Fighting Back: “Democrats are #ForThePeople including working people and their families.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Congressman Andy Levin from Michigan talking about the PRO Act and reminding people which party is on the side of working people and their families.

(In this week’s address, Congressman Andy Levin discussed H.R. 2474, the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which passed the House in a bipartisan vote.)

“I’ve spent most of my career helping workers form unions and bargain collectively, so I know first-hand the transformative power that comes with the ability to organize freely. The ability of workers from all walks of life to unite and demand fair wages, better benefits, and safer working conditions is truly awe inspiring. […]

“The Protecting the Right to Organize Act, or PRO Act, restores fairness to the economy by strengthening the laws that protect workers’ freedom to form and join unions.

“The American economy should reward hard work. But most Americans are working too hard for too little. Strong unions are the solution.[…]

“The PRO Act will help protect the basic right to join a union by creating meaningful, enforceable penalties when companies violate workers’ rights. It will expand workers’ collective bargaining rights and close loopholes that corporations use to exploit workers. And it will strengthen workers’ access to fair union elections, without fear of intimidation or suppression by their employers.

“House Democrats are taking action to level the playing field, rebuild the middle class and restore the dignity and value of work in America.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Transcript: Congressman Andy Levin Delivers Weekly Democratic Address

“Hi, I’m Andy Levin, and I represent Michigan’s 9th District in the beautiful Detroit suburbs of Macomb and Oakland Counties.

“I’ve spent most of my career helping workers form unions and bargain collectively, so I know first-hand the transformative power that comes with the ability to organize freely. The ability of workers from all walks of life to unite and demand fair wages, better benefits, and safer working conditions is truly awe inspiring.

“But after decades of special interest-funded Republican attacks on labor laws, rendering them almost entirely ineffective, union membership in America is just a fraction of what it used to be.

“The result is an American economy that is not working for most Americans.

“Corporate profits are skyrocketing while the share of health care costs paid by employers is falling. Worker productivity is at its peak, yet wages are stagnant. Over the past three decades, the average income for the bottom 90 percent of families increased by just 1.1 percent, while the average incomes of the wealthiest one percent nearly doubled.

“This week, the House passed a bill to reverse these trends, so workers everywhere can enjoy their fair share of the economy we help create.

“The Protecting the Right to Organize Act, or PRO Act, restores fairness to the economy by strengthening the laws that protect workers’ freedom to form and join unions.

“The American economy should reward hard work. But most Americans are working too hard for too little. Strong unions are the solution.

“Over the last eight decades, unions have consistently provided workers with a 10-20 percent wage boost over their non-union counterparts – they virtually built the middle class of this country. The benefits of union membership are so strong that even the children of union workers enjoy greater economic mobility as they grow up.

“Unions also help correct inequalities that hurt America’s most marginalized and vulnerable communities.

“For example, union members of color have almost five times the median wealth of their non-union counterparts. And you know how women still make only 77 cents for every dollar men make? Well, for women who are members of unions or covered by union contracts, the gender pay gap nearly disappears.

“The PRO Act will help protect the basic right to join a union by creating meaningful, enforceable penalties when companies violate workers’ rights. It will expand workers’ collective bargaining rights and close loopholes that corporations use to exploit workers. And it will strengthen workers’ access to fair union elections, without fear of intimidation or suppression by their employers.

“House Democrats are taking action to level the playing field, rebuild the middle class and restore the dignity and value of work in America.

“Voting for the PRO Act was one of my proudest moments in Congress. While Republicans are working on behalf of special interests and big corporations, Democrats are fighting for working families with our For The People Agenda.

“Thank you.”

Any bolding has been added.

~

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

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Speaker Pelosi. Good morning, everyone.

I just got back from the Prayer Breakfast, so let’s all be very prayerful.

As you know, this week we had the State of the Union. As required by the Constitution of the United States, the President is to submit in writing or in person, his statement of the State of the Union. What happened instead was a President using the Congress of the United States as a backdrop for a reality show, presenting a state of mind that had no contact with reality whatsoever.

