This speech is taken from the Senator’s remarks on the floor on March 10.
“The American people are looking at what’s going on in Washington right now and they’re wondering what the White House and Democrat leaders in Congress are thinking.
“The fact that we’re still even talking about a health care bill that raises costs, increases premiums, and increases government spending is a complete mystery to most people.
“Americans have issued their verdict on this bill. They don’t want it. It’s that simple.
“And that’s to say nothing of the process.
“The process that Democrat leaders have used to try to pass this bill is viewed even less favourably than the bill itself.
“So even if Americans supported this bill — which they clearly don’t — they would still want the process cleaned up. Americans expect lawmakers to be completely up front and transparent about any changes they’re thinking about making to the health care system.
“Americans also expect a level playing field.
“That means union leaders don’t get special deals that non-union members don’t.
“It means the people of Nebraska don’t get a free ride bought and paid for by the rest of the country — even Nebraskans are telling us they don’t want that kind of special treatment.
“It means that if you’re a senior citizen, you don’t have to move to Florida to keep your health care plan.
“It means that Louisianans don’t get a windfall of federal money just because one of their senators was willing to vote for a bill most Americans overwhelmingly oppose.
“These are just some of the things Americans don’t like about the way Democrat leaders tried to push their bill through Congress and past the public.
“But they didn’t much like the way the bill was put together either.
“They didn’t like the fact that members of both parties spent endless hours negotiating and in committee meetings, only to see Democrat leaders write their own bill behind closed doors.
“These are the kinds of things Americans have been complaining about at town hall meetings and in statewide elections for months and months.
“These are the kinds of things the people of Massachusetts were saying in January.
“And Americans can’t believe that after all this, after a year of protests and all the statewide elections, Democrat leaders are still stubbornly pushing the same bill, the same process.
“Democrat leaders knew the public didn’t support their bill.
“So they tried to jam it through on a party-line vote.
“When they had trouble with that strategy, they went for the kickbacks and special deals.
“As a result, they lost their 60-vote majority.
“So they came up with another strategy. They decided to try to get around the normal rules.
“They decided they’d try to jam it through with a bare partisan majority — something that’s never been done before on legislation like this.
“Some in the media are blaming the resistance the Administration and Democrat leaders have faced on the White House messaging machine.
“This is absurd. Americans aren’t rejecting this bill because they don’t understand it.
“They’re rejecting it because they know exactly what’s in it.
“But Democrat leaders continue to deceive themselves.
“I saw the Speaker said yesterday that Congress needs to pass this bill so Americans can see what’s in it.
“That’s like telling somebody they have to buy a house so they can walk through it.
“And the White House seems to be throwing out every idea it’s got, hoping something will stick. The President is expected to highlight fraud and abuse in a speech today.
“I’m glad the administration wants to use the enforcement power of the government to find and prosecute fraud. But that’s something we can and should be doing already. Do we really need to pass a $2.5 trillion spending bill, raise taxes and slash Medicare to implement it?
“Finding waste, fraud and abuse is one of the areas where we have agreement — Senators Grassley, Coburn, Cornyn, Lemieux and others have been leading this effort for some time.
“Tackling fraud and abuse is one of the issues that can and should form the basis of a bipartisan, step-by-step approach to health care reform — not as a hook to drag this monstrous bill over the finish line.
“On the contrary, Democrat leaders should leave this bill on the field. Then we can talk about passing common sense ideas like tackling fraud and abuse on their own — one by one.
“The fact is, this whole debate has devolved into a little bit of a farce — and it might actually be funny if the stakes weren’t so high. Americans don’t know how else to say it: they don’t want this bill, and they want the process cleaned up.
“How much longer do Americans have to wait before Democrat leaders will give up this partisan quest and agree to start over, to work together out in the open on the kind of common sense reforms Americans really want?
“That’s the question Americans are asking, and we owe them an answer.
“The American people aren’t an obstacle to be circumvented. This is their health care system, not ours. It’s time to end this partisan effort, listen to the people, and start over.”
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