Washington, DC— Nevada Senator Harry Reid delivered the following remarks this afternoon to President Obama and the House Democratic Caucus to reaffirm Senate support for a simple up-or-down vote on health reform. Attached to this release are the contents of a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi from a majority of Senators expressing that same support. Below are Senator Reid’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
“We’ve spent the last year discussing, debating, drafting and re-drafting.
“This is no longer a question of whether reforming our health care system is necessary. It is no longer a question of whether this bill is an enormous, positive first step in the right direction.
“With the lives and livelihoods of millions on the line, the question is whether Senators and Congressmen will choose to stand on the side of the American people, or with the insurance industry responsible for this crisis.
“It’s about whether you will fight for insurance company profits, or for families’ peace of mind.
“The question is whether you want to raise health care costs and the deficit, or whether you want to lower health care costs and the deficit.
“And whether you want to pretend this is about Senate procedure, or admit it is about struggling people.
“The question is whether you want to protect our broken health care system, or fix it.
“The most sweeping changes to Americans’ health care will be law in a matter of days. We need a simple majority to make that good law even better.
“So I am happy to announce I have the commitment of a significant majority of the U.S. Senate to make that good law even better.
“The country has needed health reform for generations. This Congress has been focused on it for the entire past year. History will show it to be one of the most important years in our history – ending with one of the most historic accomplishments Congress has ever produced.
“Mr. President, you have asked us to send you a bill that will improve the health of millions of Americans and the health of our economy. We will.
“Mr. President, I know you know basketball – you are a big fan – and I know many are fixated on the national college basketball tournament.
“So, Mr. President, we’re in the last minute of play. The shot clock is turned off. The other side knows what the outcome will be. So they’re trying to foul us – and foul us – and foul us again – just to keep the clock from reading zero.
“They’re not just delaying the inevitable. They’re delaying the imperative.
“But every time they foul, we’ll keep hitting our shots. We’ll overcome every obstacle they throw in our way – just as we have for an entire year.
“And soon, when the buzzer finally sounds, there will be a clear winner: the American people.”
Click here to download a PDF of the letter.