Pelosi Floor Remarks Ahead of House Republicans Re-Voting to Pass the #GOPTaxScam

December 20, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the United States House of Representatives ahead of House Republicans’ re-vote on the #GOPTaxScam.  Below are the Leader’s remarks:

Leader Pelosi.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  I thank the gentleman [Congressman Richard Neal] for yielding and once again I commend him for being a champion of middle-class families.  I want my colleagues all to hear the esteem in which we hold our Democratic Members of the Ways and Means Committee.  I thank you, thank you very much, Mr. Neal, for being our Ranking Member, for your extraordinary leadership on behalf of America's middle-class working families and that includes millions of veterans – so thank you.

Today is a very sad day in the history of America because we have on the floor probably the worst bill in recent time to come to the floor – that doesn't mean it doesn't have stiff competition from other legislation the Republicans have brought to the floor – but this is the worst because so many people are affected in such a negative way and because trillions of dollars of impact on our economy have been voted upon without any hearing, without any hearing from the people who will be most affected by it.  No hearings, no expert, no listening to the American people.

Yesterday, our Republican colleagues stood on this floor and voted for a GOP tax scam that the American people oppose two to one.  Our Republican colleagues stood on the floor and cheered, they cheered a bill that will raise taxes on 86 million middle class families and hand a staggering 83 percent of its tax cuts to the wealthiest one percent.  Shamefully, the Republicans were cheering against the children – as they rob from their future and ransack the middle class to reward the rich.  So today, the Republicans take their victory lap for successfully pillaging the American middle class to benefit the powerful and the privileged.

I come to the floor with stories of men and women and children that Republicans shamefully cheered against yesterday.  Yesterday, I wish the Republicans had heard, as we did, the story of Ady Barkan – 30 years old, father of a beautiful baby son – Ady is suddenly stricken with ALS – 30 years old.  From his wheelchair, with a strong but wavering voice, he begged Congress not to pass this bill.  He pleaded with anyone who would listen not to vote for this tax scam that will raise his health [premiums] and condemn Medicaid to devastating cuts as the logical next step.  He’s been lobbying on Capitol Hill against this bill for a while.  Ady said yesterday, ‘It would do so much damage, it would deprive me of the Medicaid I need to stay alive a little longer and see baby Carl learn to read and teach him how to play chess and watch him go to first grade.’  But Republicans didn't listen – said no and cheered.

Yesterday, we heard the story, and I wish our Republican friends could have heard it, of Laura Hatcher, mother of sweet and kind 11-year-old Simon – one of the Little Lobbyists.  Simon has a rare disease and cerebral palsy – his mother spoke how their family watches the Muppet version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ and Simon sees himself in Tiny Tim, another kind boy with braces on his legs.  Unfortunately, this story as of today does not have the same kind of happy ending as ‘[A] Christmas Carol’ but this story is not over.

Like Tiny Tim, Simon [and] his family now find their future in danger because of the greed of those with power, the cruelty that is in the heart of the tax scam.  As Simon’s mother Laura said, ‘Very soon I could once again be facing a future where I don’t know how I’ll be able to care for my child – this is a thought I simply find too difficult to bear’.

Since you didn't hear yesterday, I’ll go on to say what she said, ‘We parents [who] have medically complex kids understand consequences –  we know what will happen if this tax passes, if our country does not turn from this destructive and immoral path,’ she says.

But the Republicans didn't listen.  They said no and they cheered – they cheered against Simon because Republicans value the issues of special interest lobbyists over the Little Lobbyists, the voices of Little Lobbyists, sick children standing up for themselves and for their siblings

I’ll repeat: because Republicans value the wishes of special interest lobbyists rather than the voices of the Little Lobbyists, sick children standing up for themselves and with their siblings – children standing with their siblings.

Yesterday, we heard from faith leaders too – they implored Congress to reject this bill that punishes working families and rewards the wealthiest 1 percent – I repeat, 83 percent of the benefits go to the top 1 percent.  86 million American – working middle class – families will have their taxes raised.

