Schumer Floor Remarks On Senate Republicans’ Assault On Women’s Reproductive Rights And Leader McConnell’s Refusal To Act On Health Care

February 25, 2020

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor regarding Leader McConnell’s scheduled procedural votes on two extreme anti-choice bills that the Senate has previously rejected. Senator Schumer also urged Leader McConnell to instead take up the House-passed healthcare bills buried in his legislative graveyard. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Today, Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans have scheduled votes on two divisive anti-choice, anti-women, anti-family bills. The Senate has voted them down before. It will again.

After weeks of complaining that the impeachment trial of President Trump was preventing the Senate from doing the people’s business, this is what the Senate Republicans have proposed: fake, dishonest, and extreme legislation that has nothing to do with improving the lives of ordinary Americans.

I say fake because these bills pretend as if we don’t already have laws on the book that protect infants. Additional legislation is completely unnecessary and irrational, a show with no positive effect on the women of America who need health care. Health care, Mr. President. Health care, Republican Senators. Health care, that’s what women want—not these show bills that appeal to an extreme view. The American people know it. The American women know it.

Additional legislation, such as proposed today is at best unnecessary and irrational. But it is dishonest because these bills are not intended to fix real problems faced by real Americans; they are intended to provoke fear and misunderstanding about a very difficult issue so Republicans can score political points with their far-right base. But any Senator who thinks this is going to appeal to the mainstream of their constituents—women throughout their states—is missing the point.

I say extreme because these bills would, in effect, criminalize women’s reproductive care, and intimidate health care providers—another example of the Senate Republican’s war on Roe v. Wade and a woman’s constitutionally protected right to make her own, private health care decisions. To not have politicians tell a woman what to do.

Putting these already-defeated bills up for a show-vote is not a good faith attempt to improve the lives of everyday Americans, particularly everyday American women, as Republicans claimed they wanted desperately to do. Every single Senate Republican knows that these bills cannot and will not pass. But they’re putting them on the floor anyway to pander to the hard right. And to cover up the fact that they won’t provide good health care for women, that they’re voting day-in, day-out to take away the right to health care of women across America and letting the administration, led by President Trump, do just that.

If Republicans were serious about getting back to the people’s business, there is no shortage of bipartisan legislation we could consider. Nearly 400 bills have passed the house—hundreds of them on a bipartisan basis—and they have collected dust in this chamber, they have gone into Leader McConnell’s legislative trash can. On health care alone, we have legislation to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions, legislation that would eliminate junk insurance plans, legislation to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates, which my colleague from Illinois will talk about, I believe, shortly. All of these bills have languished in Leader McConnell’s legislative graveyard. When Leader McConnell and any Republicans say that impeachment stopped us from doing things, look at what we’re not doing today. Not only what we’re doing, which is meaningless to women, but what we’re not doing—protecting their health care. Protecting Roe v. Wade, which two-thirds of American women want protected.  

Any of the proposals that are in Leader McConnell’s legislative graveyard would be better than this anti-choice, anti-women, anti-family legislation.

But typical of Leader McConnell, Republicans have chosen once again to play politics on the Senate floor. Leader McConnell should stop wasting the few votes he does schedule with these shameless political stunts, and instead bring legislation to the floor that would actually improve the health care of the American people, and of American women in particular.

###