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Public Statements

Senator-Elect Scott Brown

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I come to the floor to congratulate my friend, Scott Brown, on his historic victory last night.

Scott Brown is a man who has served his country in the Army National Guard and Reserve. He is a person who has served his State in the State legislature. He is a wonderful father and a wonderful public servant. I congratulate him on his landmark victory.

I believe it was in Concord where the ``shot was heard round the world.'' Last night a shot was fired round this Nation. A shot was fired saying no more business as usual in Washington, DC. Stop this unsavory, sausage-making process called health care reform, where special favors are dispensed to special people for special reasons in order to purchase votes.

The American people do not want this health care reform because they do not believe it attacks the fundamental problem with health care in America; that is, there is nothing wrong with the quality, it is the cost that needs to be brought under control.

But there is also anger--I know from the townhall meetings in my own State--about the process: the Louisiana purchase, $300 million for Louisiana; the Florida Medicare Advantage grandfather clause for the Senator from Florida; the $5 billion cornhusker kickback; Vermont, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Michigan, Connecticut--twice in Connecticut--Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming--the list goes on and on of special deals that were carved for special reasons. The latest, of course, is the incredible action concerning unions being exempt from taxes nonunion members will now have to pay in greater numbers. How do you justify favoring one group of Americans; that is, union members, for any reason other than you owe them political favors and they have political influence?

So the negotiating went from the backrooms here to the backrooms in the White House--the same President who said C-SPAN and a completely transparent process would prevail here so the American people would know who is on the side of the pharmaceutical companies. And the pharmaceutical companies probably got the best sweetheart deal of anybody in this whole process.

So I believe the majority of the American people have said and according to polling data 48 percent of Massachusetts voters have said health care was the single issue driving their vote. Thirty-nine percent said they voted for Brown specifically because of his vocal opposition to the measure. I congratulate Scott Brown. I congratulate our new colleague not only for standing up for what is right but also for articulating the frustration of the American people about this process we have been through.

So here we are, and now the rumors are that they will jam this proposal through the House of Representatives and then bypass what has always been the normal legislative process. They should not do that. The American people have spoken. The people of Massachusetts have spoken for the rest of America: Stop this process, sit down in open and transparent negotiations, and let's begin from the beginning.

We can agree on certain principles and certain measures that need to be taken, such as malpractice reform, going across State lines so people can have the insurance of their choice, and many other things, including, perhaps, a refundable tax credit for those who need health insurance and risk pools for those who have preexisting conditions. There are many things we could agree on if, for the first time in this administration and in this Senate, we sit down across the table from one another in honest and open negotiations and discussions.

We know health care costs in America are out of control. We know they need to be fixed. We want to be part of that process. So I urge the President of the United States, I urge my colleagues--now 59 of them--to say: Stop, start from the beginning, sit down, and work for America. Let's do what has been done in the past, time after time after time, where we sit down and negotiate in good-faith efforts. So far, that has not happened despite the promises the President made during his campaign.

I urge my colleagues together to say we have to stop this process, we have to stop this unsavory sausage making, Chicago style, that has been going on, and we have to sit down in open and honest negotiations with the American people and fix the health care problem. We can do that together, and that is what the American people want us to do.

Again, I thank my colleague from North Dakota, and I yield the floor.

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