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tv   House Minority Leader Pelosi on the Republican Tax Plan  CSPAN  December 19, 2017 11:35am-12:11pm EST

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one of those layer cakes. he had a 17th century layer, 18th century layer, 19th century layer and sometimes 20th century layer. the thing about winston you were never sure which layer was uppermost. >> thank you, john. that last comment reminds me of a different variant of the layer cake, the irish ambassador from neutral ireland in london, attlee churchill's stand during the war had a meeting and said -- by the way he had known churchill a long time effective in manchester politics in the first decade of the 20th century -- >> we are going to leave american history for live coverage of a brief with house minority leader nancy pelosi and a number of health care advocates to talk about health care and tax reform. the house is considering the rule for debating the bill on the floor right now.
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actually members are voting on the rule, repealing individual mandate. live coverage on c-span3. >> on behalf of my colleagues that i'm honored to join in welcoming some very special guests today, who will tell their stories and why what is happening on the floor of the house is an immorality. it's a betrayal of the role we have to meet the needs of the american people, will indebt future generations and let's hear their stories, addie barkin, campaign for democracy diagnosed with als. thank you for being with us. i think as rachel -- are rachel and carl here? they were here last night. they have been around the capital advocating for a better and healthier america. thank you. lauren hatcher, mother of simon.
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simon is here with his party animal t-shirt on and tigger. diagnosed with cerebral palsy and some other issues laura will discuss and unique disorder. simon benefits from medicaid. and you all know sister simone campbell, a lobby for catholic social justice. you'll be hearing from them and from our distinguished ranking member of the ways and means committee richie neal our champion on this issue. thank you. okay. everyone, today we stand at a decisive moment for the future of america. today the house will decide whether we have a government for the people, of the people, or a government only for the privileged, powerful and rich. today we face a gop tax scam that raises taxes on 86 million middle class families.
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86 million middle class families, hands 83% of the tax cut to the wealthiest 1%. 83% of the tax cuts to the wealthiest 1%. buries our children in debt by increasing the debt future generations will pay and takes the first step to obliterate medicare, medicaid and social security. they are talking about raising the age for access to social security. and their assault on medicare and medicaid is well-known. our distinguished ranking member will address some of this. i wanted you to see the quote. do i have the quote? i'll tell what it is. every day learn about special giveaways and loopholes that republicans added to gop tax scam to enrich their donors and themselves and the president's family. the gop is exploding the deficit to fill the pockets of the
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wealthiest in corporate america. when it comes to children and working families, republicans have the gall to say this, and i quote. the chairman of the finance committee senator orrin hatch. senator hatch says, i have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions of dollars to help people who won't help themselves, won't lift a finger and expect the federal government to do everything. is that shocking? shame. shame. how dare they? how dare republicans say that about hardworking americans. in contrast, the national conference of catholic bishops have said this proposal appears to be the first federal income taxes modification in history that will raise income taxes on the working poor while simultaneously providing a large tax cut to the wealthy. they go on to say this is simply
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unconscionab unconscionable. this republican bill is not tax reform. this the worst bill to ever come to the floor of the house. with stiff competition for some of the things they have tried to do. the worst bill in history. the number of people it affects, the amount of money, it sucks up to the higher income and impact on our future deficits. it's disgusting smash-and-grab. it's an all-out looting of america, the wholesale robbery of the middle class. the tax scam will go down again as one of the most scandalous acts of plutocracy in american history. american people see this tax plan for exactly what it is, overwhelmingly the polls are showing that the american people reject this, that they know it will not help them overwhelmingly, and yet the republicans do not care. today we're bringing the voices of the american people, the
