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Pelosi Speaks As Dem Frustrations Grow; Senate Leader Talks Unveiling Of GOP Health Bill; Secrets Out: Senate GOP Unveils Health Care Bill; Schumer: Senate Health Bill "Wolf In Sheep's Clothing" Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired June 22, 2017 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
REPRESENTATIVE NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: -- on the Republican side as we can (inaudible). So we take pride on the candidates who ran their campaigns and the difference they have made. These would not have districts that would been our priorities just given the slate of races to be involved in.
These are races chosen by the president to replace when he appointed cabinet officers. When you do that, you choose districts that you know your party will win. But little did they know the serious damage they would do to their party in terms of reducing majority.
They have now made these very competitive races. Single digit, five and below for some. These are opportunities for us. One of the prognosticators on this, Wasserman said that this opens the way for about 80 seats to be in play for the Democrats in the next election year.
As far as some of the enthusiasm in my caucus, I always listen to my members, I respect the ambition that exists in any caucus. It's a part of our life. I am proud of the unity that we have had and frankly my leadership in terms of keeping everybody together on fighting the health care bill in the House of Representatives.
Very proud of our success in defeating it the first time, moving them to the right to a place that I think is unsustainable, but defines who they are very clearly. I'm proud of our unity, which gave me leverage to succeed enormously in the negotiations on the bill.
When it comes to the issues, we are united in terms of our concern for America's working families. That's what unifies us. When it comes to ambition and having fun on TV, have your fun. I love the arena. I thrive on competition and I welcome the discussion but I am honored by this.
Every action has a reaction. I try to say that. Every attack provoke as massive reaction. That is very encouraging to me, from my members, from our supporters outside and across the country. With that, I'll be pleased to take any questions. Yes, ma'am.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible). Is it time for you to step aside? PELOSI: Some. We always have this discussion. One is one, two is a couple, three is a few, some, some, but I feel very confident in the support that I have in my caucus. No, my timing is not about them, my comments is about the issues that we are here to fight and we are fighting back now on the health care bill.
The expansion of opportunity in our caucus has been great for people who want to take advantage and help us win. Maybe they don't want to play in that arena but there is -- I'm very proud of the members who do. They are going around the country, listening, 30-somethings listening to the voices of young people.
My 30th anniversary is June at my celebrations I have always featured the young 30-somethings, and they are so impressive. We are paving a way for a new generation of leadership. Again, I respect any opinion that my members have of what my decision about how long I stay is not up to them.
SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: -- projected to have no choice at all, meaning, yet again, Americans could be thrown off their plans in states like Missouri and Ohio and Wisconsin. Does this sound like Obamacare is working?
Democrats tell us it would be wrong for the Senate to actually address these problems in a serious way while the law they have defended for seven years, teeters, literally teeters on the edge of total collapse. They were wrong before. They were wrong again, now.
Because Obamacare isn't working by nearly any measure, it has failed, and no amount of 11th hour reality denying or buck passing by Democrats is going to change the fact that more Americans are going to get hurt unless we do something.
I regret that our Democratic friends made clear early on that they did not want to work with us in a serious bipartisan way to address the Obamacare status quo. But Republicans believe we have a responsibility to act and we are, for our constituents, for our states and for our country.
[11:05:06]We have long called for a better way forward. We have been engaged in intensive talks on how to get there. Through dozens of meetings open to each and every member of the conference, we have had the opportunity to offer and consider many ideas for confronting the Obamacare status quo.
We debated many policy proposals. We considered many different viewpoints. In the end, we found that we share many ideas about what needs to be achieved and how we can achieve it. These shared policy objectives and the solutions to help achieve them are what made up the health care discussion draft that we finished talking through this morning.
We agreed on the need to free Americans from Obamacare mandates and policies contained in the discussion draft will repeal the individual mandate so Americans are no longer forced to buy insurance they don't need or can't afford. We'll repeal the employer mandate so Americans no longer see their hours and take home pay cut by employers because of it. We agreed on the need to improve the affordability of health insurance and policies contained in the discussion draft. We'll do that.
