John Boehner uses the Republican rebuttal to the weekly presidential address in order to make one final stand against ObamaCare as the Democrats attempt to get it passed without a direct vote over the weekend. Boehner hits all the main themes here: an opaque process, kickbacks and payoffs, soaring deficits, rising premiums, and loss of freedom. He only fails to mention the new role the IRS will have in our lives as an expert panel on health insurance, but then again, Boehner only gets a few minutes. Will this move the needle on health care? Probably not, but at least he’s still on topic. What did our President decide to discuss as his party gets ready to steamroll his top domestic-agenda item through Congress without a vote? Financial reform.
Transcript via Andrew Malcolm:
Hello, I’m House Republican Leader John Boehner. I’m speaking to you from the Capitol, where in a matter of hours, the House of Representatives will vote on health care legislation sure to have a drastic effect on our economy and our lives.
It was here fourteen months ago that President Obama took the oath of office with a promise to govern from the center. Republicans stood ready to work with our new president and find common ground to address the issues Americans care about.
Unfortunately, President Obama and Democrats in Washington chose a partisan path and a costly, big-government agenda.
The trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ isn’t working as struggling families continue to ask: ‘where are the jobs?’ And taxpayers’ hard-earned money is being spent so fast that two trillion dollars has been added to the national debt on President Obama’s watch.
Now Democrats want the federal government to take over health care, which represents one-sixth of our economy.
From the beginning, the one thing the American people wanted out of health care reform was lower costs. That’s why Republicans proposed a bill based on common-sense reforms that, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, would reduce premiums for families and small businesses by up to 10 percent. Our bill achieves these goals without cutting Medicare or raising taxes. All of the details are available at healthcare.gop.gov.
The Democrats’ bill, which runs more than 2,300 pages, actually raises premiums and ushers in a massive expansion of government – with roughly 160 new boards, bureaus, and commissions.
Instead of finding a responsible way to pay for all this, Democrats impose more than half-a-trillion dollars in Medicare cuts and more than half-a-trillion dollars in tax hikes.
In fact, this bill requires 10 years of tax increases and 10 years of Medicare cuts just to pay for six years of supposed benefits, many of which don’t even go into effect until 2014. That’s not reform.
It’s clear where the American people stand. They want no part of this bill, and they haven’t been shy about saying so. We’ve seen standing room only crowds at town hall meetings. Rallies in towns and cities around the country. And now, jammed phone lines on Capitol Hill. All of this coming from citizens yelling ‘stop’ at the top of their lungs.
But Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrat Leaders are too blinded by their ‘Washington knows best’ attitude, too out-of-touch with the concerns of working families, to listen.
Instead of trying to do better, Democrats have packed this bill full of kickbacks, payoffs, and sweetheart deals in order to buy the support of lawmakers and Washington special interest groups.
Democrats are so afraid of the public’s outrage that they have devised a strategy that would allow them to force this massive bill through Congress without even voting on it. It’s outrageous, and it’s an affront to the principles of representative democracy.
We were elected to make tough choices, not run from them. And this vote is certainly one of the toughest.
With that in mind, I asked Speaker Pelosi to have the final health care votes recorded by a ‘call of the roll.’ Under this procedure, each lawmaker will have to stand before the American people and announce his or her vote.
The stakes are too high, and this bill is too controversial, for anything less than complete transparency and accountability. It’s time to stand up and be counted.
Don’t let Democrats in Washington take this debate away from you. Don’t let them make this about arm-twisting and backroom deals.
And don’t let President Obama get away with asking his fellow Democrats to vote for this bill to save his presidency.
Because this vote isn’t about saving a presidency or a politician. It’s about doing the right thing for our kids and grandkids. It’s about ensuring that freedom and opportunity remain the birthright of our people. And it’s about listening to the hard-working taxpayers who sent us here.
That’s why the only responsible course of action is to scrap this health care bill. Let’s start over with a clean sheet of paper. Let’s work together on a step-by-step approach focused on lowering costs for families and small businesses.
Republicans can’t beat this bill, but the American people can. It’s not too late to make your voice heard.
Thank you for listening.
Just as an interesting aside, Boehner taped this in the Capitol Visitor Center; I visited this a few weeks ago while in DC for CPAC. It’s worth remembering that the Visitor Center was another government project that took years longer and far more money than its original projected cost and delivery time. I doubt Boehner had it in mind, but one couldn’t find a more perfect backdrop to use for criticizing the proposal of a huge government program whose real costs can’t possibly be projected.
Update: Link to GOP health-reform plan fixed.