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Public Statements

Expatriate Coverage Clarification Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. WELCH. Mr. Speaker, I support this bill.

There are really two issues at stake. One is preserving the integrity of the ACA, the Obama health care bill. There is huge division in this Congress as to whether that bill should have been passed. It was passed. But there is unity of purpose now that where there is an identified problem, we should fix it rather than just having the ideological battle about whether the law should have been passed in the first place. That is actually progress because, as my friend from Pennsylvania said, there is a legitimate expectation on the part of the people we represent to solve concrete, discrete problems when, in the solving of them, we are going to keep 1,200 people working. And that is the real goal of this.

Is there a way where both sides--those who agree with the health care bill and those who disagree with it--can come together with a narrow fix that allows 1,200 people--500 in Delaware and 700 in other parts of the country--to keep doing their work? And, of course, we can.

There is a second question that has come up, and that is whether this bill right now goes as far as it needs to go. Is this crafted as well as it needs to be crafted? And that is debatable. The points that the gentleman from California (Mr. Waxman) made were heartfelt, but there has been real progress because there has been engagement.

You have had Mr. Carney and Mr. Nunes working very closely with colleagues on both of their sides to deal with practical issues that have come up. You have had the White House meeting with Cigna, and both sides understood. Cigna understood that the White House had some legitimate concerns as proponents of the ACA; the White House understood that Cigna had real and legitimate concerns about their business and their jobs.

So the progress is reflected in this bill. There is now a debate about whether that is enough progress. So we have to make a decision: Do we wait and try to keep negotiating here or do we move it on to the Senate?

In my view, we move it on to the Senate, partly because, as Mr. Nunes said, we have been grappling with this for 3 to 4 years. Second, we have got ACA supporters--and this gives me comfort--on the Senate side, Senator Carper and Senator Coons from Delaware, who are committed to making certain that the fix doesn't compromise the health care bill. That is important to folks like me who voted for the ACA.

So this is a practical step that we can take, working together in order to save jobs without compromising the underlying legislation.

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