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voices of children, families, and faith healers, faith leaders -- healers, too -- we may need some faith healers. we'll need some faith healers. to the doorstep of house chambers. republicans ignore these voices of their peril. in closing let me just say this in welcoming our guests and thanking them for the outside mobilization which has been so important to have an impact on public opinion as far as this tax bill is concerned and the help they gave us in defeating their repeal of the affordable care act. in the course of all this, republicans may win this battle on the floor today but it will be an apparent victory for them. what we've created in our country, a coalition, a collaboration of effort, of people who care, who care about one another, who care about the future of our country. this is formidable. it's not about politics, it's
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not about democrats or republicans, it's about the people, the american people. so i thank them for their advocacy, for their effectiveness and for their help overcoming what republicans are trying to do here as we prepare for the future. with that i'm very pleased to yield tom auty barkin. i told you part of the story and i want you to hear this prim. >> thank you, senator pelosi and all the lobbyists and the press. my name is auty barkin, i'm 33 years old. i live in santa barbara, california, and i know the representative can hear me. i'm proud to have him as my representative. i was a healthy man until 2016. i ran along the beautiful coast,
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i hiked in the mountains, and i had a beautiful newborn son in may of 2016. we had the most idyllic few months thanks to good paternity and maternity leave, which we're going to get for all americans in a couple years when we return some justice to this building. [ applause ] >> and we had a joyous three or four mondays together. then out of the blue like a lightning bolt, i was diagnosed with als, which is a neurodegenerative muscular -- neuromuscular degenerative disorder, which is leading my whole body to become paralyzed. every week, every month i have less strength and i'm more disabled. so now i use a wheelchair.
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i can't cut food at the table, and my voice is no longer as melodious as it used to be. and worst of all, i can't pick baby carl up and put him in my lap or carry him around, even when he says, "up, up." i'm hearing congress speaking to senator collins and pleading with meghan mccain and senator mccain begging them and with all of the house members around the country, begging them to vote against this bill. why? this bill would do three terrible things to me and to our country. first of all, it would destroy the american health insurance system. it would lead to $400 billion in automatic medicare cuts, which would be allocated by mick
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mulvaney oppose on principle to medicaid did disability. even if pay-go is waived, this bill removes 13 million people off of health insurance yanking a crucial leg out of the three-legged stool of the affordable care act, sending premiums skyrocketing, making it more difficult for my wife and my colleagues and you and your friends and family to afford health insurance. when people don't have health insurance, they die. one out of every 1,000 people who doesn't have health insurance will die next year for lack of care. so that's the first reason why i oppose this bill, because it would do so much damage. it would did he price me of pay-go no waived of the medicare i need to stay alive a little bit longer and see baby carl learn to read and teach him how
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to play chess and watch him go to first grade. the second reason why this tax scam is so atrocious is there would send -- take money out of the pockets of middle class families and working class families and poor americans and would send it up to donald trump jr. and real estate managers and privateers who crashed this economy and made life so difficult for all of us to begin with. please raise your hand if you think the problem in america is that the richest people don't have enough money. raise your hand, america. >> no hands. >> who in their right mind thinks that's what we should be doing. number three, the upper half othe gravest part of this bill
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is what it does to american democracy. the way that this bill is being considered behind closed doors in the middle of the night with 5,000 lobbyists and not a single working class person. not a single advocate for the public, not a single member of congress from the democratic side with access to information. no hearings where they can hear our voices. no hearings where they can hear from tax experts or medical experts. it is an embarrassment to the institution of the congress. i don't understand why these republicans, some of whom love this institution, tolerate this violation of basic democratic principles of transparency and accountability and voice.
