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Pelosi Remarks at Press Conference on Introduction of Health Care Legislation

WASHINGTON, July 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Chairman Henry Waxman, Chairman Charles Rangel, Chairman George Miller, Chairman John Dingell and other senior House Democrats held a press conference in the Capitol this afternoon to discuss legislation introduced today by the Tri-Committees on health care reform.

Below are the Speaker's opening remarks and closing statement. A transcript of the entire press conference will be sent later.

On What Health Care Reform Bill Will Do for Americans:

"This bill is a starting point and a path to success. To lower costs to consumers and businesses; to give greater choice to Americans, including keeping your doctor or plan if you like them; better quality of care putting doctors, not insurance companies, back in charge; and to provide stability and peace of mind that you cannot be denied care or coverage for a pre-existing condition."

Speaker Pelosi Opening Remarks:

"Good afternoon. This is indeed a happy day, for today we are introducing historic and transformative legislation that will benefit all Americans -- America's Affordable Health Choices Act. It is a health insurance act for the great middle class of America.

"I'd like to thank our committee chairs for the work they have done to ensure quality, affordability, and accessibility for America's middle class. In doing so, I am joining the praise of the President of the United States and the praise that he heaped upon them earlier today when the bill was filed. I'd like to acknowledge the great work of Chairman Waxman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Chairman Rangel of the Ways and Means Committee, Chairman Miller of the Education and Labor Committee, and to all of their staffs who have worked so hard to make this day possible.

"I especially want to acknowledge Chairman Dingell. I said to Chairman Dingell just before we came in here, 'Are you happy? Isn't this a great day?' He said, 'I'm happy, and my father would be happy, too.' Chairman Dingell, every year in his long service in Congress, has introduced universal health care legislation, and now he is the lead author on this historic legislation that will take us to that place. Thank you Mr. Dingell.

"I'd also like to acknowledge some other members of the leadership who are here. Mr. Hoyer, whom you'll be hearing from later, important leader at organizing and coordinating this effort; Mr. Clyburn, our distinguished Whip; Mr. Larson, the chair of the Caucus; Mr. Becerra, the Vice-Chair; Mr. Van Hollen wears two leadership hats as Assistant to the Speaker and Chair of the DCCC. In addition to that, the chairs of the subcommittees who've worked very hard on this, bringing their extensive knowledge and experience in health care and health care insurance reform -- Chairman Stark of the of the Ways and Means Committee, Chairman Andrews of Education and Labor, and Chairman Pallone of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Have I acknowledged everyone? I can acknowledge everyone in the Caucus, this has been such a joint effort.

"Over the coming weeks Congress will continue working with President Obama to make health care reform work for middle-class Americans. This bill is a starting point and a path to success. To lower costs to consumers and businesses; to give greater choice to Americans, including keeping your doctor or plan if you like them; better quality of care putting doctors, not insurance companies, back in charge; and to provide stability and peace of mind that you cannot be denied care or coverage for a pre-existing condition.

"This is so important to the middle class. You cannot be denied care from a pre-existing condition. If you change jobs, lose your job, or start a new business, you still have health care. This is very important to the entrepreneurial spirit of America. Inaction is not an option for us. That is why we are still on schedule to do what we have planned, to vote on this legislation before we leave for the August recess.

"I'm now pleased to introduce the distinguished Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and I do so with admiration and appreciation for his great leadership in bringing us to where we are today along with the other chairs, Mr. Waxman."

Speaker Pelosi Closing Statement:

"I thank all of you all of you and again join you in saluting the great leadership of President Barack Obama. Without that leadership, this day would not be possible. More importantly, a day when he signs the bill into law, making tremendous progress to the American people on this important issue that is relevant to their economic and physical well-being.

"Leader Hoyer mentioned, and I associate myself with his praise of Mr. Dingell, once again, Chairman Dingell and his father, in saying the last six decades that every one of those decades has had a Dingell. And that's for sure. Every decade has had a Kennedy as well, and I am so pleased that Patrick Kennedy is here -- his eyes lit up when George Miller mentioned mental health.

"And as we gather here, the HELP Committee -- my understanding is that today they will be passing the bill in the United States Senate -- the HELP Committee, will be passing out their bill. So please give our thanks and best wishes to your father, Patrick, because he too was so important in making this day possible.

"With that, I would be pleased to take any questions you may have."

SOURCE Office of the Speaker of the House
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