterwards – searching for the lost and helping us recover.

“It has now been almost eighteen years since that attack on our country and the death toll from that day continues to climb.

“9/11 first responders and survivors are now dealing with the long-term health consequences of working, living and going to school around those toxic crash sites – day in and day out. Many have died. More are seriously ill and the number of diagnoses grows each day.

“Though Congress has already made the World Trade Center Health Program permanent, the Victim Compensation Fund for these responders, survivors and victims’ families will expire in 2020. And to make matters worse, the fund is running out of money.

“That is why the House just passed the Never Forget The Heroes Act, to make permanent and fully fund the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

“If you remember 9/11, you remember that we as a nation vowed to ‘never forget.’

“That we made a commitment to those men and women – a solemn promise that they would never have to go without the support they needed or wonder if support would be there for their families when they are gone.

“These are remarkable people who did not hesitate in the hour when we needed them most.

“These are people who believed their government when we told them that the air was safe. And so, with every breath they took of that toxic dust-filled air their personal odds grew worse and the danger to their health increased.

“We now have a moral obligation as a nation to take care of them. First and foremost, because of their sacrifices for this country and, secondly, because of the terrible, toxic lie our government told them.

“I have worked on this issue for eighteen years now. Working with first responders, survivors and their families to make sure they have the health care and financial security they need and deserve.

“And our House Majority is For The People – for the people who live everyday with the weight and pain of 9/11, which is why we will not rest until this bill becomes law.

“I’ve grown close with many of them and I say this with love: I hope none of them ever have to come to Congress again. This program needs to be made permanent, and it needs to happen now.

“I hope the Senate will take up our bill immediately. These families cannot afford to wait.

“‘Never forget’ has no meaning if it’s just a campaign slogan or a bumper sticker or a hashtag. It only has meaning if it comes with a real commitment – a commitment that ensures that our first responders, survivors and their families will never have to go without the support they so urgently need – the support they have so valiantly earned.

“I promise House Democrats will not forget and will not rest until our nation has fully and faithfully honored that commitment. It is the least we can do as a grateful nation.”

Any bolding has been added.

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference from Thursday:

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Speaker Pelosi. Good morning. Good morning.

Here we are, back from the July Fourth district work period. Did you have an enjoyable holiday? I hope so.

How about the women’s national team? Wasn’t that just a spectacular way to spend a Sunday morning? Apart from going to church, of course. I went Saturday night.

The House again has returned from that work period laser-focused on our strengthening America agenda, as we honor our oath to support and defend the Constitution and protect the American people. Members of Congress will honor our oath and do our patriotic duty to find the facts, as Special Counsel Mueller comes to testify before Congress next week. This is about the dignity of the process. It’s about patriotism. It’s not about partisanship or politics.

The Mueller report revealed that the Russians waged a sweeping and systemic attack on our elections. Yet the President tells us it was a hoax and suggests that he would welcome Russian interference again – a green light.

This testimony will ensure that many more people will read the report and see the facts for themselves. Our national security is being threatened, and the American people deserve answers. Yesterday, we had a classified briefing on election security from the Administration.

As we investigate, the House will also legislate, honoring our oath with bold actions to deliver results for the American people. And to that end, tomorrow, the House will pass a strong, bipartisan defense authorization bill. We are debating it now, have for a couple of days – a bill that advances a strong, smart and strategic national defense.

The legislation keeps America strong, with vital action to improve the economic security and well-being of our servicemen and women and their families.

It keeps America safe, with critical steps to promote collaboration with our allies, harden our defenses against hostile foreign powers and meet the challenges of the future, including the climate crisis, which is a national security issue.

And it keeps America smart, by reaffirming Congress’s constitutional oversight responsibility over the President’s military actions overseas, including action related to potential action against Iran.

I want to commend our Chairman of the Committee, Adam Smith. He’s done a spectacular job. And the Members of the Committee. And, really, he incorporated the views of so many of our Members into the legislation.

It also keeps America humane, by protecting children in this way: prohibiting DOD funding from being used to house unaccompanied children near the border and requiring the Department of Defense to submit certification that any housing provided to unaccompanied children meets Department of Homeland Security standards, including those provided in the Flores settlement.

We must take every action we can, take every opportunity we have to end this child abuse and improve the health care, safety and well-being of children in custody.

In the coming weeks we’ll bring to the Floor – just in the very near future – legislation, under the leadership of Chairman Thompson, the Chair of our Homeland Security Committee, but also work of the Judiciary Committee, legislation of Representative Escobar on accountability and Representative Raul Ruiz, who’s also a public health physician, for best practices based on – based on training for CBP and ICE officers and a ban on separation of families except when it is in the best interest of the child.

