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Sen. Elizabeth Warren on GOP Health Care Bill: “Throw It In The Trash”


Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks against the Senate GOP leadership's healthcare bill. Warren cites opposition to the bill from health policy groups and experts, and patient organizations. "The American Medical Association says the bill violates the fundamental principle of medicine: First, do no harm," she said.

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Newt Gingrich: Congress “Obligated” To Call Obama To Testify On Russia Collusion


On Tuesday morning's 'Fox & Friends,' former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said that following the revelations of what President Obama knew about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, the former president will have to testify under oath about what he knew, and when he knew it. NEWT GINGRICH: In addition to writing Understanding Trump, I also write novels about terrorism. I wouldn't have the nerve to write this story as a novel, because guess is what is about to happen. The Congress is going to have to call Barack Obama in to testify under oath about when he knew about Russian meddling. Was it really last August? Who told him? Why did he do nothing? Who was in the meetings? Yes, there is a big Russia story, and it is Barack Obama, not Donald Trump… I think the Congress has an obligation to call him in. How can you be so irresponsible? The House and Senate are going to have to call Obama in… Absolutely he's got to come in an testify.

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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer: GOP Health Bill “Would End Medicare As We Know It,” “Read The Fine Print”


Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks in opposition to the Republican health care reform plan which was presented in the Senate today: Read the bill here. SCHUMER: Well, we're beginning to receive the first bits of information about the Senate Republican health care bill, which has until now been shrouded in absolute secrecy. I can see why. Even as we continue to get more details, the broad outlines are clear. This is a bill designed to strip away health care benefits and protections from Americans who need it most in order to give a tax break to the folks who need it least. This is a bill that would end Medicaid as we know it, rolling back Medicaid expansion, cutting federal support for the program even more than the House bill, which cut Medicaid by $800 billion. Let me remind everyone in this chamber, Medicaid is not just a health insurance program for Americans struggling in poverty, though that is an important and necessary part of it. Medicaid is increasingly a middle class program. Medicaid is how many Americans are able to avoid — are able to access opioid abuse treatment. Medicaid foots the bill for two-thirds of all Americans living in nursing homes. And Medicaid provides the cushion, particularly in rural areas, so hospitals can survive and give top- notch health care to all of us. From what is reported, in just three short years under the Senate bill, Republicans will kick millions off their Medicaid coverage. And then starting in 2025, the plan will institute even more Medicaid cuts and each year those cuts get deeper than the year before. Within 10 years of this new funding system, the cuts to Medicaid could total hundreds of billions of dollars above the more than $800 billion the House bill already cuts from the program. And every senior in America should read the fine print of this bill. It looks like American seniors could be paying way more. Why do this? Looking at the bill, the answer is because the Republicans want to give a tax break to the wealthiest Americans, those making over $200,000 a year, and set themselves up to give these folks another even larger tax cut in their tax bill. Even though much of the early reporting says the bill will keep certain protections for Americans with preexisting conditions, the truth is it may well not guarantee them the coverage they need. By allowing states to waive essential health benefits, what the bill is saying to those Americans is: Insurance still has to cover you, but it doesn't have to cover what you may actually need; it doesn't have to cover all or even most of your costs. If you need treatment for opioid addiction, your plan may no longer cover it. If you're pregnant and need maternity care, your plan may have decided that's too expensive. The coverage that Americans with preexisting conditions actually need may well become either unaffordable or even nonexistent under this bill. Simply put, this bill will result… (CROSSTALK) SCHUMER: Not right now; at the end of my remarks. Simply put, this bill will result in higher costs, less care, and millions of Americans will lose their health insurance, particularly through Medicaid. It's every bit as bad as the House bill. In some ways, it's even worse. The president said the Senate bill needed heart. The way this bill cuts health care is heartless. The president said the House bill was mean. The Senate bill may be meaner. The Senate Republican health care bill is a wolf in sheep's clothing, only this wolf has even sharper teeth than the House bill. It's clear that Republicans know that cutting Medicaid will hurt so many people in the middle class, so many in my home state of New York. Republicans know that people want essential health benefits. So they've created a disguise by saying these changes won't occur for a year. But in reality, the Senate Republican bill is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Only this wolf has even sharper teeth than the House bill.SCHUMER: And we're potentially voting on it in a week. No committee hearings. No amendments in committee. No debate on the floor, save for 10 measly hours on one of the most important bills we're dealing with in decades. That brings shame on this body. We won't even know the full cost or consequence of the bill until CBO scores it. And that could take a few days more. How can my friend, the majority leader, expect this body to fairly consider this legislation, prepare amendments and debate it in one week, with only 10 hours of debate? How can he expect his own members to do the same? Many of them on the Republican side are learning the details of the bill the same way we Democrats are. They're reading it today. Now, listen to what the majority leader had to say in 2009 when we were debating health care. His words: "This is a very important issue. We shouldn't try to do it in the dark. And whatever final bill is produced should be available to the American public and to members of the Senate certainly for enough time to come to grips with it. And we're going to insist, and the American people are going to insist, that it be done in a transparent, fair and open way." Is five or six days enough time for the American people and members of the Senate to come to grips with a bill that affects one- sixth of the economy and the lives of every American in this country? I don't think so. Neither to the American people. And neither do a whole bunch of Republican senators. Senator Cassidy: "Would I have preferred a more open process? The answer is yes." Senator Collins: "I don't think it gives enough time to thoroughly analyze the bill, but we'll see when it comes out." There's member after member — Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham, Jerry Moran, Marco Rubio, Bob Corker, who repeatedly have said this process in their words and now in mine, is unfair; is truncated; is rushed. For my dear friend the majority leader to say we're going to have an open amendment process is turning truth upside down. I would ask our leader rhetorically, because I know the answer: Can we allow at least one hour on each amendment, not two minutes? Will we have more time than 10 hours to debate the bill? I hope so. But if not, please don't call this an open and fair process. If you want to rush it through, admit the consequences. Now, Mr. President, the debate over health care has been fierce. We know that the Republicans and Democrats have differences when we debated the Affordable Care Act — at least we had a debate. At least we had committee hearings and a process. And more broadly than that, at least we Democrats were trying to pass a health care bill that helped more Americans afford insurance and tried to bring costs down and end some of the most egregious practices of the health care industry. What is this bill, Trumpcare, trying to achieve? It seems designed to slash support for health care programs in order to give tax breaks to the very wealthy. And when the CBO score comes out, I believe it will verify that millions of Americans in this great country will be unable to afford insurance or the insurance they can afford won't cover the services they need. Somewhere in America, Mr. President, there's a family who takes a trip each Friday to visit grandma or grandpa at a nursing home; who sacrificed all of their savings to pay for their health care until they had no more savings; and now relies on Medicaid to help pay the cost of long-term care in the nursing home. Somewhere in America, there's a father who is eaten up inside watching his son struggle with opioid addiction; who knows in his heart that his son would be able to go on and live a healthy and fulfilling life if he could only afford treatment to get him out from under his devastating addiction.SCHUMER: Somewhere in America, there's a parent whose child has cancer; a mother and father who stay up late at night worry that their insurance will either not be available or run out when the family needs it most. In the America that my Republican friends envision with this health care bill, those Americans and many more beside might not get the coverage and care they need. We live in the wealthiest country on Earth. Surely, surely, we can do better than what the Republican health care bill promises. Now I have a unanimous consent request. Going to have to delay my friend from asking questions until we finish our unanimous consent request. I ask unanimous consent for that any substitute or perfecting amendment offered to calendar number 120, H.R. 1628, not be in order if the text of the amendment has not been filed at the desk and made available on a public website for at least 72 hours, along with an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office of the bill's budgetary, coverage and cost implications.