We will eliminate costly Obamacare taxes that are passed on to consumers so we can put downward pressure on premiums. Expand tax- free health savings account and deploy targeted tax credits so we can defray out-of-pocket costs and shift power from Washington to the states so they have more flexibility to provide Americans with the affordable insurance options they actually want.
We agree on the need to stabilize the insurance markets that are collapsing under Obamacare as well and policies contained in the discussion draft will implement stabilization policies so we can bring financial certainty to insurance markets and hope to Americans who face the possibility of limited or zero options next year under Obamacare.
And ultimately transition away from Obamacare's collapsing system entirely so more Americans will not be hurt. We also agree on the need to strengthen Medicaid, preserve access to care for patients with pre-existing conditions and allow children to stay on their health insurance through the age of 26.
I'm pleased we were able to arrive at a draft that incorporates input from so many different members to represent so many different constituents who are facing so many different challenges. The draft containing the solutions I mentioned along with many others is posted online.
I encourage everyone to carefully review it. There will be ample time to analyze, discuss and provide thoughts before legislation comes to the floor. I hope every senator takes that opportunity. Next week, we expect the Congressional Budget Office to release a score.
After that, we will proceed with a robust debate and an open amendment process here on the Senate floor, a process that I would encourage each of our hundred senators to participate in.
When legislation does come to the floor, it will present Senate Democrats with another opportunity to do what is right for the American people. They can choose to keep standing by as their failing law continues to collapse and hurt more Americans.
But I hope they will join us to bring relief to the families who have struggled under Obamacare for far too long. Either way, either way, Obamacare is a direct attack on the middle class and American families deserve better than its failing status quo. They deserve better care. That's what we are going to continue to work to bring you.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. You are listening to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaking on the floor as the Senate floor is coming to order, beginning the business of the day. They are announcing the Senate has released and revealed the long awaited discussion draft, their version of how to overhaul Obamacare. That, released moments ago.
Also, hearing just moments ago from Nancy Pelosi, addressing many topics hitting this new discussion draft and other topics, which we will get to. This is what we consider a live event-palooza type of day.
Because we are also standing by to hear from President Trump. We have just learned that President Trump at this event will be happening any moment now will be addressing and discussing this version of the health care plan. We'll see what the president have to say. As we know White House officials were briefed last night on the details.
Arty, let's get to it right now. M.J. Lee is here as well as Rick Newman of Yahoo Finance. M.J., you have been reading through all a hundred -- how many?
M.J. LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Trying, 142.
BOLDUAN: She's reading through 140 plus pages. What are the big headlines right now?
[11:10:08]M.J. LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Well, first of all, it's significant that we actually now have a bill to try to read through. Of course, this is a big, you know, area of contention that even Senate Republicans felt frustrated that they hadn't seen the bill in its full form until today.
Now, we actually have a name for the bill. It's called the better care reconciliation act of 2017, not the same as the House Republican bill. Here are the big headlines, very similar to what we have been reporting since yesterday when some of the details started coming out.
It repeals the individual mandate, same as the House bill, gets rid of the Obamacare taxes on the Medicaid front, which of course, is one of the biggest parts of the debate going forward. It does gradually phase out Medicaid expansion more slowly than the House bill, but there will be drastic changes to the Medicaid program overall.
That states will get certain amounts of money, but those funding actually will be cut back drastically. We also have more state flexibility to waive Obamacare regulations in a one-year block of federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
Again, more or less in line with what we have been reporting. The big question, of course, Kate, as we get more details and Senate Republicans get a chance to look through the bill. It's whether they feel they got enough of what they asked for to actually vote yes on this bill or feel like some of these details are enough hang ups that they are not willing to actually go there.
BOLDUAN: What Republican moderates want because in some level is very different from what conservative senators want. We are seeing that already as we are leading up to this moment play out. We will have to wait their reaction because they are reading in real time as we are as well.
Before I get to you, Rick, let me actually go to Capitol Hill. Phil Mattingly is standing by there. Phil, give me your take.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, I think what you are seeing is what Senate leadership is trying to do is thread the needle, and M.J. kind of laid out the details very well. The question is, if those details get them to 50. That's really kind of been the end game the entire time. It seems simplistic.
