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Public Statements

Congressional Black Caucus

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Nevada for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, it is time to end this shutdown. The absurdity of it begins with the fact that we are now going to pay people for not working. We need to bring them back to work to provide the services and do the work that they are being paid to do.

Mr. Speaker, this shutdown is really not based on reality. Some have said, some apparently believe, if they just stay the course and keep the government shut down, they will be able to repeal or substantially undermine ObamaCare. That's not going to happen, and so we are not based in reality.

Now they are blaming Democrats for not negotiating, but there's nothing to negotiate. We are talking about the budget. The Republicans came in with one number; the Democrats had a higher number. The Senate decided not to negotiate but, rather, accept the Republican number, so we're in agreement. There's nothing to negotiate.

Now, in the 1990s when they had a disagreement on the budget, there were profound differences on spending levels and tax and revenue levels. They couldn't agree on the budget. But we, at this point, at least for a short-term, 6-week continuing resolution, to keep the government open for at least 6 more weeks while we can negotiate, we have already agreed on the number.

Now, the problem we're in right now is we just cannot reward people who have a tantrum and say we voted 40 times to repeal ObamaCare and we haven't done it, so we're just going to shut the government down. You cannot reward that behavior because it will become an expectation that every time it's the end of the fiscal year and you need a continuing resolution or the debt ceiling, there will be an expectation of reward. No, this is not the end of the process. This is just the beginning. We are just talking about a 6-week continuing resolution. Two weeks from now, we'll have the debt ceiling. Four weeks after that, we'll be at the end of the 6-week period if we can reopen the government. They will be asking for things.

Now, the fact is, the problem that we have, as stated in a recent article in Nation magazine, they revealed the strategy of the Republicans. They made a list of the kinds of things they will be looking for in the continuing resolution, the debt ceiling, every time there's an opportunity to shut down the government, and here's the list:

They want to undermine ObamaCare, Keystone pipeline, offshore drilling, corporate tax cuts, business-oriented tort reform, sabotage Social Security and Medicare, undermine clean air EPA regulations, cut back on consumer protections, and end net neutrality on the Internet.

Now, I suppose that after they've gotten their list, they'll say: We'll be reasonable. We'll negotiate. We will only take half of the things that we don't have the votes to pass. We'll just take half.

No. If you get to the point where there is an expectation of reward, then we will be in that. Suppose Democrats had thrown in maybe gun safety, marriage equality, immigration reform, and a jobs bill, and we're sitting up here trying to do the budget and have to do all of that and all of those and think we're ever going to come to a resolution. We have to have a clean CR so we can reopen the government without all those complications.

Back to ObamaCare, which seems to be provoking this problem. The fact is our health care system was in trouble. The rates were skyrocketing year after year after year. The problems with our health care system were not caused by ObamaCare; ObamaCare is trying to cure the problems.

We had a gentleman earlier today who said people have looked at the rates and some are paying a little more, some are paying a little less, and some about the same. If that's the case, that is a miracle, because after the last 50 years, rates have been skyrocketing and going up much faster than inflation. If they had been anywhere close to even, that would have been a lot less than it would have been had we not had ObamaCare.

Now we have the situation where it's affordable, it treats those with preexisting conditions, people under 26 can stay on their parents' policies, insurance reforms, preventive care provided

[Page: H6338]
without copays and deductibles, the doughnut hole. It goes on and on. This is a good deal. It will be better than before.
Another gentleman earlier today said just eliminate the individual mandate. The individual mandate is in every policy because if you're going to cover preexisting conditions, you cannot allow people to wait until they get sick before they buy insurance. If that's the case, everybody will wait until they get sick to buy insurance. Everybody with insurance would be sick, and the average rates would go through the roof. If you look at what happened in New York and the rates there, you can reasonably estimate that if you provided that exemption, the cost of insurance would double on the spot. We can't have that. So we need to just proceed.

If you want to improve ObamaCare, let's talk about improving it. In the meanwhile, it is not going to be repealed. It's not going to be undermined. This idea that you can keep the government open piecemeal by funding one agency at a time is absolutely absurd. Passing those bills would only serve one purpose, and that is to perpetuate and extend the shutdown.

The fact is that they don't have the votes to repeal ObamaCare. They don't even have the votes to keep the government shut. If they called a vote, we'd reopen the government. We just want an up-or-down vote on reopening government. We've had several procedural votes so far where we could have reopened the government. At least have an up-or-down vote on reopening government. And as the gentlelady from New York pointed out, there are enough Republicans who are on public record saying they would vote ``yes'' to give a clear indication that more than a majority of the House would be voting in favor.

I want to thank the gentleman from Nevada for bringing us together. ObamaCare is a very important advance in health care. It will cure all of the problems they're talking about. We don't need to reward anyone for shutting down the government or threatening the debt ceiling or shutting down the government in 4 weeks. We need to just reopen the government, and then we can have intelligent discussions about what to do about the budget.

I thank the gentleman for yielding.


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