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tv   Senators Mc Connell and Schumer on the Affordable Care Act  CSPAN  January 8, 2017 4:09pm-4:39pm EST

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strike and replace this budget, and in its place, i will put forward a conservative vision for the country, a vision of a balanced budget that balances within five years. every republican in the congress that had been here for a while has voted for a balanced budget amendment. interestingly, the balanced budget amendment has -- which would be an amendment to the constitution -- has within the balanced budget amendment, it has the provisions that the budget would balance in five years. and even when republicans get around to saying oh, we'll have some gimmicks to balance in ten, ten is not what the amendment says. why bother voting on an amendment if you're not serious about it? republicans are completely in charge, it's a republican document, it's a document i disagree with, and at the appropriate time, mr. president, i will be introducing a replacement that will balance within five years and provides a conservative view for the >> on thursday, mitch mcconnell
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called repealing the law important. his room or were followed by charles schumer who spoke about the importance of having a replacement plan before the health care law is repealed. he talked about the upcoming process for several upcoming cabinet positions. senator mcconnell: obamacare was sold to the american people with a lot of promises and a lot of fanfare. speech after speech, promise after promise, flashy pr campaigns, quirky youtube videos, but the american people never bought it and the law never worked out the way it was promised. it opened two big problems and crashed computers on day one.
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millions lost their health care plans and the doctors they were promised they could keep. things only got worse from there. there. we've all gotten the calls and the letters. we've all seen the pain in our constituents' eyes. we all know how harmful this failed partisan experiment has been for those we represent. we also understand our united mandate to do something about it. the american people have hardly been subtle, hardly subtle in their negative view of obamacare. that's borne out in the polling we've seen since the passage of this law seven years ago. this past november they again called out to washington. please help us, they said. please get rid of this law that's hurting my family.
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about eight in ten favor changing obamacare significantly or replacing it altogether. my message to the american people is this: we hear you. we hear you. we will act. and it's my sincere hope that democrats will include themselves in that "we" and i hope they will help us bring relief to the american people today and better health care solutions going forward. we want their ideas. we want their input. we value their contributions and the construction of durable, lasting and effective reforms. while i'm not the kind of guy who believes history takes sides, i know some of our democratic friends do. and by now they must surely have concluded that the obamacare or nothing crowd cannot be anywhere but on the wrong side of
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history. there's no future with that crowd. these are the guys who say obamacare's innumerable, well documented problems are a case of bad p.r. bad p.r. they tried to laugh them off, literally. tried to blame republicans, blame the media, blame the american people themselves. they have even taken to denying reality altogether. they say obamacare has been wonderful for america. they call its implementation fabulous. and just before the election, president obama actually said this: the par rad of horribles the republicans talked about haven't happened. he went further. none of what they said has
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happened. really? really? so costs haven't gone up then? premiums just skyrocketed by double-digit increases, as high as 50% in some places? deductibles have risen ten times faster than inflation and nearly six times faster than paychecks. so choice hasn't gone down then? insurers are fleeing the exchanges with more than half the country poised to soon have no more than one or two insurers to pick from. americans are continuing to lose access to doctors and hospitals and health plans they like and were promised. oh, they were promised they could keep those health care plans.
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obamacare supporters may not like it, but these are simply the realties, the realties of this partisan law. now you'll notice they hardly talk about obamacare lowering costs or expanding choice anymore. they're down to just one or two talking points now. and even those are slipping away pretty fast. that's because americans have unfortunately learned firsthand having health insurance under obamacare is hardly the same thing as having health care. that's especially true for many who have been forced into medicaid. let's just look at my home state as an example. kentucky was once held up as a shining jewel of obamacare.
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well, no longer. obamacare predictably has become a mess in kentucky, just as it has across the nation. and that's proved a bit con founding to some of our friends over on the left. the technical rate of the insured ticked up, they say, so why are so many kentuckians upset? why are they upset? well, when you force kentuckians into obamacare plans that many of their doctors won't accept, what did you think would happen? when you shoehorn folks with modest incomes into plans with ever-growing premiums and deductibles so high they're afraid to even get sick, what do you expect? in fact, across the nation about four in ten adults in obamacare aren't even sure they'll be able to afford care if they really needed it.
