Here are Chris Van Hollen’s opening remarks on the House floor on the GOP budget reconciliation bill that seeks to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Dude has been incredibly busy today cranking out important statements on policy issues.
It may be a new year, Mr. Speaker, but here we go again. We’re in this Congress on the floor of this House for the 62nd time with this effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. And to add insult to injury, to deny millions of women access to health care choices by targeting Planned Parenthood.
So while the calendar has changed, the Tea Party Republican agenda remains the same. Despite all the pressing issues we face in this country at home and abroad, the only thing and the first thing our Republican colleagues decide to bring to the floor of the House – as the most pressing business to start 2016 – was to take away access to affordable care to 22 million Americans and deny access to affordable care for millions of American women.
That 22 million figure, Mr. Speaker – that’s not my figure. That’s the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office that has looked at this legislation and concluded that as a result of this bill, 22 million Americans will lose access to their affordable health insurance. So it will be the freedom to be uninsured – the freedom to not have any opportunity to have coverage when your family has health care needs.
Mr. Speaker, if you look at this chart, you can see that the Affordable Care Act has already made a dramatic difference in bringing down the number of uninsured in the United States of America. And yet here we are in a new year, and the first act of this Republican Congress will be to turn back the clock and change that figure.
So I really hope, Mr. Speaker, that our colleagues will begin to focus on more important issues in the days ahead. Everybody knows that this will take about a nanosecond for the President of the United States to veto, because the President of the United States is not going to allow 22 million Americans to lose their access to affordable health insurance. And the President is not going to allow millions of Americans, and millions of American women, to lose access to reproductive choice and a range of health care options here in the United States.
So it’s disturbing, shameful, sad that this is the way we’re starting the new year. I hope we get on to more important business, Mr. Speaker.