Pallone Floor Remarks Urging Bipartisan Support to Prevent Sequestration Funding Cuts to Safety Net Programs Including Medicare
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) delivered the following remarks on the House Floor today in support of H.R. 1868, “To prevent across-the-board direct spending cuts, and for other purposes:”
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Chair of our Budget Committee, the gentleman from Kentucky. He really makes the point so well, which is regardless of what our Ranking Member says on the other side, America is not in great shape. The economy is not good. Many people have lost their jobs and the reason for the American Rescue Plan was exactly that - we want to help people. We want to make sure people get direct cash payments to help them. We want to make sure the state and local governments get help because they don’t want to lay people off and not provide services during the pandemic. We want to help small businesses.
The contrast between what we as Democrats pushed in the American Rescue Plan to help people in this economic and health crisis is so vast compared to what the Republicans did with their tax cut, which just helped the wealthiest and helped corporate interests. It’s that simple.
So I’m just going to ask my colleagues on the other side to put partisanship aside and vote for this bill. This legislation includes non-controversial policies that will truly help all of our constituents. It provides critical support for hospitals and rural health clinics and prevents cuts to Medicare and other important programs.
In recent weeks, Republicans have claimed that any cuts to Medicare would be incredibly harmful, but the only way to make sure those cuts don’t happen is passing this legislation today. In the past, we’ve always been able to come together to prevent these cuts. When Republicans passed their $2 trillion tax law for the wealthiest few, it triggered billions in mandatory cuts and Congress ultimately voted to prevent those cuts with Democratic support. If Republicans truly want to protect Medicare and other programs that support our farmers, our students, and the nation’s defense, they simply should vote for this bill today.
I want to remind my colleagues that in addition to averting statutory PAYGO cuts this bill provides additional relief specifically to front line health care providers through increased Medicare payments. This is a policy that Congress supported multiple times. Please support this bill if you care. I yield back.