The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan discussing the harmful Republican budget which targets seniors, children, college students and the poor.
(Following the release of the Trump administration’s harmful budget proposal, Senator Stabenow (D-MI) delivers this week’s Weekly Democratic Address.)
“Our country’s budget is a reflection of who we are and what we care about and who we care about. President Trump’s budget betrays American families and our seniors. Senate Democrats strongly oppose this budget. We understand that you and your family deserve a fair shot to work hard and get ahead. I want you to know that Democrats will continue putting the needs of hard-working families first.”
(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)
Senator Stabenow outlines how the president’s budget is a disaster for American families. She highlights the devastating proposed cuts of $1.6 trillion to essential health care programs such as Medicare and Medicaid and underscores the impact this will have on our seniors and families who rely on these programs for health care. The budget also proposes massive funding cuts to cancer research, the U.S. EPA, public schools, SNAP, Meals on Wheels, rural communities, programs that help stop the spread of diseases such as the coronavirus, and more. Senator Stabenow closes by stating that this budget is a reflection of who we are and emphasizes that Democrats oppose the budget and will fight to put the needs of American families first.
“Hi, I’m Senator Debbie Stabenow, and I am proud to represent the great state of Michigan.
“This week, President Trump released his budget. And it’s unfortunately a disaster for Michigan families and families across our country.
“Michigan families want quality, affordable health care, including lower-priced prescription drugs. I am sure you want that for your family as well. But what does President Trump do? He proposes a budget that slashes $1.6 trillion dollars from critical health care programs, like Medicaid and Medicare.
“In Michigan, 3 out of 5 seniors in nursing homes get their care through Medicaid. And their Medicaid covers nearly half of all the babies born in our country.
“Medicaid also treats almost 1 in every 3 people with a substance abuse disorder or those who need mental health help.
“Yet the Trump budget cuts Medicaid by $900 billion and Medicare by $500 billion. That’s bad news for babies, bad news for moms, bad news for families, and bad news for seniors.
“Meanwhile, in his State of the Union speech, President Trump promised that people with pre-existing conditions would be protected.
“Yet nothing in his budget stops the Trump Administration’s aggressive support for a lawsuit that would repeal the Affordable Care Act, including coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.
“And that’s not all. The Trump Budget cuts $2.6 billion from health research including the National Cancer Institute. We need new treatments and we need new cures, but we can’t get there without critical research!
“Incredibly, the Trump Budget also cuts millions from programs that help us respond to disease outbreaks including the coronavirus. That makes no sense – and it’s dangerous!
“Also, we want clean air and water, right? But the Trump Budget slashes $2.4 billion from the Environmental Protection Agency, gutting programs that protect our families from toxic substances, keep our drinking water safe and improve air quality.
“President Trump says he cares about rural communities too, like where I grew up in northern Michigan, but his budget says otherwise. He cuts rural high-speed internet … rural opioid treatment, critical support for our farmers, who are having a lot of challenges … and rural education.
“And speaking of education, our children’s public schools are cut by $4.8 billion in this budget, and students receive less financial aid in a time when the high cost of college is keeping them from earning their degrees.
“And on top of all of that, huge cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program leave children, veterans, and families hungry. Not even Meals on Wheels escapes President Trump’s budget ax!
“Our country’s budget is a reflection of who we are and what we care about and who we care about. President Trump’s budget betrays American families and our seniors.
“Senate Democrats strongly oppose this budget. We understand that you and your family deserve a fair shot to work hard and get ahead. I want you to know that Democrats will continue putting the needs of hard-working families first.”
Any bolding has been added.
Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Schumer spoke at a joint press conference regarding the Republican budge. Link to transcript is HERE.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference from Thursday:
Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference
Speaker Pelosi. Good morning.
This is a very special morning for us, because I may be called away moment – not momentarily, but in a few minutes, longer than just momentarily, to vote on the Floor of the House for the ratification – extending the date for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.
It’s a historic day. It’s a happy day. I commend our Chairman, Jerry Nadler, Chair of the Judiciary Committee, for bringing the legislation to the Floor. Jackie Speier, the author of the resolution, who has been a relentless champion for women’s rights in the Congress and in the country. Carolyn Maloney, who has, for a very long time, been advocating for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. And, now, extending the date enables us to – will enable us to do that.
We’re very proud of the State of Virginia, who just came through for women, for families. And that, in the Chair, Congresswoman Wexton from Virginia is presiding. She fought for the ERA in the Virginia Legislature. Didn’t happen until they got the Majority, and then – and she’s here now, so – to preside over it.
It’s pretty exciting. It’s pretty exciting when you think of what it means. And I can’t understand how people can vote against their own interest as a woman. But their wives, their daughters, their sisters, their mothers are not equal? They should be equal under the law, whether it relates to wage discrimination, whether it relates to sexual harassment, whether pregnancy discrimination.
As a mother of five, and four of whom are daughters, I’m very excited about what this means for families and what it may mean for women to be better represented in all the seats of decision and power in our country.
So, again, there is no reason for this. Some people are putting forth excuses. But, we expect to have a bipartisan vote in the Senate. I hope we will have a bipartisan vote in the House, and hopefully it will be brought up in the Senate.