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obamacare isn't truly solving problems or making our country healthier. it's a box-checking regime devoid of true compassion or empathy, a green eye shade exercise that misses something important: the lives of real people. so, mr. president, obamacare is making things worse. we now have a moral imperative to repeal and replace it, to bring relief to families now. and i hope every member of this body will consider it their role in that process. because the pain the americans are experiencing is deeply personal. the betrayal middle-class families are feeling is clearly palpable. and unless we do something soon, americans will continue to lose their health plans. they will continue to get stuck
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with insurance that costs more and offers less. costs will continue to rise unsustainably. choices will continue to shrink uncontrollably. no amount of obamacare happy talk, no amount of it or reality denial is going to change that. some will just never accept the facts, though. they'll say we need to only tinker around the edges of obamacare. everything will be fine. others will try to climb the failure of obamacare as a mandate for even more obamacare. they'll claim the solution is actually to move to the kind of fully government-run single-payer system that already collapsed in one of the most
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left-wing states in the nation, the same system that 80% of voters just rejected in colorado others will say we need only install a massive new obamacare 2.0 system. obamacare 2.0, one that's mostly government-run. we heard a lot of this so-called public option talk when democrats thought they were on track to take the senate and the white house. it was never a serious solution, just another admission of obamacare's failure. and in the words of one of our democratic colleagues, it was a distraction as well. of course you can't fix obamacare by piling on more obamacare.
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i'm sure that won't some from trying to convince us otherwise, but even amid the traces of reality continue to break through. consider what the clintons said during the election. former president clinton called obamacare -- quote -- "the craziest thing in the world." end quote. that's bill clinton. and secretary clinton said -- quote -- "lots of americans" have insurance too expensive for them to actually use. that was the democratic candidate for president of the united states. the democratic governor of minnesota said that the affordable care act is no longer affordable for increasing numbers of people. so reality is beginning to break
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through. and despite his obamacare pep rally yesterday, even the law's namesake hasn't been immune to sporadic admissions of the obvious. president obama recently admitted that obamacare has -- quote -- "real problems." end quote. has bemoaned the human impact of his law's -- quote -- "premium increases." and lack of competition and choice, and admitted that seven years after obamacare's passage to -- this is president barack obama of obamacare. too many americans still trying to pay fo are their prescriptions, cover their deductibles or pay their monthly insurance bills struggle to navigate a complex sometimes bewildering system and remain uninsured.
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pretty well sums it up. it's an indictment as damning as anything any republican has said. it's something to keep in mind when you hear the predictable attacks from the far left. now we already know their central contention that republicans somehow want to go back to the way things were before obamacare. which everyone of course knows is not true. it's an argument that conveniently leaves out the fact that things are now worse -- worse -- for many than they were before obamacare. that's not all we can expect to hear either. we'll hear repeal will cause insurers to flee the exchanges. which, by the way, news flash,
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is already happening. obamacare will un--- repeal will plunge obamacare into a death spiral. they might have missed it. it's here already and fast-approaching terminal velocity. the death spiral, right now. we long warned that obamacare would eventually collapse under its own weight. that's exactly what's happening. democrats chose to rip apart our health care system seven years ago and give us the chaos we're seeing, and things only continue to get worse unless we act now. it's time to finally bring relief. the status quo is simply unsustainable. the reality is that by any measure obamacare has failed.
