The weekly Fighting Back post is also an Open News Thread.
The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Chris Coons of Delaware.
(In the weekly Democratic address, Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) talked about about government spending.)
With Republicans in charge of both the Senate, the House, and the White House, our Republican colleagues are mostly debating amongst themselves about whether months into our new fiscal year we can actually pass a final budget. If they want a shutdown, frankly the ball’s in their court. Democrats have so far been crystal clear about where we stand. We want to keep our government open.[…]
We want to end this pattern of governing from crisis to crisis, moving from one deadline to the next. We also believe we can and must address some other critically important issues before the end of this year as part of the government funding bill. […]
Keeping our government open and fixing the problems in front of us does not need to be hard. It certainly does not have to be partisan. Democrats are ready to get to work and we think we can do more than just keep the lights on. We can address real challenges the American people are dealing with.
(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)
(Link to Nancy Pelosi Newsroom here)
Transcript from CSPAN as-is with light editing: Senator Coons
Hi, I am U.S. Senator Chris Coons from Delaware. I am here to talk about one of the most basic and important functions congress has. That is funding our federal government.
Let’s go over the basics. Every year Congress is supposed to pass a budget that sets the overall amount of money the federal government can spend that year. The appropriations committee hashes out how much to spend on each agency and program. Both parties lay out priorities, each side works together, and in the end, hopefully we ensure the funding for our government. At least that is the way it is supposed to happen.
But right now the process does not look like that at all. In May , months later than he was supposed to, [the] president proposed a budget that added $54 billion to defense, and cut $54 billion from a wide range of things essential to our country — health research, education support for schools and colleges, many other domestic programs. And the good news here is that both parties working together rejected those irresponsible cuts. But now with Republicans in charge of both the Senate and House and White House, our colleagues are mostly debating amongst themselves about whether, months into our new fiscal year, we can actually pass a final budget. If they want to shut down, frankly, the ball is in their court.
We have been crystal clear about where we stand. We want to keep the government open, pass sensible bills that increase investment in our military and the domestic priorities, like supporting our veterans and fighting the opioid crisis. We want to end this pattern of governing from crisis to crisis, moving from one deadline to the next. We also believe we can and must address critically important issues before the end of this year as part of the government funding bill. We urgently need to fund the children’s health insurance program known as CHIP, a lifeline for low income children around the United States. Funding for CHIP ran out months ago. Many parents have been notified their children’s health care coverage will soon the lapse. It is unacceptable. We also need to pass disaster relief funding to help our fellow Americans in Louisiana, Texas, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, Florida and California which have been devastated by hurricanes and wildfires and are just beginning the long process of recovery. And the DREAMers in our country, young men and women brought here at a young age that have never known any country other than ours as their home. These young men and women reflected the best of our country. I have met many of them in my home state of Delaware. They are part of our neighborhoods, communities and churches, and president trump has decided to end our nation’s policy of allowing these young people to come out of the shadows without fear of being deported. We agree with our Republican colleagues that we should strengthen border security. And we believe we can pass a bipartisan act for DREAMers that protects them and keeps our border secure. These issues do not need to be partisan. These are common sense things that should be part of keeping our government open and working. We have to be able to do more than keep the lights on bypassing yet another so-called Continuing Resolution, that just kicks the can further down the road. I believe we can make real progress in fighting the opioid crisis by giving communities and first responders the resources they need. We can fund community health centers that patients rely on, and we can give veterans the health care they need. We can come together and make smarter spending decisions, like rebuilding infrastructure, investing in education and health research.
The American people want us to not just sit around and fight with each other, but get things done and take on the real challenges that real people are facing every day. Keeping our government open and fixing the problems in front of us does not need to be hard. It certainly does not have to be partisan. Democrats are ready to get to work and we think we can do more than just keep the lights on. We can address real challenges the American people are dealing with. Thank you for listening today and thank you for your support.
Any bolding has been added.
Leader Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference on Thursday:
Transcript: <a href=”https://www.democraticleader.gov/newsroom/12717-4/>Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference
Good morning. Good morning. Here we are with our friends, who I’ll refer to momentarily.
But sadly, I begin by saying once again we’re heartbroken by the images of wildfires in California. It’s so sad. Having just experienced this in northern California, it’s easier to understand how quickly – a football field in a second, the fire travels that quickly.
And so we’re praying for, again, all of those who are affected, but praying also for our first responders. They are truly nobility. They just are so courageous out there.
Okay. So yesterday, can you imagine, just two months after the sickening attacks in Las Vegas and in Sutherland Springs, Texas, the GOP has decided to bring a gun bill to the floor. It does further damage to gun safety in our country. It’s stunningly dangerous and opens the floodgates to guns – an early Christmas present to the NRA, the radical Concealed Carry Reciprocity bill.
