Schumer Floor Remarks On The Trump Administration’s Latest Effort To Eliminate The Entire Affordable Care Act, GOP Refusal To Meaningfully Confront The Climate Change Crisis And Affirm That Climate Change Is Real, Caused By Humans, And Congress Must Act, And The Need To Make The Mueller Report Public

March 26, 2019

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the Trump administration’s latest effort to eliminate the entire Affordable Care Act, GOP refusal to meaningfully confront the climate change crisis and affirm that climate change is real, caused by humans, and Congress must act, and the need to make the Mueller Report public. Below are his remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Last night, President Trump’s Justice Department issued a letter to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals calling for the elimination of health care coverage for tens of millions of Americans.

Up until last night, the Trump administration had said one aspect of the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional.

But last night, the Department of Justice declared the entire law and all of its vital health care protections must go.

Make no mistake about it, this is an escalation of the Trump administration and Republicans’ attacks on protections for people with pre-existing conditions. All the protestations were for keeping pre-existing conditions. President Trump said it as recently as this past campaign: Out the window. This court case says get rid of pre-existing conditions and the Trump administration is pursuing the case. What are they saying to the 52 million Americans who are dependent on protections for pre-existing conditions? What is  President Trump and his Justice Department saying to a mom whose son or daughter has cancer, and the insurance company says ‘we’re not covering it’? And they have to watch their child suffer because they can’t afford it.

This move by the Trump administration is a slap in the face to American families, a devastating blow to Republicans who promised to protect people with pre-existing conditions. And how many of our Republican colleagues will go to floor today and condemn the Trump administration? I’ll bet not one. I’ll bet not one. I hope I’m wrong, but I’ll bet not one.

In two short sentences, the Trump administration crystalized its position that the health care coverage enjoyed by nearly 20 million people—as well as the protections by tens of millions more with pre-existing conditions—should be annihilated. That is now the official position, full stop. And it ties a two-year anchor, the Trump position ties a two year anchor around the neck of every Republican for the next two years. Yet again, they will be forced to defend the indefensible.

It is a stark reminder of the difference between our two parties: Democrats are fighting to expand and improve health care coverage and lower costs while Republicans are trying to take it all away and raise costs.

The bottom line? From the moment this administration and this Republican Majority came to power, they’ve waged a wholesale attack on our health care system. They have pushed policies that would rip away people’s health care coverage, spike premiums and prescription drug costs, slap older Americans with an age tax, and reverse protections for people with pre-existing conditions like cancer, asthma, and diabetes.

Democrats condemn in the strongest possible terms this attack against the American people and demand we take action to protect our health care. I know that the administration is very happy with the Mueller report; so are our Republican friends. This move by the Trump administration to take away healthcare will prove far more detrimental to the administration and the Republican Party than any gains they might have made by the issuance of Mr. Barr’s letter. Mark my words: it’s far more important to the American people. Far more important to the American people because it involves their lives and the lives of their families. And the Trump administration is hurting it badly.

Climate change. Now on another matter. Today, Leader McConnell will follow through on one of his specialties, “Gotcha Politics,” by forcing a vote on the Republicans’ version of the Green New Deal.

Make no mistake: Republicans want to force this political stunt to distract from the fact that they neither have a plan nor a sense of urgency to deal with the threat of climate change.

With this exercise, the Republican Majority has made a mockery of the legislative process. It is a political act, a political stunt. Everyone here knows it’s a stunt, including the Majority Leader himself. He put something on the floor and then votes no. What’s the point of that other than showing how hypocritical this act is?

But with this exercise, they have also elevated the issue in a way I am sure they never intended. And for that, I want to thank them because now we’re finally talking about climate change. For five years, the Leader hasn’t brought one bill to the floor which will deal with the issue of climate change. He may not agree with what some people are for. What’s his plan? What’s his plan? Leader McConnell and every Republican with one exception has refused to sponsor a resolution. Leader McConnell has refused to answer these questions, which he has been repeatedly asked.

One, is climate change is real? Do you believe that, Leader McConnell? Do you believe that, Republican members? Two, climate change is caused by humans. Do you believe that? Say it. Come to the floor and do something about it. And that’s three, Congress must act on climate change. This is a simple resolution. Every Democrat is for it. Will Leader McConnell sign it? Will any other Republican sign it? Nope. It shows where the party is at. And we’re going to continue asking that question over and over again. Because our Republican colleagues want to play a stunt and vote no on another bill. But they don’t want to say what they’re for.

The scientific consensus is clear—disasters are getting stronger and stronger. The great irony here is that right after this bill goes down, the McConnell stunt bill goes down, we’re going to vote on disaster relief. You know what makes disaster relief so much more necessary and so much more expensive? Climate change. The warmer the air, the warmer the globe, the wilder the weather gets—as the people in Iowa and Nebraska have just experienced. And Kansas.

And so this idea that we’re voting for disaster relief after a stunt, sham vote on climate change – and the Republican Leader and Republican senators have nothing to say on climate change – reveals in bright lights their ostrich-like behavior, putting their heads in the sand, ignoring the reality, doing nothing about it, and playing games.

Every single Democrat and a few of our Republican colleagues have joined in the resolution that says these three simple things. We will not rest until we have most every Republican joining. Because the public is on our side. Science is on our side. And the need to help America—farmers, urban dwellers, suburban dwellers—from the devastating changes that climate is bringing upon us is very real.

So let’s stop the nonsense. Let’s get serious. Our children’s future depends upon it. Our planet depends upon it.

Now, Mr. President, one final matter. Yesterday, I came to the floor and asked unanimous consent on a very simple matter—that the report completed by Special Counsel Mueller, and all the corresponding evidence and documentation, be publicly made available for the American people.

It was a request, above all, to achieve the greatest level of transparency possible into the very serious matters of Russian interference in our elections. Transparency, that’s all we want. I’m hardly alone: it is the same resolution that passed the House unanimously with President Trump’s strongest defenders voting for it. They wanted transparency.

So why has Leader McConnell objected to making the report public? What in the world is he hiding? He got up and objected when we asked to make it public. If he had not gotten up, it would have passed. President Trump has called for the report to be made public!

So why is the Republican Leader blocking all attempts at transparency?

There is no conceivable reason for the Mueller report to remain hidden from public view. It is a shame, a darn shame, that Leader McConnell thinks otherwise.