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it didn't deliver on its core promises. it hurt more than it helped, and many are finding they can't even use the insurance they now have. history will record obamacare as a failed partisan experiment, an attack on the american middle class, a lesson to future generations about how not to legislate. and let's be clear: obamacare's failure is the fault of obamacare and those who forced it on our country. not the american people, not the republicans. we didn't cause this problem, but we're now determined to provide relief. we're determined to live up to our promise to the american people and repeal this failed law. so starting today we will begin
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repairing the damage by passing the legislative tools necessary to repeal obamacare and begin to transition to more sensible health care solutions. we just laid down the obamacare repeal budget resolution this week. we'll take it up soon. but repeal is only the first step. it clears the path for a replacement that costs less and works better than what we have now. once repeal is enacted, there will be a stable transition period to a patient-centered health care system that gives americans access to quality, affordable care. we plan to take on this challenge in manageable pieces, not with another 2,700-page bill. that was one of obamacare's initial mistakes and one we do
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not intend to repeat. now, some of our friends across the aisle have mused publicly about their role in this process. i hope they'll work with us. we hardly need another tired slogan from democratic colleagues. after all, how does that move us ahead? but we do want their ideas, and we do want to work together to improve our health care system. that's the best way forward. that's certainly the way i prefer. i hope our democratic colleagues will join us in taking an important step forward soon by confirming tom price as h.h.s. secretary and suma verma as c.m.s. administrator. some of you may remember the red-tape tower we used to wheel
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around here that represented the fact that while the obamacare bill may have run about 2,700 pages, it's regulations run to tens of thousands of pages. that's what price and verma can get to work on, once confirmed: stabilizing the health care market and bringing relief. this isn't going to be easy. it's going to take time. there will be bumps along the way. but we're going to do everything we can to heal the wounds of obamacare and move forward toward real care. we're going to move step by step, and we want the widest possible coalition working together to achieve real solutions -- real solutions -- for the people who are hurting and calling for our help. so let's give them that help. let's give them some hope. let's leave obamacare in the past and work together instead
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on reforms and outcomes that we can all be proud of. mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senate democratic leader. mr. schumer: thank you, mr. president. and first, i appreciate the remarks of my colleague, the republican leader. i understand the republican leader's discomfort. there is a cry from his side to repeal, but it's been six year, and they have no plan to replace. repeal without replace leaves 20 million americans who have had health care in the lurch, leaves college students who 21-26 have been on their parents' plan in the lurch, leaves women who are now getting equal health care
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treatment to men in the lurch, and leaves those who have families who have preexisting conditions who now can get insurance but without obamacare couldn't in the lurch. so i understand the republican leader's discomfort. replace is not available because they can't come up with a plan, and i appreciate his request to work with us. well, he has two choices. our republican colleagues have two choices. either, once they repeal, come up with a replacement plan and we'll give it a look. haven't been able to do it for six years. they're squirming right now because they don't have one. they're leaving so many americans who need health care in the lurch. or don't repeal and come talk to us about how to make some
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improvements. we're willing to do that. i'll note that yesterday the vote to repeal without replace was totally partisan. my colleagues decry that the vote originally for a.c.a. was partisan. well, this is equally partisan, and it's going to create huge trouble for our colleagues. and so, again, i would say to my republican colleagues, your job is not to name-call but to come up with a replacement plan that helps the people who need help, people who are now helped by the a.c.a. but who will be left in the lurch once it is repealed. now, i have another subject i'd like to talk about, and maybe this one will be a little more constructive right now in terms of my republican leader's
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response, because he and i yesterday had a constructive meeting on the matter of processing the president-elect's nominations to the cabinet. we're still working out several details, but on this issue, i want to express my appreciation for the majority leader's willingness to have a dialogue and work in good faith towards a process both sides of the aisle can live with. now, our caucus, mr. president, thinks it's absolutely essential that the u.s. senate has a chance to appropriately vet the nominees, and the american people deserve to hear their views and qualifications in public hearings, especially for the most powerful cabinet positions. we all know that cabinet officials have enormous power and spliewns over the lives -- and influence over the lives of everyday americans. they run massive government agencies that do the actual work of implementing our laws, keeping our nation safe from terrorists, protecting the
