WASHINGTON, DC — On the House Floor today, Rules Committee Chairman James P. McGovern (D-MA) managed a rule for consideration of H. Res. 271, a resolution condemning the Trump administration’s legal campaign to take away Americans’ health care. The measure follows the Trump Justice Department’s recent announcement that it would not defend the Affordable Care Act in court as part of the Texas v U.S. lawsuit, signaling its belief that the landmark law is unconstitutional. If this legal challenge is successful, millions of Americans could lose their insurance coverage, and premiums and out-of-pocket costs would rise, making life-saving health care unaffordable for many middle-income Americans. Video of his full remarks is available here.
“For the life of me, I cannot understand what President Trump and his allies in Congress have against Americans getting healthcare. For nearly a decade now, they have worked endlessly to sabotage the Affordable Care Act through the Congress, the courts, and administrative actions.
Apparently, they aren’t happy that twenty million people have gained health care coverage because of this law. Or that 130 million Americans with preexisting conditions can get care. We should be celebrating these advancements. But instead, some on the other side won’t be satisfied until the Affordable Care Act is repealed completely.
This Democratic Majority has taken a different course. On the very first day of this Congress, we brought the full weight of the House of Representatives to bear in this lawsuit. As a result, the House Counsel has already intervened in this case to protect the health care Americans depend on.
Now, this resolution is our chance to speak with one voice against the administration’s attempts to abolish the ACA. I have seen my friends on the other side issue sternly worded press releases and strongly worded letters to the administration. But now it’s time to back up words with votes,” McGovern said on the floor.
This rule also allows for consideration of S.J. Res. 7, a Senate-passed measure that would end U.S. support related to the war in Yemen. This Saudi-led war began in 2015 and has continued with the support of the United States despite the fact that Congress never authorized it. This resolution would reassert Congress’ Article I authority over the offensive use of force and reclaim its role in United States foreign policy.
“Make no mistake, M. Speaker, the United States is involved in a war in Yemen today. But if our constituents looked through the Congressional Record, they wouldn’t find a vote authorizing it. That’s because this body abdicated its responsibility to declare war when it began four years ago.
We took one of our most sacred responsibilities and handed it to the executive branch. We first let the Bush administration decide the contours of our involvement abroad, and that continues through the Trump administration today.
And if that wasn’t outrageous enough, past Republican Congresses used every legislative trick in the book to block members from even debating our role there. On two separate occasions, they went so far as to strip War Powers Resolutions related to Yemen of their privilege. It was unprecedented.
No Congress should be complicit in abdicating our Article I constitutional responsibility. Thankfully, this Democratic Congress is doing the opposite: we are reasserting our power…
So I urge all my colleagues: seize this opportunity. We have a constitutional responsibility and a moral obligation to get this done. Don’t let any legislative maneuvers deter us from ending our nation’s complicity in this humanitarian catastrophe. Let’s pass this resolution free of changes that would prevent it from going right to the president,” continued McGovern.
McGovern, the co-chair of the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, has condemned Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen and the suffering it is causing among innocent civilians, and has urged the United States to end its support of the war. In January, together with a bipartisan group of 20 lawmakers, he introduced legislation to immediately stop all military sales and aid to the government of SaudiArabia.