HEALTH CARE -- (House of Representatives - October 30, 2007)
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Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Well, I thank the gentleman from Iowa for giving me the opportunity to address the House.
First, before I begin, let me just say this. I commend the gentleman for your being down here on the floor to, first and foremost, refute the arguments that had been made initially, in your opening statements, refuting the arguments made by the other side of the aisle, where I believe you were getting into the issues of the debt and what have you, and some of the other points you made with regard to our spending levels, and finally on SCHIP.
If I may, I want to address a couple of those. First of all, here we are at the end of October, 10 months into the rule under the new Democrat majority, and we have to ask, what has their leadership wrought? They have brought us the largest tax increase in U.S. history, the creation of slush funds, where a lot that money is going to go to, and the end to the transparency that they promised in the last election that they would bring to this House.
On the first point, as far as the largest tax increase in history, that began initially as soon as the Democrats took control with their budget, a $387 billion tax increase, which basically is too large of a number for any of us to get our hands around. But what it really translates down to is, on average, around a $2,500 to $2,700 increase that every individual in this country will have to take out of their pockets, from the hard-earned money they make, and send down here to Washington so Congress can spend it instead on who knows what it may be. That is where they began.
We know just this past week the chairman of Ways and Means has come out with the ``mother of all tax increases.'' That ``mother of all tax increases,'' of course, basically begs the question of what happens to all the orphaned taxpayers then in this country, those who are now left having to foot the bill for that tax increase.
So I raise these points only because it is truly ironic that the other side of the aisle would come to the floor and raise the issue of the debt level and the spending of Congress, because, when you think about it, they ran on a platform that the Republicans were spending too much, but what was the first thing they did when they came here? They decided that they would spend even more. They ran on the platform that we were taxing too much. And what was the first thing they did once they got here? They raised our taxes. And they have done so repeatedly. They have about half a dozen times now had legislation, just about every single major piece of legislation that has come to the floor so far, that has included some form of tax increase in it.
Now, the gentleman from Iowa raises the point now near the end of his discussion with regard to SCHIP, and I always appreciate his explaining to the American public what the acronym SCHIP really does stand for. SCHIP stands for ``Socialized Clinton-Style Hillarycare for Illegals and Their Parents.'' I will get to that point of illegals in a minute, but let's look at the overall focus and what the intention is here.
I think it begs the question to ask, is anyone from either side of the aisle not intending working towards making sure all Americans can have the health care that they need? I think we all agree on that.
The next question is, do we not want to make sure then that all American citizens' indigent children get the health care that they need? I think, generally speaking, except for the partisanship and the politicking on the other side of the aisle, I would have to say that all of us agree on that as well.
Then we have to ask ourselves, what is the best mechanism to get there? Is SCHIP and the expansion that the Democrats want to foist on the American public the best way to get there? I would answer that question by saying, no, it is not.
Going in reverse order, the gentleman from Iowa raises the point with regard to illegals, an important point. The Democrats will tell you, don't worry about it. The bill already says in plain language that illegals are not allowed to get these benefits, as if all you need to do is put those words into a bill and that makes it so.
I see on the table over there, I think that looks like your demonstration for the wall. Is that what that is?
Mr. KING of Iowa. Yes.
Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. You know, we would not need that wall under the Democrat philosophy, because we already have a law that says no illegals may come into this country illegally. If that is all it takes is just to say they can't do it and it won't happen, you don't need that wall. You don't need any surveillance. We don't need any border security guards, because we have a law that says they are not allowed to come into this country illegally. But we know that that is not the way it works. What works is you need enforcement. You suggest enforcement in the form of a wall, and I agree with you on that.
In the area of SCHIP, enforcement means that we need to have a way of verification for an individual when they come to claim American taxpayers' dollars for their own benefit for them to verify that they are legal American citizens entitled to it. And that is all that the Republicans were asking for, some sort of process to make sure that was done.
Now, the Democrats also argue, look, they put in a penalty provision for the States. The Democrats were not willing to actually put an enforcement mechanism in themselves to say how they want to verify the illegals. But the Democrats will say, well, we are going to leave that little question to the States instead and have the States cleverly come up with it. Of course, you and I are all supportive of States being the laboratory of experimentation.
The Democrats then say that is all we need to do. I would suggest that is not all you need to do. The enforcement there is not to say to the States if you mess this up, if you don't enforce the law and allow illegals to get American taxpayer dollars under this program, and therefore potentially deprive other American children of their benefits, it does not say that those States will not receive any Medicaid benefits whatsoever. It does not say that they will not receive SCHIP benefits as well. It just holds the additional funding that goes to those States.
