Washington, D.C.–Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the Republican plan to end Medicare. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
For weeks, Americans old and young have been speaking out against the Republican plan to kill Medicare.
It’s not just Democrats. Republicans have been speaking out against it, too. Newt Gingrich called it a radical plan and “right-wing social engineering.” Several Republican Senators have similarly spoken out, calling it what it is: a plan that would shatter a cornerstone of our society and break our promise to the elderly and the sick.
Last night, though, the most important voices were heard: American voters had their first chance to do something about it. They went to the polls and resoundingly rejected that plan, and the candidate who ran on the promise to dismantle Medicare.
In a special Congressional election in upstate New York, the Republican plan to kill Medicare was the number-one issue. It’s what the voters most cared about – and were most scared about. As well they should be.
Here’s what it would do: It would turn over seniors’ health to profit-hungry insurance companies. It would let bureaucrats decide what tests and treatments seniors get. And it would ask seniors to pay more for their health care in exchange for fewer benefits. That’s a bad deal all around.
What’s telling is not just that voters rejected this plan. It’s that the Republican candidate pushing the Republican plan to kill Medicare was rejected in a very Republican district.
The district, which stretches from Buffalo to Rochester, has been in Republican hands for four decades. It’s produced influential Republicans like Jack Kemp, who served in Congress, the Cabinet and ran on a Presidential ticket. Last night’s special election was held to replace a Republican congressman who had won his seat by a 3-to-1 margin.
John McCain won the district in 2008. George W. Bush won the district four years earlier. Last year’s Republican candidate for Governor in New York lost in a landslide – but he won big in this district. That’s how conservative it is.
Democrats in Congress – and even some candid Republicans – know the Republican plan to kill Medicare is irresponsible and indefensible. Last night, voters showed the country and the Congress they know it, too.