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Senate Proceeding on Apr 13th, 2011 :: 6:51:15 to 7:15:20
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Tom Harkin

6:51:15 to 7:15:20( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Tom Harkin

Tom Harkin

6:51:27 to 6:51:47( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: thank y mr. harkin: -- madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. harkin: i ask that megan cheney be granted floor privileges today's session much. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. harkin: madam president, the senate will have before it today

Tom Harkin

6:51:48 to 6:52:08( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: or tomorrow, depending upon the flow around here, two very misguided bills. this will come about on our -- when we have our budget come up for a vote here under an agreement to get that budget up, we're going to have a vote on two separate bills.

Tom Harkin

6:52:09 to 6:52:31( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: one bill would totally repeal and defund the -- the affordable care act, the health reform bill that we passed. the other one would prevent funding for planned parenthood. so i want to take a few minutes here on the floor of the senate to speak about how misguided these two bills are. first, let me talk about the

Tom Harkin

6:52:32 to 6:52:53( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: bill that would defund the affordable care act. this bill that we would be voting on will prohibit any funds appropriated this year and any funds appropriated in any prior year from being used to carry out the affordable care act. this would remove the engine from health care reform when the train is steaming down the

Tom Harkin

6:52:54 to 6:53:16( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: track. so, again, why are we voting on this? the reason is that republicans have tried a frontal assault on the affordable care act, a debate on the merits, and they failed. this body voted down senator mcconnell's amendment to the f.a.a. authorization bill that

Tom Harkin

6:53:17 to 6:53:38( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: would have repealed health reform in its entirety. i guess what you can't do directly you try to do indirectly. so now the republicans are trying to undermine health reform by other means so it's just defunding it. well, this strategy only makes sense if you're absolutely obsessed -- obsessed with

Tom Harkin

6:53:39 to 6:54:01( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: tearing down health reform. make no mistake about it this bill is the equivalent of repeal. by depriving the bill of all funding it would turn back the clock on all that we have accomplished over the past year. it would take us back to the bad old days when insurance companies were in the driver's seat telling what you kind of health care you're entitled to

Tom Harkin

6:54:02 to 6:54:27( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: and when you're entitled to it. instead of protecting all americans against arbitrary limits on coverage repeals would take us back to the days when insurance companies could turn off your coverage just when you're the sickest. that would hurt families like the grassoffs from texas who testified before my committee earlier this year. they were unable to find coverage that would pay for

Tom Harkin

6:54:36 to 6:54:57( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: hemophilia treatment. repeal would make them fend for themselves in a chaotic market that offers too little coverage for too much money. that would hurt folks like emily shlitin, who suffers from a rare auto immune disorder that would make her uninsurable in the bad old days.

Tom Harkin

6:54:58 to 6:55:19( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: because of the affordable care act, she's able to stay on her parents' policy until she's 26. again, in a "help" committee hearing in january this is emily, a wonderful young woman. she said young people are the future of this country and we are the most affected by the reform. we're the generation that is most uninsured.

Tom Harkin

6:55:20 to 6:55:41( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: we need the affordable care act because it is literally an investment in the future of this country. it would hurt folks like carole in anthony, iowa, whose 19-year-old daughter was diagnosed with type i diabetes four years ago. thanks to the affordable care act carole doesn't have to worry

Tom Harkin

6:55:42 to 6:56:05( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: about her daughter's preexisting condition disqualifying her from coverage and she can stay on her parents' health insurance coverage after college. carole also doesn't have to worry about the cost of her tawr's care running up a lifetime cap that would be imposed by an insurance company. health reform banned those limits.

Tom Harkin

6:56:06 to 6:56:26( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: carole wrote me nice letter saying thank you. on behalf of those americans who have preexisting condition conditions like heart disease or diabetes, from denial of coverage, repeal would put insurance companies back in the driver's seat picking and choosing who t instead of helping small businesses struggling in this

Tom Harkin

6:56:27 to 6:56:49( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: recession with the cost of insurance premiums, repeal of the affordable care act would take away $40 billion in tax credits that reduced premiums for small businesses. instead of helping all americans prevent illness or disease by providing free preventive services like mammograms an colonoscopies, repeal would

