“Patients and doctors are being held hostage to pave the way for trillions of more reckless spending—that most Americans don’t even want,” warned top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) on the House floor during a debate over Democrats’ partisan effort to raise the debt ceiling to pay for trillions in crippling tax hikes and spending.
Today ought to be a day for bipartisanship on behalf of patients and health care providers across America.
But sadly it is another day for Democrats’ partisanship.
Providing needed funding for our Medicare providers – our local doctors and hospitals, especially as we recover from the pandemic – is just common sense. We should be on the same page.
In fact, we are–as early as a few hours ago, where Republicans also introduced legislation to help our health care providers.
Instead, Democrats have decided to push a very partisan agenda that has led to crisis after crisis, including the one we address today.
Our border communities are overwhelmed.
Bidenflation is robbing American paychecks.
The President has mishandled the economy so badly, he’s already nearly a million jobs short of his promises from his last $2 trillion spending binge.
And now, patients and doctors are being held hostage to pave the way for trillions of more reckless spending that most Americans don’t even want.
Regrettably, Democrats are politicizing needed funding for Americans’ health with a poison pill that provides a process for lifting the debt ceiling–absolutely unrelated–and using patients and access to local doctors as leverage to increase the national debt on our children and grandchildren.
Last month, knowing this was coming, Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee called for a bipartisan hearing to address the issues around our doctors and our health care providers and reimbursement.
In a letter, we wrote to our Democrat colleagues, who we believe share the same concerns, and said: “If the stability of health care providers is in fact still a priority for you, let’s hold a hearing so we can discuss a legislative solution going forward to maintain patient access to our local providers.”
Instead, one again, my Democrat colleagues are choosing to go it alone because seemingly they’re obsessed with spending taxpayer dollars wastefully.
We know there’s bipartisan support for doctors—we should do a standalone bill. But the truth is, House Republicans can’t support using patients and access to local doctors as leverage to increase the national debt on our children.
We know there is bipartisan support for providers, and we know this could stand alone as a bill. Unfortunately, this is not the path our Democrats have chosen.
Make no mistake, this debt ceiling is being lifted to pay for trillions of wasteful socialist spending. This debt ceiling is increased until 2023 all to accommodate trillions of wasteful spending, and Americans know it.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has noted that President Biden’s Build Back Better Bill will cost nearly $5 trillion, while the President and others continue to claim falsely that this costs zero dollars.
Unfortunately for the Democrats–and for the taxpayers that will have to foot the bill–the Washington Post fact checker found this claim false and misleading.
False and misleading.
They said it takes some dubious gimmicks that help disguise the true cost of President Biden’s agenda.
And these gimmicks are just to justify paying for absolute waste.
Democrats give away hundreds of billions of dollars to special interests and the wealthy – literally sending government checks to the top 1 percent and the biggest corporations.
Democrats protect so-called “green” companies from their new minimum tax.
Wealthy individuals with up to half a million dollars in income every year enjoy their own green welfare, including a $12,500 check from single moms and working Americans so they can buy the wealthy luxury electric vehicle.
Democrats force the 90 percent of Americans who don’t join a union to subsidize the few who do. Democrats provide special loopholes and tax cuts for special interests like trial lawyers.
Democrats would increase the $10,000 SALT cap providing wealthy taxpayers with a windfall of a quarter of a trillion dollars to help the wealthy.
Two out of three millionaires get a tax cut, one of three middle class families get a tax hike. Where are their priorities?
Democrats’ tax and spending spree will more than double Americans’ chances of being audited as it targets lower and middle-income earners to make sure they pay “their fair share.”
This proposal and that proposal will lead to an additional 1.2 million IRS audits each year, focused on the middle class, and we will see $400 billion in taxes on our Main Street small businesses.
What does it mean for Americans? More than double the chance of being audited, not just for the rich.
So Americans ought to take a step back and see what Democrats are doing tonight as shameful. That’s exactly what it is.
Democrats are threatening to hold up payments for our local doctors and health care providers as they fight out of a pandemic so Democrats can pay for measures they claim we need because of the pandemic.
We’ve gone from never letting a crisis go to waste, to never letting a crisis get in the way of waste.
This debt ceiling didn’t have to happen this way. House Democrats have known this day was coming for two years.
They never bothered to pass a budget, never passed an appropriations bill, failed to have any bipartisan discussion, so here we are at the last minute.
Madame Speaker, common-sense Americans will not let their doctors and health care providers be held hostage to this debt ceiling crisis. We strongly urge a no vote on this bill.
So the claim we just heard that only Democrats want to prevent these cuts to our local doctors and hospitals is just nonsense.
Democrats and Republicans have worked hard, together, to extend the moratorium on the sequester cuts on our providers our doctors and hospitals to provide a 3 percent payment to increase for our physicians to make sure that in the Administration’s proposals to help increase reimbursement for primary care physicians, you don’t cut the payment for specialty doctors who many of them were hurt so hard during COVID.
We also worked with our Democrat colleagues to delay for a year the proposed cuts by this Administration, on our labs, and on our oncologists, and worked together to make sure other cuts didn’t occur.
And all that happened together, and all that bipartisanship was all on track, up until a few hours ago, when my Democrat colleagues decided they would hold this hostage. These health care reimbursements for doctors and hospitals, held hostage for their debt ceiling crisis that they created.
It really is, I think, in a day and age where we’ve seen this one-party rule for an entire year, the arrogance of this power, go to their heads, and it’s unfortunate that that they couldn’t continue to work just like a few hours longer, together, with Republicans to provide help to our physicians, our hospitals, and our providers.
This bill ought to be a standalone bill. We should never hold them hostage for their spending spree and socialist agenda.
Unfortunately, that’s what our Democrat colleagues have done today. We’ve introduced the legislation as Republicans that mirrors our Democrat colleagues’, because we believe in this so strongly together.
Unfortunately, one-party rule will tore this apart. That why is why American public is going to return the majority of this House to Republicans in the next election and why President Biden’s disapproval ratings is a terribly low disapproval of 57%. It’s unfortunate. We ought to be working together on this.
Our colleagues have known for two years this debt ceiling is here. Never passed a budget, never passed an appropriations bill. Let this crisis occur and built it time, after time, after time again, when we could easily have come together. And by the way, our Democrat colleagues hold the House, they hold the Senate, they hold the White House, they have the power to pass the debt ceiling and have had that power for the entire year.
And so to my Democrat friends, you can try to sell this snake oil all you want. But the truth of the matter is, you wrecked a bipartisan agreement for your debt ceiling crisis. That’s what we’re voting on today. Republicans support help for providers we will not allow them to be held hostage to this debt ceiling crisis.
With that I urge strong opposition to this bill, and urge our Democrat colleagues someday to work with us–just work with us, together on these issues.
With that I yield the balance of my time.