Pelosi Floor Remarks in Opposition to House Republicans’ Continuing Resolution Which Fails to Address Urgent Priorities for Hard-Working Americans
Contact: Ashley Etienne/Henry Connelly, 202-226-7616
Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of U.S. House of Representatives in opposition to House Republicans’ Continuing Resolution, which fails to address urgent priorities for hard-working Americans. The Amendment to H.R. 195 passed in the House 230-197. Below are the Leader’s remarks:
Leader Pelosi. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I thank the gentlewoman for yielding. I commend her for her great leadership as our Ranking Member on the Appropriations Committee, or as we say, Mr. Frelinghuysen, the almighty powerful Appropriations Committee, on which I was proud to serve with you and Congresswoman [Nita] Lowey.
I'm disappointed, though, that the legislation that is brought to the Floor today falls so very, very short of our responsibilities to the American people. When it comes to considering this bill, which the Republicans are bragging supports CHIP, it's important to review the facts.
The facts are the these. The CHIP proposal that the Republicans boast of was on the Floor in October and this or that was funded by taking money from other children's programs, and that's why it was not to be supported by us.
It's also important to remember that the CHIP reauthorization expired September 30. So here we are with our fourth Continuing Resolution, our fourth Continuing Resolution.
That means on September 30 we were supposed to not only reauthorize CHIP, but to pass an omnibus bill to fund the government. Republicans were not able to make the decisions necessary to do that. So, we had one extension. Another extension, another extension, this is the fourth.
Now for somebody who doesn't know what CR is, that's our Washington lingo, it's a continuing resolution. And what it says is that the funding for the country will be continued at the same rate as it was in the previous year, regardless of the fact that other challenges have emerged. So, engaging in those failures to pass an omnibus bill and engage instead in these short-term continuing resolutions, this inadequacy does not give certainty to our military.
[Secretary of Defense] General [Jim] Mattis has told us the military cannot go on this week, every two weeks, every month CRs. We need to know, we need to have an omnibus that recognizes the full complement of our needs and they are different from last year.
It does not fund the fight against opioid addiction. We've talked about this. We authorized language. We put up some money, but throughout our country there is an opioid epidemic that needs to be addressed with funding for it, not just conversation or rhetoric but funding.
It does not address some of the crises facing our veterans, whether it's their infrastructure, housing, whatever. There's additional funding that's needed for our veterans over and above whatever it was last year, and this ignores that need. It doesn't – it ignores the fact that we have some issues that we must address regarding pensions. Endangered pensions in our country which have a direct relationship to the economic well-being of America’s working families. Pensions paid into, pensions having a shortfall to honor the responsibility.
It doesn't protect the DREAMers. We could protect the DREAMers in all of this, but missing an opportunity. And this takes us right back to the CHIP. It does not fund community health centers that provide primary care for 27 million Americans.
So, these priorities are bipartisan. Nothing I mentioned on this list is anything that does not have bipartisan support in the Congress, that has not been openly discussed, bipartisan, transparency, unity, unifying us around these issues.
We did not put priorities forward that were partisan but those that had bipartisan -- strong bipartisan support.
So, when our colleagues come to the Floor and say, ‘Oh, we're doing CHIP, CHIP is a wonderful initiative.’ This is one of the first pieces of legislation that I passed as Speaker of the House and sent to [President] Obama. Not high enough value to put in its proper context.
So this re-authorization of CHIP that they're putting here, this funding for CHIP, is – it's not really funding. We wanted 10 years for CHIP to make it permanent so we don't have to go through this and we remove all doubt, we remove any uncertainty whether this health care will be so available for children who need it.
We said 10 years, you save $6 billion. Six billion you save. Six years, $1 billion. Why wouldn't we want to save $6 billion? Nonetheless – nonetheless, what my concern is that they chose to bring a bill to the Floor that isolates CHIP away from the other essentials that are a part of the delivery of that health care service to children.
It doesn't, it does not re-authorize Community Health Centers which provide, as I say, vital care to 26 million Americans. It does not address – does not extend the Medicare extenders so necessary, especially for our seniors – home visiting care and other initiatives.
It does not address the Medicaid DSH, disproportionate share – a challenge that is across America. Ask your friends in rural America especially about that. Therapy services, diabetes, teaching health centers. Teaching health centers for primary care doctors completely out of this bill.
That’s why I am so proud of the legislation introduced by Congressman [Donald] McEachin today which has the full complement, and it's nothing additional, it's how we have always proceeded with the priority of children's health in a package that's about family health and delivery of service.
As the President himself tweeted this morning, ‘CHIP should be part of a long-term solution, not a 30-day short-term extension.’ Well, we like it ten years. They have it six years, but it shouldn't be in this bill because this bill is sort of a half-baked facade to make it look as if we are keeping government open.
We're keeping government debilitated by not addressing, coming to agreement on the omnibus bill that we know that we have to do, that addresses the needs of our military, as it recognizes the security provisions in the domestic bill that are about security.
Whether it's the State Department, Veterans' Affairs, Anti-Terrorism activity at the Justice Department. And the fact that the strength of our country is measured in many ways. Certainly, our military, which we are very proud, and the agencies I mentioned, but also in the health, education and well-being of the American people.
So here we are. What does government do? Government does transportation. How can you, if you are in the Transportation Department, make commitments when you're on a short fuse of, was it two weeks in December? Now four weeks that they want to go forward? Why don't we just settle it? Grow up.
Take responsibility. Get this done for the American people. Nobody I know wants a shutdown of government. Well, maybe except for the President who said – what did he say? This country needs a good shut – our country needs a good shutdown. He said that in May. I think with his experience as President now he probably knows there's no such thing as a good shutdown. We don't want to shut down.
By the way, if there is one, this will be the first time there would be a shutdown in recent history that took place when one party had the White House, had the Senate, and had the House of Representatives, had full responsibility for managing, for leveraging, for getting the job done to fund our country for another year with certainty. And this has two years' provisions what we are negotiating with the Republicans.
Really, coming to the floor, hiding behind CHIP to hide the shortcomings and the lack of taking responsibility for our responsibilities to the American people is really a sad thing. And that's why [Congressman Donald] McEachin’s bill which had the full complement to make CHIP really work was the way to go.
Sadly, I wish we had something that – although I object to the process of one short-term continuing resolution of last year instead of looking to the future for next year, I disapprove of that process. The substance of this legislation makes it totally unacceptable, and I urge a no. With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
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