Sister Simone said she ‘wept for the fact that our Representatives are not weeping’ over the damage they are doing to families across America.  They challenged us to honor our faith in this holy season – to remember our first responsibility to those who have the least, not to enrich those who are already privileged and powerful.  They challenged us to heed not only the message of Christmas but to remember the words of Jesus enshrined in the Gospel of Matthew.  But Republicans didn't listen – they said no. They cheered – they cheered.  They cheered against little Simon – they cheered about Ady – they cheered against people in need.

The GOP tax scam is a monumental con-job.  But who got conned?  President Trump will sign a bill, whenever he signs it – I thought it was supposed to be today but I hear the special interests are weighing for him to delay it for some reason or another.

President Trump will sign a bill that betrays the promises he made in the campaign.  President Trump promised to eliminate the carried interest loophole.  Yet the Republicans wrote a tax scam that not only continues this outrageous loophole, but even has more loopholes to the wealthy and well-connected.  President Trump promised to stop corporations from shipping jobs overseas, but Republicans wrote a tax scam that gives corporate America even bigger incentives to ship jobs overseas.  President Trump promised a tax reform focused on the middle class families – tax breaks for middle class families. Republicans wrote a tax scam that raises taxes on 86 million middle-class families in our country.  President Trump promised he would protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.  But Republicans wrote a tax plan to explode the deficit and use it as an excuse to cut Medicare, Medicaid – they have made no secret of their plans and they have even said this week to raise the Social Security age.

So as the Republicans – so who got conned?  Did the people get conned by the promises?  Did the president get conned by the Republicans?  Is he signing a bill that betrays his promises to the American people?  It’s all about the Republicans in Congress.  They have in their DNA trickle-down economics.  Tax breaks for the rich. Tax breaks for corporations and the former Speaker even said, [if] it trickled down and created jobs – that would be good – if it doesn't, ‘So be it.’ That’s the free market.

So as Republicans head to the White House for their victory lap, hopefully they won't trip over the wheelchair of Ady Barkan and other Americans with pre-existing conditions.  I caution them not to trip over the wheelchair of Simon Hatcher and other children with severe medical needs.  They will be in the paths of your victory lap.  Don’t trip over the sisters and brothers and mothers and fathers who tend to the health and well-being of a sick children and their siblings.  I told them yesterday, but in a public forum, I caution you not to get in the way of a mother and father of a child with special needs and disabilities or extreme medical conditions.  They will do anything to protect that child and they notice what you are doing here – while you are on this victory lap you probably have to put on earphones to block out the pleas of faith leaders speaking up for hard working families

Speaker.  The House is not in order.

Leader Pelosi.  I know Republicans want to talk so they don't hear the truth about their bill, but the American people won't forget the false representations you have made.  They won't forget how loudly you cheered when you hurt their families, their children with special needs, their families struggling to attain some financial stability, and why?  These people say to me how could they be so cruel as to put the health provision in this bill that would possibly eliminate 13 million people from the rolls of health insurance?  How could they do that?  Why did they do that?  Why?  The answer is always [the] same: to give them room to give tax breaks to the wealthiest people in our country and to corporate America, unpaid-for – permanently.

I understand the gentleman from Massachusetts will show his credit card today.  This holiday they are talking about giving people a Christmas present.  Well, Joe six-pack – the president said he was there to help. Joe will be delivering the champagne to their party. That’s how this is. This isn't about anything better for working class families.  This is about champagne glasses clip pinging in wealthy families across the country – clinking in wealthy families across the country.  I don’t begrudge them their success, wealth, or achievement.  I don't want to see it at the exploitation of America’s working families.  Shame on you for voting for this outrageous theft from the American middle class.  Once again, I urge my colleagues to do the right thing in this People's House and vote no on behalf of the American people.  With that I yield back the balance of my time.