Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor today urging House Republicans to vote against their continuing resolution that threatens a government shutdown, puts insurance companies back in charge of Americans health care decisions, and doubles down on the Republican sequester. Below are the Leader’s remarks:
“Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I come to the floor in many ways as a mother concerned about the children of America, as a grandmother concerned about all of America’s children, but as a mother who steps into this chamber to say: ‘this place is a mess, let’s get our House in order.’ We are legislators. We have come here to do a job for the American people. And that job means that we have to make the government run for the good of the people.
“We are not here to expand government, but we are not here to eliminate government. If the idea is to limit government, let’s work together to do that. But what is brought to the floor today is without a doubt, without a doubt a measure designed to shut down government. It could have no other intent. Its purpose is clear. And if our colleagues on the Republican side deny that, then they have no idea of the gravity of the situation, to quote the music man: ‘of the trouble’ that is contained in the resolution today.
“It is a wolf in wolf’s clothing. The underlying bill to shut down government, the [continuing resolution] is reason enough to object to it because that bill cost at least [one] million jobs in the course of the next year. It will not only do that, it will cut our investments in the future: in education, in biomedical research – the National Institutes of Health has the biblical powers to cure. Where there is scientific opportunity, we have a moral obligation cure to meet that scientific obligation with the resources to respect the talent, the intellect, the God-given intellect of the science to cure. And what do we do in this bill? Say ‘no,’ we cut that doing serious damage, doing serious damage to science, to health, and not only that, to our competitiveness as a nation.
“It’s a vote that cuts those investments and not only that, if the underlying bill were not bad enough, if there was not reason enough to say: ‘No. Are you kidding? No.’ Then, they cloak it in wolf’s clothing in saying, in their view, that they are going to defund the Affordable Care Act. And you know what that’s about? That’s simply about putting their friends, the insurance companies, back in charge in medical decisions for your families. But it goes further than that. If that were not bad enough, it slashes the strongly bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Program by 70 percent, effectively eliminating an initiative that provides much needed health to millions of low income children.
“I remind my colleagues that, that bill passed the United States Senate in a bipartisan way with a veto-proof majority, a veto-proof majority. But that’s not good enough for you. You have to slash it by 70 percent to harm those children once again this week. It wreaks havoc on the health care for our seniors by disrupting provider payments for Medicare and Medicaid. Either you don’t know what you’re doing or this is one of the most intentional acts of brutality that you have cooked up with stiff competition for that honor. It cuts billions of dollars, again, I say from the National Institutes of Health, delaying important research and denying medical breakthroughs for future generations.
“Democrats have a responsible proposal that balances, that reduces the deficit, under the leadership of [Congressman] Chris Van Hollen, our Ranking Member on the Budget Committee. It reduces the deficit in a responsible way; ends the devastating, across-the-board cuts of the sequester, and it makes investments in the future; and keeps the government open. As opposed to this bill, intended to shut government down, it keeps government open and working for the American people.
“I know my colleague, Mr. Hoyer, has been very vocal on this subject and he will quote some Republicans and what they have said about this: And don’t take it from us, take if from you, Mr. Chairman. I’ll leave [Whip] Steny [Hoyer] to have the exact quote. It does not enable us to do the work of government.
“I urge a ‘no’ vote on this continuing resolution. It is a terrible proposition for our families, and our communities, and our country. It is time for us to work together to help ensure – not endanger – the economic security and prosperity of the American people.
“I urge my colleagues to vote ‘no’ and yield back the balance of my time.”