Hello, I’m United States Sen. Scott Brown from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
When the people of my state elected me in January, they sent more than a senator to Washington – they sent a message. Across party lines, the voters told politicians in Washington to get its priorities right.
And from my travels and conversation with people throughout this country, they told me that they want their president and Congress to focus on creating jobs and reviving America’s economy. Instead, for more than a year now, we have seen a bitter, destructive and endless drive to completely transform America’s healthcare system.
In January of last year, unemployment hit 7.2% and our economy was hurting badly. But, early in President Obama’s term, he and the Democratic leadership of Congress made takeover of healthcare their first priority.
Today, times are even tougher across our nation when it comes to our economy. Nearly one in 10 Americans are still out of work. And still, the president and Congress are focused on ramming through their healthcare bill, whatever it takes, whatever the cost.
Maybe you remember what President Obama promised in his State of the Union address. He said....
...he was going to finally focus on jobs and the economy for the remainder of this year. I applauded him for that. Well, here it is, it’s almost spring. And what is he out there talking about again? That same 2,700-page, multi-trillion dollar healthcare legislation.
So, an entire year has gone to waste. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, and many more jobs are in danger. Even now, the president still hasn't gotten the message.
Somehow, the greater the public opposition to the healthcare bill, the more determined they seem to force it on us anyway. Their attitude shows Washington at its very worst – the presumption that they know best, and they’re going to get their way whether the American people like it or not.
And, when politicians start thinking like that, they don’t let anything get in their way – not public opinion, not the rules of fair play, not even their own promises.
They pledged transparency. Instead, we have a healthcare bill tainted by secrecy, concealed cost, and full of backroom deals – and that’s just not right. They should do better. The American people expect more.
They pledged a true bipartisan effort. Instead, they have resorted to bending the rules, and they now intend to seize control of healthcare in America on a strict party-line vote.
In speech after speech on his healthcare plan, the president has tried to convince us that what he is proposing will be good for America. But, how can it be good for America if it raises taxes by a half-trillion dollars and costs a trillion dollars or more to implement? In addition, how can it be good if it takes another half a trillion dollars away from seniors on Medicare, and still includes all the backroom deals you have been hearing about for months?
Well, for the past year or more, the new establishment in Washington has tried again and again to sell this plan to the American people. But the Americans aren't buying it, and for good reason.
And now, what’s going on is a last, desperate power play. They actually tell us that passing the bill is necessary, if only to prove that something can get done in Washington.
Well, I haven’t been here very long, but I can tell you this much already: Nothing has distracted the attention and energy of the nation’s capital more than this disastrous detour. And, the surest way to return to the people’s business is to listen to the people themselves:
We need to drop this whole scheme of federally controlled healthcare, start over, and work together on real reforms at the state level that will contain costs and won’t leave America trillions of dollars deeper in debt.
This, above all, was the message that the people of my state sent to the president and the Congress in the election over a month ago.
You know some of my Democratic colleagues, you know, are being leaned on mighty hard right now. Speaker Pelosi and others are handing down their marching orders, telling them to vote for this bill no matter what.
Rarely have elected leaders been so intent on defying the public will. For many members of Congress, the time for choosing is near – do what the party leadership demands, or do what the people have asked you to do. If my colleagues don’t mind some advice from a newcomer, I’d suggest going with the will of the people.
After all, from the very beginning of this debate, the American people have called it correctly. In every part of the country, Republicans and Democrats have agreed on serious, straightforward, commonsense healthcare reform. They expect us in Washington to do the same – working together, acting fairly and by the rules, and staying focused on the need to make the American economy as strong as it can be.
That is the business that brought me here on an unexpected journey to Washington. And, it’s the responsibility of everyone sent here to serve our country. We can do better – and I challenge my colleagues and the president to do just that. I’m Sen. Scott Brown and thank you very much for listening. ###