Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi took to the House floor today urging House Republicans to abandon their 38th vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act and instead act to create jobs. Below are the Leader’s remarks:
“I thank the gentleman for yielding. I thank him for his leadership on the health care issue. I’ve watched him lead this debate for nearly three decades. And I’m so pleased that you’re here to defend the Affordable Care Act on the floor today as our Republican colleagues try for the 38th time to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This is nothing more than a waste of time. This matter has been settled before in Congress, at the Supreme Court, and at the ballot box. It is the law of the land. And this bill that is on the floor today, to overturn it, the President has clearly said that he will veto.
“Still, yet Republicans want to vote for the 38th time to repeal the Affordable Care Act while we are still waiting for the first time to vote for a jobs bill. The American people expect and deserve this Congress to work together as a Congress, to come together, to grow the economy, creating jobs, strengthening the middle class – the backbone of our democracy.
“It’s been over six months since this Congress took office. It’s over three months since the Senate passed a budget bill. And for all of that time, Democrats have proposed a budget that would reduce taxes on the middle class, strengthen the middle class, reduce the deficit, create jobs, grow the economy. And for six months, Republicans have said ‘no.’ Instead, for 38 times, they have wanted to waste the public’s dollar repealing once again the Affordable Care Act.
“What does it mean? What does a vote for this bill mean? A vote for this bill means that already we would be – just more provisions that are already in place. When you vote for this bill, you are voting to say to children with a pre-existing medical condition that they can now face discrimination because you will eliminate the end of that discrimination. Right now, children no longer face discrimination on the basis of a pre-existing [condition]. A vote for the bill eliminates that. Right now, young adults are gaining coverage through their parents’ plans. A vote for this bill strikes that down. Right now, seniors are paying less for prescription drugs and getting better treatment at a lower cost. A vote for this bill strikes that down. Americans no longer face life-time limits on care. A vote for this bill eliminates that. Families are receiving rebates from insurance companies because of the medical loss ratio, very important in this bill – where insurance companies were profiting, overly profiting, at the expense of policy holders. This is a vote for the insurance companies and against policy holders.
“And soon, a woman will no longer be considered, being a woman will no longer be considered a preexisting medical condition; the Republicans don’t like that. And what else they don’t like is what will also be coming up in the bill. It will take away access to affordable coverage for 129 million people with a preexisting medical condition. Just think of it, do any of you know anyone with heart disease, with cancer, with diabetes, any preexisting condition with a child born early? That’s a preexisting condition forever, one that also has lifetime limits on it, if you have your way. Take away the guarantee that women pay the same premiums as men for the same coverage. Women have so much to gain in this bill because for so long they had been discriminated, we had been discriminated against on the basis of being a woman. You want to take that away from us again. Take away the cap on Americans’ out-of-pocket cost. The list goes on and on about what is the law now that will be taken away and what will become the law in less than six months, fewer than six months, that would be very helpful for America’s families.
“You know the gentleman told a story about a small businessman – we always say the plural of anecdote is not data, but we all have our stories to tell, they are illustrative. And 96 percent of America’s businesses are not affected by this law.
“Mr. Speaker, last year in San Francisco I met with Julie and Matt – father, parents of a little girl, two years old, Violet. Violet was born with a rare and life-threatening form of epilepsy. For Violet and her family the Affordable Care Act was life changing. Before the act, Violet had a preexisting condition. So she would be discriminated against in terms of health insurance. Violet had lifetime limits on the coverage that, that she could get and annual limits on the coverage she could get. A little child that, with that early of a preexisting condition, could possibly exhaust her lifetime limits before she was in third grade. This went – imagine being in their shoes; imagine Julie and Matt watching this debate, following the work of Congress, what it means to them. What it means to them is the health of their child, the financial security of their family, hope for the future. Imagine the fear, the uncertainty, the frustration they feel when they hear this debate. Imagine what it would be like to witness it 38 times and the threat that it is to your family’s security.
“So for Violet, for other children like her who hear stories over and over again, I always like to position what it means to children, whatever it is we’re doing, what does it mean for our children. This means a great deal to our children and to their families. It’s about – it honors the vows of our founders of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. A healthy life, the liberty to pursue your happiness, to be whatever you want: an artist, to be self-employed, to start your business, to change jobs, to follow your passion not your policy, and not to be confined because there is a preexisting condition in your family, or to be confined because of fear of someone getting ill.
“But really what is important today is what it does, how it damages the health security of America’s families, but also the missed opportunity. When? When, if ever, do the Republicans intend to bring a bill to the floor that will create jobs for our country? When are we going to have a budget that does just that? You said you wanted the Senate to pass a bill and then we would go to conference – regular order, that’s what it’s called. The Senate passed a bill three months ago and still Republicans resist. What are you afraid of? Are you afraid that the public will see the contrast between a Democratic budget which invests in people, which builds the infrastructure of America, which has provisions to bring jobs home to America, that strengthens the middle class, instead of the exploitation of the middle class that is contained in the Republican budget?
“So, all this is smoke screen. Let’s just make work projects, subterfuge, let’s do anything other than what the American people expect us to do here. They expect us to work together, they expect us to compromise, they expect us to find solutions, they expect us to get results for them. They expect us to act the way we used to here with respect for each other’s views. Instead of having a Republican anti-government ideological agenda, which says: ‘Nothing, nothing is our success. To do nothing is to succeed and never is our timetable.’
“So, let’s not waste the public’s time, the taxpayer’s dollar on initiatives that are going no place, political stunts, political stunts, an excuse for a legislative agenda that is not worthy of this House of Representatives, that is not deserving of the respect of the American people in the form of this legislation will not have my support. And with that, I yield back the balance of my time.”