House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi gave an impassioned speech from the House floor Thursday urging her Republican counterparts to vote down the revived American Health Care Act.
The California Democrat looked over to the more moderate members of the GOP, those who were on the fence about the legislation, and said if they were to vote in favor of the bill it would be the equivalent of walking “the plank” from “moderate to radical.”
She cited the idea that the bill will be amended in the Senate and said that will be irrelevant to those who voted in favor of the bill in the House.
“You have every provision of this bill tattooed on your forehead,” she said. “You will glow in the dark with this one, you will glow in the dark.”
The second iteration of the American Health Care Act passed the House by a 217-to-213 margin shortly after Pelosi’s speech. It now will advance onto the Senate, where its fate is less clear. The first iteration of the bill was pulled from the House floor in March after it became apparent it would not have enough votes to pass.
This version featured a couple of tweaks, which helped push it over the finish line.
“They couldn’t pass their bill because it was that bad, [so] they moved further away from the American people by gutting key protections,” Pelosi said. “Trumpcare eviscerates essential health benefits such as maternity care, prescription drugs, emergency coverage, prenatal care, and guts protections for Americans with preexisting medical conditions.”
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which provides a score for legislation to judge the potential effects of its passage, returned a catastrophic judgment on the first version, which would have led to tens of millions losing health insurance over the next decade in its determination. But the CBO has not yet scored the second iteration yet.
“Forcing a vote without a CBO score shows that the Republicans are afraid of the facts,” she said. “They’re afraid of learning the full consequences of their plan to push Americans with preexisting conditions into the cold. … If Republicans thought they were really protecting people, they wouldn’t be afraid of the facts.”
“As bad as Trumpcare was the first time around, you know, it was dead, it died, it died right here on the floor,” Pelosi added. “Now it’s come back to life like a zombie, even more scary than before. And it is even worse. If Republicans had their way, Americans with preexisting conditions will be pushed off their insurance and segregated into high-risk pools where they will face soaring costs, worse coverage, and restricted care.”
She called the legislation “Robin Hood in reverse.”
“Trumpcare is a billionaires tax cut again disguised as a healthcare bill,” she said, adding, “It’s one of the largest transfers of wealth from working families to the rich in our country.”
Pelosi then engaged in a back-and-forth with some of her members.
“So I ask you my colleagues,” she said. “Does Trumpcare lower health costs?”
“No!” Democrats responded.
“Does Trumpcare provide better healthcare?” Pelosi said.
“No!” Democrats shouted back.
“Does Trumpcare protect seniors and families?” Pelosi asked.
“No!” Democrats replied.
“Is Trumpcare good for our veterans?” Pelosi said.
“No!” Democrats again replied.
“Is there any caring in Trumpcare at all?” Pelosi ended with.
“No!” Democrats said.
She ended her speech by urging Republicans to “vote no on this disastrous Trumpcare bill.”
But it was to no avail, as the bill passed by that slim margin soon after.
Soon after Pelosi’s speech, Trump tweeted that he was “watching the Democrats trying to defend the … Obamacare lie.”
“Insurance companies are fleeing ObamaCare – it is dead,” he said in a subsequent tweet. “Our healthcare plan will lower premiums & deductibles – and be great healthcare!”
“If victorious, Republicans will be having a big press conference at the beautiful Rose Garden of the White House immediately after vote!” he continued.
Following the vote, Democrats began chanting “na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, hey, hey, hey, goodbye,” clearly confident that the Republican votes in favor of the AHCA would help them a great deal in taking back control of the House in 2018.
Pelosi, in a press conference, repeated that Republican members “walked the plank” for a bill she said would not become law.