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Senate Majority Leader McConnell Unveils Health Care Law Replacement


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveils Health Care Law Replacement. Read the bill here. Transcript of McConnell's remarks: MCCONNELL: Seven years ago, Democrats imposed Obamacare on our country. They said it would lower costs. It didn't. From 2013 to 2017, premiums have on average doubled in the vast majority of states on the federal exchange. Next year, Obamacare premiums will go up across the country once again, potentially by as much as 43 percent in Iowa, 59 percent in Maryland, and even a staggering 80 percent in New Mexico. Does it sound like Obamacare is working? They said it wouldn't increase choice — they said it would increase choice. They said it would increase choice, but of course, it didn't. This year, 70 percent of American counties have had little or no choice of insurers under Obamacare. Next year, at least 44 counties are projected to have no choice at all, meaning yet again Americans could be thrown off their plans in states like Missouri and Ohio and Wisconsin. Does it sound like Obamacare is working? Now, Democrats tell us it would be wrong for the Senate to actually address these problems in a serious way, while the law they've defended for seven years teeters, literally teeters on the edge of total collapse. They were wrong before. They're wrong again now. Because Obamacare isn't working. By nearly any measure, it has failed and no mount of 11th-hour reality-denying or buck-passing by Democrats is going to change the fact that more Americans are going to get hurt unless we do something. I regret that our Democratic friends made clear early on that they did not want to work with us in a serious bipartisan way to address the Obamacare status quo. But Republicans believe we have a responsibility to act and we are for our constituents, for our states, and for our country.MCCONNELL: We've long called for a better way forward, and we've been engaged in intensive talks on how to get there. Through dozens of meetings open to each and every member of the conference, we've had the opportunity to offer and consider many ideas for confronting the Obamacare status quo. We debated many policy proposals. We considered many different viewpoints. In the end, we found that we share many ideas about what needs to be achieved and how we can achieve it. These shared policy objectives and the solutions to help achieve them are what made up the health care discussion draft that we finished talking through this morning. We agreed on the need to free Americans from Obamacare's mandates and policies contained in the discussion draft will repeal the individual mandate so Americans are no longer forced to buy insurance they don't need or can't afford; will repeal the employer mandate so Americans no longer see their hours and take-home pay cut by employers because of it. We agreed on the need to improve the affordability of health insurance and policies contained in the discussion draft will do that. It will eliminate costly Obamacare taxes that are passed on to consumers, so we can put downward pressure on premiums, expand tax- free health savings accounts, and deploy targeted tax credits so we can help defray out-of-pocket costs and shift power from Washington to the states so they have more flexibility to provide more Americans with the kind of affordable insurance options they actually want. We agree on the need to stabilize the insurance markets that are collapsing under Obamacare as well, and policies contained in the discussion draft will implement stabilization policies so we can bring financial certainty to insurance markets, and hope to Americans who face the possibility of limited or zero options next year under Obamacare; and ultimately transition away from Obamacare's collapsing system entirely so more Americans will not be hurt. We also agree on the need to strengthen Medicaid, preserve access to care for patients with preexisting conditions, and allow children to stay on their parents' health insurance through the age of 26. I'm pleased that we were able to arrive at a draft that incorporates input from so many different members who represent so many different constituents who are facing so many different challenges. The draft containing the solutions I mentioned, along with many others, is posted online. And I encourage everyone to carefully review it. There will be ample time to analyze, discuss and provide thoughts before legislation comes to the floor. And I hope every senator takes that opportunity. Next week, we expect the Budget — the Congressional Budget Office to release a score. After that, we will proceed with a robust debate and an open amendment process here on the Senate floor, a process that I would encourage each of our 100 senators to participate in. When legislation does come to the floor, it will present Senate Democrats with another opportunity to do what's right for the American people. They can choose to keep standing by as their failing law continues to collapse and hurt more Americans, but I hope they will join us instead to bring relief to the families who have struggled under Obamacare for far too long. Either way — either way, it's time to act because Obamacare is a direct attack on the middle class and American families deserve better than its failing status quo. They deserve better care. That's just what we're going to continue to work to bring them.

