LOS ANGELES – Today, Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-CA), Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) and Rep. Robert Garcia (D-CA) held a press conference with current and former SEIU California members to reiterate that House Democrats are committed to protecting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
REP. GOMEZ: For generations, Americans have counted on Medicare and Social Security to retire with dignity and security. Millions have paid into these programs for their entire lives, now extreme Republicans want to take it away and want to take away the hard-earned benefits that these Americans have earned. In fact, just a few days ago, a Republican senator suggested raising the retirement age and forcing Americans to work well past the age of 62. We will not let the extreme MAGA Republicans bully working Americans and take away these lifelines. And I’m working hand-in-hand with my colleagues here today and my colleagues in Washington to ensure that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are here to stay. This is non-negotiable. The benefits are here to stay. President Biden released a budget that protects and strengthens these programs without cutting a single benefit. His budget lowers the deficit by $3 trillion and lowers costs for working families without raising taxes on middle and working-class individuals. I will continue to help members of the 34th District receive their benefits and make sure they are safe. And also today, this discussion was brought together also by our new leader, who has been on the front lines fighting against the MAGA extreme Republicans and has been doing a hell of a job.
LEADER JEFFRIES: Good morning everyone. An honor and a privilege to be here. Thank you, Representative Gomez, for hosting us and for your continued and strong leadership on behalf of the people that you are privileged to represent here in this incredible congressional district. I also want to thank all of my colleagues in government, Tony and Nanette and Robert, Sydney, who were here. The Southern California delegation is made up of a group of extraordinary public servants who fight for everyday Americans each and every moment they are in Washington, DC.
I also want to thank SEIU California, SEIU 2015, the entire SEIU family for your participation, for your leadership, for your vision, for hosting us here today, for this incredibly important roundtable discussion around the importance of protecting and strengthening Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Make no mistake, the extreme MAGA Republicans in Washington, D.C. want to end Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as we know it. It is in their DNA. They have said it repeatedly over and over and over again, decade after decade after decade. It’s been in their budget plans. It’s been in their campaign blueprints. They’ve said it publicly, repeatedly. And so we’re committed to making sure that as we work toward dealing with the fiscal challenges of the moment, immediately in front of us is making sure we address the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling relates to bills that Congress has already incurred and Congress and the United States should pay its bills, just like the working families, the union members, the everyday Americans who are part of SEIU. When they get a bill every month, they have to pay that bill. They’ve worked hard to provide a decent living for themselves. They have to pay the bills that are put in front of them. The United States of America should pay its bills and what you have right now is extreme MAGA Republicans saying, one, we don’t want to pay those bills, or two, in order to pay those bills, you have to cut Social Security, cut Medicare or cut Medicaid. Our response is clear. Not now, not ever, will we let you touch Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. These programs are part of the fabric of what a humane and decent society here in America should look like. Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid are part of trying to help people just live out their time, particularly their golden years, with grace and with dignity. It’s the least that we can do in the United States of America to protect these programs. But we’re committed to doing more, strengthening Social Security, strengthening Medicare, strengthening Medicaid and ensuring that working Americans, that everyday Americans and seniors can live out their time with us with the grace and dignity that they deserve.
CARMEN ROBERTS, SEIU: Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you so much, Representative Jeffries and thanks to all of you Congressmembers that came here today to listen to our stories […] because we are the Americans that you fight for and stand for every day and we want you to remember our faces and our stories. Thank you so much for continuing to fight for the things that we need just to be able to survive. Thank you so much.
REP. BARRAGÁN: Well, thank you. It’s great to be here at SEIU to hear stories of working health care workers, janitorial workers, security workers, basically the workers who are the backbone of making sure that the economy was running, that made sure we were continuing to work during the pandemic and beyond. […] And we know that the number of people who rely on Medicaid are hugely Latino populations, communities of color, low-income communities. So know that we are here to say to the American people, to say to our workers, we’re going to fight for you, and we’re going to fight to make sure we protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid at all costs.
REP. CÁRDENAS: In the other room over here, we had the opportunity to listen to Rosa, to listen to Bennie, to listen to Leilani, to listen to Gabe and Jackie. These are people who are standing with us today and we’re here to remind everybody that we stand with you, the workers of America, the people who work tirelessly for 10 and 20 and 30 and 40 and sometimes as much as 50 years. You deserve to have your Medicaid, your Medicare, your Social Security there for you when that time comes. You deserve the dignity that these programs were made to provide.And unfortunately, today, as Hakeem Jeffries has mentioned, for decades now, Republicans have been trying to strip away these vital programs from the American people. And we’re here to remind you that we are not going to let them do that. They will not prevail. They are speaking false narratives. They are talking about how this is going to balance our budget or what have you. That is nothing less and nothing more than a pure outright lie. What we deserve to have in the United States of America is to have programs that we’ve instituted that we have told people they can count on and they should be able to count on them. It should not be pulled from under their feet, especially in their time of need. And that’s what Republicans in Washington want to do. That is the simple fact…So this is really important for everybody to understand that we are here to stand with the people and for the people who are making America the strong place of dignity and respect that it deserves to be.
REP. GARCIA: Me da mucho orgullo estar acá con ustedes y con Líder Jeffries quien lucha por nosotros todos los días. Es importante proteger Medicare y Social Security, y apoyar a nuestros sindicatos.
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