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Senate Proceeding on Feb 2nd, 2011 :: 5:49:35 to 6:06:05
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David Vitter

5:49:32 to 5:49:52( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: continue to do a good job for the next 75 years. with that, would yield the floor. mr. vitter: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: thank you, mr. president. i rise in strong support. mcconnell amendment 13 that would completely repeal president obama's, in my view, unconstitutional health care bill.

David Vitter

5:49:35 to 6:06:05( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: David Vitter

David Vitter

5:49:53 to 5:50:14( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: of course i was an active participant in the debate in the last congress about obamacare and fought that tooth and nail. the day after it passed into law, i introduced a freestanding measure to repeal it completely. the first day of this new congress that i could file bills, i reintroduced that measure.

David Vitter

5:50:15 to 5:50:35( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: and of course, for all those reasons, certainly support this amendment that accomplishes that important goal. let me begin by responding to my distinguished colleague from vermont's suggestion. everybody who wants to repeal this law, including me, we don't want to do away with the idea

David Vitter

5:50:36 to 5:50:56( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: that you shouldn't be shoved off insurance because of preexisting conditions. you shouldn't have portability. you shouldn't be able to meet those obligations. we don't think that at all. we are, however, for complete repeal for a very simple reason. what's wrong with this bill, what's wrong with obamacare

David Vitter

5:50:57 to 5:51:18( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: isn't one detail here and one comma there. is isn't at the periphery of the plan. it's at the heart of the plan. it's the essentials. it's the core of the plan. we can and should and must pass significant reforms like protection for individuals with preexisting conditions.

David Vitter

5:51:19 to 5:51:39( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: that's why we have introduced those measures. we have advocated those measures in a targeted way. that doesn't mean we can or should or must preserve the whole of obamacare which has significant problems at the core

David Vitter

5:51:40 to 5:52:00( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: of that tkpwar -- gargantuan bill. let me mention four of those core problems from my point of view. first is maybe most fundamental, most basic; that is there are important elements at the core of obamacare that are flat-out unconstitutional. and even if they weren't

David Vitter

5:52:01 to 5:52:22( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: unconstitutional, they would be unwise because they are a dramatic expansion of the power and role and authority of the federal government. the most obvious is an absolute mandate in the bill. a mandate from your federal government that every man, woman, and child in the united states must buy health insurance.

David Vitter

5:52:23 to 5:52:44( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: now this is unprecedented. there has never been a mandate like that from the federal government or any level of government. there's never been this forced purchasing of a product in the private marketplace. some people bring up the comparison with car insurance, but that's not a close comparison at all. because at the state level,

David Vitter

5:52:45 to 5:53:05( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: that's not a forced mandate. that is simply saying if you want the right, the privilege of driving a car, which is not some constitutional guaranteed right, then part of the deal is you have to cover the damages from any accident. so that's not a good comparison. so this absolute mandate that

David Vitter

5:53:06 to 5:53:29( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: every man, woman and child in the united states go out and purchase health insurance, purchase a product in the private marketplace is unprecedented. and for that reason, it is unconstitutional. and it's an unprecedented expansion of the power and role and authority of the federal government.

David Vitter

5:53:30 to 5:53:50( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: in the last few days there have been hearings, quite late to the hour but there have been hearings in the senate in committees about the constutionality or unconstutionality of obamacare. of course this central question came up. i found the response of some of the witnesses at the hearings

David Vitter

5:53:51 to 5:54:11( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: who favored obamacare, were advocates for obamacare pretty startling on this point. one senator in the committee asked them, well, if we can mandate constitutionally that every american man, woman and child buy health insurance, why can't we pass a law that says obesity is a real problem in

David Vitter

5:54:12 to 5:54:32( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: this country, which it is? and, therefore, we're going to mandate that every man, woman, and child in america eat certain vegetables and certain healthy foods every day. you know what the response was from this advocate of obamacare? well, i don't think you can mandate that they eat the food.

David Vitter

5:54:33 to 5:54:54( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: you can only mandate that they buy the food. great. real reassuring. to me, that's not an argument for the constutionality of obamacare. that's a clear argument for the unconstutionality and danger of the obamacare federal power overreach.

