Clyburn Floor Statement On Keeping Government Open And Premanently Funding CHIP

Jan 18, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. House Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn (SC) delivered the following statement today (as prepared for delivery):

“Mr. Speaker, Republicans control the House, the Senate and the White House.  The responsibility to govern rests squarely on their shoulders.  Democrats stand ready to keep government open, but neither Speaker Ryan nor Leader McConnell seem interested in finding bipartisan solutions.  Maybe they are adhering to President Trump’s admonition that we need a ‘good government shutdown.’ 

“House Democrats wholeheartedly disagree. We ought to work together in a bipartisan way to help our veterans, to fight the opioid epidemic, to protect millions of workers’ pensions and to help the DREAMers.

“Today’s CR is the fourth kick of the can.  Once again Republicans are engaging in legislative sleight of hand, shamefully using low-income children as political pawns. 

“The Children’s Health Insurance Program provides health insurance for 9 million low-income children.  Every Democratic Member of this body supports it. 

“Republicans allowed it to expire more than four months ago and have refused to bring it up on its own until they could get something in return.  That is wrong.  What good is health insurance if you have nowhere to go when your child is sick?  Republicans leave Community Health Centers and Disproportionate Share Hospitals out of their temporary authorization.

“Mr. Speaker, we would save $6 billion if we permanently authorize CHIP.  We should fund Community Health Centers and protect Disproportionate Share Hospitals for two years. We should permanently repeal the cap on therapy services for seniors in Medicare.  We should fund the highly successful home visiting program for five years.

“We could do all of that by passing Representative Donald McEachin’s ‘Advancing Seniors and Kids Act.’  I urge my Republican colleagues to stop playing politics with CHIP.  Reject this grotesque political calculation, and let’s work in a bipartisan way to keep government open.”