President Obama urged Congress not to repeal The American Care Act during a speech at the John F Kennedy Library. Obama received the Profile in Courage Award from members of the Kennedy family for his contributions to public life. Following is a transcript of the video.
And so by the time the vote came up to pass the Affordable Care Act, these freshmen congressmen and women knew that they had to make a choice. That they had a chance to insure millions and prevent untold worry and suffering and bankruptcy, and even death, but that this same vote would likely cost them their new seats, perhaps end their political careers.
And these men and women did the right thing. They did the hard thing. Theirs was a profile in courage. Because of that vote, 20 million people got health insurance who didn’t have it before.
And most of them — and most of them did lose their seats, but they were true to what President Kennedy defined in his book as a congressional profile in courage: the desire to maintain a reputation for integrity that is stronger than the desire to maintain office.
And it is my fervent hope and the hope of millions that regardless of party, such courage is still possible, that today’s members of Congress, regardless of party, are willing to look at the facts and speak the truth even when it contradicts party positions.
I hope that current members of Congress recall that it actually doesn’t take a lot of courage to aid those who are already powerful, already comfortable, already influential. But it does require some courage to champion the vulnerable, and the sick, and the infirm, those who often have no access to the corridors of power.
I hope they understand that courage means not simply doing what is politically expedient but doing what they believe deep in their hearts is right.
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