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Republican Push to Delay the Affordable Care Act Would Hurt Seniors and Will Produce a Government Shutdown


Location: Washington, DC

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a Senior Member of the House Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees, released the following statement in reference to the looming government shutdown:

"The Affordable Care Act was passed by a majority of the House and a supermajority of the Senate, signed into law by the President, and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Yet the majority continues to jeopardize the jobs and security of middle-class families in order to reverse the legitimate outcome. Today the Republicans plan to do the following:

Attach a one-year delay of the implementation of the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act;

A repeal of the medical device provision; and

A separate bill providing members of the military to continue receiving their paychecks in the event of a government shutdown.

"Once again, House Republicans are acting irresponsibly by refusing to fund the government unless the Affordable Care Act is delayed for a year. This irresponsible brinksmanship is yet another part of the sustained, ongoing effort by a small minority to put Americans back at the mercy of insurance companies and drive up health costs. The Affordable Care Act already is working for American families. Young people can stay on their parents' plan until they are 26 years old, millions of seniors are getting discounts on prescription drugs and insurance companies must spend money on patient care, not their profits or CEO bonuses. The law has already saved 77.8 million people $3.4 billion on their premiums and 8.5 million people are expected to get an average rebate of $100. Last year, 6.8 million consumers saved $1.2 billion on health insurance premiums thanks to the "rate review' provisions in the Affordable Care Act that hold insurers accountable. And in just a few days, Americans around the country will have new options to purchase affordable health coverage. I call upon the House Republican leadership to bring up the clean continuing resolution already passed by the Senate so we can avoid shutting down the government and harming the economic recovery.

"Rather than promote a clean Continuing Resolution for the American people the Republican majority is in conflict on how to make a decision. The Republican Speaker is having a fight within his own Republican conference. How shameful! The Republican Majority's refusal to work on a balanced plan to create jobs, to grow the economy and to invest in our future hurts our economy and threatens a government shutdown. With time running out, the Majority's decision to play politics may have dire consequences.

"The Senate has acted in a clear way to keep government open. Instead, House Republicans are insisting on not one but two proposals to shut down the government. The Republican measure is a gift to the insurance companies by putting them back in charge of Americans' health care, and it is a complete abdication of responsibility on the part of the House Republican leadership as they bow yet again to the ransom demands of the Tea Party. Republicans have made their point, now we have to end it. They must abandon this dangerous path to create a Republican Government Shutdown and work with Democrats on a responsible plan to keep the government working for the American people, responsibly reduce the deficit, and create economic prosperity and jobs for all middle class families.

"A shutdown would hurt our economy through cuts or delays to paychecks for federal employees, shuttering economic engines including federal parks and other sites, and calling into question the U.S. government's credit rating. We should be focused on jobs. Instead, Republicans want to play games of brinksmanship on the budget and the debt limit even though the foreseeable consequence will be plummeting stock markets and businesses freezing their hiring by shutting down the government. The Republican budget plan itself shortchanges American jobs in infrastructure, results in education and defense layoffs, closes Head Start and afterschool programs, and divests in health research. And the sequester, CBO tells us, will cost the U.S. economy up to 1.6 million jobs over the next year.

"If Congress does not pass a budget by Monday -- the end of the fiscal year -- the government shuts down, along with many vital services the American people depend on. Yesterday, the Senate passed a bill to keep the government open. But Republicans in the House have been more concerned with appeasing an extreme faction of their party than working to pass a budget that creates new jobs or strengthens the middle class. And in the next couple days, these Republicans will have to decide whether to join the Senate and keep the government open, or create a crisis that will hurt people for the sole purpose of advancing their ideological agenda.

"Past government shutdowns have disrupted the economy. This shutdown would, too. At a moment when our economy has steadily gained traction, and our deficits have been falling faster than at any time in 60 years, a shutdown would be a purely self-inflicted wound. And that is why many Republican Senators and Republican governors have urged Republicans in the House of Representatives to knock it off, pass a budget, and move on. I hope at some point we are able to agree on a bipartisan CR that can be enacted. The one before us is not it. Unfortunately, we will be back here again next week facing the same crisis. It is a sad commentary on the state of the Republican majority that its leaders are powerless to contain the most extreme voices clamoring for a path we know will disrupt the economy, kill jobs, and stunt growth. I urge the majority to end this dangerous charade and advance a Continuing Resolution capable of passing the Senate and being signed into law."

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