It was quite appalling to hear the President say the [130], at least, million families in America that are faced with pre-existing medical conditions – a benefit that is afforded to them in the Affordable Care Act – that he was protecting that benefit, when, in fact, he has done everything to dismantle it. In fact, we are fighting him in the courts right now to preserve that benefit. That misrepresentation was appalling and so clearly untrue.

Next, he talked about another issue of concern to members of working families, the issue of the cost of prescription drugs. As I’ve said to you before, I’ve seen grown men cry across the country when it comes to the fact that they cannot afford the prescription drugs and meet their other obligations to their families. And we had talked about negotiating for lower prices – that’s the only way you’re going to get lower prices. During the campaign, he said he would ‘negotiate like crazy.’ I think ‘like crazy’ means maybe not at all. I’ve said that to you before, because the President’s statements have sent Pharma’s stocks soaring. And for him to represent that he was working on that – we had been working on it, we were hopeful to get something done. I guess Pharma must have stepped in.

And then, talked about saving Medicare and Social Security, when in fact in his budget, the 2020 budget he submitted, $2 trillion were decreased in Medicare and Medicaid combined, including to, in terms of Social Security, to reduce the disability benefit in Social Security. So these, one after the other, right to the kitchen table of America’s working families to serve up these falsehoods.

Appalling also was when he was trying to discredit the triumph of the Obama Administration on the economy, and I’ve given you all a paper on this, put out by the Joint Economic Committee under leadership of Don Beyer, our House Vice Chair on that. And it talks about all the things, job creation and the rest, but to put it succinctly, when President Obama came into office the unemployment rate was ten percent. When he left it was five percent. So, President Trump did not inherit a ‘mess,’ he inherited a momentum of job creation.

When President Obama came into office, the stock market was at 6,000. When he left it was at 18,000. Again, momentum that the Administration was able to build on. Not a ‘mess.’

During eight years of President Obama’s presidency, he reduced the deficit by $1 trillion. Instead, this Administration is increasing $1 trillion. And, of course, with their tax cuts, their Tax Scam – with 83 percent of the benefits going to the top one percent – they increased the national debt by $2 trillion. And therefore, they tried to – it’s supposed to pay for itself, but instead they went to Medicare and Medicaid to try to pay for that. But, we are not doing that.

During the eight years of President – when President Bush was president, the job growth was slow. Under President Obama we gained more than 14 million private-sector jobs and during his presidency – and that is far more, prorated in terms of years, than this President has created. A momentum, a path to 14 million is not a mess, Mr. President. And then, during his presidency we rescued the auto industry and all that that brought back to the economy.

And during the – during the Administration, more than 20 million people were afforded quality, affordable health care. But, in addition to that, [130] million families with pre-existing conditions got a new benefit that enabled them to have access to health care, as well as other benefits: no lifetime limit, no annual limits, child up until 26 years old can stay on your benefit, being a woman no longer a pre-existing condition. So, when he talks about, ‘Oh, I’m going to make health care this or that,’ the fact is he did not inherit a ‘mess.’ He inherited momentum of growth in our economy.

And many more statistics are in this, that I hope you will read, because it was appalling to hear him try to take credit for something that he – and call what President Obama did a mess that he inherited when, in fact, it was a great advantage to the country that President Obama’s policies took us to that very positive place of growth and job creation and deficit reduction.

When I talk to my Members and they have ideas, I always say, ‘What does your idea do for growth, for creation of good-paying jobs and reducing the deficit? Let’s see how it meets those standards.’ What the President has done is not that.

And so, for him to make as if he did all this stuff – he still hasn’t even matched President Obama’s growth in the stock market, if you call that a real measure of success. And in some respects, it’s a good indicator, but is not a good indicator of what is happening at the kitchen table of American working families, where they’re concerned that many of them have not received a raise in a very long time; that 40 percent could not find $500 for an emergency.

The President goes on in saying, ‘Oh, because of all my growth many more people are not on food stamps.’ No, you kicked them off. ‘Well, people are not taking advantage of this.’ No, you kicked them off. And that just isn’t a fair thing to do in our economy.

