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Spurred by President Trump, Republican leadership to hold vote tomorrow on Trumpcare bill no one has seen—LINK

In floor speech, Sen. Murray tells advocates to “double down on their advocacy” in last few hours; Once again urges Republicans to drop Trumpcare, work with Democrats  

Sen. Murray: “Leader McConnell is setting Senate Republicans up to play ‘choose your own adventure’ with families’ health care”

***WATCH VIDEO OF SEN. MURRAY’S FLOOR SPEECH HERE**

(Washington, D.C.)  – With President Trump and Senate Republicans poised to try to revive their failed Trumpcare bill tomorrow, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat on the Senate health committee, took to the Senate floor to urge advocates to ramp up the pressure in these last few hours. Sen. Murray once again urged Republicans to drop Trumpcare, stop sabotaging families’ health care, and work with Democrats to continue making care more affordable, accessible, and higher quality for patients and families in Washington state and nationwide.

In her floor speech,  Sen. Murray highlighted the “Little Lobbyists,” a group of kids with complex medical conditions who have been urging Senate Republicans to oppose Trumpcare all summer. Learn more about their efforts HERE.

Key excerpts of Sen. Murray’s floor speech:

“M. President, as soon as tomorrow, Republican leadership is saying we are going to move forward with either a vote on their failed Trumpcare bill; a vote to repeal the ACA entirely, with no plan to help families who would be devastated; or maybe, a vote on the disastrous House version of the Trumpcare bill. Nobody knows—especially my Republican colleagues! M. President, it’s like Leader McConnell is setting Senate Republicans up to play “choose your own adventure” with families’ health care. Even he doesn’t know for sure where this will end, but he is clearly willing to do whatever it takes to get to yes.”

“And so is President Trump. He’s doing what he does—tweeting threats, stirring up his extreme base, sending Vice President Pence to twist arms, to try and convince a few more Republicans to stay quiet about their very legitimate concerns. But as we head toward a possible vote tomorrow, I hope that my Republican colleagues—especially those who have already indicated that they oppose this bill and process—will demand better for their constituents.”

“And I am going to keep saying it until it sinks in—Democrats are ready, as we have always been, to work with Republicans to improve our health care system and make health care more affordable, more accessible, and higher quality; and to clean up all the mess they’ve made with their efforts to sabotage the ACA in order to jam Trumpcare through. Because let’s be clear—as President Trump and Republicans have tried to pass Trumpcare legislatively, they’ve also implemented it by undermining our current health care system. And now, unless they get serious and get to work with Democrats, families are going to face higher premiums in 2018, and have fewer choices. All because of Republicans’ partisan political tactics.”

“I strongly urge people across the country to ramp up the pressure in these last few hours—keep calling, tweeting—double down on your advocacy—and keep making your voices heard. Again, we have less than twenty four hours until Republican leadership plans to hold a vote. Republican Senators need to hear from you?that now is the time to stand up, do the right thing, and oppose Trumpcare once and for all.”

Watch Sen. Murray’s floor speech HERE.

Full text of Sen. Murray’s floor speech:

“M. President, I am here to stand with patients, families, and communities nationwide, to make sure they have a voice, to continue speaking out against Trumpcare, and to urge my Republican colleagues to stand with their constituents and join Democrats in rejecting this mean bill.

“M. President, before I go any further, I want to talk about an incredible group of families I met with recently who are making their voices heard against Trumpcare. These were parents with kids who are battling serious and complex medical conditions. And these families have spent the majority of their summer here in Washington, sharing their stories about what having health care means to them.

“The “Little Lobbyists.” Young kids—3 year olds and 5 year olds and 8 years olds—who should be at home in their neighborhoods like other kids, but instead are here fighting for their health care and their lives.

“So I held a press conference with these families here in the Capitol, where their parents shared their stories about what Trumpcare would mean for them and their families. They spoke about their worries and fears for the future.  One story was that of Elena Hung and her young daughter Xiomara.  

“Xiomara is 3 years old. She will be starting school in the fall. And you can just tell, she has this incredible energy—just lights up the room. But because Xiomara was born with complications in her lungs, heart, and kidneys, she needs a tracheostomy, feeding tube, and ventilator just to stay alive. 

“And so Elena told me about what it’s meant for her and her family to have health care these last couple years. You see, Elena and her husband both have professional degrees, good paying jobs, and savings in the bank. They have done “everything right”, as Elena put it, they have “played by the rules.” But nothing could have prepared them for dealing with the expensive care Xiomara would need.

“The hospitalizations, multiple surgeries, and medical equipment—all have added up to cost more than 3 million dollars. And Elena talked about the uncertainly that Trumpcare has caused her family. Because of Trumpcare, they are “terrified” about life time caps coming back, that if they lose health care, Xiomara’s ten pre-existing conditions might make her uninsurable, and about losing their home and going bankrupt.