Against the warnings of law enforcement groups, Republicans are throwing open the door to violent criminals, domestic abusers – this is very important in terms of harassment and domestic abuse and the rest – and convicted stalkers to carry concealed weapons wherever they please.
Understand this: you’re from a state that has concealed carry opportunities, you get your ability to do that in that state and you carry it with you to other states. You don’t even have to live in the first state. Just go there or go online and get a concealed carry license, if that’s the term of art. You can go any place in the country: concealed carry.
This is their response to the tragedy in Texas in that church, to the tragedy of Las Vegas, to the tragedies over and over. In fact, it happens every day in our country.
While Republicans fight efforts to protect communities, Democrats will continue to fight for urgent action on commonsense gun violence protection. We’re not going away on this.
But isn’t it appalling, this violence? And they pass – oh, they don’t have the votes to do commonsense background checks, which have bipartisan support in the Congress – the Peter King-Mike Thompson legislation. But they have the time to do concealed carry and make it even easier.
So here we are, the GOP tax scam. It has the consequences for Americans in every stage of life.
Yesterday, some of you were with us when we had the little children and what it meant to them, later in the day to seniors, what it means to them, and everyone in between.
As they try to represent it is as a tax break for the middle class, it raises taxes – the Senate bill now – raises taxes on 78 million middle class families, 78 million middle class families. Sixty two percent of the benefit in the Senate bill goes to the wealthiest 1 percent. And the sneaky ACA repeal, 13 million more Americans may be uninsured under this legislation. It’s just appalling.
And you have to give them credit for their gall. This is an absolute assault to plunder and pillage the middle class.
Why? To give tax breaks to the wealthiest people and to corporate America, to the tune of nearly a trillion and a half dollars to corporate America.
And who pays the price? Well, the Republicans have made no secret of it. They’re saying, the Speaker said, once the GOP adds trillions of dollars to the national debt, they openly admit that they plan to begin, start their crusade by destroying Medicare and Medicaid for everyone else.
That’s been their goal all along, because they don’t believe in Medicare and Medicaid. And now they’re engineering the budget to say this is justifying getting rid of this, because we gave tax cuts to the high-end.
I think it’s once again important to note that 11 Republicans in California voted to do violence to the economy of our state, hurt the prospects of California’s working families and families across our country.
Kevin McCarthy, Doug LaMalfa, Paul Cook, Jeff Denham, David Valadao, Devin Nunes, Steve Knight, Ed Royce, Ken Calvert, Mimi Walters, Duncan Hunter, 11, the exact number that if they had voted correctly would have stopped the bill.
In addition to that, though, Mr. [Darrell] Issa, Mr. [Tom] McClintock, and Mr. [Dana] Rohrabacher have voted before for a bill, the budget bill that takes us to this place. And guess what that does on this day of fires in California and how they voted against the interest of our state and of the American people?
If you had damage to your home or whatever in the hurricanes, you can have a tax deduction for your losses, some of your losses, but not if those losses came from fire. They actually voted for that bill.
[Kevin] McCarthy, [Doug] LaMalfa, [Paul] Cook, [Jeff] Denham, [David] Valadao, [Devin] Nunes, [Steve] Knight, [Ed] Royce, [Ken] Calvert, [Mimi] Walters, [Duncan] Hunter, [Tom] Issa, [Tom] McClintock, [Dana] Rohrabacher voted to discriminate against victims of fire.
We certainly want to have the deduction for those who are victims of the hurricanes and the rest. But why are they doing this to our state?
The GOP tax scam, I’m sure you may have some questions about that.
Okay. So you know later today we’re going to go to the White House this afternoon. We’ll meet with the President. And we’re hopeful the President will be open to an agreement to address the urgent needs of the American people and keep government open. Democrats have never supported shutting down government and we don’t do so now.
In the interest of the meeting, we’ve had this conversation preliminarily before – we want, as we raise the caps and that’s the subject now – what are the caps? As we raise the caps, we are calling for parity. We need resources for a strong national defense, but we also need a strong domestic budget.
I remind you, as I have before, that in our domestic budget it includes Homeland Security, antiterrorism activities of the Justice Department, Veterans Affairs and State Department. That’s a third of the domestic budget, but is a security function.
So when they’re saying, ‘We’re keeping a lid on the increase on that side,’ we’re hurting our national security while preaching that we’re raising the cap for defense. And, again, that’s not our fight. Our fight is to bring up the domestic agenda to parity.
And what are some of the things we’d like to come to agreement with the President? All bipartisan, any of which if on the floor would pass with a strong bipartisan majority.
Fighting the opioid epidemic: this is a priority for the President, for all of us. It affects every district in the country. But there’s no money. We need part of that increase in the domestic budget to fight the opioid epidemic.
Veterans funding: we need more money for veterans.