It’s very, very specific medical care standards, led by Mr. Ruiz, to ensure health and safety of children and adults in custody.

Some of this – the accountability piece is fresh and new and something that sprang from the visit that Congresswoman Escobar hosted over the past weekend. But the provisions of Mr. Ruiz’s bill, or some of it is more, but most of it is what we wanted the Senate to accept before the break. They didn’t. I think Mitch McConnell would have been happy if we had no bill at all. That’s what he was taunting for. But we wouldn’t go that place.

Again, this is not issues. This is not legislation. This is about values. And our Members did hear this when they went home. Whatever they may think about immigration and any other aspects of it, they all universally came back with questions about the children. The American people, in their decency, care about the children at the border.

It’s about values that the President does not seem to share, and we saw this morning when he announced his heartless raids on families this coming Sunday.

When he announced this before, I called some people of faith about this, evangelicals who support the President for other reasons but who have been good on immigration issues usually. And, basically, they were very concerned that this goes too far, because these raids were not what they signed up for with President Trump. And I think their calls to the President made a difference.

Basically what they said to me is, ‘On Sunday’ – this is the Hispanic evangelicals – ‘on Sunday, west of the Mississippi, our people are in church, and as they prepare to go to church, they feel very threatened and scared by these raids.’ So hopefully the President will think again about it, or these groups will weigh in once again.

Families belong together. Every person in America has rights. These families are hardworking Members of our communities and our country. This brutal action will terrorize children and tear families apart.

At the events that I’ve been going to, recently in Queens and other places – but the Queens one was specifically geared to the Census, and then the raids emerged as part of that discussion – I read them this card: An ICE deportation warrant is not the same as a search warrant. If that is the only document ICE brings to a home raid, agents do not have the legal right to enter a home. If ICE agents don’t have a warrant signed by a judge, a person may refuse to open the door and let them in. An administrative order of removal from ICE or immigration authorities is simply not enough.

Families belong together. Everyone in our country has rights. Many of these families are mixed-status families. We hope the President – we pray that the President will think about this, I would say ‘again.’ Hopefully it’s ‘again.’

Okay. So, one more subject before we go to questions. Tomorrow is a very big day for us because the House will honor our values as we pass Congresswoman – well, she’s Chairwoman of her Committee – Carolyn Maloney’s bipartisan Never Forget the Heroes Act, which renews the 9/11 Victims Compensation Act.

Two weeks ago, America lost one of those heroes, Luis Alvarez. He was here. He came to the Capitol to testify. And we lost him. He was a New York Police Department detective and an advocate for whom this bill is named who died from 9/11-related cancer.

With this bill, we pledge to never forget his sacrifice and that of so many. We had passed the bill earlier, closer to the time of the tragedy. We need to do it more and more fulsomely because there are so many cases of cancer that we’re aware of now. And so, tomorrow, we will do that, send it over to the Senate.

Next week, the House will also act to raise the minimum wage – I’m very excited about this – which will increase wages for up to 27 million Americans and lift 1.3 million people out of poverty, including 600,000 children.

Finally, throughout July and beyond, the House will continue the drumbeat of action For The People for protecting the health and financial security of America’s families. For The People, what we ran on: lower health care costs by lowering the cost of prescription drugs, protecting the pre-existing medical conditions; and to increase paychecks – hopefully the President will still want to do infrastructure; and cleaner government.

Finally, on Tuesday – one last thing – on Tuesday, the courts heard oral arguments in the Republicans’ Texas v. the U.S. lawsuit, in which the Administration asked the court to eliminate every last protection and benefit provided by the Affordable Care Act.

You may recall that during the campaign the Republicans were out there saying, ‘We’re for the pre-existing medical condition benefit.’ Every last provision of the Affordable Care Act.

While the GOP tries to destroy families’ health care, Democrats are fighting to lower health care costs and protect the pre-existing condition benefit.

This is so important to all of us, to protect this. It’s also very important in the lives of the American people, because it’s not just about their health, which would be enough reason, it’s about their financial well-being as well, health care costs being problematic.

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

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Meanwhile, when the Republican Congress couldn’t repeal the Affordable Care Act, they passed it on to the courts to do their dirty work. Pelosi Remarks at Press Conference on Day of Oral Arguments in GOP’s Texas v. U.S. Lawsuit to Destroy Health Care Excerpts:

July 9, 2019
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Leader Chuck Schumer and House and Senate Democrats held a press conference showing the faces of Americans who would be hurt if the Trump Administration and Republicans succeed in their effort to strike down protections for people with pre-existing conditions and the entire Affordable Care Act in Texas v. U.S.
Speaker Pelosi: Today, House and Senate Democrats are here to show the human stakes of the GOP’s relentless assault on health care.

