April 10, 2024

Chairman Aguilar: House Democrats will never stop fighting to restore Reproductive Freedom

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar and Vice Chair Ted Lieu held a press conference alongside DCCC Chair Suzan DelBene and Rep. Greg Stanton on the extreme budget released by the House Republican Study Committee and GOP efforts to ban abortion nationwide. 

CHAIRMAN AGUILAR: Good morning. I want to thank Vice Chair Lieu and Chair DelBene and Representative Stanton for joining us today — Representative Stanton specifically to talk about the local impact and the devastating ruling that we saw out of Arizona yesterday. 

Shortly before the recess, the Republican Study Committee, which speaks for 80 percent of House Republicans, unveiled a blueprint for a total Republican control, including the White House. 

The contrast between their vision and House Democrats could not be more stark. House Republicans want to cut Social Security and Medicare, and Democrats want to protect these programs. 

House Republicans want to end IVF. We want to protect Americans to start and grow their families. Their budget is a foundational document and their goal is to ban abortion. House Democrats will never stop fighting to restore reproductive freedom.

House Republicans want to take health care away from millions of Americans and have drastic cuts to Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. House Democrats want to protect the ACA and lower the cost of insurance and prescription drugs. 

Their budget will raise energy costs and housing costs at a time when Americans are struggling to make ends meet. House Democrats passed a tax cut that would lower utility bills and are working to make homeownership more affordable. 

House Democrats fought to bring back jobs from overseas and to invest in America, while their budget will reverse those gains by cutting the Inflation Reduction Act. 

We will always stand against these extreme policies and put People Over Politics. 

With that, introduce the Vice Chair, Ted Lieu.

VICE CHAIR LIEU: Thank you, Chairman Aguilar. 

I want to start with a correction. At the press conference before recess, I said that 70 percent of Republicans are in the Republican Study Group. It's actually 80 percent, as Chairman Aguilar had noted, and that's important because the budget that they released is insane. 

It is going to cut Social Security. It's going to eliminate Medicare as we know it, and it's going to eliminate the Affordable Care Act. 

By the way, I am on Obamacare. And let me tell you why the Affordable Care Act is so important. It doesn't just apply to people who have it — it applies, some of the provisions, to every insurance plan. One of those provisions is a provision preventing insurance companies from discriminating against you if you have a pre-existing condition. 

So, I'm going to tell you a story. When I was in the California State Legislature — this was before Obamacare had been passed — I was sitting at a restaurant and this waitress knew I was in the legislature and she came up to me and she asked for help. At that time, if you did not have a child who was a minor, you could not get government-assisted health insurance. Her child just turned 18 and she aged out of that program. So, this waitress said that she had been diagnosed recently with breast cancer. She tried to get insurance. Insurance companies denied her because it was a pre-existing condition. And it became clear to me that she wasn't sick enough to go to an emergency room to get treated. But one day she was going to get sick enough, go to an emergency room, get treated and then she was going to die. And in my mind, in a country like America, that should never happen. The Affordable Care Act fixed that, and Republicans now want to eliminate the pre-existing conditions provision. That is insane. 

And now, it's my honor to introduce our amazing DCCC Chairwoman, the great Suzan DelBene. 

CHAIR DELBENE: Thank you, Vice Chair Lieu and Chair Aguilar. 

We just finished up a great Caucus meeting down the street where there was lots of energy and enthusiasm in the room for our shared work to take back the House Majority in just seven months. 

I travel all around the country and Americans constantly tell me that they want to see governance work. They want lawmakers to come together to solve the problems that they're facing. But under a Republican majority, we've seen nothing but chaos and extremism since day one of this Congress. 

The American people are fed up with the nonsense that doesn't help them in any way. On any significant legislation that has actually become law this Congress, it has been bipartisan and passed with Democratic votes in the House. Leader Jeffries and Democrats have always said we will support bipartisan solutions and stand up against extremism. 

Nowhere is Republican extremism more apparent than with reproductive rights. In this Congress alone, House Republicans have passed four bills that would restrict access to reproductive care and introduced an additional six anti-abortion bills, including two national abortion bans. 

Republicans contend that the unpopularity of their extreme, anti-abortion position is simply a messaging problem, not a policy problem. That if they just talk more about it, then they'll be fine. But let's be clear about what the consequences are of what they're talking about. These bills would outlaw IVF, criminalize doctors for providing critical health care, block reproductive care for our service members and restrict access to mifepristone nationwide. Their extreme policies have very real dangerous impacts for millions of women across the country, endangering their lives and their well-being. 

The evidence is clear. Republicans are on the wrong side of public opinion. Since the Dobbs decision, the American people have protected reproductive freedoms in seven straight state referendums. They are turning out to defend their rights and this November, at least seven more states will likely have abortion measures before the people. In these states are 18 swing districts that will be critical to determining the House Majority, and reproductive freedom is guaranteed to be a driving issue. 

The simple truth is when abortion rights are on the ballot, people turn out to defend their rights and Democrats win. Only Democrats support women's right to make their own health care decisions, period. Republicans are simply too extreme for everyday Americans and aren't focused on the priorities of working families. This is the contrast that we're going to continue to highlight here in Congress and back in our communities from now through November. 

Thank you, and now I want to turn it over to the gentleman from Arizona, our great colleague, Congressman Greg Stanton.

REP. STANTON: Thank you very much, Chair DelBene and Chairman Aguilar and Vice Chair Lieu for your leadership. 

Yesterday was a dark day in my home state of Arizona. Our state Supreme Court reimposed a near total abortion ban —a law from 1864, before women could vote in the state of Arizona, before Arizona was even a state. It is one of the most restrictive bans in the country with absolutely no exceptions for rape or incest. 

As devastating as this ruling is, it is not surprising. This outcome is exactly what Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans intended when they worked to overturn Roe. And if they think the safe, politically expedient stance on abortion is, “We’ll let the states decide,” this is the result. 

Last night, I was on the phone with a doctor, an abortion provider, back home in Maricopa County. She said women will die because of this decision. Her patients are calling her clinic panicking, and she said even planned pregnancies that become high risk will be affected.A constituent of mine, a bright, young engineer wrote to me just last night, saying that she no longer feels safe trying to start a family in Arizona. She's terrified that if something were to go wrong, her doctors wouldn't be able to give her the care she would need. 

We are at an inflection point in this country. And I know I speak for my colleagues here when I say we will not sit by and watch our fundamental freedoms be stripped from us. This November, in Arizona, safe and legal abortion access will be on the ballot. And people won't walk, they will run to the polls in Arizona. And they'll come out in force to elect candidates who truly, consistently and sincerely support abortion rights at every level of government, especially here in Congress. 

We have some of the most competitive congressional seats in the country in Arizona. And right now, the same politicians who co-sponsored the Life at Conception Act to end all abortion and celebrated the Dobbs decision are trying to distance themselves from the Arizona Supreme Court ruling. 

The American people are smart. They know when politicians are talking out of both sides of their mouth. When Democrats take back the House, and we will, we're going to take women's rights in this country forward, not backward. We're going to protect access to IVF and contraception. We're going to pass the Women's Health Protection Act and restore Roe as the law of the land. 

I'll hand it back to Chair Aguilar for questions.

Video of the full press conference and Q&A can be viewed here.