So, it was, in my view, a manifesto of mistruths, of falsehoods, blatantly, really dangerous to the well-being of the American people if they believed what he said. So, again we do not want the chamber of the House of Representatives to be used as a backdrop for one of his reality shows with unreality in his presentation. And, by the way, a serious breach to start shouting ‘Four more years,’ on the Floor of the House, totally inappropriate.

We are very excited about how we are going forward to honor our promises to the American people, For The People. We are going to lower the cost of health care by lowering the cost of prescription drugs and we are on our path with H.R. 3, saw people holding up the three, H.R. 3 – maybe just the three benefits from it the people should know – that it will lower the cost of prescription drugs for them. It will also increase benefits in Medicare: dental, hearing and visual – vision. And the expansion of Medicare, which is the biggest expansion since its inception, that that benefit will apply, to not only Medicare; the reduction in cost will not only apply to Medicare but to all of the insurance plans for prescription drugs. We are very excited about H.R. 3.

Lower health care costs by lowering the cost of prescription drugs and protecting the pre-existing medical condition benefit. Secondly, bigger paychecks, building the infrastructure of America in a green, resilient way. We thought we were in a good place on both of those scores with the President because we had negotiated with the White House on H.R. 3, until the President decided to go with Pharma and instead of with the American people. We thought we were in a good path negotiating with the Administration on what the infrastructure bill would contain. Last night, he talked about rural broadband, he didn’t even know what that was when we were first talking about it. He said it was just roads and stuff. No, no, roads, bridges, water, broadband and the rest.

And, so bigger paychecks by doing what ­– he talked about some mini plan. He sent over a $200 billion plan which he then said is a bad plan. It is. It is too small, put too much burden on the localities.

So we have a really important – and then of course, our third agenda: lower health care costs, bigger paychecks, cleaner government. We think we have a shot with him on the first two but not on the third. Cleaner government, no, that is not something that they, they, he or the Republicans have as a value.

So yesterday the Senate acted, first time in history that a senator has voted against his own president in a decision regarding impeachment. God bless him for his courage. This morning the President said, when people use faith as an excuse to do, I don’t know if he said bad things, but whatever he said, it was just so completely inappropriate, especially at a prayer breakfast.

So again, we will be expanding our, what we talked about before, about our infrastructure bill, surface transportation, water systems, broadband, rural broadband, urban desert broadband, very important to health, education, commerce and the rest for our country. And then we will go further with our initiatives on infrastructure for education – for school construction, and some housing initiatives and initiatives that relate to our, the needs of our veterans. We will be unfolding some of that in the week ahead.

So we continue, continue, continue to do our work, 275 or more bipartisan bills on Mitch McConnell’s desk. The Grim Reaper has not taken any of them up. If he had one, I wish he would do, I have my bullet [bracelet] here, I wish he would do background check legislation which would save lives.

So, it is an interesting time as we go forward. We will also be taking up in the next week, the ERA, the legislation related to the ERA. And there is a great deal of excitement across the country, you see what happened in Virginia and we are hoping to move the date to include that, that new state and that number to promote women. And especially in this year, when we observe the 100th anniversary of women having the right to vote.

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

~

Pelosi Statement on State of the Union Address

February 4, 2020
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement after President Trump delivered his State of the Union Address:

“We are always hopeful when a President makes a State of the Union address. We welcome any opportunity to extend the hand of friendship to find common ground on behalf of the American people. The issue of major concern to most Americans is health care. Tonight, House Democrats brought scores of guests to the State of the Union who have powerful health care stories, whether it is families with pre-existing conditions, families struggling to afford the prescription drugs they need, or families relying on Medicaid even though they have private insurance. We had been told the President would have a positive message on health care.

“However, President Trump’s address tonight gave no comfort to the 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions or the families struggling to afford the prescription drugs they need. Once again, President Trump was not truthful about his actions in court to destroy pre-existing condition protections. Once again, President Trump pulled his punch on his promise to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices, which House Democrats delivered with the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, H.R.3.

“Next week, when the President presents his budget, the American people will see the stark reality of his agenda. A federal budget should be a statement of our national values, and the President has sadly shown that he does not value the good health of the American people. Democrats continue to urge the President to abandon his assault on seniors and families and to join us to deliver real progress in lowering the price of prescription drugs and making the bold investments needed to rebuild America’s infrastructure in a green and modern way.