David Vitter

5:54:55 to 5:55:15( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: there are many other aspects of obama care which also pose serious constitutional problems. my point is that these are big problems, and they aren't minor details which we can tweak with amendments. they go to the heart of this gargantuan bill.

David Vitter

5:55:16 to 5:55:37( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: similarly is the dramatic expansion of government and the cost of that expansion. instead of controlling and lowering health care costs, obamacare is expanding government and expanding health care costs. the senate budget committee estimates the bill will cost

David Vitter

5:55:38 to 5:55:58( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: $2.6 billion for the first ten years of full implementation of all of that new spending doesn't lower health care costs, and there are multiple sources affirming that. yet, president obama continues to claim that the act will -- quote -- "slow these rising costs." maybe he didn't see the c.m.s.'s

David Vitter

5:55:59 to 5:56:20( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: chief actuary richard foster who said overall national health insurance -- excuse me. overall national health expenditures will increase by a total of $311 billion over the next ten years under the law. and when the c.m.s. actuary was asked directly if president obama's health care bill would

David Vitter

5:56:21 to 5:56:41( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: hold down unsustainable medical costs, just last week that actuary replied -- quote -- "i would say false close quote. last year the c.b.o. also confirmed our concerns about the bill's inability to contain costs, stating -- quote -- "in c.b.o.'s judgment, the health legislation enacted earlier this

David Vitter

5:56:42 to 5:57:03( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: year does not substantially diminish that pressure." close quote. in addition, increased costs for the government and present and future taxpayers, health insurance premiums will increase for americans and their families. in fact, the c.b.o. estimated the premiums will increase by $2,100 even though at least

David Vitter

5:57:04 to 5:57:25( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: candidate obama promised to lower premiums by $2,500 per family. so that big expansion of government and costs, and health care costs including taxes and partly cloudy premiums, is another -- taxes and health care premiums is another big problem.

David Vitter

5:57:26 to 5:57:48( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: this isn't a minor detail which we can fix with a perfecting amendment, a few tweaks to the bill. this goes to the core of the entire plan. another fundamental issue which goes to the core of the entire plan is the fact -- and i think it is a well-established fact -- that the obamacare plan will

David Vitter

5:57:49 to 5:58:10( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: cost us not just money, not just increased taxes, not just increased health insurance premiums, will cost us jobs. that should also be worrisome, but it should be particularly worrisome as we stand here today and debate this in a horrible economy, as we're trying to come out of the worst recession since

David Vitter

5:58:11 to 5:58:32( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: the great depression of the 1930's. again, this isn't just any period of time. this is a time of prolonged historic unemployment. and this bill costs us jobs. and this absolutely debt mates job create. the bill taxes jobs, places more

David Vitter

5:58:33 to 5:58:54( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: burdens on job creators. the national federation of independent businesses, representing thousands of american small businesses, including many in louisiana -- my home state -- said that -- quote -- "if new taxes, new mandates and government programs in ppaca -- that's the obamacare bill -- remain intact, the law

David Vitter

5:58:55 to 5:59:16( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: will stifle the ability to hire, grow and invest." close quote. in addition to the often discussed 1099 paperwork nightmare for small business, the bill also includes a pay or play mandate on job creators. this complicated new tax penalty imposes a tax on businesses with more than 50 workers if they do

David Vitter

5:59:17 to 5:59:37( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: not offer coverage or do offer coverage by workers elect to decline that benefit. again, this is a fundamental problem with the bill that goes to the heart of the bill, not the periphery. now, this aspect of the bill

David Vitter

5:59:38 to 5:59:58( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: will have many dire consequences. first, because the $2,000 penalty for not offering insurance is less than the 6,100 average employer benefit contribution, businesses are actually given an incentive to drop coverage, so there is a concrete money incentive, a

David Vitter

5:59:59 to 6:00:20( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: major money incentive for businesses to drop coverage and actually push workers off good coverage. many have right now. second, businesses that are able to grow and hire more workers may choose not create jobs and to stay under the 50-employee

David Vitter

6:00:21 to 6:00:42( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: threshold to avoid all of these disincentives and difficulties. because of all this the nonpartisan congressional budget office concluded that the bill -- quote -- "will encourage some people to work fewer hours or to withdraw from the labor market" -- close quote, and it said -- quote -- "on net, it will reduce

David Vitter

6:00:43 to 6:01:04( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: the amount of labor used in the economy" -- close quote. now, is that what we want to encourage in any economy?, but particularly in a horribly down comirks we're trying to come out of the worst recession since the great depression, and do we want to reduce labor opportunity in our economy?