Tom Harkin

6:56:50 to 6:57:10( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: allow insurers to charge expensive co-pays for these important services, thus discouraging people from getting colonoscopies or mammogram screenings. if we pass this bill, this bill to defund the affordable care act, congress will turn its back

Tom Harkin

6:57:11 to 6:57:33( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: on america's seniors after hard-won improvements in medicare benefits and damaging the program's fiscal health. it would open the medicare part-d doughnut hole exposing seniors to the full cost of drugs when they need the most assistance. repealing the affordable care act would drug prices on average by more

Tom Harkin

6:57:34 to 6:57:54( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: than $800 this year and $3,500 over the next 10 years. it would roll back the unprecedented investment the affordable care act makes in medicare fraud prevention turning back the affordable care act would hurt seniors's access to rural areas by eliminating

Tom Harkin

6:57:55 to 6:58:15( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: incentive participates in the affordable care act paid to rural pri repealing or defunding, as this bill would do, defunding the affordable care act, would roll back improvements to medicare payment policy, coordination an efficiency that extend the life of medicare trust fund by over a

Tom Harkin

6:58:16 to 6:58:37( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: decade. in addition, madam president, secretary sebelius informed us that payment to medicare providers would be interrupted by this bill which, again, will defund the finally, we've come foort of this debate that even -- to the

Tom Harkin

6:58:38 to 6:58:58( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: part of this debate that alice in wonderland would have a tough time understanding. the washington stage has played this over the last few weeks making great solemn speeches to the balconies and the audiences about the deficit and the debt. but as a condition for agreeing to fund the government for the

Tom Harkin

6:58:59 to 6:59:22( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: remainder of this year, what are they demanding? they want to defund and thus repeal the affordable care act, one of the best and biggest d reducing measures in decades.

Tom Harkin

6:59:23 to 6:59:43( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: it reduces more than a trillion. here's a chart that shows that. in the next 10 years, according to the congressional budget office, the affordable care act will reduce the defici by $210 billion. therefore, if you repeal it, you would increase the difficult

Tom Harkin

6:59:44 to 7:00:05( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: by $210 billion. here's where the real savings comes. the congressional budget office says that the affordable care act will reduce the deficit by $1 trillion. so if you defund it, as this bill would do, you will increase the deaf si by $1 -- deficit by $1 trillion. that's what the republicans want.

Tom Harkin

7:00:06 to 7:00:26( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: they want to absolutely increase the deficit. they must because they want to do away with the affordable care act. so let me get this straight. the republicans are proposing to reduce the deficit by increasing the deficits.

Tom Harkin

7:00:27 to 7:00:48( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: as i said, somehow i have a feeling when i hear that we're not in kansas any longer. this is alice in wonderland kind of thinking. so, madam president, we have to stop the silly games. this debate, this debate isn't about deficit reduction. it's about tearing down health reform, no matter what, no

Tom Harkin

7:00:49 to 7:01:09( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: matter if it does increase the deficit, get rid of it, get rid of health care reform. it's about giving control back to wealthy, powerful health insurance companies who can raise your rates, deny you benefits and make increasingly more profits.

Tom Harkin

7:01:10 to 7:01:30( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: nothing makes the nature of the agenda of my friends on the republican side more clear than the 2012 proposed budget released by the republican house budget committee chairman last week. the republican budget plan is very simply a massive transfer of wealth.

Tom Harkin

7:01:31 to 7:01:52( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: a massive transfer of wealth from low and middle-income americans to the wealthiest in our two-thirds, two-thirds of the budget savings in the republican budget proposal come from drastically cutting programs that serve those with modest means, while permanently

Tom Harkin

7:01:53 to 7:02:14( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: extending president bush's tax cuts for the rich. and how is this massive wealth shift paid for? well, they would repeal the majority of the affordable care act, taking coverage away for more than 32 million americans who would be covered under current law.

Tom Harkin

7:02:15 to 7:02:36( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: starting in 2022, the republican budget proposal eliminates medicare as we know it, turning over the program to private health insurance companies. instead of enrolling seniors in medicare, the republicans' plan would give them a voucher to go out and buy private insurance

Tom Harkin

7:02:37 to 7:02:58( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: coverage on the open market. and since the voucher would not keep up with rising medical costs, seniors would equal further and further behind. the congressional budget office has said that this would more than double, more than double out-of-pocket costs for seniors entering the program in 2022,

Tom Harkin

7:02:59 to 7:03:22( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: would triple the costs by 2030. and where would that money go? to the private health insurance industry. well, that sounds kind of familiar, doesn't it? the republicans' obsession, obsession with repealing the new health reform law is not based on budgetary considerations.

