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Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act, the second phase in the Republicans' Pathway to Poverty plan.
This bill, once again, fails to reach any measure of fairness and shared responsibility. All of us agree that the implementation of sequestration would be a damaging, harmful approach to take in an effort to achieve deficit reduction.
The difference between Democrats and Republicans is that, instead of taking a balanced approach, the Republicans would replace sequestration with tax breaks to millionaires and special interests while ending the Medicare guarantee, slashing investments that strengthen our economy, and shredding the social safety net. Not surprisingly, important provisions of the Affordable Care Act are in their sights.
The Prevention and Public Health Fund was an unprecedented investment in our Nation's health and well-being, particularly the health of America's women and children. By providing funding for vital cancer and infection screenings, modernizing vaccine systems, and the fight against epidemics like obesity and diabetes, this fund truly invests in our Nation's health, and it will provide savings down the line by helping to catch afflictions early.
By seeking to undermine the Affordable Care Act, the Republican reconciliation bill would eliminate funding for hundreds of thousands of lifesaving screenings, all to score political points with their extreme base.
Mr. Speaker, just a few years ago, when I was 41 years old, I found a lump in my breast, which was confirmed to be cancer in a series of screenings, including a clinical screening just like the ones that this fund provides. These screenings saved my life.
But this bill would prevent 326,000 women from having access to the same lifesaving screenings that I did. It will prevent an estimated 10,300 women from being diagnosed with breast and cervical cancer in its early stages, and it may cost them their lives.
Furthermore, this bill slashes funding for screening for birth defects, developmental disabilities, and hearing loss in children.
How can any of us, in good conscience, cut funding by cutting investments in children's health?
Frankly, as a mom of three young kids, I'm stunned because I think it's just common sense that you don't pay down a deficit our children didn't create by compromising their health.
Our constituents deserve a balanced approach to deficit reduction. The Republicans' approach would deny women like me access to screenings that save lives and deny children the screenings they need so we can keep them healthy. It's unacceptable, and I ask colleagues with a conscience to vote down this terrible bill.
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