Scalise Talks About the Historic Opportunity Republicans Have to Make America Great Again
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (LA-1) appeared before a breakfast meeting of The Ripon Society yesterday morning, delivering remarks about the historic opportunity that Republicans have to make America great again in the coming years.
“This is only the third time in the history of the country that a Republican president has walked into the White House with a Republican House and Senate,” Scalise stated. “The last time that happened under George W. Bush, it only lasted eight months because Jim Jeffords famously jumped and switched parties eight months into that majority.
“So you don’t know how long this window is going to last. You’d like to think it’s going to last forever, but history tells you it’s probably not. So you better go make the most of it. Some people think, ‘Are you all going to be able to deliver; you have to do all these things.’ But this is why we ran for Congress. This is why we came up here — for moments like this. And most people never get them.”
Scalise was first elected to Congress in 2008. The Louisiana lawmaker has had something of a meteoric rise in the years since – first by being appointed to the influential Energy & Commerce Committee, and then by being elected Chairman of the 170 member-strong Republican Study Committee. In 2014, a mere six years after coming to Washington, his colleagues selected him to be Majority Whip – the third-ranking position in the House.
In this role, Scalise is responsible for gauging and mobilizing support for every legislative priority that is considered by the House. One of those priorities is repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act — which, Scalise declared, is not just another pledge from last year’s campaign, but a promise to the American people that Republicans plan to fulfill.
“As we start the repeal process,” he said, “I think it’s important that we remind the American people how this law has failed. Every one of us — every Member of Congress — knows thousands of people in our districts who lost the health care that they like. It’s been devastating to health care. It’s been devastating to families. And it is costing jobs. Every small business owner tells me when I go back home that the biggest impediment to hiring people are the rules and regulations coming out of Washington, starting with Obamacare.
“So I think it’s important that we first remind everybody just why we’re doing it. This isn’t just about some campaign pledge. We pledged it because the law is not working. The president built this thing on a whole bunch of broken promises, none of which have been fulfilled. It’s time we actually fulfill a promise in Washington, and that is to first repeal the law and then start putting in elements to replace it.”
Scalise noted that the groundwork for repealing and replacing Obamacare has already been laid by Republicans in the House.
“When I was Chairman of the Republican Study Committee,” he said, “we put together an alternative with medical doctors in Congress. I asked Phil Roe, who’s a medical doctor, to lead that effort when I was RSC Chairman. But I also pulled in some other people, including this doctor from Georgia named Tom Price. Tom Price was part of that bill, and, of course, Tom has put legislation forward himself that include really good, patient-centered reforms. There could be no better HHS secretary coming in at this time in our country’s history than Tom Price.”
According to Scalise, the change in HHS leadership is long overdue.
“You’ve got a lot of power in that office that has not been used to the benefit of people and families that actually buy health care plans,” he observed. “When [Secretary Kathleen] Sebelius was before the Energy and Commerce Committee right after Obamacare started taking effect, I asked her a question. I had reached out to my constituents and asked them to tell me about their experiences with the law. And I started getting flooded with cancellation notices — people who told me they lost the good healthcare that they had.
“So I said: ‘Madam Secretary, you promised people — and the President promised people — that if they like what they have they could keep it. Here are real people who lost their plans. What do you tell those people who believed you?’ And she said, ‘I would tell them they had a lousy plan.’ It was the most condescending thing that you could ever imagine. Because as HHS Secretary, she had the power to define what is an eligible plan that you can buy. That power now falls into the hands of soon-to-be HHS Secretary Price, who understands as a doctor what a patient-centered plan is supposed to look like.”
Scalise concluded his remarks by recalling the recent meeting that House Republicans had with the Vice President-elect, and why he remains so optimistic about the historic opportunity facing Republicans – and all Americans – this year.
“When Vice President-elect Pence came back to our conference just a few days ago, he said that the three things President-elect Trump is focused on are jobs, jobs and jobs,” Scalise stated. “And that means getting the economy back on track, starting with Obamacare. Right behind it, we’re going to move on tax reform. And there’s already a lot of movement. The Ways & Means Committee has been very actively engaged in how to make our country competitive again — which we’re not. We’ve got the highest industrial tax rate in the world. There are a lot of really good ideas that are being bounced around that we’re going to be able to move on quickly. To be able to move a lot of these big ideas and get these bills on the President’s desk in the first few months of his Administration is going to have an incredibly positive effect on the economy.
“You’re already seeing the economy react in really positive ways. And that’s what it’s all about. It’s about helping rebuild the middle class. It’s about helping create opportunities for people who don’t have them. We’re excited about it because it’s been a long time coming. We know there’s a lot of work that’s going to be involved in making it happen. But as you can see from our schedule, we’ve already gotten started and there’s no slowing down. I’m excited about where we are. I’ve never been more excited about the prospects for our country since I’ve been in public office.”
To view the remarks of Majority Whip Scalise before The Ripon Society yesterday morning, please click on the link below:
The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.