Tom Harkin

7:03:23 to 7:03:44( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: it's based strictly on ideology. in 1965, president johnson and this congress passed medicare, ensuring seniors' access to decent health care. republicans fought it bitterly then. 45 years later, they're still trying to undo it, and here they go again.

Tom Harkin

7:03:45 to 7:04:06( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: so the choice before us is to go forward or to be dragged backward. let us come together as a united american people, create a reformed health care system that works not just for the healthy and the wealthy, but for all americans. madam preside second bill that we will be

Tom Harkin

7:04:07 to 7:04:28( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: voting on in conjunction with the budget. the republicans insisted on this in order to have a vote on the budget. it is as equally misguided and as dangerous, i think, as the other bill. this second bill would prohibit, prohibit a law-abiding and

Tom Harkin

7:04:29 to 7:04:51( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: extraordinarily successful organization from participating in fair competion for federal funding. this entity would, of course, be planned parenthood. now, again, let's be clear what this bill is not about. it's not about the need to prevent federal funds from being

Tom Harkin

7:04:52 to 7:05:13( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: used to pay for abortions. long-standing rules under the title 10 program already strictly prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars to fund abortions. what's more, every appropriations bill for the last two decades has stated that no funds can be used for any abortion. well, madam president, this bill

Tom Harkin

7:05:14 to 7:05:34( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: is not about abortion. it is about banning, banning a specific organization from even competing for simply because some people don't agree with that organization. this would create a very disturbing and dangerous precedent.

Tom Harkin

7:05:35 to 7:05:55( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: when congress creates a program, it typically specifies rules or criteria for participation in that program. anyone who -- or any organization who agrees to play by these rules and criteria is eligible to compete.

Tom Harkin

7:05:56 to 7:06:16( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: planned parenthood is playing by the rules. that's one reason it is one of the most widely respected health care providers in the united states. of 5.2 million served every year, every year by the title 10 program, one out of three, 31%,

Tom Harkin

7:06:17 to 7:06:37( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: receive care at planned parenthood health centers. now, if someone can show me a specific clinic that isn't following the rules, by all means, take away their funding. that's not what this bill does. this bill says

Tom Harkin

7:06:38 to 7:06:58( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: parenthood as an entity would be banned from even competing to provide services under title 10, despite the fact that they conform to all of the rules of the program. and it doesn't only just b planned parenthood from offering family planning services.

Tom Harkin

7:06:59 to 7:07:22( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: that's one aspect of what planned parenthood does. but this bill would turn away nearly one million women a year who receive cervical cancer screenings through planned parenthood clinical services, as well as 830,000 women every year who get breast exams at planned

Tom Harkin

7:07:23 to 7:07:44( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: parenthood clinical services. it would turn away countless hundreds of thousands of women and men who receive physical exams and immunizations at planned parenthood clinical services. madam president, my office has been deluged by emails and phone

Tom Harkin

7:07:45 to 7:08:05( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: calls from iowans and other americans who oppose this misguided effort to ban planned parenthood from receiving funding under title 10. i stand with them in support of the important services these clinics provide to women and men throughout the country. a constituent of mine writes -- "dear senator harkin, i wanted

Tom Harkin

7:08:06 to 7:08:27( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: to let you know that cutting funds to planned parenthood will jeopardize the lives of many women and some of the men who go there for basic reproductive health screenings. i say this with confidence as planned parenthood was the only clinic i could afford ten years ago to obtain yearly pap smears.

Tom Harkin

7:08:28 to 7:08:50( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: it was planned parenthood that found my cervical cancer and referred me to a specialist for treatment. due to the existence and actions of planned parenthood, i am alive today as a healthy and contributing member of society. i work with undergraduate and graduate students, and several of them have mentioned that planned parenthood was their

Tom Harkin

7:08:51 to 7:09:11( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: only option for affordable screenings. please ensure that government funding will be allocated to planned parenthood. please do not have young or socioeconomically strapped women potentially lose their life over a cancer that is remedied when caught in its early stages." that was the end of her letter.

