News Releases

**VIDEO OF OPENING STATEMENT HERE**

Moments before hearing to discuss President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to NIH, Senate GOP met to discuss draft Trumpcare bill 

Sen. Murray, top Democrat on subcommittee, likened Senate bill to House version, slamming reported attacks aimed at Medicaid, women’s health, protections for pre-existing conditions, and more   

Sen. Murray called on Senate Republicans troubled by bill to “insist on full hearings, open debate, and increased transparency”

 

(Washington, D.C.) –  Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) challenged Republican Senators to push for their version of the Trumpcare bill to receive full hearings and be considered in open debate. Murray made these remarks following reports Senate Republicans had just met to review a draft of their Trumpcare bill, moments before a scheduled hearing to discuss President Trump’s proposed budget slashing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by nearly 22 percent. At the hearing, Murray slammed the Trumpcare bill as “going the same way Trumpcare went in the House” by reportedly increasing health care costs for families, ending requirements for insurance companies to cover basic health care, ending the guarantee of Medicaid coverage for millions of families, and much more. Murray warned her Republican colleagues that they will be held accountable by patients and families nationwide for allowing Trumpcare to be jammed through the Senate without any public scrutiny.

Video of Sen. Murray’s opening statement can be found HERE

Key excerpts of Senator Murray’s opening statement:

“I must note that today’s hearing takes place in the midst of a pivotal moment for our health care system as a whole. As we’ve heard all week, my Republican colleagues appear to be dead-set on jamming their version of Trumpcare through the Senate in just a matter of days. A bill that has been subject to no hearings, no public debate, and no expert testimony. A bill so secret—that until just moments ago—many Republican Senators were telling press and constituents they couldn’t even say what was in the bill if they wanted to. A bill so secret—even President Trump’s top health care advisor, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, had said he didn’t know how Trumpcare was being changed in the back rooms of the Senate. A bill so secret—so closely guarded—that not even the 13 male Senators who make up the so-called “working group” could comment with any certainty on text of the bill, when it would be brought up, or even by what procedure.”

“Which begs the question, as I said earlier this week on the Senate floor, what are Republican leaders so ashamed of? Well, it’s now very clear, those who wrote this Trumpcare bill knew they wouldn’t be able to go back home and defend it. Because based on what we are learning—this bill is going the same way Trumpcare went in the House, and the impact on patients and families would be just as bad. Higher costs for families—especially seniors and people with pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies no longer required to cover basic health care—like maternity care, mental health services, and more. Women would lose access to their doctors and to the care they need at Planned Parenthood. And, tens of millions of people across the country would see their Medicaid coverage taken away.”

“I have to say, after hearing this week about so many of my Republican colleagues feeling frustrated about this bill’s process, who are angered about being shut out of the process, or receiving conflicting information, who may even be shocked at the text that was just released—well, you have the power to do something about it, not just to complain about it. You can insist on full hearings, open debate, and increased transparency. Because let’s be very clear about this—people across the country are very worried, and they are watching. They are going to be paying close attention to what’s released today. And frankly they aren’t going to accept any of your excuses, if this bill slips through without any scrutiny.”

Full text of Senator Murray’s opening statement:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Dr. Collins, thank you for joining us today. 

I appreciate all you’ve done to champion the critical work of the NIH.

You’ve been a great partner, and I’m so glad NIH will continue to benefit from your leadership.

I want to thank Doctors Volkow, Fauci, Gibbons, Gordon, Hodes, and Lowy.

And welcome Ms. Bachini—it’s good to see you again.

I look forward to discussing the devastating impact President Trump’s budget would have on the NIH. 

As you all know, President Trump has proposed cutting NIH by 22 percent—most of it by arbitrarily capping indirect costs—resulting in the lowest funding level for biomedical research since 2002.

Three months after releasing this proposal, we still don’t have basic information from the Administration about how NIH would implement $7.5 billion in reductions—without severe consequences for thousands of research facilities and tens of thousands of scientists that rely on its grants to support their work.

Facilities like the Fred Hutchinson Institute in my home state of Washington, to cite one example, where scientists have pioneered bone marrow transplants, and today are searching for cures to cancer and a HIV vaccine, but because of this proposal, would be forced to dramatically scale back their efforts to develop cures for patients.

So these cuts are deeply concerning, which is why I’ve said repeatedly, I’m hopeful both parties will once again reject President Trump’s budget proposal, and continue to work together to ensure NIH is able to carry out its vital work that gives hope to those living with chronic and life-threatening disease and bolsters economic growth and competitiveness.

Before this discussion can happen, however, I must note that today’s hearing takes place in the midst of a pivotal moment for our health care system as a whole.

As we’ve heard all week, my Republican colleagues appear to be dead-set on jamming their version of Trumpcare through the Senate in just a matter of days.

A bill that has been subject to no hearings, no public debate, and no expert testimony.

A bill so secret—that until just moments ago—many Republican Senators were telling press and constituents they couldn’t even say what was in the bill if they wanted to.

A bill so secret—even President Trump’s top health care advisor, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, had said he didn’t know how Trumpcare was being changed in the back rooms of the Senate.

A bill so secret—so closely guarded—that not even the 13 male Senators who make up the so-called “working group” could comment with any certainty on text of the bill, when it would be brought up, or even by what procedure. 

And in fact—a bill so secret—that even the White House Press Secretary couldn’t confirm whether or not President Trump, or anybody in the White House for that matter, had seen the bill. 

Which begs the question, as I said earlier this week on the Senate floor, what are Republican leaders so ashamed of?

Well, it’s now very clear, those who wrote this Trumpcare bill knew they wouldn’t be able to go back home and defend it.

Because based on what we are learning—this bill is going the same way Trumpcare went in the House, and the impact on patients and families would be just as bad.

Higher costs for families—especially seniors and people with pre-existing conditions.

Insurance companies no longer required to cover basic health care—like maternity care, mental health services, and more.

Women would lose access to their doctors and to the care they need at Planned Parenthood.  

And, tens of millions of people across the country would see their Medicaid coverage taken away.

That means people nationwide who are finally getting treatment for substance use disorders like opioid addiction, or mental health care, or access to a primary care doctor under Medicaid—are going to lose that access.

As many of my Democratic colleagues have said, this isn’t a health care bill—it’s an attack on families’ health and financial security.

So, again, I have a message for Republican leadership: it’s not too late to drop Trumpcare once and for all.

It’s not too late to make the right choices and work with Democrats to actually fix families’ health care.

As the Chairman, and others on this subcommittee should know by now, Democrats stand ready—as we always have—to work together to actually make health care more affordable and accessible for patients and families across the country.

But we can’t begin that conversation until Republican leadership reverses course.

And lastly, I have to say, after hearing this week about so many of my Republican colleagues feeling frustrated about this bill’s process, who are angered about being shut out of the process, or receiving conflicting information, who may even be shocked at the text that was just released—well, you have the power to do something about it, not just to complain about it.

You can insist on full hearings, open debate, and increased transparency.   

Because let’s be very clear about this—people across the country are very worried, and they are watching.

They are going to be paying close attention to what’s released today.

And frankly they aren’t going to accept any of your excuses, if this bill slips through without any scrutiny.

Again, I sincerely hope Republican leadership is listening, and I challenge my colleagues here today to insist this bill goes through an open process.

We Democrats are going to keep fighting to make sure families have a voice in this fight—and holding Republicans accountable for jamming through a bill that would be so devastating to the health and wellbeing of people across the country.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.