But the really only goal and what they are trying to draft right now is how do you get 50 of your 52 members to vote for this bill. You see kind of things being given to both sides of the ideological spectrum. On Medicaid expansion, changing the phase out, making it more gradual --
BOLDUAN: I have to cut you off, my friend, I'm so sorry. Let's go to the top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer is speaking on the Senate floor right now.
SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: -- give these folks another, even larger tax cut in their tax bill. Even though much of the early reporting says the bill will keep certain protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions, the truth is, it may well not guarantee them the coverage they need, by allowing states to waive essential health benefits.
What the bill is saying to those Americans is insurance still has to cover you, but it doesn't have to cover what you may actually need. It doesn't have to cover all or most of your costs. If you need treatment for opioid addiction, your plan may no longer cover it.
If you are pregnant and need maternity care, your plan may have decided that's too expensive. The coverage that Americans with pre- existing conditions actually need may well become either unaffordable or even nonexistent under this bill.
Simply put, this bill will resolve, not right now, at the end of my remarks. Simply put, this bill will result in higher costs, less care and millions of Americans will lose their health insurance particularly through Medicaid.
It's every bit as bad as the House bill. In some ways, it's even worse. The president said the Senate bill needed heart, the way this bill cuts health care is heartless. The president said the House bill was mean. The Senate bill may be meaner.
The Senate Republican health care bill is a wolf in sheep's clothing, only this wolf has even sharper teeth than the House bill. It's clear that Republicans know that cutting Medicaid will hurt so many people in the middle class, so many in my home state of New York.
Republicans know that people want essential health benefits. So they have created a disguise by saying these changes won't occur for a year. But in reality, the Senate Republican bill is a wolf in sheep's clothing, only this wolf has even sharper teeth than the House bill.
We are potentially voting on it in a week. No committee hearings. No amendments in committee. No debate on the floor. Ten measly hours on one of the most important bills we are dealing with in decades. That brings shame on this body.
You won't even know the full cost or consequence of the bill until CBO scores it. That could take a few days more. How can my friend, majority leader, expect this body to fairly consider this legislation, prepare amendments and debate it in a week with only ten hours of debate? How can he expect his own members to do the same?
Many of them on the Republican side are learning the details of the bill the way we Democrats are, reading it today. Listen to what the majority leader had to say in 2009 when we were debating health care.
His words, this is a very important issue. We shouldn't try to do it in the dark, and whatever final bill is produced should be available to the American public and members of Senate enough time to come to grips with it.
We are going insist the American people are going to insist that it be done in a transparent, fair and open way. Is five or six days enough time for the American people and members of the Senate to come to grips with a bill that affects one sixth of the economy and the lives of every American in this country?
I don't think so. Neither do the American people and neither do a whole bunch of Republican senators, Senator Kassidy, would I prefer a more open process? The answer is yes. Senator Collins, I don't think it gives enough time to thoroughly analyze the bill but we'll see when it comes out.
There's member after member, Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham, Jerry Moran, Marco Rubio, Bob Corker, who repeatedly have said this process, in their words and now in mine, is unfair, truncated, rushed.
For my dear friend, the majority leader to say we are going to have an open amendment process is turning truth upside down. I would ask our leader, rhetorically, because I know the answer, can we allow at least one hour on the amendment, not 2 minutes?
Will we have more time than ten hours to debate the bill? I hope so. But, if not, please don't call this an open and fair process. You want to rush it through, admit the consequences.
Now, Mr. President, the debate over health care has been fierce. We know that the Republicans and Democrats have differences when we debated the Affordable Care Act, at least we had a debate. At least we had committee hearings and a process.
More broadly than that, at least we Democrats were trying to pass a health care bill that helped more Americans afford insurance and tried to bring costs down and end some of the most egregious practices of the health care industry.
What is this bill, Trumpcare, trying to achieve? It seems designed to slash support for health care programs in order to give tax breaks to the very wealthy. When the CBO score comes out, I believe it will verify that millions of Americans in this great country will be unable to afford insurance or the insurance they can afford won't cover the services they need.
