Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this afternon in opposition to H.R. 45, Republicans' 37th vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Below are his remarks and a link to the video:
Click here to watch the video.
"Mr. Speaker, apparently the Republicans are opposed to Obamacare. I know that comes as a shock to America, so we need to tell them one more time, or 37 times, or maybe a 38th or 39th or 40th or 100th time. I don't know how many times we have to replay the election.
"There was an election in which this was one of the principal issues. And the proponent of health care for all Americans was elected by most Americans.
“Mr. Speaker, this vote, as we all know, is a waste of our time. It is, however, a political exercise.
"This will be the 37th vote to repeal health care reform since the Republicans took control of the House. It's exactly the same as the bill that we considered in July. That partisan bill was dead on arrival in the Senate, just as this one will be and everybody knows it.
"In fact, the New York Times reported that since 2011, Republicans have spent no less than 15 percent of their time on the House Floor - that's since 2011 - 15 percent of their time on this House Floor trying to repeal health care for all Americans.
"When President Obama was re-elected after campaigning on the Affordable Care Act as a major first-term achievement, with the unanimous opposition of our Republican colleagues, and after the Supreme Court said, yes, this is a constitutional exercise of the Congress' authority, Speaker Boehner said, quote, 'Obamacare is the law of the land.' I'd hoped that would be the end of wasted time and $52.4 million in taxpayer money on legislation to nowhere that would strip away benefits for millions and millions of Americans.
"Sadly, however, this vote is more of the same. It would increase out-of-pocket costs on preventive services for 105 million Americans, including 34 million seniors on Medicare and 71 million Americans covered under private plans. It would allow insurance companies to reimpose arbitrary lifetime limits on coverage for more than 100 million people. It would allow insurance companies once again to discriminate against and deny care to as many as 17 million children with pre-existing conditions.
"Now, CantorCare tried to reverse that and had to be pulled from this Floor because even that, even a Republican-sponsored attempt at dealing with pre-existing conditions was rejected by our Republican colleagues. [Note: CantorCare addressed state-run high-risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions.]
"Mr. Speaker, the clock will not be turned back. Obamacare is the law of the land. Not my words - Speaker Boehner's. You say this vote is necessary so that freshmen members have a chance to get on record on a major issue. If they haven't gotten on record now, they are not going to get on record.
"If that is the standard for getting a vote on the Floor, then let us get a vote for replacing the sequester, which you have denied freshmen the chance to vote on all year. That is what we ought to be spending our time on: getting our country on a sound fiscal path, creating jobs and growing our economy. No, we tread water. We waste time. We continue to debate for the 37th time to repeal of health care for all Americans. I yield back the balance of my time."