Then, in addition to that, CHIP [Children’s Health Insurance Program] and Community Health Centers. Because they’re spending so much time on this, they’re ignoring this – CHIP, children and Community Health Centers.
Passing the DREAM Act. All of this has bipartisan support, would pass with a strong bipartisan majority.
Emergency disaster funding, Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands. Now the disasters in California.
And saving some endangered pensions, to name a few.
There are other areas of bipartisan agreement that need to be addressed, can be addressed by making it 54/54 rather than 54/37 and calling it parity.
So that’s the fight that we’re in right now. Democrats are advocating, again, for priorities that have broad support. And that’s what we would have brought to the President last week; we called for that meeting to bring, in a non-confrontational way, finding areas of agreement, working together. He’s asked for this meeting today. Hopefully, this will be on his agenda as well.
Any questions? Yes.
Press questioning followed (see transcript)
Leader Pelosi addressed the elephant in the room, sexual misconduct allegations:
Q: Isn’t it an unsustainable political standard? If the standard is sexual harassment claims, then are you going to call for the resignation of any man or, for that matter, woman who has a claim of sexual harassment against them? Is that the standard?
Leader Pelosi. What we’re talking about is for the past three weeks we have had – its like two and a half weeks I guess now – we have had these meetings listening to how you deal with this in a transparent, fair way to the victim.
We have a responsibility to uphold the dignity of the House of Representatives. We want to protect the rights of the accused. But we want to make sure that the victims have the opportunity they need to come forward, so if they need the financial settlement, because they may lose their jobs, they may need counseling, they may need other things.
So we’re studying it very carefully, and there are differences of opinion about how much transparency and how does that impact the victim.
So we’re listening to victims. We’re listening to lawyers. We’re listening to experts. And we will be making a presentation to our Caucus because people have views there as well on this subject.
In every stage of life, this tax bill is an assault of the well-being of the American people. This morning, with MomsRising, we talked about what it meant to children. Their future. Children with disabilities and what it meant for their family’s economic security to be able to care for their children.
Quoting what [Senator] Orrin Hatch said about why should the federal government be paying for people who don’t want to work. Little children in wheelchairs. Is that what you’re talking about? And now, an assault on the well-being of the people who built America, our seniors.
More than five million older taxpayers, many on fixed incomes, AARP even found that they would pay higher taxes. It’s a scam that spells ruin for them and million of middle class seniors who will see the value of their home plummet.
For the 64-year-olds who are part of AARP, [they] could see their premiums increase by a value of $1,490 dollars and for every American, as Congresswoman Schakowsky said, ‘They are having to create enormous deficit, adding a trillion and a half to the deficit at minimum. That does not count interest which would take it over two trillion dollars.’ Why? To give tax breaks to the wealthiest people.
Sixty-two percent of the tax advantage in the Senate bill goes to the top 1%. Seventy-eight million middle income families will see their taxes raised and our seniors will pay a high price. As they create this big deficit, where do they go? It’s just an excuse for them to come back and assault Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Assault the health and well-being of America’s seniors.
This is a life-and-death threat for seniors and a fight for seniors and children and families across America. We must now defeat this ruinous bill. I started with the children because, as I said this morning, the children’s well-being is affected by the economic well-being of their grandparents. So this is all connected. With that, i’m pleased to yield back to Congresswoman Schakowsky or should I yield back to the next speaker?
So for the seniors, the children and the families, let’s defeat this bill that robs seniors, rewards the rich, and undermines the economic security of America’s families.
Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer released this statement about their decision to vote to table Congressman Al Green’s resolution calling for the impeachment of President Trump:
“Congress faces a vast set of urgent, overdue priorities for the American people. Democrats are firmly focused on taking real, effective steps to improve the lives of hard-working Americans and defeating Republicans’ cruel barrage of attacks on the middle class.
“This week, Republicans are putting the finishing touches on their GOP tax scam that would raise taxes on 78 million middle class families, send good-paying American jobs overseas, hike health insurance premiums and explode the ranks of the uninsured and saddle our children with crushing debt. Our full energy is focused on protecting American families from this staggering assault on their savings, health and financial stability.
“While Republicans race to give massive handouts to their billionaire and corporate donor friends, Democrats are fighting to defeat the GOP tax scam and stand up for middle class families in every corner of the country. We are committed to putting the economic power back in the hands of the American people by securing A Better Deal for America’s working families, with Better Wages, Better Jobs and Better Futures.
“This President has made statements and taken actions that are beyond the pale for most Americans, embracing those who espouse hatred and division while promoting policies that would harm our economy and undermine our national security. Legitimate questions have been raised about his fitness to lead this nation. Right now, Congressional committees continue to be deeply engaged in investigations into the President’s actions both before and after his inauguration. The special counsel’s investigation is moving forward as well, and those inquiries should be allowed to continue. Now is not the time to consider articles of impeachment.”