Tom Harkin

7:09:12 to 7:09:33( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: madam president, we need to listen to voices like this. we need to listen to the women of america who rely on planned parenthood. finally, madam president, i believe this bill goes to the heart of whether we can reach common ground on something we should all agree on, the need to find ways to reduce the need for

Tom Harkin

7:09:34 to 7:09:55( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: abortions in america. now, let me say at the outset, i strongly believe that we must preserve the right of every woman to her own choices that exist under the supreme court's decision in roe v. wade. but to reduce the number of abortions, we must prevent

Tom Harkin

7:09:56 to 7:10:17( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: unwanted pregnancies. just as we must also support women who want to carry their pregnancies to term. that is precisely what title 10 funding accomplishes family planning services at title 10 health centers, including, including planned parenthood, prevent an estimated

Tom Harkin

7:10:18 to 7:10:39( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: 973,000 unintended pregnancies a year. this, in turn, obviates what a woman might turn to in desperation for hundreds of thousands of abortions every year. unfortunately, during the debate on planned parenthood in recent days, we have heard many wild and inaccurate claims about the work of this organization.

Tom Harkin

7:10:40 to 7:11:01( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: on that score, i have always agreed with our former colleague, the late senator pat moynihan, who said that -- quote -- "people are entitled to their own opinions, but they're not entitled to their own facts." well, last distinguished colleague, the junior senator from arizona, stood here on the floor of the

Tom Harkin

7:11:02 to 7:11:23( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: -- quote -- "is well over 90% of what planned parenthood does." end quote. he stated it right here on the senate floor, by the junior senator from of course that is grossly inaccurate. planned parenthood spends the overwhelming majority of its resources keeping women healthy and preventing the need for

Tom Harkin

7:11:24 to 7:11:46( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: abortion in the first place. the fact, the fact, the fact is that just 3% of planned parenthood services are related to abortion. when news organizations ask the office of the senator from arizona for evidence of his claim, a spokesperson bizarrely stated, and i quote -- "his

Tom Harkin

7:11:47 to 7:12:07( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: remark was not intended to be a factual statement." end quote. well, what was it intended to be? madam president, the floor of the senate is not a place for destructive and false assertions, especially when used to argue that an organization should be redlined and singled out for discrimination. for the record, planned

Tom Harkin

7:12:08 to 7:12:28( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: parenthood is one of the most respected women's health organizations in the united states. it courageously defends the right of women in america to make informed, independent decisions about their health and family planning, by providing women with counsel and contraception, planned parenthood prevents countless

Tom Harkin

7:12:29 to 7:12:51( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: unwanted pregnancies and thereby reduces the number of abortions in this country. and, madam president, lest there be any misunderstanding, i intend this as a factual statement. now, let me conclude by making clear that the one certain impact of this bill, if it was passed, will be to increase the

Tom Harkin

7:12:52 to 7:13:12( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: number of abortions in america. this bill would dramatically erode the effectiveness of title 10 in preventing unintended pregnancies, preventing sexually transmitted infections, detecting cancers early, keeping people healthy through quality preventative care. it would have this impact

Tom Harkin

7:13:13 to 7:13:34( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: because this misguided bill would ban, would ban an extraordinarily successful organization, planned parenthood, from providing these services. so on this bill, we have to say no to unintended pregnancies and unnecessary

Tom Harkin

7:13:35 to 7:13:56( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: say no to this misguided and counterpro so, madam this have these two sideline votes. one that would defund the affordable care act and send us back to the bad old days of health insurance companies

Tom Harkin

7:13:57 to 7:14:20( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: deciding who gets what when at insanely big profits to them. secondly, it would ban planned parenthood from even applying, even applying to be a provider of health resources and services to 5.2 million women every year in this country.

Tom Harkin

7:14:21 to 7:14:41( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: so, madam president, i hope that congress, the senate, will rise above these misguided bills, will rise above unfactual assertions made upon the floor of the senate, no matter how they were intended, and will make sure that planned

Tom Harkin

7:14:42 to 7:15:00( Edit History Discussion )

Tom Harkin: parenthood can continue to provide the vital services it does in this country. madam president, i yield the floo a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.

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