Weekly Democratic Address
May 5, 2017
Hello, I’m Congressman Steny Hoyer, from the state of Maryland. This week, the American people were presented with two strikingly different visions of their Congress.
On Wednesday, in an example of bipartisanship and compromise, Democrats and Republicans came together to avert a government shutdown and pass a funding bill that both sides could – and did – support.
Democrats worked hard to ensure that the bill we passed included funding for health benefits for coal miners; medical research at the National Institutes of Health; Pell grants for students; disaster relief; famine aid; the fight against America’s opioid epidemic; and to strengthen our national security. Moreover, we made sure that taxpayer funding for President Trump’s border wall, which he promised Mexico would pay for, was not part of the bill.
But just a day later, we saw the Republican-led Congress at its worst, and deeply out of touch with the people it serves. On Thursday, Republican leaders decided, against strong objections from across the country, to bring their dangerous and deeply flawed Trumpcare bill to the Floor for a vote – and this time, President Trump and Republican leaders went all out to scrape together just enough Republican votes to pass it by a razor-thin margin.
Republicans voted for this bill even though it broke President Trump’s promise of, and I quote, ‘insurance for everybody’ that is ‘far less expensive and far better’ than what people have now. That was his promise. That is not what this bill did.
Democrats were unanimous in voting to reject Trumpcare because we know exactly the harm it will do to health care in our country. It will kick 24 million Americans off their insurance coverage, including 7 million who are covered through their employers. It will force Americans to pay more for less, with premiums projected to rise 24 to 29 percent over each of the next two years if the bill is enacted.
It will make coverage unaffordable for the one in four Americans who have pre-existing conditions. If you have asthma, have survived cancer, were born with a heart condition, or are a woman – these are all considered pre-existing conditions for which insurance companies would be able to charge substantially higher premiums under the Republicans’ Trumpcare plan.
It will impose an age tax on older Americans. It will put the Medicare Trust Fund at risk, reducing its long-term solvency by three years. And, it will enable states to kick 14 million Americans off Medicaid. And it will make prescription drugs more expensive for seniors.
Republicans have been trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act since its adoption in 2010. They have done everything to undermine its successful implementation, and they have opposed making any improvements in the original bill. But a majority of the American people, under the polls, do not want to see the Affordable Care Act repealed.
The bill now moves to the Senate, where it will face very strong opposition. It’s critical that all Americans who are concerned about Trumpcare make their voices heard and let their Senators know how harmful this bill would be to them and to their families.
House Democrats will continue to highlight the dangers of Trumpcare, and we will keep fighting on behalf of the American people to preserve and strengthen health care reforms that make quality, affordable health coverage accessible to all.
I hope all of you will raise your voices, engage with your Senators and Representatives, and spread the word about this bill that will hurt millions of Americans.
Thank you for listening, and God bless our great nation.