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Pelosi: I Am “Master Legislator,” “Astute Leader”; “Decision How Long I Stay Is Not Up To Them”


House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi fires back at those Democrats calling for her to resign. Following Democrat Jon Ossoff's loss this week in the race to fill the Congressional seat vacated by HHS Dept. head Tom Price, many Democrats cast blame on Party leaders like Pelosi. Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, who unsuccessfully challenged Pelosi for her minority leader position last year, said Pelosi is "toxic" to Democratic candidates and that the party would lose in 2018 if Republicans could make the House minority leader its face. Pelosi disagrees, singing er own praises as a "master legislator" and "astute leader" who is "worth the trouble." "My decision about how long I stay is not up to them," Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday morning. "I love the arena. I thrive on competition, and I welcome the discussion." "You want me to sing my praises, is that it?" she added. "I'm a master legislator. I'm a strategic, politically astute leader." Pelosi added that Republicans always attack "the most effective" leaders in the Democratic PArty and that her experience makes her "worth the trouble, quite frankly." President Trump weighed in on the matter, saying: "I certainly hope the Democrats do not force Nancy [Pelosi] out. That would be very bad for the Republican Party – and please let Cryin' Chuck stay!" I certainly hope the Democrats do not force Nancy P out. That would be very bad for the Republican Party – and please let Cryin' Chuck stay!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2017

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Speaker Paul Ryan Weekly Press Conference: “Delivering On Our Agenda For The Country”


House Speaker Ryan takes questions at his weekly press briefing. Statement, followed by questions: This has been a busy week, delivering on our agenda for the country. Yesterday, for those of you who may have missed it, Republicans and Democrats came together to send important veterans' administration reform legislation to the president's desk. We've all seen the scandals of the last few years. We saw the waiting list, we saw the scandals. Things clearly need to change at the veterans' administration, and this bill is going to help deliver the kind of fundamental reform that is needed to solve those problems. It will help our veterans get the world-class care and treatment that they deserve, and that they have earned. We still have a lot of work to do, but we're going to keep at it until we, as a country, can say that we are really and honestly keeping our promises that we have made to our veterans. And then, later today — today, we expect a big bipartisan vote for Glenn Thompson's bill to improve career and technical education. This initiative is going to make it easier for people to get the skills they need to fill better, higher quality, higher paying jobs. A good technical skills job can mean everything. It can be the foundation of a successful career and a great future. I see this everywhere I look in my own home state of Wisconsin. This bill can make a real difference for American workers. So, bottom line, every day here we are working to address the problems that people face in their daily lives. These are just two more examples of us coming together and delivering on our agenda.

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Full Replay: House Dem Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Weekly Press Conference


House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi holds her weekly news conference at the Capitol. Following Democrat Jon Ossoff's loss this week in the race to fill the Congressional seat vacated by HHS Dept. head Tom Price, many Republicans cast blame on Party leaders like Pelosi. Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, who unsuccessfully challenged Pelosi for her minority leader position last year, said Pelosi is "toxic" to Democratic candidates and that the party would lose in 2018 if Republicans could make the House minority leader its face.

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