“M. President, this is wrong.  The Hung family should be able to focus on Xiomara, the care that she needs, getting the right specialists and therapies to advance her treatment. The Morrison family, who I also met with, shouldn’t have to worry about their son, Timmy, getting the care he needs. Xiomara and Timmy and all the other “Little Lobbyists” deserve to be kids, to live at home, go to school, grow up, and to live. That was Elena’s message to my Republican colleagues. And I couldn’t agree with her more.  

“M, President, I’ve seen my share of contentious legislation during my time in the Senate.  I’ve seen quite a few Democratic bills that Republicans couldn’t stand, and Republican bills that Democrats would never vote for. So I understand that some of my colleagues may disagree with certain parts of the Affordable Care Act. 

“But what I can’t understand is why anyone would ignore real-life stories of their own constituents whose lives have changed and even been saved by this law. For one, that’s not how you have a serious policy debate—ignoring your constituents and facts and fudging the numbers. But more importantly, that’s not what we were sent here to do by the people we represent. They rightly expect and deserve better.

“And Mr. President, what we’ve seen for the last 7 years, and since Republican leadership began their efforts to repeal the ACA, has been truly unprecedented. In January, Republican leadership kicked Democrats out of the process entirely under reconciliation. And since then, they’ve done just about anything possible to prevent not just Democrats, but anyone—including most of their own party—from being involved in the process.

“No hearings. No scrutiny. No public input. No expert testimony.  And when they finally released their Trumpcare bill—after months of negotiating in secret, in a room of 13 men—it’s no surprise that it was immediately rejected by people across the country.

“Because it was clear their bill isn’t actually about health care—far from it. Their bill is about giving a massive gift to the wealthy and already well-connected on the backs of children, working families, people with disabilities, the sick and elderly.

“And so Democrats, Republicans, independents—millions of people have stood up and said no to this awful bill. No to increasing costs for families and seniors; no to putting insurance companies back in charge; no to kicking tens of millions of people off of their health insurance; no to attacking women’s health and rights. In fact, one study came out showing it was the least popular bill in three decades. I guess it’s no surprise my Republican colleagues didn’t want to defend this bill.

“But here’s what is frankly appalling, M. President, what did Republican leaders do in the face of large-scale popular rejection of their bill? What did Republican leaders do after member of their own party said they couldn’t vote for it without massive changes to help more people? Well, they made their bill even worse!

“They did nothing to address the concerns that even many Republicans—Governors, Senators, and so many others—had about the massive cuts to Medicaid that would be devastating to patients and states; they did nothing to truly address the defunding of Planned Parenthood and cutting off access to care for millions of women; they included an opioid fund so insignificant a Republican governor said it was like “spitting in the ocean.”

“And when it comes to affordability and putting insurance companies back in charge, Republican leaders not only didn’t fix the problems, they made them a whole lot worse—and they caved to the most extreme members of their caucus by including the Cruz/Lee provision. And now with every sweetener, every tweak, they’ve not only made the bill worse, they’ve made it unworkable, and even in violation of the Senate reconciliation process.   

“M. President, as soon as tomorrow, Republican leadership is saying we are going to move forward with either a vote on their failed Trumpcare bill; a vote to repeal the ACA entirely, with no plan to help families who would be devastated; or maybe, a vote on the disastrous House version of the Trumpcare bill. Nobody knows—especially my Republican colleagues!

“M. President, it’s like Leader McConnell is setting Senate Republicans up to play “choose your own adventure” with families’ health care. Even he doesn’t know for sure where this will end, but he is clearly willing to do whatever it takes to get to yes. And so is President Trump.

“He’s doing what he does—tweeting threats, stirring up his extreme base, sending Vice President Pence to twist arms, to try and convince a few more Republicans to stay quiet about their very legitimate concerns.

“But as we head toward a possible vote tomorrow, I hope that my Republican colleagues—especially those who have already indicated that they oppose this bill and process—will demand better for their constituents.

“And I am going to keep saying it until it sinks in—Democrats are ready, as we have always been, to work with Republicans to improve our health care system and make health care more affordable, more accessible, and higher quality; and to clean up all the mess they’ve made with their efforts to sabotage the ACA in order to jam Trumpcare through.

“Because let’s be clear—as President Trump and Republicans have tried to pass Trumpcare legislatively, they’ve also implemented it by undermining our current health care system. And now, unless they get serious and get to work with Democrats, families are going to face higher premiums in 2018, and have fewer choices. All because of Republicans’ partisan political tactics.

“M. President, this fight is on the razor’s edge. And Democrats are going to keep doing everything we can to stop it.  We just need a few more Republicans to join us—to stand on the side of patients and families—and say no to Trumpcare.

“Again, Democrats will do everything we can to persuade more Republican to join us. But what’s always made the difference thus far, what truly matters, is if Republicans hear from their constituents. 

“And so I strongly urge people across the country to ramp up the pressure in these last few hours—keep calling, tweeting—double down on your advocacy—and keep making your voices heard.

“Again, we have less than twenty four hours until Republican leadership plans to hold a vote. Republican Senators need to hear from you?that now is the time to stand up, do the right thing, and oppose Trumpcare once and for all. Thank you, M. President, and I yield the floor.”