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so i come to capitol hill, along with hundreds and thousands of other people, and we are calling on members of congress and begging with them, don't ruin american democracy. it's too precious. too many generations of people have fought and died for this democracy. do not violate it. do not destroy it in order to enrich your donors. you can still stop this bill. we only need 12 members of the house or 3 members of the senate to decide, actually, next year we can pass real tax reform in a bipartisan way. it doesn't need to rip away medical care from me and families like me. it doesn't need to raise taxes on 87 million. democrats i'm sure will be happy to come to the table and
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negotiate a reasonable tax reform that elevates human dignity instead of promoting human misery, that embraces the greatest parts of america instead of delegating us to an afterthought. so my last point, i know i'm taking way too much time is to plead with the american people. maybe these republican members of congress aren't listening to me. i spoke to jeff flake directly, i spoke to susan collins, i spoke to bob corker. i don't know. maybe they just -- actually i have to tell you this story. i have to tell you this story. last night in our basement of rayburn, i ran into senator lindsey graham. he was there speaking to a bank of cameras about his beloved friend john mccain, who like me is dying of a brain disease,
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struggling to live. and he was talking about john as a human being and his friend. i rolled up to him, along with megan anderson, who is away. there's video of it, nbc, all of you were there. go, find that video. he ran into the area that we couldn't go to. and that moment for me, it was emblematic of the entire disaster of this bill. instead of listening to american people, they're running away from us. lindsey graham, the great senator from the state of south carolina, was afraid of two civilians in wheelchairs who want to talk to him about legislation in front of his body. what am i going to do, beat him up? what is he so afraid of? what are these senators and
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representatives so afraid of? they're afraid of seeing us as human beings. they're afraid of recognizing our humanity. because if they see us as humans, if they acknowledge that we are people with hopes and dreams and love and families just like them, then their legislative agenda becomes untenable. it is unacceptable for them to promote this bill if we are in fact human beings. so lindsey graham could not tolerate seeing my face and hearing my voice. he had to run away. and that was the entire republican party is doing. running away from the american people because it has removed humanity from its vision of american government. so i will close with this.
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for the american people, this is our government. this is our democracy. [ applause ] there is only one way to combat the money that is driving this train towards such an unjust and inhumane and blind piece of legislation. the only way to defeat this is if the american people rise up. and we elevate our voices, and we say this is our government. this is our congress. this is our democracy, and we reject the politics of human oppression. we reject the politics of ignoring the american people. and we insist on our government that represents us. so please, over the coming days,
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over the coming weeks, over the coming months, and in november of 2018, rise with me. rise with us. reclaim this congress. reclaim this democracy. because together, we can build a better country. [ applause ] >> and now, it's my great honor to introduce sister simone, who has been fighting for these issues since long before i was born. two years. >> that's the truth. that's the truth. thank you for your witness, for your testimony, and for your powerful voice. it is obvious that clarity is born in your struggle, and thank you for your leadership. it is a gift. it is a gift. thank you.
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and thank you for this opportunity to stand here today. i'm sister simone campbell, the executive director of network, lobby for catholic social justice. and i'm here because this morning during my prayer, i found myself weeping. weeping for who our nation is becoming with this tax bill. weeping for the fact that our representatives are not listening. weeping for the fact that those who want to pass this tax bill are among the most privileged. and they do not know the story of what's happening in many places in our nation. i think of being in st. louis and being in middletown and the middle parts of the city and
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seeing ms. angela caring for the other elderly people relying on some small government funds through the community development box grant to keep elderly people in their homes. i think of being up in rhode island and seeing at the homeless shelter up there, the reliance on a little government funds to anchor fabulous work for the homeless in providence. i think of the folks i have met all over the country who have health care for the first time in their lives. and i think of the many, many workers that i have met, most recently in the south bronx, who work three jobs but still live in poverty. because wages are so low. and what will this tax bill do? this tax bill will make it worse. this is why we as people of faith are saying this is not who
