Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor today in opposition to the Upton bill which marks the 46th time House Republicans have moved to undermine the Affordable Care Act and put insurance companies back in charge of Americans’ health care. Below are the Leader’s remarks:
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the gentleman for yielding. And I commend him for his great leadership in helping to pass the Affordable Care Act, honoring the vows of our founders for liberty, the freedom to pursue their happiness – life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness; a healthier life and the freedom to pursue that happiness.
“You know, it's a funny thing when people talk about Washington, D.C. and how people don't get along well. We disagree. We have major disagreements on policy. And one of them is whether health care is a right for all in our country or a privilege for the few. But it doesn't take away from the fact that we are people and we serve in this institution, and we have some areas of agreement one day and the kaleidoscope changes the next day. To the point where people are always surprised when I say to them: ‘I pray for the Congress every day and on Sundays especially. I pray for our colleagues, our Republican colleagues, as well as our Democratic colleagues, as well as the President of the United States, Barack Obama, or George W. Bush,’ or whomever he may be because the success of the President and the success of all of us is the success for the American people – if we can work together to find common ground for the public good.
“And when I pray for all of us, I have wishes for us. I wish that my Republican colleagues could see how successful the Affordable Care Act is in California. I wish you could hear the stories of family after family after family being liberated and freed from the constraint of being job-locked because a family has a pre-existing condition. So now, they can follow their passion and not be chained by a policy – follow their passion to be self-employed, to start a business, or to change jobs.
“I wish you could hear all of these stories. I wish you would not close your mind to them, because this initiative has been transformative. And I would have hoped that whatever had been proposed would be to strengthen or improve it and we all have the humility to know that any bill, whatever our pride of involvement in it is, can be improved.
“So that is why it's particularly disappointing to come to the floor today to see a bill that says to the Affordable Care Act and all of these people with all of their stories: ‘We are going to unravel this. We are going to unravel all of the good things, whether it's pre-existing conditions, ending that discrimination, whether it's lifetime limits, whether it's annual limits, whether it's being a woman, whether it's for seniors or for kids, 18 to 26 years old, or for little children, even now before the bill is fully enacted.’
“So, I hope and I pray and I wish that our colleagues could see the evidence and that the decisions would be evidence-based rather than politically motivated. I think it's really important what this Congress does today. Each Member has to make his or her own decision. But the fact is that this body, our words weigh a ton and our votes are even weightier than that.
“And I hope the message that comes out of this Congress is: there's a discussion going on, but there's a values decision that has been made in favor of the American people – that if we have to thread a needle to get a result, let's do that. But let's not unravel the whole sweater, because that would not be a comfort to the American people.
“So, let's act to strengthen, not weaken. Let's vote ‘no’ on the Upton bill. Thank you. I yield back the balance of my time.”