In remarks on the floor of the United States Senate today, Sept. 30, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren addressed House Republicans’ irresponsible threats to shut down the government and steps to deny women access to contraception and affordable health care.
She urged House Republicans to stop their assault on orderly functioning of our government and economy, to keep the government open, and to address the impact of drastic spending cuts from the sequester on families across the country.
“With millions of people still out of work, with an economic recovery that is still far too fragile, with students and families being crushed by student loan debt, with millions of seniors denied one hot meal a day with Meals on Wheels and millions of little children pushed out of Head start because of a sequester that is dragging down the middle class, with the country hours away from a government shutdown and days away from a potential default on the nation’s debt, the Republicans have decided that the single most important issue facing our nation is to change the law so that employers can deny women access birth control coverage. In fact, letting employers decide whether women can get birth control covered on their insurance plans is SO important that the Republicans are willing to shutter the government and potentially tank the economy. Over whether women can access birth control coverage. In the year 2013. Not the year 1913—the year 2013.”
“We should be having a real debate about our budget – because we have real problems to solve. Earlier this year, automatic, across-the board cuts went into effect throughout the federal government,” said Warren. “More than a thousand employees at Westover Air Force Base and Barnes Air National Guard Base in Western Massachusetts are facing furloughs. This fall, more than 2,000 Massachusetts kids couldn’t get into Head Start because of cuts, and the Head Start program in Billerica will close completely at the end of this year. Federal workers across our state stand to lose as much as 30 percent of their salaries. Every one of those losses will tighten family budgets.”
The Senator also addressed Republicans’ various, ongoing attempts to shut down the government unless the President agrees to gut the Affordable Care Act. “The threats may continue, but they are not working. And they will never work,” said Warren. “Because this is a democracy. And in a democracy, hostage tactics are the last resort for those who can’t otherwise win their fights through elections, can’t win their fights in Congress, can’t win their fights for the Presidency, and can’t win their fights in Courts. For this right-wing minority, hostage-taking is all they have left – a last gasp of those who cannot cope with the realities of our democracy.”