Washington, D.C. - Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the House floor today in opposition to a procedural trick by House Republicans to pretend that both the House and Senate have agreed to the Ryan Republican Budget, which ends the Medicare guarantee, destroys over four million jobs, and increases the deficit by awarding over $400,000 in tax breaks to special interests and Big Oil. Below are the Leader's remarks:
“Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I thank the gentleman for yielding and for giving us all this opportunity to speak about what is happening on the floor today.
“It's happening just as we've returned from two weeks with our constituents, listening to them talk about core challenges facing the American people, and the key priorities our families, businesses, and workers are facing.
“Americans have made it clear over and over again, it has been a constant message: we must work together to create jobs and grow our economy. We must preserve the economic security of our seniors, the middle class, and small business owners. This is all the backbone of the middle class, the backbone of our democracy. We must protect Medicare and not dismantle it. And yet, Mr. Speaker, our Republican colleagues are at it again.
“Not once, not twice, not three times, but now four times, they are voting to cut the Medicare guarantee. We must protect Medicare. We must enact a budget that reflects our nation's values of fairness and opportunity, and puts the American dream in reach for every American.
“Yet House Republicans simply refuse to listen to what the American people are saying to us. Instead, they have decided to pull a stunt here today, [to] ‘deem and pass' their devastating budget. They know their budget cannot stand the scrutiny of the House, the Senate, and the rest. So, they want to ‘deem and pass' it using a procedural trick to pretend that both the House and the Senate have signed off on their radical agenda.
“But the American people know better. They know that the Republican budget ends the Medicare guarantee, making seniors pay more to get less, on the way to severing the Medicare guarantee completely. That this budget destroys more than four-million jobs in the next two years. Destroys jobs. And three, gives a tax cut of nearly $400,000 to people making more than a million dollars per-year, protects tax breaks for special interests and Big Oil, and forces the middle class to foot the bill. Ends the Medicare guarantee, is a job killer to the tune of four million jobs - it gives over $400,000 in tax cuts to people making over a million dollars a year.
“How can that be a statement of our national values?
“We also know that the Republican budget will undermine Medicaid for the elderly and people with disabilities, slash critical investments in education - education, where all innovation springs from, education, the source of America's competitiveness internationally, education, the source of people reaching their aspirations in life. Education, jobs, and health care would be slashed.
“And we know that cuts have to be made. And important spending decisions must be made. But you just can't say: ‘let seniors pay more for Medicare, let's not invest in education and the rest, while we give tax breaks to the wealthiest people in our country.' So, this bill, called a budget bill, breaks the debt agreement - it makes matters worse for the deficit. It breaks the deal from last summer - abandoning a firm, bipartisan promise to the American people. Americans already rejected the Republican budget plan last year. And this year is no different, except the Republicans think so, by bringing it up over, and over again, and this time by saying: ‘we know it can't pass the Senate, so we'll just deem it passed in the House.'
“Rather than trying to fool the American people, the Republicans are being called upon to join us today, in opposing today's previous question. And simply allowing the House to vote. And our measure would say: ‘if the Republicans contend,' and they do - that their bill does not hurt Medicare - then let the House go on record and say ‘that our measure would prohibit any plan to eliminate Medicare, raise costs, ration care, or reduce the benefits for seniors and people with disabilities.'
“By supporting our proposal, we can keep the bedrock promise to our seniors: that after a lifetime of work, all Americans should be able to retire with dignity and security.
“As Members of Congress, we each have a responsibility to protect Medicare for our seniors, to create jobs for our workers, to grow our economy, to build a strong, all-inclusive, and thriving middle class. As Democrats, we are committed to reigniting the American dream, to building ladders of opportunity for all who want to work hard, play by the rules, and take responsibility. And we want them all to succeed.
“We just don't want people who make over a million dollars to climb up their ladder, make over a million dollars a year, and then pull up the ladder, so that no one else can even reach some level of success.
“We ask our House Republican friends - please let us work together to reach our shared goals, to strengthen families, to secure a future of prosperity for all people in our country.
“I urge my colleagues to vote ‘no' on the previous question, to stop the drive to ‘deem and pass' a measure that will end the Medicare guarantee.”