David Vitter

6:01:05 to 6:01:25( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: these are stunging conclusions that so many of us warned against during the debate, conclusions that the majority of americans feel. taxing american job creation, sticking business with more government compliance requirement and cost is absolutely the wrong approach,

David Vitter

6:01:26 to 6:01:47( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: particularly in a down economy. finally, madam president, there is another concern that i share with so many others in this body that, again, goes to the heart of the bill. it's not a minor detail. it's not something that we can solve with a perfecting amendment. it is not at the per river re,

David Vitter

6:01:48 to 6:02:10( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: it is not changing a comma, changing a sentence. it is at the heart of the bill. and that is that the bill contains, at its heart, over $500 billion in medicare cuts. yes, over half a trillion dollar cut to medicare. and these cuts aren't invested

David Vitter

6:02:11 to 6:02:31( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: back in medicare. they don't help medicare stay solvent. they don't help medicare survive solvent for longer. they don't help fix the looming medicare challenge. they're stolen from medicare to pay for brand-new stuff for other people in obama care.

David Vitter

6:02:32 to 6:02:52( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: these medicare cuts directly impact seniors, and one study shows that the massive cuts to medicare advantage will hit louisiana seniors particularly hard. a study by the heritage foundation shows that louisiana seniors enrolled in medicare advantage plans lose more than any other state in the nation because of the obama health bill.

David Vitter

6:02:53 to 6:03:13( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: the report says that projected enrollment in medicare advantage will drop by over 125,000 louisianans, 62%. benefits will be cut by $5,000 per beneficiary. so this bill takes away benefits and choices for seniors, not to

David Vitter

6:03:14 to 6:03:34( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: fix medicare, not to preserve medicare, not to preserve its solvency for longer, but steals it from medicare, steals it from seniors for brand-new purposes for other folks. and this directly contradicts the president's promise that -- quote -- "if you like what you had, you can keep it" -- close quote.

David Vitter

6:03:35 to 6:03:55( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: no, you can't, mr. president. thousands of louisiana seniors can't. in fact, c.m.s.'s chief actuary also verified that the promise will be broken, confirming that americans may lose their current health care coverage regardless if they want to keep it or not. so, madam president, i respond

David Vitter

6:03:56 to 6:04:17( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: directly to my friend and colleague from vermont by saying, we want full repeal of obama care for a very simple reason: the big problems with the bill, the big problems with the plan aren't at the margin, they're at the core. and the big problems can't be fixed with a perfecting

David Vitter

6:04:18 to 6:04:39( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: amendment, the changing of a comma, changing punctuation, revising one or two or five or ten sentences. the big problems are at the core of the plan, starting with the mandate from the federal government, unprecedented, that every man, woman, and child in america needs to go into the

David Vitter

6:04:40 to 6:05:01( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: market and buy a particular product. that's why we demand repeal. that's why we'll continue to pursue repeal until it hangars and that's why -- until it happens, and that's why we'll replace this huge, burdensome bill with targeted reforms like protecting folks with

David Vitter

6:05:02 to 6:05:24( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: preexisting conditions, like reimportation, generics reform and other measures to reduce prescription drug prices, like allowing american citizens to shop for health insurance across state lines and to pool together through their small businesses, through other means, through association health plans. thank you, madam chair. with that, i urge all of my

David Vitter

6:05:25 to 6:05:48( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: colleagues to come together. let's repeal this really problematic plan, and let's start anew with focused, targeted reforms that the american people have been asking for. madam president, i yield the floor. madam presi absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the

David Vitter

6:05:49 to 6:05:54( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: clerk will call the roll.

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