Chairman Cole Opening Remarks on H. Res. 863 and H.R. 485

As prepared for delivery:

Good afternoon.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has testified before Congress that “the border is secure.”

The facts tell us the contrary.

In December, we reached the highest number of migrant encounters ever recorded in American history.

This number alone represents an abject failure of this administration, but the far-reaching consequences of the crisis they created are even more startling.

I want to remind the Committee about what this crisis at the southern border actually means.

It means countless young American futures stolen by the poison of fentanyl.

It means terrified young children abandoned by smugglers in the dark.

It means criminals, traffickers, and cartels becoming enriched.

It means bad actors on our terror watch list looking to exploit gaps to get into the country.

It means support systems are overwhelmed in communities from coast to coast.

It means schoolchildren losing access to their schools to house migrants.

It means an overstretched Border Patrol is unable to successfully carry out its mission.

It means a public health crisis, and the tragic deaths of countless people as they enter our country, drawn by the knowledge that the border is open, and the United States government will not stop them.

These aren’t partisan opinions or exaggerated scenarios. These are everyday realities – the new normal under the Biden Administration. The consequences of this crisis have been stark and sobering, and there is hardly a community anywhere in this country that has not felt the impact.

But this is, again, a crisis of choice. Those choices were made by those in power. And today, the House of Representatives is stepping up and saying “no more.” Today, we will take action against one of the principal architects of this crisis, as we advance a resolution impeaching the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Nicholas Mayorkas, for his willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law and his breach of the public trust.

The resolution before us is about accountability. The Committee on Homeland Security has conducted a thorough investigation and evaluation of the evidence. We will hear more from our witnesses today about the results of that investigation, but the evidence supporting these charges should be apparent and obvious to everyone in this room.

I take no pleasure in our actions today. But Secretary Mayorkas’ actions – both in his intentional refusal to enforce our laws and abandoning the confidence of Americans– require us to act. Secretary Mayorkas has refused to uphold his oath of office. If he will not do his duty, then unfortunately, the House must do its constitutional duty.

Today’s hearing also covers H.R. 485, the Protecting Health Care for All Patients Act. This measure will ban federal health care programs from using quality-adjusted life years, or QALY, a so-called cost-effectiveness measurement used by health care payers as a means to determine the value and necessity in paying for a treatment or a prescription drug.

The measurement is used to discriminate against people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. For example, people with cystic fibrosis or Down syndrome could have treatment access limited. This standard is unconscionable. All lives are valuable, and life should be cherished.

Medicare is already prohibited from using QALY, and H.R. 485 brings other Federal health care programs, like Medicaid, CHIP, and the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, in line with this same prohibition. This will ensure that no Federal health care program discriminates on the basis of health care outcomes, and will ensure that medical decisions are made by patients and their doctors, as they should be.

The Medicare prohibition was established as part of the Affordable Care Act, which was passed into law with only Democratic support. I hope that Democrats will provide similar support for H.R. 485 today. 


Feb 5, 2024