News Releases

Sen. Murray, Democrats hold Senate floor to highlight Senate Republicans’ efforts to jam their version of Trumpcare through the Senate before patients and families can see it 

Sen. Murray: Republican leaders are treating Trumpcare like President Trump’s tax returns—and not allowing it to see the light of day

Sen. Murray shares story of Washington state veteran who relies on Medicaid, has pre-existing condition

***Watch Video of Senator Murray’s Floor Speech HERE***

 

(Washington, D.C.) –  Today, U.S Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat on the Senate health committee, joined Senate Democrats on the Senate floor to urge Republicans to make their secret Trumpcare bill public and stop trying to jam through the bill without a single committee hearing or public debate. Senator Murray highlighted the reasons why Senate Republicans are hiding their Trumpcare bill and are right to be ashamed of it—because it would raise health care costs for families in Washington state and nationwide, would deny women the ability to receive preventative care at Planned Parenthood, end Medicaid as we know it, throw tens of millions of people off of coverage, and more.

Millions of people across the country would lose their coverage if Trumpcare becomes law, including approximately 72,000-100,000 people in Washington state who would lose their current private insurance. Additionally, more than 600,000 people currently enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program could potentially lose their coverage under the GOP’s reported health care plan unless the state can find $1.4 billion in new revenue each year. To date, Senate Republicans have refused to share the text of the legislation or schedule any public hearings on the Trumpcare bill, creating uncertainty for hundreds of thousands of people in Washington state who rely on health coverage afforded under the Affordable Care Act.

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s remarks:

“Mr. President, Democrats come to the floor today as a voice for the people we represent—to fight back against Republican plans to jam Trumpcare through the Senate, increase health care costs, and hurt millions of families across the country. Because Republican leaders may hope nobody pays attention. They may hope they can go into their secret rooms, cut some secret deals, and come out with a Trumpcare bill they can jam through before anyone notices, but we’re not going to allow that to happen. We are here—we are going to fight back—and I can only hope that just a few Republicans decide to listen to their constituents, reverse course, and work with us to improve health care instead of standing with President Trump to destroy it.”

“There are reports now that Republicans actually have the text of a bill. Something is written and almost ready. But Democrats don’t get to see the bill. People across the country are still being kept in the dark. Republican leaders are treating it like President Trump’s tax returns—and not allowing it to see the light of day. It’s absurd and unprecedented. We could be just days away from a massive bill being jammed through the Senate—And many Republican Senators are telling press and constituents they couldn’t even say what was in the bill if they wanted to—because they haven’t seen it either!

“And this bill is so secret, even President Trump’s top health care advisor, the Secretary of Health and Human Services told us in a hearing last week that he hasn’t seen how Trumpcare is being changed in the back rooms of the Senate. So M. President, let me ask this, why are Republican leaders so focused on keeping their Trumpcare work secret? Why are they keeping it locked down so tight and not letting people see what’s in it? M. President, what are they so ashamed of?”

Full text of Senator Murray’s floor speech, as prepared for delivery:

Mr. President, Democrats come to the floor today as a voice for the people we represent—to fight back against Republican plans to jam Trumpcare through the Senate, increase health care costs, and hurt millions of families across the country.

Because Republican leaders may hope nobody pays attention.

They may hope they can go into their secret rooms, cut some secret deals—and come out with a Trumpcare bill they can jam through before anyone notices…but we’re not going to allow that to happen.

We are here—we are going to fight back—and I can only hope that just a few Republicans decide to listen to their constituents, reverse course, and work with us to improve health care instead of standing with President Trump to destroy it.

M. President, I want to start by talking about a constituent of mine whose story I heard—and whose voice and perspective should be a part of this debate.

A woman named Lisa, from Spokane in my home state of Washington.

Lisa served our country in the Navy for six years.

She goes to school, and she works part time.

But she says she relies on Medicaid to afford the health care she needs—and she is very worried that if Trumpcare passes, she would not only suffer from cuts to Medicaid, but she could lose access to coverage altogether because she has a pre-existing condition, asthma.

And M. President, Lisa is not alone.

There are millions of people just like her, in Washington state and all across the country.

And each of them—every patient, every family—has a stake in this fight, deserves to be a part of this debate, and has a right to know how Trumpcare would impact them if it were signed into law.

M. President, that shouldn’t be a partisan sentiment.

I have heard Republicans come to the floor time and again demanding transparency—railing against secrecy—and calling for hearings.

One Republican Senator, who is now the Chairman of the Senate Health Committee, came here to the Senate floor back in 2009 to blast Democrats for writing an amendment “in secret.”

He said, “none of us on the Republican side knew what was in it.”

