News Releases

*WATCH SENATOR MURRAY’S REMARKS HERE*

Today, Senate Republicans were forced to delay vote on Trumpcare following pressure nationwide, disastrous analysis of bill that would raise costs on Washington state families and rip coverage from millions

On Senate floor, Sen. Murray pushed her colleagues, advocates, families to keep fighting, not let up the pressure  

Sen. Murray highlighted two constituents from WA who would be impacted by Trumpcare’s increased coverage costs and cuts to Medicaid

Sen. Murray: “The backroom deals and arm-twisting are going to go into overdrive starting now”

 

(Washington, D.C.) –  Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat on the Senate health committee, delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor after Republican leadership decided to delay this week’s vote on Trumpcare due to overwhelming pressure and lack of support from members of their own party.

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s floor speech:

“I want to make something absolutely clear: this fight is anything but over. Trumpcare is not dead—not even close—and we can’t let up…we don’t know what kinds of backroom deals Senate Republican leaders will cut, or which Republicans will decide they care more about toeing the party line than protecting the patients and families in their states, here’s what we do know: the Majority Leader is not going to give up. He wants to get to yes—and so does President Trump. So the backroom deals and arm-twisting are going to go into overdrive—starting now. That’s why my message to every patient and family—every mom and dad, adult caregiver, doctor, nurse, teacher—anyone who believes Trumpcare would be devastating for their community—is don’t let up the pressure! We saw what happened in the House—we need to keep fighting—and Democrats will be fighting right along with you.”

“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, the sick and elderly. And it’s an enormous broken promise—yesterday’s CBO report made that alarmingly clear. Republican leaders promised to lower health care costs—this plan will actually raise them, especially for seniors. They promised not to pull the rug out from patients—this plan would take away coverage from 24 million people and gut Medicaid, with even deeper cuts than the House version. They said that under their bill no one—no one—would be worse off. Well tell that to a woman who would have to pay as much as $1000 dollars extra in maternity care, or will have to see her local Planned Parenthood center closed. They said their bill would protect patients with pre-existing conditions—but read the fine print—this plan is a back-door way to put those patients’ fate in the hands of insurance companies. And—this is truly shameful—Republican leaders promised they were committed to tackling our growing opioid epidemic. But with this plan, all our efforts—all the work left to be done by states—would be at risk.”

“Republican leaders can still choose to drop Trumpcare once and for all.  But I’m not taking any chances. And neither should anyone listening who joins Democrats in opposing Trumpcare. I fully expect the backroom deals to continue—and to get even worse now that Republican leaders were forced to delay this week’s vote. I just hope that Republicans who are rightly concerned about the impact Trumpcare will take a close look at the facts on the table, recognize it’s time to change course, and stand strong for their constituents. M. President, that’s what this debate should be about. Making sure the people we represent can count on the security of health care when they get sick; that they won’t have to consider foregoing treatment for a sick child because they don’t have the money; that they will be treated fairly and equally in our health care system…in this country, health care should be a right, not a privilege reserved for the few. That’s what Democrats we’ll keep fighting for—and we are not going to let up.”

Watch video of Sen. Murray’s floor speech HERE.

Full text of Senator Murray’s floor speech:

Thank you, M. President. Before I go any further, I want to make something absolutely clear: this fight is anything but over. Trumpcare is not dead—not even close—and we can’t let up.

Now it’s no surprise that Senate Republicans needed another week to try to jam their Trumpcare bill through, given everything it would mean for families’ health, their financial security, and their lives.

But while we don’t know what kinds of backroom deals Senate Republican leaders will cut; or which Republicans will decide they care more about toeing the party line than protecting the patients and families in their states; here’s what we do know: the Majority Leader is not going to give up.

He wants to get to yes—and so does President Trump. So the backroom deals and arm-twisting are going to go into overdrive—starting now.

That’s why my message to every patient and family—every mom and dad, adult caregiver, doctor, nurse, teacher—anyone who believes Trumpcare would be devastating for their community—is don’t let up the pressure! We saw what happened in the House—we need to keep fighting—and Democrats will be fighting right along with you.

Now, M. President, you have to ask—given how mean this bill is and how clearly patients and families are rejecting it, why are my Republican colleagues pushing ahead? It’s not like this is some kind of foregone conclusion. At any moment, Republicans can drop this effort. And work with Democrats on health care policies that actually help patients and families—not hurt them.

But it is clear Republican leaders aren’t interested. In fact, they’ve done just about anything possible to prevent not just Democrats, but anyone—including most of their own party—from being involved in this process.

