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Pelosi Remarks at Bicameral Press Event Ahead of House Vote on Health Care & Prescription Drug Package

May 15, 2019

Washington D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined House and Senate Democrats for a press event highlighting Democrats’ action on health care and prescription drug legislation, and the urgent need for Senator McConnell – self appointed ‘grim reaper’ of the GOP Senate – to bring these bills to a vote.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

 Speaker Pelosi.  Good afternoon everyone.  Our House Democratic Majority was elected on a promise to the American people.  After years of the Republican Congress trying to take away Americans’ health care, Democrats would act For The People by protecting – For The People to lower health care costs, protecting the pre-existing condition benefit and by lowering the cost of prescription drugs.

Today, we are gathered here with our Senate colleagues who have been leading on this issue as well.  And I am pleased to welcome back to the House side a number of Senators who are very famous in the country, but they cut their teeth in the House of Representatives.

[Laughter]

The Leader of the Senate, Mr. Schumer, Debbie Stabenow – Senator Stabenow – Senator Ron Wyden, Senator Chris Murphy.  So, we are pleased to welcome them back.  We are very very proud of how they were trained on this side.

[Applause]

And one way they were trained, we will see if it works, is that on the House side, we speak for one minute.

[Laughter]

Guided in the House by our outstanding Freshmen Class and with the leadership of our Committees, House Democrats are moving forward to hold legislation to do just what we promised to the American people.  In their name, we are moving forward with our legislation.

Just last week, we passed Representative Annie Kuster’s Protecting Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions Act, and we’ll hear from her.

[Applause]

And we passed bipartisan legislation to move generic versions of prescription drugs to market.

Tomorrow, we will be strengthening the health care of – Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act, with even more action to protect pre-existing conditions and bringing drug prices down.

Now, I want you to know, Mr. Leader, I am eliminating the third card in the interest of time.

We are passing these bills because we have a responsibility to families fighting diseases and Americans struggling to afford their prescriptions.

Our VIP today – with all these Senators in the room and the rest – our VIP today is David Tate whose child, Lucas Tate – he’s going to share the story of Lucas Tate whose story is familiar to everyone who has a loved one who has fought disease.

We believe that the most eloquent presentation of the need for the Affordable Care Act – lowering health care costs, preserving the pre-existing condition benefit, the list goes on and on – are the personal stories that Mr. Tate is here to deliver on behalf of his son, Lucas.

We welcome him as our VIP today.

Another VIP is with us – the distinguished Leader, the Democratic Leader in the United States Senate, Mr. Schumer.

* * *

Speaker Pelosi.  Senator Murray is the only one of us up here who hasn’t served in the House of Representatives as she came directly to the Senate as a mom in tennis shoes, walking all over the State of Washington.  She knows about families.  She knows about concerns of families and children.

Thank you, Senator Murray for your leadership.  While you were speaking, we just were complimenting you on the work you’ve been doing on Appropriations as we try to get a disaster assistance bill.  Thank you.

My colleagues – oh, that’s an applause line.

[Applause]

I want to thank all of our colleagues – House and Senate – for being here on this very important issue – central to the financial, as well as the health well-being of the American people.

Senator McConnell has described himself as the ‘grim reaper’ – that he’s going to kill every bill that comes over from the House and, as our colleagues said, turn the Senate into a legislative graveyard.

But I have news for him, this legislation to protect the American people, in terms of their health and financial well-being, is alive and well with the American people – alive and well.  And he’s going to be hearing from them and some of the people he’s going to be hearing from are with us today.

Traveling with David Tate, in honor of Lucas, is the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – thank you all for being here.

[Applause]

Oh, I have a number of names – HCAN, the American Medical Student Association, UNIDOS, Coalition on Human Needs, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  The list goes on and on.

As you probably know, we protected the Affordable Care Act during the last term and first term – first two years of President Trump’s Administration – because 10,000 events were held by the outside groups to protect the Affordable Care Act.  10,000 events – David, of people telling their stories, just as you did.  Just as Congressman Kim did in his town hall meeting.

So, the Senate is going to be hearing from the American people.  President Lincoln said, ‘Public sentiment is everything. With it you can accomplish almost anything, without it practically nothing.’

The public needs to know.  The public knows, as Senator Stabenow said, they’re sick and tired of all of this.  They’re sick and tired of being sick and going broke because of the uncertainty that exists now.

We’re going to remove that uncertainty.  We’re going to remove all doubt that the Affordable Care Act and other legislation to preserve the pre-existing condition benefit, lower the cost of prescription drugs, inform people about the danger of junk plans – and they are junk plans – and the list goes on and on.

So, I thank my colleagues because, again, this is what we promised.  This is central to meeting the needs of the American people.  Senator McConnell should know better than to stand in the way of Lucas Tate getting access to the care that he needs for the rest of his life.

Thank you all, very much!