So, again, as our theory has been, when women succeed, America succeeds. That’s what we believe, and that’s what we’re acting upon today.
Again, this week was marked by the introduction of the President’s budget. You’ve heard me say again and again a budget should be a statement of our national values. The federal budget should be a reflection of what is important to us as a nation.
This budget is not without a – is without any commitment to values. In fact, it is in complete reversal of the promises the President made in the campaign and a contradiction of what he said in the State of the Union Address.
As you know, he talked about being there for Medicare and Social Security.
Well, he cut Medicare by half a trillion dollars in his budget, cut tens of billions of dollars from disability benefits from Social Security.
And the issue of Medicaid, cut $900 billion, almost a trillion dollars from Medicaid. About 60 percent of long‑term health care is paid for by Medicaid. This is a middle‑class benefit. Yes, some Medicaid goes to the poor, poor children especially, but most, a majority of the funds, paying for long‑term care for America’s seniors, and other comes from Medicaid, $900 billion, just to name something.
It’s an appalling budget. At a time of – imagine – imagine, when the whole world is fighting the coronavirus, the President cuts out $1.2 billion from the Center for Disease Control, whose job it is to fight the coronavirus and others like it.
And farmers. The President talks about farmers. Farmers have record numbers of bankruptcy now, and in the budget the President slashes the farmers’ safety net by $60 billion while stealing $200 billion from SNAP.
SNAP is directly related to our farmers. When I go into the Midwest, I meet farmers who tell me they are on food stamps because of their economic situation. But Senator Dole and Senator McGovern established the SNAP program to help address food insecurity, but also to benefit farmers who provide that food.
There are cuts to – we talk about rebuilding America, and the President, in his budget, cut 13 percent of the Department of Transportation, and also has massive cuts in the Army Corps of Engineers, which is very essential to infrastructure building.
And then, for clean air and clean water, he cuts 25 percent from the EPA. This budget is disgraceful in many ways – just as simply as the air our children breathe, the water they drink. ‘Just slash it. Not important to us.’
And all the while, reinforcing what he’s going to do on taxes, to continue his tax scam, adding more money, more debt, more national debt for our children to pay so he can give tax cuts to the high end. So we can say, ‘See? See? The market’s up.’ Well, you slash taxes and do one thing and another.
Now, we want our economy to succeed, and we’re happy when the indicators are positive. But let’s not build that on the backs of our children and their future.
Dozens of groups, from the AARP to Young Invincibles – I don’t have a Z yet, but Y – have come out against the [budget].
And the AARP, representing 17 million seniors, wrote this: ‘We are deeply concerned about the proposed funding reductions to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, nutrition assistance, caregiver support, housing assistance, and other assistance for older Americans. AARP calls on Congress to protect these critical programs that millions of Americans rely on for their health and financial security.’
That’s their statement.
I’ll add to that that many of these people are veterans. Over a million veterans benefit from Medicaid and SNAP, the SNAP program. Food insecurity, sadly, it is prevalent in our veterans community.
We also saw the President this week demonstrate once again that he does have, has no respect for the rule of law. His assault on the rule of law by engaging in political interference in the sentencing of his associate, Roger Stone, indicated obstruction of investigation into Trump‑Russia ties and witness tampering. That’s what Trump, that’s what Stone was indicted for.
This is an abuse of power that the President is, again, trying to manipulate federal law enforcement to serve his political interests.
And the President is what he is. He thinks he’s above the law. He has no respect for the rule, but where are the Republicans to speak out on this blatant violation of the rule of law? AG Barr has deeply damaged the rule of law by withdrawing the DOJ’s sentencing recommendation, and the act of interference and Trump’s retribution against the lead attorney in the Stone case – imagine that four of the prosecutors separated themselves from the case when the President did that – just days after firing Lieutenant Colonel Vindman for speaking truth to power. This all must be investigated.
The American people must have confidence in our nation’s system of impartial justice. And with withdrawal of the four career prosecutors from the case – what an act of courage on their part. It must be commended. But the actions of the Justice Department – Justice Department has this, should have this aura of something so apolitical, so above the political fray, that people have confidence in the rule of law in our country.
The Attorney General has stooped to such levels. He’s lied to Congress, for which he will be in contempt. He has engaged in these activities. What a sad disappointment to our country. The American people deserve better.
We are leaving now for a district work period. We’re listening to the concerns of our constituents. With their help, we formulated our For The People agenda, what is important to them, their kitchen table concerns:
Lower the cost of health care by lowering the cost of prescription drugs.
Retaining, protecting the pre-existing condition benefit – the President said he’s all for it, he’s a defender, and yet he’s in court to overturn it.
Building the infrastructure.
Building bigger paychecks – lower health care costs – bigger paychecks by building infrastructure of America. Hopefully we can find common ground on both of those scores with the White House.
Lower health care costs, bigger paychecks, cleaner government. I don’t think we’ll find too much common ground on that score.