The manifesto of mistruths presented in page after page of the address tonight should be a call to action for everyone who expects truth from the President and policies worthy of his office and the American people. The American people expect and deserve a President to have integrity and respect for the aspirations for their children.

“Americans were uplifted by the positive message and vision for progress for all communicated by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Congresswoman Veronica Escobar of Texas. In the election, Democrats ran and won on a pledge For The People: lower health care costs, bigger paychecks, clean up corruption in government. And we will continue to be relentless in our pursuit of progress for hard-working families across America, For The People.”

Bolding added.

~

Pelosi Statement on January Jobs Report

February 7, 2020
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement after the Department of Labor released its January jobs report:

“After all of President Trump’s mistruths at the State of the Union, the January jobs report shows the rot at the heart of the Trump economy. Our workers have lost 12,000 manufacturing jobs, while wages struggle to keep pace with the soaring cost of living. Our farmers are suffering and farm bankruptcies reached an eight-year high last year. Three years in, the Trump economy is creating 42,000 fewer jobs a month on average than the last three years of President Obama.

“Today, hard-working families find their health care under constant attack from President Trump’s illegal administrative actions and his lawsuit to strip away every benefit and protection of the Affordable Care Act. Prescription drug prices are out of control and President Trump keeps standing with Big Pharma against drug price negotiation. Our communities’ infrastructure is crumbling and President Trump’s big promises have disappeared.

“While President Trump ignores the kitchen-table reality of hard-working men and women, Democrats are taking action. House Democrats have sent transformative drug price negotiation legislation to the Senate. We are moving forward with our bold Moving Forward infrastructure framework to create an estimated 10 million jobs. We will never stop fighting For The People, to deliver results that make a difference in the lives of hard-working families.“

Bolding added.

~

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  4 comments for “Fighting Back: “Democrats are #ForThePeople including working people and their families.”

  1. JanF
    February 8, 2020 at 6:56 am

    H.R. 5687 passed with bipartisan support and was sent to the Senate where the racist-enabling Senate Majority leader Mitch McChinless will ignore it, along with the hundreds of other bills passed by the House #ForThePeople. The day of reckoning is coming.

    Pelosi Floor Speech in Support of the Emergency Disaster Relief Supplemental Bill

    February 7, 2020
    Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support H.R. 5687, the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief and Puerto Rico Disaster Tax Relief Act 2020, to provide additional funding to respond to recent natural disasters in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories. Selected quotes, edited for clarity:
    [We all] remember nearly two and a half years ago, Hurricanes Maria and Irma tore through Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and left a trail of heartbreak and devastation in their wake. Thousands of Americans, all American citizens, tragically lost their lives.

    Following the hurricanes, many Members traveled to the islands. We saw first-hand the homes that were destroyed, the communities ravaged and the businesses and schools left in ruin. And, we saw the incompetent indifference compounded – of many from here – compounded the terrible humanitarian crisis.

    It is unacceptable that the Administration illegally withheld, for a full year, the assistance that Congress appropriated and Puerto Rico [and the Virgin Islands needs,] both to recover from Maria and to prepare for future disasters.

    In recent weeks, tragedy has once again hit Puerto Rico as more than 1,000 earthquakes, 1,000 earthquakes, have rocked the island since December 28. Schools have crumbled, hospitals are in disarray and houses have been destroyed. Thousands of people are staying in shelters or sleeping outside out of fear that their homes could collapse as they sleep.

    And, tragically, two Americans have lost their lives, including a 13-year-old girl in Vieques, where too many are still waiting for the federal assistance needed to modernize hospitals and improve access to care.

    Madam Chair, as Members of Congress our most important responsibility is keep the American people safe. Two weeks after devastating earthquakes struck Puerto Rico, our fellow Americans on the island still face serious challenges to their safety, health and well-being.

    Every family that is sleeping outside, every child who no longer has a school to go to because of seismic dangers, every person who dies because they can’t access a hospital, each is a challenge to the conscience of our country.