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we're called to be. regardless of your faith, regardless of what you believe, all faiths call us to the common good. to being in this together, to not being individual but to be community. we care for each other. and the fear that was referred to drives us apart. democracy only succeeds if we're in it together. and so i call on our republican colleagues, please vote no on this bill. vote no to care for our people and vote no so that we, the people, might come together and care for each other. that is the hope of the christmas season. that is the story of hanukkah. that is the truth about who we are as a nation, a community together. thank you. and now, representative neal from the great state of massachusetts. >> thanks very much, and a
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special word of thanks. where i live, not only do they teach my children at the sisters of st. joseph, but long before it was popular, they were running hospitals. they were running school systems. and their contribution to american life in terms of justice and fairness, i think in many ways, is unmatched. so the simple argument this morning is the following. these children are going to be asked to foot the bill for a $2.3 trillion tax cut all based on borrowed money. so when you hear the other side say, as they will, that this is not about the rich, they drop the top rate from 39.7% down to 37%. that's the reality of it. the corporate rate gets cut from 35% to 21%. this is a mix of science fiction that they're proposed today, and
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always a fallback to their favorite position, that tax cuts pay for themselves. this is the most regressive piece of legislation that has crossed the ways and means committee on the 25 years i have been on that committee. when you have a chance to full view this in its ramifications today, you're going to see what happens to what could have been a really important moment for all of us. the last point, if you keep subtracting money through debt payments from the federal budget, then you eventually have to subtract the money from social security, medicare, and medicaid. and our witnesses here today, as sister noted, largely, their benefit today is derived from medicaid. and a mixture of medicare. and in some cases social security disability benefits as well. so don't be fooled by what you're witnessing on that floor today. pay great attention, but you can't get past that fact.
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$2.3 trillion borrowed to pay for a tax cut for people at the top. the best title that laura ever had was mom. laura. >> definitely the best title i think anybody can have. thank you so much, and thank you leader pelosi for inviting the little lobbyists to speak here today on behalf of children with complex medical needs. we're honored to be here with so many for medical justice warriors. it's the holidays and the muppet version of a christmas carol has been on repeat in my house. we're all big muppet fans and my 11-year-old son simon loves music, silliness, and a sweet story. but i also think another reason that simon loves the movie so much is because he identified with the character of tiny tim. it's easy to see the resemblance. like tim, simon is sweet and kind. he loves christmas. he even sits by the fireplace and sings sometimes.
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dickens doesn't identify tiny tim's diagnosis, but i imagine he might have had cerebral palsy like simon. simon has trouble walking, and like tim, he wears braces to support his legs. so i miss him being little enough to carry him on my shoulders, he still loved to be hugged and held, and i hug him as often as i can, as tight as i can, because like the cratchits, we don't know how long we'll have simon with us due to a rare disease that we don't yet understand. i also find it strikingly easy to draw another big analogy between a christmas carol, the muppet version included, and what's happening in our lives right now. in the story, the miserly ebenezer scrooge is warned that his decisions have far-reaching consequences that impact many, many lives. the same can be said of the decisions that are being made by congress today. the choices they are making,
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like whether or not to pass this tax bill, have far reaching consequences that will impact all of us. it's for this reason that my family has been coming to capitol hill with the little lobbyists since july. our government seems to turn away from protecting people with disabilities and complex medical needs like my little boy, and began trying to take away the legal protections and programs that my son's life and my family's future depend upon. lately, it seems like everything is under threat. accessibility, education, and our health care. it was less than ten years ago that the passage of the affordable care act made sure that people with pre-existing conditions like my simon would always have the right to health care. it promised that families like mine could not be cut off by insurers or forced into bankruptcy because our child's health care became too expensive. it also expanded medicaid waiver
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programs as well so more kids like simon can have access to the therapy, health care, and inclusion programs that they need to survive and thrive in their communities. i remember the exact moment that it passed, i was in the grocery store and i burst into my tears when my husband texted me with the news. after years of worrying every single day about how we were going to be able to care for our sweet little boy in the future, it finally seemed like things were going to be okay. that living with that knowledge has been such a huge gift to families like mine. we routinely deal with life and death situations that most families can't imagine. knowing that we have access to health care is huge. but since this summer, there have been multiple attempts to repeal the aca. including as a part of a tax bill. nonpartisan experts have told us that 13 million people will lose access to health insurance if