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environment and civil rights, promoting clean energy and on and on. every facet of public life is governed by a very powerful cabinet official. it's only right that we in the senate -- and by extension the american people -- get to thoroughly vet their baseline acceptability for these jobs. that means getting their financial records to make sure they don't come into public office withstanding conflicts of interest. and if potential conflicts of interest are found, making sure they have a plan to divest the assets in question. that means making sure the f.b.i. has had the time to complete a full background check. it means making sure that the independent ethics officers of each agency can sign off on them. all of these benchmarks are standard protocol. all were done by about this time eight years ago by the obama administration. they're not onerous
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requirements. they're necessary requirements. -- to prevent conflicts of interest. i remind my colleagues again, every obama cabinet nominee had an ethics agreement in before their hearing. every obama cabinet nominee underwent a full f.b.i. background check before the senate considered their nomination. for such positions of influence in our government, it is the responsibility of the government to guarante guarantee that we he information we need in a timely fasmtion but truth be told, mr. president, the slate of nominations selected by president-elect trump has made this process standard for nominees of presidents of both parties immensely difficult. there are several nominees who have enormous wealth and own stock of enormous value. we have a c.e.o. of one of the largest oil companies in the world, a billionaire financial services executive financier, oh, and another billionaire
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financial services executive. leaving aside for a moment what that says about the president-elect's priorities for his incoming administration, these nominees have potential conflict of interest challenges of epic proportions. at the very least -- at the very least -- they owe the american people the standard paperwork and in fact we believe many of these nominees, given their financial holdings, should go were unstep further and -- should go one step further and provide their tax returns. but, mr. president, the minority only has ethics agreements in for four of the nominees so far. we only have financial disclosure forms from four of the nominees so far. we only have tax returns from four of the nominees so far. and none of our committees have been notified that any nominee's f.b.i. background check has been fully completed. briefings have started. but they are far from complete.
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as i said earlier, i hope the majority leader and i can work out an arrangement that works for both of our caucuses to process these nominees in a fair but thorough fashion. and it certainly shouldn't be the case, as seems to be planned now, that six hearings, several on really important nominees, all occur on the same day and on the same day as a potential vote-a-rama. that is mostly unprecedented in the modern era of cabinet considerations, happening only once in history. that's not the standard. but right now that's the case on january 11. there are members who sit on multiple committees. one of our members chairs one of the committees -- judiciary -- but has been very active on the intelligence committee. both nominees in a single day. that is unfair, not only to her with her great knowledge but to the american people.
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each member deserves plenty of time to question each nominee, and if questions remain, they should be brought back for a second day of hearings. after all, mr. president, they're going to hold incredibly powerful positions for potentially the next four years. to spend an extra day or two on each nominee, if it takes a few weeks, several weeks, to get through them all mured to careful -- in order to carefully consider all of their nominations, that's certainly worth it to the american people, and i would argue, to the new administration. i've made these points to the majority leader, and i must say, he has respectfully listened. i'm hopeful we can find an agreement that alleviates the crunch and gives senators and committees the opportunity to process these nominations with the proper care and oversight with all the proper paperwork in place, thoughtfully and thoroughly. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor.
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announcer 1: hearings for many cabinet level positions are set to begin this week, but some of -- several nominees have not completed a review according to the office of government ethics. the informed senate leaders are still waiting for financial disclosure reports and other paperwork from a number of nominees, causing some in congress to cause -- call for a hold. on face the nation, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell was asked about the ethics issue. we also heard from them a critic senator cory booker of new jersey. -- cory book of new jersey. the real thing is the vote on the floor. we want to have all of the records before they are actually confirmed on the senate floor. >> nothing is slowing down? mitch mcconnell: we want to treat, they should want to treat
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president electronic as they treated president-elect obama. wouldn't the response be there is a qualitative difference between trump nominees and obama, knees? you have -- nominees. you have quite a lot of people. mitch mcconnell: they could have made the same last time. they are wildly different. appointmentsabinet are just as disturbing as they would find president trump's. that is what happens when you lose the election. the people he has appointed to his cabinet are not like president obama's people. these are people that are billionaires and have vast holdings, vast wealth, and the american people have a right to know if they are going to be entering the office with conflicts of interest. i do not want to see a secretary of state who


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