As oral arguments are being heard today in GOP’s Texas v. U.S. lawsuit, we gather to give voice to the hard-working Americans whose health and economic security are in jeopardy.

Today, the Trump Administration is demanding that the court strike down every last provision of the ACA. Protecting protections for the over 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions and their families, bans on lifetime and annual limits, as the Leader mentioned, that can have a very devastating impact financially, as well as health-wise, for a family. The Medicaid expansion – again, as the Leader mentioned, the Medicaid expansion in the ACA, very important to people born with a pre-existing condition, babies born with a pre-existing condition and families otherwise, savings for seniors on prescription drug cost, the premium assistance that makes health coverage affordable for millions of American families.

As you all know, the Affordable Care Act extended benefits to 20 million people who did not have health care before and that was very important – a major achievement in itself, but that was not the full extent of the bill. 130 million Americans have pre-existing conditions and they are affected by this.

More at the link.

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Pelosi Statement on Ninth Circuit Ruling Greenlighting Trump Administration’s Title X Gag Rule

July 12, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to block the Trump Administration’s Title X gag rule, which threatens to deny access to health care and family planning services to many vulnerable families:

“This is heartbreaking news for millions of vulnerable women and families across America.

The Trump Administration’s gag rule perfectly showcases their utter disdain for women’s health and women’s rights. This misguided ruling paves the way for politicians to deny women access to the basic preventive and primary health care that is their right, including affordable contraception, cancer screenings and critical health information necessary to make decisions about their bodies and families.

“The Trump Administration’s assault on women’s health care and rights must end now. House Democrats will continue to be relentless in our defense of families’ affordable, quality health care and we will never stop fighting for the millions who rely on this popular, life-saving pillar of health care.”

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  2 comments for “Fighting Back: “Democrats will not rest until we honor our obligations to those who risked their lives for us.”

  1. JanF
    July 13, 2019 at 7:01 am

    Nancy Pelosi’s “Dear Colleague” letter this week: Action on Border Conditions & Census

    July 8, 2019
    Dear Democratic Colleague,
    As we return from our Fourth of July observances, we must also observe the challenges our country faces: the challenge of the horrible conditions children endure at the border and the challenge to an accurate count in the Census by the Trump Administration.

    Whether or not the President responds to our request to improve medical care standards for the health and safety of children, and while Senator McConnell still refuses to help the children suffering in these deplorable conditions, we must lead a Battle Cry across America to protect the children.

    Legislation is necessary, and Members visiting the border have made several suggestions as we move forward:
    • Accountability: legislation introduced by Congresswoman Veronica Escobar to bring more accountability to the Department of Homeland Security through stepped up community engagement, best practices training for CBP and ICE officers to foster more professional conduct and fairer border enforcement, and a ban on the separation of families, except when it’s in the best interest of the child;
    • Medical Care Standards: medical care standards legislation led by Congressman Raul Ruiz to ensure the health and safety of children and adults in custody;
    • Timing: reporting the death of a child in custody within 24 hours and no advance notice required for Member visits to facilities;
    • Influx Facilities: a limit of 90 days for any unaccompanied child to spend at an influx facility and replacement of contractors not meeting influx facility standards of care;
    • Compassionate Processing of Children & Families: a multi-agency, integrated, migrant processing center pilot program for families and unaccompanied children.

    Our fight for a fair Census also continues. It is essential to who we are as a nation and how we meet the needs of the American people. Before the break, the Oversight Committee voted on a bipartisan basis to hold the Attorney General and the Secretary of Commerce in contempt of Congress for defying the Committee’s bipartisan subpoenas for documents that would shed light on the real reason the Administration added a citizenship question. We will be moving forward in the whole House soon.

    In both the case of the Census and the abhorrent conditions for children and families at the border, we must hold the Trump Administration and the GOP accountable. We return to Washington to fight For The People.

    best regards,
    Nancy

    The census question issue has been resolved after pressure by the courts but I hope that the administration will be held accountable for their lies and that there is oversight into their plans to mine governmental data to find citizenship information.

    And this is good news!

    P.S. We have invited the players of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team to the Capitol – either as a team or individually – to celebrate their inspiring victory.

    w00t! It is good that there is a place where people who want nothing to do with the lump of sodden grossness in the Oval Office, can come to Washington and have their achievements celebrated.

  2. bfitzinAR
    July 13, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    I’m so very glad we’ve got Pelosi at the helm. I know she’s training her successor – who most certainly is not a “justice” Dem – and that’s a good thing because only someone with her kind of experience & training can actually get anything done in any kind of representational government.

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