Under the original DRA law that was signed in 2005 and went into effect in July of 2006, for those States under Medicaid where it applied to, we saw a decrease because of the Republican enforcement mechanisms of illegals actually getting those benefits. What the Republicans have simply asked the Democrat majority to allow us to do is to allow those systems that are working to apply to the entire SCHIP process.
So on the point of trying to make sure that only U.S. American citizens get the benefits, Republicans have a plan and it has been working in other aspects of Medicaid, and we wish to expand it.
I yield back.
Mr. KING of Iowa. I thank the gentleman for coming to the floor and giving us a New Jersey perspective on this issue of SCHIP and also the overall budget that we have.
As the gentleman arrived, I was reaching for a quote in my memory and I came up a little bit empty. And so I looked it up while I was listening to the gentleman from New Jersey.
You have heard a number of facts that have been rolled out by the gentleman from New Jersey. You have heard a number of facts that I have rolled out here. I have said they are stubborn things. But it was John Adams who spoke to facts in memorable fashion when he said: ``Facts are stubborn things. And whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.'' John Adams, and that was before the Declaration of Independence that he made that statement, as I recall.
And so as we laid these facts out here, this SCHIP initiative that we have today, current law, family of four qualifies in my State up to $51,625. It may be higher than that in New Jersey.
But the bill vetoed by the President and the bill that was passed out of this House last week is a bill that funds up to 300 percent of poverty, family of four, $77,437. That is off of Governor Culver's Web page. By doing the simple calculation that is provided there on whether you qualify or whether you don't, the $51,625, and 300 percent of poverty is pretty simple, you just do the math on that.
This House passed it at 400 percent of poverty. That was the Pelosi plan. The argument is this is not the cornerstone to socialized medicine.
Mr. Speaker, I submit when you cover 95 percent of the kids in America with SCHIP, which you would do once you get up over that 400 percent of poverty, only 5 percent are left on their own insurance. The rest are crowded out. The 2 million who would be crowded off their own insurance plan under this plan which has been vetoed by the President and then brought back in substantive identity to the first bill by the Pelosi-led Congress, that legislation still crowds out a huge percentage of the kids.
I yield to the gentleman from New Jersey.
Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. I will make this last point if the gentleman permits. The definition of a middle-class benefit or entitlement is one that goes to the middle class of America.
The definition, I guess, of a program for the indigent would be a program that is aimed for those who are making less than the average, less than middle-class America.
I wanted to give a couple of numbers. The median, middle, middle income in this country is around $46,000 for a family of four essentially. That is the middle. That would be how we define middle class across the board. Some higher, some lower. That is the middle.
The bill, SCHIP, as it was created initially was for 200 percent of poverty. That would be around $42,000 for a family of four, so less than the middle.
There are some discussions going on literally as we speak right now in what the Senate is looking at to bring this program up to around 275 percent of poverty. That would be $58,000 for a family of four. So if middle, middle-class America is around $46,000, and some are suggesting we should be bringing the coverage up to $58,000, by definition it is a middle-class entitlement. Actually above middle class. Slightly above middle-class entitlement, as a matter of fact. It begs the question if you are trying to set up a program to address the problems of the indigent Americans in this country, why are you bringing the number up so high we are going over the median income in this country.
That is a rhetorical question. I don't think the other side can answer it unless they simply want to be honest with us and tell us they are trying to do what Bill Clinton said back when he was President that he wants universal coverage where the government has socialized medicine, and you will start with indigent children, you will go to all children and eventually you will go to all adults in the entire country. One-fifth of this economy will be encompassed by a government-run health care system, something you and I definitely oppose.
Mr. KING of Iowa. Again I thank the gentleman from New Jersey. I would ask him to point out to the body the acronym of SCHIP that he illustrated in his speech. I know that poster is available, and so I would direct the attention of body to the gentleman from New Jersey and the poster.
Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. SCHIP. It has another meaning as Republicans initially created it, but we see what the Democrats have morphed it into. SCHIP now stands for Socialized Clinton-style Hillarycare for Illegals and their Parents. That wraps it all right up there. They are willing to go back to what Hillary and Bill Clinton wanted to do, and that was to have a universal, socialized plan that the government would control, literally one-fifth of the economy, health care economy, the same government that gave us FEMA and the way they handled Hurricane Katrina and the same aftermath of Katrina, the same government that gives so many other problems of waste, fraud and abuse, and the same government that gave us the proverbial bridge to nowhere. That Clinton-style type of government, Hillarycare for illegals. As the gentleman from Iowa just pointed out, it is not for American citizens. It is for anyone who simply wants to walk across the border and take the benefits of the hardworking American taxpayers.
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