McGovern Slams GOP for Shutdown Threat in Latest Effort to Steamroll Harmful Healthcare Bill
(I’ve made some sentences bold. – R.T.)
Today Congressman Jim McGovern led debate for Democrats on the House Floor and called for Republicans to end their threats to once again shut down the government and steamroll their healthcare bill.
With just one day before the federal government runs out of money, House Republicans are once again trying to ram through a deeply unpopular healthcare bill.
Full Text of Congressman McGovern’s Speech:
“Here we are again, just one day from our government running out of funding, confronting yet another manufactured, totally avoidable crisis. And instead of working on a bill to fully fund American’s biggest priorities, we’re back on the floor with more filler legislation. It seems Republicans care more about looking busy than actually doing their jobs.
“This rule provides for the consideration of H.R. 1694, the Fannie and Freddie Open Records Act of 2017. It’s a fine bill designed to strengthen transparency at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I support the legislation. My Democratic colleagues support the legislation. The Republican majority supports the legislation. In fact, I haven’t found one person yet who doesn’t support this bill.
· Freedom of information is a good thing, M. Speaker. I support FOIA.
· But what about freedom from the threat of a government shutdown?
· What about freedom from the threat of a default on our national debt?
· What about freedom to know what our President’s conflicts of interest are, and to see his tax returns?
· What about freedom from having our healthcare protections ripped away? Protections like essential health benefits, and protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
· And what about freedom to know what Congressional Republicans and the White House are doing to our healthcare system behind closed doors?
“None of this seems to matter.
“But the most troubling part of this rule is that it declares blanket martial law through Saturday that allows Republicans to bring anything to the floor between now and then.
“Now, I understand the importance of rushing something to the floor when the government is about to run out of money – although I’d point out that we’re seven months into the fiscal year and my Republican friends set this deadline themselves back in December, so there is absolutely no excuse for Congress to come within hours of yet another shutdown.
“This is just the latest example of Republican obstruction, obfuscation, and incompetence that has once again brought us to the edge of the cliff. And this is no way to govern.
“This rule would allow Republican Leadership to rush anything to the floor within hours of it being released, not just appropriations.
“It gives them blanket authority to jam us with whatever new disaster they cook up with the White House in the backrooms of Capitol Hill. And that includes the latest health care deal I’ve heard so much about this week.
“Of course, with it being a backroom deal, we were relying on news reports all week to clue us into the terrible new provisions.
“It was only last night – around midnight – when the Republicans finally posted their newest health care proposal, that we were able to confirm just how bad it really is. Incredibly, this new amendment will make the bill even worse than before.
“Honest to God, I didn’t know that was possible!
“In addition to killing the requirement to provide basic, crucial, essential benefits like maternity care, prescription drugs, and emergency services, this new amendment will also completely gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
“In fact, this amendment directly violates the commitment made by President Trump and House Republicans to protect those with pre-existing conditions.
“This newest proposal will allow insurers to charge an unlimited “age tax” to older Americans. And to make matters even worse, Republicans have set up a system that would allow women to once again be charged more than men for health coverage. It would bring us back to those bad old days when insurance companies could charge women more because they said being a woman was a pre-existing condition. Give me a break.
“All of this on top of a disaster of a healthcare bill that will cause 24 million Americans to lose their healthcare coverage. In addition, their bill would cut Medicaid by close to $1 trillion and take that trillion dollars and give it in the form of tax breaks to the wealthiest individuals in the country.
“This is not the way we should be running this House.
“All of this just to appease the most conservative fringes within the Republican conference in an attempt to deliver a “political win” to Donald Trump so he can celebrate his 100th day in office. Doesn’t matter what the details are, he just wants to tout a victory of some sort. Well, this is not a victory for the American people. This would be a disaster for the American people.
“It’s no wonder my Republican colleagues have been overwhelmed by angry calls from their constituents at home demanding that they oppose this reckless and heartless bill. As one Republican remarked, “I spent the whole work period hearing from people pissed about pre-existing conditions. This isn’t helpful.”
“Under this rule, these dangerous backroom deals could be rushed to the floor without any proper deliberation, but they will have a very real, very serious, and very dangerous consequence for millions of Americans. Real lives are at stake here.
“I can’t help but also note that this newest amendment exempts Congress from the terrible impacts of this proposal. Can you believe that? Knowing just how damaging these new provisions are, Republicans wanted to keep healthcare protections for themselves, but set up another system for their constituents.
“It was only after the press caught Republicans with their hand in the cookie jar that they introduced yet another bill to un-exempt themselves. But the new bill to un-exempt Congress would require a 60 vote super majority in the Senate. What are the odds that’s gonna happen?
“Are we seriously supposed to trust that they won’t exempt themselves from this terrible plan? To trust that the Senate can muster 60 votes to pass this provision or anything else?
“Let me be clear, this maneuver is a procedural sleight of hand. This is legislative smoke and mirrors designed to give Republicans – who tried to pull a fast one and got caught – a talking point.
“Republicans wrote the bill. So change the damn bill, don’t just say “trust us, we will pass another bill to fix the fix, and we will get the Senate to NOT make any changes, oh while we are at it, we will get a super-majority in the Senate to support it.”
“Who do you think you’re fooling?
“I urge all of my colleagues to defeat this martial law rule, and I reserve the balance of my time.”