Weekly Democratic Address
October 26, 2018
Hi, I’m Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, and I have the honor of representing the Great State of Nevada in the U.S. Senate.
This week, citizens around the country are getting ready to cast their ballots in the midterm elections. And they are looking for candidates that deliver on their promises. For many families in my home state, and across the country, one of the most important promises a candidate can make is the promise to support programs that keep families healthy and protect their financial security.
During the 2016 election, President Donald Trump promised not to cut Medicare or Social Security, programs that help millions of Americans afford healthcare and retire with dignity. Yet, when numerous nonpartisan research groups found that Trump’s tax plan would balloon the deficit and give the GOP an excuse to propose severe cuts to vital health care and retirement programs, Congressional Republicans like Mitch McConnell promised that wasn’t the case. The tax cuts, they said, would “pay for themselves”.
Last week, the Congressional Budget Office reported that the U.S. budget deficit grew to $779 billion in 2018. This 17% increase was caused in part by the GOP’s tax plan, which gave away billions of dollars in tax breaks to the wealthiest individuals and big corporations, while doing little for the hardworking families it promised to help.
And now, to pay for their cuts, GOP leadership is beginning their attacks on critical programs for seniors and hardworking families in Nevada, and throughout America, by saying that Congress needs to look at the costs of these programs.
This is nothing more than a veiled threat to target cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to pay for their lavish corporate giveaway.
Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security have lifted hundreds of millions of vulnerable Americans out of poverty. I’ve seen firsthand the lifeline these programs provide to seniors like my grandmother, who worked as a sales clerk in Las Vegas to provide for her family and had Medicare and Social Security to rely on in her retirement.
These programs provide hundreds of millions of families like mine with dignity, security, and peace of mind. Every working American has paid into Medicare and Social Security with the promise that one day those investments would ensure they could maintain a healthy standard of living into their golden years.
We can’t allow Republicans to use their reckless corporate giveaway as an excuse to go after programs that middle- and working-class families rightfully depend on.
On the campaign trail, President Donald Trump and GOP candidates also promised to improve access to health care for those in need. Yet, despite two failed attempts to push health care repeal through Congress, after more than 20 million Americans gained insurance coverage after…for the past eight years, Senator Mitch McConnell doubled down last week. He stated in an interview that Senate Republicans are revisiting health care repeal if they have the votes in the next Congressional session.
Even without the votes in the Senate, President Trump and the GOP have already taken steps to sabotage our health care system by eliminating the coverage requirement and threatening protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
Already in states all across the country, it’s apparent that many families are paying more for health care than they would were it not for these Trump-GOP sabotage actions.
In August, President Trump signed an executive order expanding access to “junk plans,” health insurance plans that don’t cover essential services like prescription drugs, emergency room visits, and maternity care.
These plans don’t even include protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Two weeks ago, in a profound disservice to families and communities across the country, the Senate failed – by one vote – to overturn Trump’s order.
On top of this, Leader McConnell recently doubled down on his support for a lawsuit from Republican state attorneys general and the Trump Administration, which if successful, could result in the eradication of pre-existing condition protections overnight.
We can’t send Americans back to the days when patients with pre-existing conditions were denied coverage, or where insurance companies weren’t required to cover basic services like maternity care.
We cannot allow Senate Republicans to rip away health care from millions of Americans including over 328,000 in the State of Nevada.
I’m proud of what my Democratic colleagues and I are fighting for in the Senate, but we can’t do it alone.
Now, Americans have the opportunity to make their voices heard again by heading to the polls this November. Too much is at stake to sit on the sidelines.
Let’s stand up for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, pre-existing condition protections, and the peace of mind America’s seniors and hardworking families deserve.