M. President, as Democrats have made clear, this is unprecedented. I was here when the Affordable Care Act was debated and passed. We organized dozens of bipartisan meetings. We held hearings. We took amendments from both sides. And we certainly didn’t leave the fate of women’s health care up to a few men! But the Republican Trumpcare plan? No hearings. No scrutiny. No public input. No expert testimony. 

And why is that, M. President? Because 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, the sick and elderly.

And it’s an enormous broken promise—yesterday’s CBO report made that alarmingly clear. Republican leaders promised to lower health care costs—this plan will actually raise them, especially for seniors; they promised not to pull the rug out from patients—this plan would take away coverage from 24 million people and gut Medicaid, with even deeper cuts than the House version.

They said that under their bill no one—no one—would be worse off. Well tell that to a woman who would have to pay as much as $1000 dollars extra in maternity care, or will have to see her local Planned Parenthood center closed.

They said their bill would protect patients with pre-existing conditions—but read the fine print—this plan is a back-door way to put those patients’ fate in the hands of insurance companies.

And—this is truly shameful—Republican leaders promised they were committed to tackling our growing opioid epidemic. But with this plan, all our efforts—all the work left to be done by states—would be at risk.

M. President, this would be incredibly harmful. Over the past year, I’ve met so many families in my home state of Washington who’ve lost a loved one to the opioid crisis—in Bellingham, Spokane, Yakima, in the Tri-Cities—community after community.

I know the same stories are being told in West Virginia, in Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and states across the country. I’ve heard directly from people on the path to recovery, who have told me how getting treatment and Medicaid coverage changed their life for the better.

What will they do under Trumpcare?  You know, M. President, I’d be ashamed, too, if I had to defend this cruel bill over the upcoming recess.

I would be ashamed if I had to explain this bill to constituents of mine like Jennifer England. Jennifer is from Kent, Washington. She’s a mom, a softball coach, and a cancer survivor.

Because of coverage she had under the Medicaid expansion, she decided to play it safe and go to the doctor to get a lump checked out—something she said she wouldn’t have done before.

Jennifer was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma. It was about to spread to her lungs, and could have been deadly. Jennifer went through rounds of chemo and trip after trip to the doctor—and on March 8th, her daughter’s 18th birthday, she was finally able to tell her daughter that she’s in the clear.

Now, Jennifer is terrified of what it would mean for her finances, her family—her life—if her Medicaid coverage goes away.

M. President, I would be ashamed if I had to defend this bill to Kelly Hill from Seattle.  I met Kelly during a recent tour of Seattle’s International Community Health Services clinic. And Kelly shared with me that she has been living with HIV for 17 years and has a son with a severe developmental disability.

Fortunately, Kelly was able to get Medicaid when she needed it most—in graduate school, when she was first diagnosed, and when she was pregnant with her son.

But today, her son, Avram, is 15 years old and cannot be left unattended. And he will need expensive care and support for the rest of his life.

Medicaid plays a crucial role to keeping Avram active at home, in their community—and it allows Kelly the opportunity to have a full-time job to support her family.

Kelly knows just how important access to health care is—and the harm and uncertainty Trumpcare would cause. So, M. President, I want to be very clear—if Republicans jam through Trumpcare this month they will own the consequences.

They’ll have to defend this bill to people, like Jennifer and Kelly, in their own states. And they will be responsible for increasing families’ health care costs; undermining protections for people with pre-existing conditions; defunding Planned Parenthood and allowing insurance companies to charge women more; taking away care for seniors, pregnant women, and people with disabilities.

Again, Republican leaders can still choose to drop Trumpcare once and for all. But I’m not taking any chances. And neither should anyone listening who joins Democrats in opposing Trumpcare.

I fully expect the backroom deals to continue—and to get even worse now that Republican leaders were forced to delay this week’s vote. I just hope that Republicans who are rightly concerned about the impact Trumpcare will take a close look at the facts on the table, recognize it’s time to change course, and stand strong for their constituents.

M. President, that’s what this debate should be about. Making sure the people we represent can count on the security of health care when they get sick; that they won’t have to consider foregoing treatment for a sick child because they don’t have the money; that they will be treated fairly and equally in our health care system.

It’s what I’ve been thinking about these past several weeks.  It’s why Democrats have been holding the floor all these nights, participating in rallies, staying out on the Capitol steps.  

It’s why my friend, the senior Senator from Hawaii, took to the floor yesterday, and bravely talked about what this fight now means to her. As she said, everyone is only one diagnosis away from a serious illness, and no one should have to worry about what they’ll do if and when that moment comes.

M. President, in this country, health care should be a right, not a privilege reserved for the few. That’s what Democrats we’ll keep fighting for—and we are not going to let up. Thank you, and I yield the floor.