Contact: Ashley Etienne/Henry Connelly, 202-226-7616
Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House and Senate Democrats for a press conference to urge their Republican colleagues to abandon their plans to cut Medicare and Medicaid in Republican budget proposals in order to fund tax cuts for the rich. Below are the Leader’s remarks:
Leader Pelosi. Thank you very much, Leader Schumer, for bringing us all together here. It’s an honor to be here with you, with the Ranking Members on the Senate side of the Budget Committee, Mr. [Bernie] Sanders and on the Finance Committee, Mr. [Ron] Wyden.
And on our side, I’m very honored to be here with our Ranking Member [of the Budget Committee] Mr. John Yarmuth of Kentucky, Chair of the Bourbon Caucus, and with [Congressman] Richie Neal, our Ranking Member on Ways and Means, of whom we’re very proud. We’re also proud to be joined by a senior Member of the Budget Committee, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who’s also a member of the Appropriations Committee.
Senator Schumer mentioned our letter to the President. This letter was sent to him today, signed by Mr. Schumer and I – Schumer, Pelosi, Wyden, Yarmuth, Richie Neal and Frank Pallone of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
And I point it out again because the letter not only says what Mr. Schumer mentioned, but these are the President’s words [referenced in the letter]. ‘Medicare and Medicaid should not be used to finance new tax breaks for the wealthy and we request…’ In our letter: ‘…and we request that you pledge to veto any legislation that includes these cuts.’
That is what is in our letter, which references the President’s own words. This formulation that you see here – don’t cut Medicare to finance tax cuts for the rich – is really what is in [the] DNA of the Republicans. They have never fully supported Medicare, even at its origin. In the late nineties, they had proposals that said Medicare should wither on the vine.
Since being Chair of Budget Committee as well as Speaker, Speaker Ryan has had in the Republican budget, a provision to remove the guarantee of Medicare and Medicaid – our nation’s fundamental promises of dignity and security to seniors and working families. Again, as the Leader said, 500 billion dollars – a half a trillion dollars – in Medicare benefit cut and a trillion dollars in Medicaid cuts.
Again, all of these Medicare [and] Medicaid cuts to give over a trillion dollars in deficit-exploding tax breaks to the wealthiest one percent. Again, throughout his campaign – as recently as April – President Trump pledged that he would not touch Medicare. Today, we’ve sent this letter.
It would betray every pledge of solidarity with working families for the President to sign GOP legislation that devastates Medicare and Medicaid while handing tax cuts to billionaires. That is our focus today because it is the focus of America’s working families.
And with that, I am very honored to yield to the distinguished Ranking Member for the Senate Budget Committee, the gentlemen from Vermont, Mr. Sanders.
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