Somewhere in America, Mr. President, there's a family who takes a trip each Friday to visit grandma or grandpa at a nursing home, who sacrificed all their savings to pay for their health care until they had no more savings and now relies on Medicaid to help pay the cost of long term care in a nursing home.
Somewhere in America, there's a father who is eaten up inside watching his son struggle with opioid addiction, who knows in his heart that his son would be able to go on and live a healthy and fulfilling life if he could only afford treatment to get him out from under his devastating addiction.
Somewhere in America, there's a parent whose child has cancer, mother and father who stay up late at night, worried their insurance will either not be available or run out when the family needs it most.
[11:20:14]The America that my Republican friends envision with this health care bill, those Americans and many more, might not get the coverage and care they need. We live in the wealthiest country on earth. Surely, surely, we can do better than what the Republican health care bill promises.
Now, I have a consent request. Going to have to delay my friend from asking questions until we finish the unanimous consent request. I asked unanimous consent that any substitute or perfecting amendment offered to Calendar Number 120 HR-1628 not be in order if the text of the amendment has not been filed at the desk and made available on a public website for at least 72 hours, along with an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office of the budgetary coverage and cost implications.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there objection?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, reserving the right to object my colleague, Senator Cornyn, was going to ask a question, which I will answer, which was the majority leader is referring to a bill that he hadn't seen a copy of because it hasn't yet been released. They were referring to a bill he hasn't received a copy of. The speech is about a bill that he hasn't seen. With regard to his consent, I object.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, leader time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The senator has the floor.
SCHUMER: Thank you. The 142 pages, thus far, of this supposed bill have been printed online. That's what I have used.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Minority whip.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, several weeks ago --
BOLDUAN: All right, you have been listening to the top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, calling the Senate bill a wolf in sheep's clothing, hitting the process hard and back and forth you see with Mitch McConnell there. That bite just beginning on the Senate floor. It's safe to assume that this new Senate plan to overhaul Obamacare is not going to get any Democratic support to push it through. But, will it get support from the White House? Will it get support from the president? Let's head there.
Sara Murray is at the White House for us right now. So Sarah, we know the White House officials were briefed last night. Have you heard anything from the White House or the president yet this morning since this bill was finally, this discussion draft was finally just released?
SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, not only were White House officials briefed last night, we were also told by a senior administration official that last night the president was aware of details of this legislation when he was out there speaking in Iowa. He spoke favorably about the bill. Now, he's in a technology meeting right now.
One senior administration official expects the president will talk about health care as well on this, but you know, with President Trump, you never know for sure if he's going to stick to the script or the talking points.
But there is a broad view that we are getting from the White House is, yes, they feel positive about this bill as it stands. Really, this is in Mitch McConnell's hands. They are really relying on him to shepherd this through the Senate to ensure that he can get all these different senators what they need to vote yes on this bill.
So I would say that they are sort of cautiously optimistic about the progress to this point. But as Phil Mattingly and my other colleagues have been noting, this is a really difficult needle for them to thread on Capitol Hill. So they are sort of holding their breath here and waiting to see how senators will react now that they are getting a chance to see this text.
BOLDUAN: And some of the reaction, slowly, slowly coming out because they are really -- many are reading it for the very first time as we are as well. So Sara, we'll come back to you in just one moment. We are waiting to hear the president's first reaction at any moment.
Let's get some more reaction now on this new Senate health care plan for Republicans and also what Nancy Pelosi said about her future. Democratic congresswoman and former head of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz is joining me right now.
Congresswoman, thanks so much for joining me. Your reaction -- I don't assume that you read 142 some pages since 5 minutes ago, but your reaction to what the Senate just unveiled to overhaul Obamacare.
REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: Yes, I have had -- the bill was posted online at ten of 11. I have had a little bit of time to take a look at it. What's clear to me is that the Senate bill takes and ax to the needs of those who finally have health care as a right, not just a privilege. And it gives the ability of states to eliminate essential health benefits like making sure that pregnancy is covered, making sure that your mammogram is covered.