But, anyway, this is a day to celebrate, a day that the Equal Rights Amendment extension is passed on the Floor of the House. And we’re very eager to send it over to the Senate, where I understand it has bipartisan support. Let’s only hope that the Grim Reaper will allow a voice of American women and those who support American women to be heard on the Senate Floor.
Press questioning followed (see transcript)
February 13, 2020
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of H.J.Res.79, a resolution to remove the deadline for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.
I’m so pleased that the gentlewoman from Virginia is in the chair and grateful to her for her leadership. And our other colleagues, Elaine Luria and Abigail Spanberger, as new Members of Congress who give us the opportunity as the Majority to bring this important legislation to the Floor, and thank them for Virginia’s leadership in all of this.
It’s so appropriate that Congresswoman [Wexton] is in the Chair for this because she was a leader in the state legislature on the Equal Rights Amendment when she served there.
This is an historic day. A happy day as the House takes action to move our nation closer to the founding – our founding ideal that all are created equal.
I salute Congresswoman Jackie Speier for her leadership on this resolution and her lifetime of work to advance equality in America. She quoted the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia when she said, and I think it bears repetition: ‘Certainly,’ Justice Scalia said, ‘Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It does not.’ It does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex.
The lack of an ERA has allowed the Supreme Court Justice to have this interpretation. Here it is, we say it over and over again, ‘Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.’
How can you have a problem with that? How can you have a problem with that?
Let me also salute Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, our life – long-time lead sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment in the House, for her great leadership. And to you, Chairman Nadler, the Members of the Judiciary Committee and all the Members who came to Congress, committed to finishing this fight for the Equal Rights Amendment.
I also want to acknowledge that yesterday, at our press presentation on this, in the audience was a Republican from Illinois who was responsible for Illinois passing the Equal Rights Amendment: Steven Anderson. He was with us at the Capitol. We commend him for being a leader on the ERA. Passing it through the Illinois Statehouse. What an honor and how clear that this is not partisan. Perhaps only in the House of Representatives, but not in the rest of the country.
And, let us acknowledge the millions of women in Nevada, Illinois, Virginia and across America who have raised a drumbeat for ratification and reignited a nationwide movement for equality.
Nearly two hundred – excuse me – nearly one hundred years ago, Alice Paul, a Republican, introduced the Equal Rights Amendment, the first proposed amendment to the Constitution calling for women’s equality in America.
Fifty years ago, soon after becoming the first African American woman to serve in the Congress, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm stood on this House Floor to urge passage of the ERA, calling it ‘one of the most clear-cut opportunities we are likely to have to declare our faith in the principles that shaped our Constitution.’
But, today and this year that marks the centennial of women having the right to vote, it is a shameful reality that the Equal Rights Amendment still has not been enshrined in the Constitution.
As a result, millions of American women still face inequality under the law and injustice in their careers and lives. Without full equality under the Constitution, women face a devastating wage gap. And this has an impact not only on the families, what families earn today, but on womens’ pension and retirement in the future. This is wrong.
Women are facing discrimination as they raise families, 62 percent of pregnant women and new moms are in the workforce. But, current law allows pregnant workers to be placed on unpaid leave or forced out of their jobs.
And, sexual harassment and assault too often go unchecked. All leading to women’s underrepresentation at the decision-making table. Today by passing – and, we know what the statistics are. What is it, 33 CEOs of the Fortune 500 companies are women. Really?
Today, by passing this resolution, the House is paving the way to enshrining Equal Rights Amendment in the Constitution. That will achieve justice for women and progress for families, for our children: lowering wage disparity, increasing paychecks so moms can pay for their family’s needs such as rent, groceries, childcare, health care.
And, the ERA will strengthen America. It’s not just about women. It’s about America. The ERA will strengthen America, unleashing the full power of women in our economy and upholding the value of equality in our democracy.
I have four daughters, one son, two granddaughters. I can’t even imagine how anyone could think of his or her daughter not having equality. His or her sister, mom, wife not having equality. What is that about? What is that about?
Women should not have the same status of equality as men? This has nothing to do with abortion issue. That’s an excuse. It’s not a reason. It has everything to do with the respect for women, your daughter, your sister, your wife, your mother. And you’re saying by voting against this that your daughter, your sister, your mother, your spouse should not have equal protection under the law in the Constitution of the United States.
To those who say the ERA is not necessary, let me quote from a recent statement from the American Association of University Women. It states, ‘Many Americans mistakenly believe that the U.S. Constitution explicitly guarantees equality between men and women’ – perhaps, you think that – ‘the Equal Rights Amendment would once and for all guarantee constitutional equality between men and women. Its ratification would provide the constitutional guarantee that all men and women are truly equal under the law.’
I urge a strong bipartisan vote for this resolution. It would be bipartisan in the United States Senate, when we send it over there shortly. And so, to ensure that women are truly equal under the law in America because we know in America, when women succeed, America succeeds.
I urge a yes vote and yield back the balance of my time.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi on expected House vote that would pave the way for the long-developing Equal Rights Amendment: "I welcome the opportunity to cast a vote that will end discrimination on the basis of sex in our Constitution.” https://t.co/JaRxFxv6Jq pic.twitter.com/t0KvqcZ9Rr
— Nightline (@Nightline) February 13, 2020