    Today with a strong supplemental assistance package, the Democratic House, and hopefully with strong bipartisan support, is showing the people of Puerto Rico we are there for them now and throughout the road to recovery.

    The supplemental assistance package provides the relief that is urgently needed to help Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands rebuild and recover today. And, it invests billions in efforts to prevent damage and loss of life in the future.

    Hundreds of millions for critical education, nutrition assistance, electric grid recovery and strong tax relief for Puerto Rico and other territories, including permanent changes to the earned income tax credit and child tax credit. And new investments to boost local economies and create good-paying jobs on the island.

    As Members of Congress, we have a responsibility to act because our fellow Americans deserve to know that their government will be there for them without question or hesitation in this dark hour.

    Bolding added. Transcript of remarks at the link.

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  2. JanF
    February 8, 2020 at 7:19 am

    From Speaker Pelosi’s Thursday news conference, which I urge people to read every week to remind us that we have some power and, always, the power that comes from being on the right side of history.

    Q: You often counsel Members to be dignified in their response, to take the high ground? Did you step on that message by tearing up the speech?

    Speaker Pelosi. No, I did not. I tore up a manifesto of mistruths. It is very hard for us to get you to talk about the issues we are working on: H.R. 3, infrastructure and the rest. He misrepresented all of that. It was necessary to get the attention of the American people to say, ‘This is not true, and this is how it affects you.’ And I don’t need any lessons from anybody, especially the President of the United States, about dignity – dignity. Is it okay to start saying ‘four more years’ in the House of Representatives? It’s just unheard of. It is unheard of for the President to insult people there who don’t share his views, as well as to misrepresent – present falsehoods. Some would use the word lie – I don’t like to use the word lie – about what he is saying.

    So, no, I think it was completely, entirely appropriate. And considering some of the other exuberances within me, the courteous thing to do.

    I want to hear about the other “exuberances” within her!! When I heard about the speech, I had some “exuberances” of my own.

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    • JanF
      February 8, 2020 at 8:24 am

      She added this later in the press conference when asked how she will be able to invite him back:

      Speaker Pelosi. Well, next year, we will have a new President of the United States.

      Yes We Will.

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  3. JanF
    February 8, 2020 at 7:28 am

    Speaker Pelosi penned an op-ed in the Washington Post about tRump and his political party: “McConnell and the GOP Senate are accomplices to Trump’s wrongdoing”:

    For more than 200 years, our republic has endured, not only because of the wisdom of our Founders and the brilliance of our Constitution, but because of the generations of patriotic Americans who have had the courage to risk their lives to defend it.

    But, tragically, the American people have watched President Trump and Republicans in Congress dismantle the Constitution that we cherish.

    The House impeachment managers, led by Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), presented to the Senate and the public an incontrovertible truth that the president himself has admitted: President Trump abused the power of his office to pressure a foreign power to help him cheat in an American election. And when he was caught, the president launched an unprecedented coverup to block Congress from holding him accountable. The president’s actions undermined our national security, jeopardized the integrity of our elections and violated the Constitution. […]

    Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the Republican-controlled Senate have made themselves accomplices to the president’s wrongdoing by suppressing additional evidence and rejecting the most basic elements of a fair judicial process. In declaring their loyalty to the president over our Constitution, Republicans have made a farce of the old boast that the U.S. Senate is the greatest deliberative body in the world. And they have joined the president in normalizing lawlessness and rejecting the checks and balances of our Constitution.

    […]
    Our Founders put safeguards in the Constitution to protect against a rogue president. They never imagined that they would at the same time have a rogue leader in the Senate who would cowardly abandon his duty to uphold the Constitution.

    Sadly, because of the Republican Senate’s betrayal of the Constitution, the president remains an ongoing threat to American democracy. He continues to insist that he is above accountability and that he can corrupt the elections again, if he wants to.

    The People’s House will continue to defend democracy for the American people. We will uphold and protect the checks and balances enshrined in the Constitution, both in the courts of law and in the court of public opinion to preserve our republic “if we can keep it,” to quote Benjamin Franklin.

    And we will always insist on this truth: that, in America, no one is above the law.

    Bolding added.

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