In End-of-Year Remarks on Senate Floor, Shaheen Calls Out Republican Leadership for Prioritizing Partisan Tax Bill Over Needs of the Middle Class
(Washington, DC) — Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) spoke on the Senate floor about Congressional Republican leadership’s dangerous and callous decision to prioritize partisan politics over the needs of the middle class. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the tax bill’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate means nearly 13 million fewer Americans will have health coverage. Shaheen also pointed out that Republican leadership has failed to enact long-term reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Community Health Centers program and the Special Diabetes Program, risking healthcare coverage for 9 million children, 25 million Americans and 1.25 million Americans living with type 1 diabetes, respectively.
During her remarks, Shaheen also argued that Republican leadership missed an important opportunity to address the nation’s severe opioid epidemic. Shaheen argued for a strong federal response, noting, “Just this week, we learned from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that because of soaring overdose mortality rates, life expectancy in the United States has declined for the second year in a row… 63,000 died from overdoses in 2016. 63,000 people. If we were losing that many people to a war in the Middle East, there would be an outcry in this country. I want to know where the outcry is and when is this body going to act?”
She continued, “On Tuesday, the University of New Hampshire released a study that cited a fivefold increase over the past decade in our state on babies that were born addicted because of their parent’s substance use disorders. And yet in the face of this uncontrolled national public health emergency, the majority has once again failed to find appropriate funding.”
Shaheen urged her colleagues to return to bipartisanship and address the needs of working Americans, saying, “In the new year ahead, I hope to work with Senators on both sides of the aisle to address these urgent needs. The American people deserve better than this legislation. They also deserve a Senate that values bipartisanship, cooperation and compromise in the service of all Americans, not just our largest corporations and the wealthiest in this country.”