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this passes. once the aca is weakened, protection for people with pre-existing conditions will simply become too costly to afford. very soon, i could once again be facing a future where i don't know how i'm going to take care of my little boy. and that is a thought that i really can't bear to hold. and all of this is happening against the advice of experts, without the input of those of us who it will impact. it makes us wonder who our government is listening to if not us. however, according to lobbying disclosure firms, the tax bill was written with the input of over 6,000 real, not little, lobbyists. some representatives have even said publicly that their donors have told them to get it done or else. or else. we parents of kids with complex medical needs understand consequences. we know what will happen if this
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tax bill passes. if our country does not turn away from the destructive and immoral path it is on. and so here we are. we are the ghosts of christmas present. we are here to show legislators what access to affordable quality health care and programs like medicaid mean for our families. these programs that congress intends to cut in order to fund tax breaks to wealthy heirs and corporations are literally the difference between our children having a future in their homes and communities or being forced back into institutions that are more reminiscent of a dickens novel. this is wrong. and we're also here to show everyone that kids with complex medical needs and disabilities are just kids. they love to play. they love to learn. they love the muppets. and as americans, they deserve to have a government that
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protects them. today, as a mother and as one more voice of conscience, i'm asking everyone that can hear me and that can see these children, help us make sure that christmases to come are even more joyful than those passed. god bless us everyone. i'm privileged to turn the mike back over to leader pelosi. >> thank you very much, laura. at this point, i would say we rest our case. how eloquent these statements are. but i do want to acknowledge some voices of the future who are here. you heard them with their parents here, with their siblings. i want to acknowledge the little lobbyists, charlie who has been lovely, charlie is a girl, she's been lobbying all year on the affordable care act and now this tax bill. she made this painting for me which i have in my office as an inspiration and a constant,
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constant imperative that we have to continue the fight. not that we need a reminder, we have plenty of them, but we thank charlie for that. you heard laura speak and adi and sister simone, you know how urgent this s but i will say this just by knowing the moms in my community, pamly, my friend who i pray for all the time in church. i say to my republican colleagues, don't stand in the way of a mom, of a child with a pre-existing condition. you will never win that fight. you will never win that fight. and dads, too. and dads, too. persistent, dissatisfied, relentless. they're there for their children. we should be here for their children. and to see the care that siblings take of their child with a pre-existing condition is
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such a beautiful, beautiful thing to see. so we thank the little lobbyists who are here. we thank the families. we thank adi barken, was he not phenomenal? thank you. sister simone and the nuns on the bus just taking this message around the country. laura, thank you for being a relentless, persistent, dissatisfied mom. and making it so clear what the consequences are of all of this. we'll all be having our chance to talk on the floor. i'm so glad so many of my members -- we had two votes during this, so some members are coming and going, it's because we had two votes on the floor, but i'm so glad our members could hear the testimony here this morning. with all of that, we just say to our colleagues on the republican side, please, we pray that you do the right thing. thank you all very much. thank you. [ applause ]
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>> wrapping up the briefing with leader pelosi and reporters, talking about the debate on the tax reform bill. the house just approved a rule for considering the bill today. that being the case, general debate on the bill is expected to begin after this last in a series of three votes. a vote on final passage expected to take place around 1:30 this afternoon. if the tax reform measure is approved in the house, it will then move over to the senate for consideration. it is anticipated to pass in the senate. debate on the bill expected to
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last several hours. a late session in the senate is possible today. whatever the case, we'll have complete coverage of the tax reform effort on the c-span networks. >> the house administration committee meets today to consider a bill that would require house members and their staff to complete workplace rights and anti-harassment training each session of congress. that's live at 12:15 p.m. eastern here on c-span3. and with government spending set to expire at the end of this week, the house rules committee meets this afternoon to consider the rules for debate on a bill that would extend funding until january 19th. that's also live here on c-span3, starting at 3:00 p.m. eastern. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought


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