[11:25:07]Making sure that we continue to protect people with pre- existing conditions and then ending Medicaid as we know it. When the Republican majority leader is referencing people that are poor as the beneficiaries of Medicaid, he isn't thinking or clearly caring about the 65 percent of seniors in nursing homes that are only able to be in a nursing home, relying on Medicaid.
BOLDUAN: Is this version better or worse than the House version?
SCHULTZ: This version is certainly no better than the House version. It just cuts people in different gutless and heartless ways. I mean, this is devastating to people who now finally have the ability to go to the doctor when they are sick. Make sure they can catch illness early and make sure that when illness is potentially life threatening, they will be able to survive it.
BOLDUAN: Again --
SCHULTZ: I caught my breast cancer early because I could go right to the doctor. This plan, heartless plan will deny people that ability.
BOLDUAN: Something Republicans ran on from multiple cycles. This is them making good on what they promise they say in repealing or at least overhauling Obamacare. Before I'm going to have to cut us off because Paul Ryan is going to take to a microphone, Congresswoman. I'm so sorry we got a lot going on.
Before his news conference begins, I want to ask you about the Democratic leader in the House, Nancy Pelosi. After the loss Tuesday night for Democrats, for that Georgia House seat, there are now calls from some Democrats for the Democratic leader to go. Do you think she should go?
SCHULTZ: Nancy Pelosi just helped us bring in an omnibus budget that essentially made sure that we were able to provide for the needs of millions of Americans when President Trump and the Republican leadership were clearly headed towards dramatic, devastating cuts. So, she's a consummate legislator, a leader that helped us get things done. She's going to continue to do that through the rest of the 115th Congress as she should.
BOLDUAN: Do you support her staying on as speaker?
SCHULTZ: Well, she's the Democratic leader --
BOLDUAN: I'm sorry, Democratic leader.
SCHULTZ: Yes, Nancy Pelosi was elected as our leader. She has been a remarkable, strategic legislator, someone who helped us make progress and prevented devastating cuts and policy decisions from being implemented. We have a president in office for six month who is accomplished nothing. The Republicans control the House, the Senate and the White House, and they have achieve nothing of significance thankfully in part because of Nancy Pelosi's leadership.
BOLDUAN: You have fellow Democrats like Kathleen Rice and Seth Moulton and Tim Ryan, all have been saying that she is not the leader for the future of the Democratic Party. Tim Ryan says that she was toxic in parts of the country. Kathleen Rice makes the point, if we were talking about a CEO of a company, who is posting losses over and over again, the sports team losing time and again, changes would be made. The CEO would go or the coach would go. Do you agree with them?
SCHULTZ: You know, I think what I do agree with and I know Leader Pelosi agrees with this is that we do need to make sure that we have generational development of our leadership so that we have seasoned leadership like Nancy Pelosi and as she has done in the 115th Congress bringing in leaders from the next generation and being, you know, broadening the leadership table, being more inclusive.
And I'm sure as we move into the next Congress, the 116th, whereupon we have a significant ability, given how devastating the policies that President Trump and the Republicans made, we have the ability to take the House back. When we do, we are going to be able to hold Trump and the Republicans accountable as the American people are crying out for it.
BOLDUAN: Something else has been happening on Capitol Hill. The former secretary of Homeland Security testified yesterday about the Russian hacks during the election, and he flat out said that the DNC refused his department's help. You put out a statement afterward basically saying that Jeh Johnson was wrong. Where is he wrong?
SCHULTZ: He's wrong in every respect. Let me be just very clear. At no point during my tenure at the DNC was I contacted by the FBI, DHS or any government agency or alerted or made aware that they believed that the Russians, an enemy state was intruding on our network at no point.
I am a member of Congress that had the ability to sit down and be briefed in a classified setting. Even Director Comey testified publicly that he wished that he had gone to the top of the organization.
We are one of the two national political parties. It is astounding that when they had a member of Congress who is leading that organization that no one felt it was more important when we had a foreign enemy intruding on one of the two political party's networks to do anything more than lob a phone call in to our tech support through our main specialist --