Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor today on House Republicans’ 40th vote to repeal all or part of the Affordable Care Act. Instead, Leader Pelosi urged Republicans to act to create jobs and grow the economy. Below are the Leader’s remarks:
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the gentleman for yielding and for his leadership [on issues] of importance to the American people: the creation of jobs, growing our economy, and in the case of what is on the floor today, the 40th attempt, the 40th attempt to harm the health and the financial well-being of the American people.
“Forty is a number that is fraught with meaning in the bible: forty hours, forty days, forty years in the desert. But it’s fraught with nothing when it comes to overturning the Affordable Care Act as they are trying to do for the 40th time today. When our Republican colleagues vote for this bill, they will vote to put insurance companies back in charge of people’s health. When they vote for this bill, they will be voting for an initiative that deprives patients of their rights, of ending, of making a preexisting condition a reason for discrimination. That’s what a vote for this does.
“That’s the joy of the Affordable Care Act: no longer will being a woman be a preexisting condition; people with preexisting conditions can no longer be denied coverage; annual or lifetime limits are eliminated; insurance companies must spend their money on insurance. That’s what people bought and they must do it in a way that focuses on health care, not on CEO pay, advertising, and the rest. So, 80/20 ratio. Many people in our country have received billions of dollars already because the insurance companies have had to refund policy money because they were spending too much on themselves and not enough on employees, on policy holders.
“So, here we are for the 40th time. What’s really sad about it is not only the violence that it does to health of the American people and to a policy that enables them to have prevention and wellness and about the health of America, not just the health care. What’s sad about it is for the 40th time – we haven’t had an opportunity cost of using the time this Congress to bring a jobs bill to the floor. A jobs bill that’s very needed, a jobs bill that says: ‘let’s “Make It In America,” manufacture in America; build the infrastructure of America; strengthen our communities with education and public safety and the rest.’ Instead of that, and instead of even passing appropriations bills, Republicans are in this aimless path, taking us into chaos as we go into August. Because in September, the moment of truth will be here: the fiscal year will end on September 30th. Instead of preparing for that, the Republicans are, once again, on this fool’s errand of making matters worse for the American people, putting insurance companies in charge of people’s health [and] depriving patients of their rights.
“This budget challenge that we have is a very serious one. We shouldn’t even be leaving here today because we haven’t done the work necessary to prepare us for the end of the fiscal year. Instead, we are wasting the taxpayers’ time and money. I urge our colleagues to vote ‘no’ on this legislation. I urge the American people to insist that we get down to the people’s business of job creation and to find a budget that will not destroy and question the full faith and credit of the United States of America. To find a budget that will create jobs, grow the economy, and reduce the deficit.
“If we don’t, and we shut down government as some on the Republican side have said: ‘Unless we repeal the Affordable Care Act, we’re going to shut down government.’ What does that mean to you? It means to you that your 401k’s success is in jeopardy. It means that if you have mortgage interest payments, you probably pay more. Your credit card bills will probably go up because of the increase in interest. It’s just not right for what it does. It does not understand the economic challenges faced by America’s families who want jobs, want to educate their children, want to maintain their homes, [and] want to have secure pensions for the future. It‘s just silliness and it does not deserve even the time we’re taking on the floor, much less rise to the dignity of deserving a vote by Members of Congress.
“With that, I urge a ‘no’ vote and reserve the balance of my time.”