And he accused Democrats of trying to pass our bill “before the American people find out what’s in it.”

M. President—my friend the Chairman of the Health Committee is certainly not alone.

Back then the current Republican Majority Leader said, “This massive piece of legislation that seeks to restructure one-sixth of our economy is being written behind closed doors, without input from anyone, in an effort to jam it past not only the Senate but the American people.”

Well, M. President, that wasn’t true back then—we held dozens of bipartisan hearings and meetings over months and months, but it is exactly what Republicans are doing now.

The Chairman of the Senate Health Committee, who I respect and would never think would be a part of an effort like this, told me he wasn’t planning to hold a single hearing on Trumpcare.

The Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, where a lot of the work on this bill should be getting done, told my friend the Senator from Missouri that he wasn’t planning to hold a hearing either.

There are reports now that Republicans actually have the text of a bill. Something is written and almost ready.

But Democrats don’t get to see the bill.

People across the country are still being kept in the dark.

Republican leaders are treating it like President Trump’s tax returns—and not allowing it to see the light of day.

It’s absurd and unprecedented.

We could be just days away from a massive bill being jammed through the Senate—And many Republican Senators are telling press and constituents they couldn’t even say what was in the bill if they wanted to—because they haven’t seen it either!

And this bill is so secret, even President Trump’s top health care advisor, the Secretary of Health and Human Services told us in a hearing last week that he hasn’t seen how Trumpcare is being changed in the back rooms of the Senate.

So M. President, let me ask this, why are Republican leaders so focused on keeping their Trumpcare work secret?

Why are they keeping it locked down so tight and not letting people see what’s in it?

M. President, what are they so ashamed of?

Well, one Republican Senate aide was quoted defending this secrecy by saying “we aren’t stupid.”

In other words—Republicans know it would be “stupid” to put this bill out in the public, because they know that people across the country—the people they are supposed to represent—would hate it!

M. President, that explains a lot.

Republican leaders—those who are writing this Trumpcare bill in secret—know they wouldn’t be able to go back home and defend it.

They know the more people learn about what’s in it—and what the fine print means for them and their families—the more they are going to rise up and fight back.

So they want to keep it wrapped up tight.

Under lock and key.

No hearings.

No scrutiny.

No public input.

When they first announced their secret working group—not even any women!

Republican leaders are in their back rooms—desperately trying to cut those final deals—doing whatever they can to bully those last few Republicans into supporting something they knew their constituents would hate.

But M. President, enough is enough. This needs to end.

Health care is too important, and Trumpcare would be too devastating, to allow this kind of secrecy to continue.

M. President, we don’t know exactly what is in the Trumpcare bill being written in secret, but we have a pretty good idea.

No matter how much lipstick they put on this pig—based on everything we’ve heard, this 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, 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.

M. President, this would be so devastating for families across the country.

Over the past year, I’ve met so many families in my home state who’ve lost a loved one to the opioid crisis, in Bellingham, in Spokane, community after community, the story is the same.

I’ve heard directly from people on the path to recovery, like Tyler in Yakima, and Mechele in the Tri-Cities, who each told me how getting treatment changed their life for the better.

M. President, I couldn’t imagine any Senator would want to go home, look their constituents in the eye, and tell them they helped pass a bill that would take away the tools their communities needed to fight this crisis…but that is what my Republican colleagues are planning to do as we speak.

And, let’s remember, all of this damage would be done to give a massive tax break to special interests in the health industry and hand President Trump a hollow political win.

M. President, it’s truly shameful, and it needs to stop.

Last week we learned President Trump is now saying that the House bill is quote “mean.”

Well, that is certainly an understatement from a President who doesn’t often do subtlety, and it is pretty surprising to hear after we all saw him celebrate at the White House when it passed.

But here’s the truth: The House Trumpcare bill isn’t just mean—it would be devastating.

And the Senate Trumpcare bill is going to be just as bad, no matter how they try to spin it or how many side-deals they cut to claim it’s changed.

So M. President, I have a message for Senate Republicans who are so ashamed of what is in this bill that they are keeping it secret: it’s not too late to change course.

It’s not too late to bring this process out from the shadows.

It’s not too late to be honest with people across the country about what you are doing.

It’s not too late to listen to the voices of people like Lisa.

It’s not too late to abandon this plan to jam Trumpcare through Congress.

And if you do that, Democrats stand ready, as we always have—to work with you to actually make health care more affordable and accessible for patients and families across the country.

M. President, people across the country are watching.

They are paying attention.

They aren’t going to allow Republicans to slip this through without scrutiny.

And we Democrats are going to keep fighting to make sure they have a voice.

Thank you, I yield the floor.