Pelosi Remarks at Press Event on Seniors’ Issues at Hebrew Home at Riverdale
Contact: Ashley Etienne/Henry Connelly, 202-226-7616
Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Congressman Eliot Engel for a tour and press event at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in Bronx, New York to discuss the issues facing America’s seniors. Below are the Leader’s remarks:
Leader Pelosi. Thank you for [Congressman] Eliot Engel for your very generous remarks which I will accept on behalf of our House Democratic Caucus, which has had the courage to support the Affordable Care Act, to protect Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and so many issues.
It’s an honor to be here at the Hebrew Home. I was talking to Dan [Reingold] earlier and we were talking about the fact that not everybody here is Jewish – many are, but not everyone is – and it reminded me that Dan, his family and all of the people here extend the hospitality and the services and the compassion to everyone not because everyone here is Jewish, but because they are Jewish. It’s part of your values that you bring.
And Dan Reingold, thank you, he comes from a tradition – his father, as you probably know, preceded him in this great work. And I’m here to say, congratulations on 100 years of compassion, of being a model to the country, Hebrew Home being a model to the country in terms of elder abuse prevention and attention to that issue.
Thank you Joy Solomon for her work in that regard. She’s from Baltimore, I’m from Baltimore, the Weinberg Center named for Baltimoreans, but a model to the country from this very place.
Its honor to be here with [Congressman] Eliot Engel, I’ll talk about him in a minute but also to be with, Andrew Cohen, Councilman from New York City, Jeffrey Dinowitz, the New York Assemblyman, Andy King, Councilman also. Thank you for your presence here today.
I feel very honored to be spoken up by Eliot Engel in that way. But I want to thank you all for sending him to the Congress and I’ll talk about him in a way that relates to your lives.
Eliot Engel has been a champion in the Congress on so many issues. On the Energy and Commerce Committee, which is the committee of jurisdiction that wrote the Affordable Care Act. He was there to be sure that the Affordable Care Act would prolong the life of Medicare, close the donut hole, do so many things that would be important to the health and well-being of America – all of America – how it related to our seniors.
You have to understand, I’m not being partisan here today, it’s just something the other side takes pride in. They take pride in the fact that they say that Medicare should wither on the vine.
[Congressman] Eliot Engel says no to that. So, you should know how he relates to the compassion that we have for each other.
But this is something you are owed, it isn’t even something that is given out of the kindness or goodness of their heart. This is something you paid into and you’re owed and they say it should wither on the vine.
In the President’s budget, he cut $1.4 trillion out of Medicaid. Medicaid covers a large amount of elder care, long-term health care whether in community, places like this or at home. Eliot Engel is there to fight against all of that. He just won’t tolerate it. Social Security disability benefits, the President cut all of it in his budget – Eliot said no to that.
So he is there fighting every day, as a Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, the committee of jurisdiction, but also – when we say Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, please know this: in a few short months that means he will be Chairman of the Committee.
His sense of fairness, his wisdom about America, his patriotism, whether it’s globally – on this hemisphere, nobody knows more than Eliot Engel about that. But his love and his leadership on the state of Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship is something that we all look to him for guidance. We couldn’t be better served by Eliot Engel on that important relationship.
I just went on a Congressional Delegation to Israel with Eliot and to see – we know how respected he is in his district and I’m telling you how respected he is in the Congress, it was interesting to see how respected he was in Israel in terms of his friendship, his leadership, his wisdom on the subject. And Dan, thank you Eliot for that.
So, moving along, being half of a real team. They have been a real team.
But all of you, thank you for making America what it is. You have raised our families, built our country, fought our wars in some cases, but been a great resource not only in your own lives and to your own families, but to the future of our great country.
And we have to recognize that and respect that. And that’s what I saw here. The beauty of this place. The dignity of it all. Respecting the dignity of each and every one of you.
The recognition that when families visit, families come visit, they come to see you, but they also come to see where you are and they are pleased with all of that.
And to see the role that the arts play here. The arts, whether it’s music or even sports if you want to call sports art, to some people it’s the art of the sport. The different things that say, where do we find our common ground. We are all for our home team, right, whatever our political views are. When we see beautiful art as is demonstrated here, will inspire, we find common ground. It brings tears to our eyes and smiles to our lips, but it’s common ground. Generationally, politically, in every possible way.
This is a very, very special place. I feel transformed just being here for the time that I’ve been here this morning to see what has been established here over time, what has been entrepreneurial in its thinking.
Imagine the courage and the entrepreneurial spirit of the people 100 years ago plus, 1917 in Harlem, to say we are going to do something different. We are going to do something different and it’s not only going to make a difference in the lives of the people we serve, it’s going to be a model to our nation. And, over time, again more entrepreneurial thinking to expand the opportunities all founded in compassion.
This wonderful sanctuary, in some respects, a wonderfully safe place. When I say safe, not only personal safety of course, but safety of your thinking, safety of your individuality. And wasn’t Rita Fishman just wonderful to share her story.
Again, I acknowledge the greatness of the Hebrew Home and thank you all for sending Eliot Engel to the Congress of the United States and point out some of the challenges that we face from people who don’t necessarily share our approach. Hopefully they share our values, but we are going to fight those who say that Medicare should wither on the vine and that Medicaid should be cut by 1.4 trillion dollars, which is in the President’s budget.
Recognizing that much of, 2/3 of the money that is spent on all long-term care comes from Medicaid and they want to cut 1.4 trillion. Almost exactly the tax cuts that they gave to corporate America. The tax bill gave 83 percent of its benefits to the top one percent. But I’m not going to go down that path too far. Just to come back to say that you have a fighter in Eliot Engel. Again, his wisdom, his compassion, his judgement highly respected in the Congress.
So now I’ll just talk about me for a second. Four of my five children were born in Manhattan. I had five kids, the day we brought our baby home from the hospital our oldest child turned six. The reason that’s important to us here today is because I am the proud grandmother of four Jewish grandchildren. I almost have the most, but I think Nita Lowey may have surpassed me in terms of the number of Jewish grandchildren.
But in any event, it’s an honor to be with all of you today. I am so inspired by what I have seen here. I am so impressed by, again, we in California can learn from all of you as well.
Thank you for the opportunity to be here with you today.
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