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Concurrent Resolution on the Budget, Fiscal Year 2014

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, we would urge our colleagues to support the Mikulski amendment. It sets the goal of equal pay for equal work. Fortunately, it does not specify any coercive method by government to compel that outcome. We think it is a worthwhile aspiration. As a father of two daughters, I certainly hope their work is rewarded by equal pay to that of their counterparts who are young men.

I urge all of our colleagues to support the Mikulski amendment, with that understanding that we are talking about the marketplace setting that outcome rather than coercive policies from the government.


Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, tomorrow marks the third anniversary of the Affordable Care Act--the law that President Obama said would reduce health care costs and strengthen our economy without forcing anyone to lose their existing coverage and without raising taxes on anyone making less than $200,000. Those were the promises of ObamaCare, but over the last 3 years we have seen the reality, which is far different.

Reality No. 1: Amid the slowest economic recovery and the longest period of high unemployment since the Great Depression, ObamaCare represents a $1 trillion tax increase that will affect all Americans, not just those making less than $200,000.

Indeed, ObamaCare is a tax increase that will affect everyone, from young people with health savings accounts, to middle-class workers with families, to senior citizens on fixed incomes. It is a tax increase that will punish investment and hinder medical innovation, a tax increase that is already discouraging job creation and already hurting the economy.

Reality No. 2: ObamaCare has not solved the problem of rising health care costs, and in the years ahead it will make the problem much, much worse.

Remember, during the 2008 campaign, President Obama told us his health care plan would reduce family premiums by $2,500. Yet the cost of family premiums has increased by nearly $2,400 between 2009 and 2012. And once the President's health care law is fully implemented, premiums will soar even higher.

All we need to do is look at the front page of the Wall Street Journal, which reports:

Health insurers are privately warning brokers that premiums for many individuals and small businesses could increase sharply next year because of the health-care overhaul, with the nation's biggest firm projecting that rates could more than double for some consumers buying their own health plans.

The truth is that young people will be hit the hardest, people the age of my daughters--31 and 30 years old. The American Action Forum recently projected that premium costs for young and healthy Americans will ``increase by an average of 169 percent.'' Such a dramatic increase in health care premiums will come at a time when middle-class workers and families are already struggling to make ends meet. After all, the median household income in America has fallen more than $2,400 since 2009.

Reality No. 3: Even if you like your existing coverage, you probably won't be able to keep it.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, 7 million Americans will lose their health insurance because of ObamaCare. Another study estimated that 30 percent of employers would drop their employees from their employer-provided coverage. In short, millions and millions of Americans who want to keep their existing coverage will be forced to give it up.

Which brings me to reality number four. For starters, ObamaCare is a massive job killer. No. 1, it increases a new tax on medical devices that is already prompting companies to reduce investment in the United States and lay off workers, including in my home State of Texas.

The Michigan-based company Stryker has recently shut down two of its facilities and is cutting 5 percent of its workforce; the Indiana-based Cook Medical has cancelled plans to build five new U.S. manufacturing facilities; and New York-based Welch Allyn is slashing its workforce by 10 percent.

Texas has more than 66,000 jobs in the medical technology industry, which ranks as among the top 10 States nationwide. But those jobs are at risk. According to one study, the medical device tax could destroy as many as 1,400 jobs in Texas alone, and reduce our economic output by $252 million. This tax will also hamper innovation and reduce patient access to advanced medical devices.

Not surprisingly, the medical device tax is now facing strong bipartisan opposition. In fact, last night 79 Members of this Senate--Republicans and Democrats alike--voted to repeal it. Seventy-nine out of one hundred Senators voted to repeal it.

Unfortunately, the medical device tax is not the only job killer in the President's health care law. But as we consider this litany of broken promises and as we sort through all of the unintended consequences of ObamaCare, I can only shake my head in frustration.

Three years ago this Chamber had a unique opportunity to pass commonsense, market-driven reforms that would have made health insurance more affordable and health care more accessible, while safeguarding the doctor-patient relationship and boosting our economy. I still believe we can achieve those goals. But the President's health care law--now 3 years after it was passed--remains a huge obstacle standing in our way.

That is why I supported an amendment to the continuing resolution that would have defunded ObamaCare and an amendment to the budget that would have repealed it. Both of these amendments were introduced by my colleague Senator Cruz. Along with Senator Cruz, I will continue pushing to replace the President's health care law with more sensible alternatives.

Madam President, I yield the floor.


Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, this is an amendment which would facilitate passage of legislation that would deny pay to the personnel at the Office of Management and Budget for such time as they delay in the statutory requirement for the President to submit a budget for consideration by the Senate.

As we all know, the law requires the President to submit a budget the first Monday in February, but the President has not done so 4 out of the last 5 years, nor will he do so this year reportedly until April. The problem with that is we will finish our work here this week, the House will finish their work, and the President has rendered himself entirely irrelevant.

We know because the House passed the No Budget No Pay bill that it prompted the first budget in the Senate in more than 1,400 days, and that is good, that is progress. We would like to do the same now with the Office of Management and Budget to encourage the President to be relevant to the budget debate and require him to submit his budget on a timely basis.

So I would ask my colleagues for their vote.


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