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Ms. PELOSI. I thank the gentleman for yielding and for giving us this opportunity to talk about a choice we have here today.
Everybody knows that what is essential to a democracy is the education of our children, of investments in the future so that people can reach their own personal self-fulfillment and provide for their families but, also, so that our country can be competitive in the global economy. It is a very important part of the American Dream.
Democrats believe in imposing ladders of opportunity where people can have the opportunity to succeed if they want to work hard, play by the rules, take responsibility.
An important rung of that ladder is education. We all know the impact that the GI Bill had on America's great middle class, growing America's great middle class, the education of our returning veterans to our country, enabling them to have more education than their parents, and that has been the way it has always been in our country's history, the enduring theme of reigniting the American Dream.
So we have a challenge before us, because the clock is ticking on a July deadline. At that time, left to the budget of the Republicans, the Ryan-Republican-Tea Party budget, there would have been a doubling of interest rates from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. We've been having this debate for a while on how we could stop that doubling from happening. Republicans told us they were tired of hearing about the interest rate debate.
Until now, thanks to President Obama taking this issue public so that the American people understood what was at stake here and that the doubling of interest rates would deprive some people of even going to college and be more costly for many others. In fact, 7 million students would be affected, and that means at least 20 million people, assuming they have an average of two people in their families.
So this has a direct impact on many people in our country. It's a bread-and-
butter issue. It's a kitchen table issue where people talk about how they're going to make ends meet, and one of those ends is the education of their children.
So all of a sudden Republicans in the House have seen the light. They're willing to reverse a vote that they took not more than a week ago--100 percent of them voted for the Ryan budget, which would allow the interest rates to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Thank God they have seen the light. Thank you, President Obama, for shedding some light on this, and now they say they're for stopping that.
But how do they want to pay for it? They want to take it from their favorite target--women's health. I don't know why it hasn't dawned on them yet that the health of America's women is very important to the health of America's families.
So they want to take the funds from women's health and then also childhood immunizations. That's very important. Immunization of every child in America is very important to every other child in America. That's where they want to take the money from.
The motion that we have here today is to say instead of taking the money, instead of robbing Paula to pay Peter, we should be taking the money from the tax subsidies that go to Big Oil in our country. That's what we should be doing. Isn't that a better show of what our values are, that we value the health of our women and our children?
To make matters worse, not only are they suggesting that we take the money from the prevention fund, the immunization and screening for breast cancer and cervical cancer and other women's health issues, not only are they saying we should take the $6 billion from there, they're saying we should take the additional $5 billion that would be left in the account and repeal it. We're taking twice as much money as we need for the student loan bill because we're going to use this as an excuse to do away with this prevention initiative that affects women's health so directly. It's outrageous. We prefer tax subsidies for Big Oil rather than the health of America's women.
Once again, they're targeting women's health.
So, I urge my colleagues to vote against the previous question so we will have an opportunity to at least put before the House an alternative that says give us a choice to choose between whether we want to pay for our young people's education by removing some of the subsidies to Big Oil or we want to take it out of women's health.
The very idea that the Republicans would deny us a vote to do that speaks very clearly about how focused they are on targeting women's health as something that they want to cut.
So, again, I urge my colleague to vote ``no'' on the previous question, which would allow the House to vote on a Democratic bill that reduces the interest rates, keeps them at 3.4 instead of raising them to 6.8, which is in the Republican budget. If we cannot do that, I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this ill-conceived, way-out-of-whack statement of values that we would make women's health pay for children's education when we should be doing both.
So ``no'' on the previous question--we're not allowed to at least even take a vote--``no'' on the bill, and let's admit that we can do better than that.
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