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Public Statements

Affordable Health Care For America Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington D.C.

Mr. ROSKAM. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, if you are at home and you are sort of flipping channels between the football games and C-SPAN, and you flipped on and only heard the majority party, you would think, wow, what a great plan. I mean, really, you would think people are just going to fall all over themselves, and all these adjectives and declarative statements just sound wonderful. Until you look inside that bill and you find handcuffs.

Now, I am not talking about figurative handcuffs. I am talking about criminal penalties; criminal penalties that have been mentioned by the gentleman from Texas, criminal penalties that have been mentioned time and again on this floor. We have heard from the best and the brightest all afternoon, and not a one of them have answered why it is you have to criminalize people to coax them into a plan that is fabulous. It makes no sense.

And these aren't my words. This is actually coming from the Joint Committee on Taxation, in a letter that was written, ironically, with Chairman Charlie Rangel as the chairman of that committee, released 48 hours ago, that says in fact if you don't comply with the individual mandate, what happens to you? You can be subject to 5 years in prison and you can be subject to a quarter of a million dollars in fines.

And the other side, with all due respect, with all the adjectives and all the flourishing speech, has failed to answer that question.

I submit to you, if we listen today, if we listen to the remainder of this debate, they will be silent in terms of a good answer as to why it is you need to criminalize people to coax them into a plan. It's a failure, and we ought not stand for it.

The small businesses, the entrepreneurs, and the self-employed that this would have an impact on, they say, ``Look, don't criminalize us. Give us relief. Let us purchase across State lines.'' Not in the Democrats' bill. ``Give us real tort reform, real liability reform.'' Not in the Democrat bill in any substantive way. ``Let us purchase and work together to pool to lower costs down.'' The right to remain silent shouldn't be the word from the government.

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