Senator Murray, Alliance for Justice, Health Care Advocates Criticize Republican Plan to Jam Through Anti-Heath Care Judges Amid Pandemic
Senator Murray, Alliance for Justice hosted press call with health care experts and advocates to criticize McConnell’s plan to jam through anti-health care judges as families and communities struggle with COVID-19 pandemic
When Congress returns, Republicans want to move forward two more judicial nominees who called for the Affordable Care Act to be struck down
Murray: “Confirming judges who will make it harder for people to get the care they need might be Senator McConnell’s first priority—but it’s the last thing we need right now.”
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee joined a press call hosted by Alliance for Justice to speak out against Senator McConnell’s plan to focus on confirming judges who are on record opposing the Affordable Care Act, amid a global pandemic, and vowed Democrats would fight against Republicans’ efforts to jam through nominees who have made clear they believe health care for millions of families and protections for patients with pre-existing conditions should be struck down.
The Senator was joined on the call by Nan Aron the President of Alliance for Justice, Brad Woodhouse the Executive Director of Protect Our Care (POC), Joel Foster the Deputy Executive Director of Health Care for America Now (HCAN), Fatima Goss Graves the President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), and Michelle Boyle, a registered nurse and member of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania.
“Women across the country shouldn’t have to entrust their rights to someone who has made clear he wants to take them away. And with so much at stake for health care in our country right now, Republicans shouldn’t be tipping the scales of justice against families’ health care and toward disaster. Confirming judges who will make it harder for people to get the care they need might be Senator McConnell’s first priority—but it’s the last thing we need right now,” said Senator Murray. “Democrats are going to continue pressing Republicans to put partisanship aside, put their harmful judicial crusade on hold, and work with us to actually address the problem at hand, instead of making it worse.”
“The judges being pushed, Justin Walker to the D.C. Circuit and Cory Wilson to the Fifth Circuit, would make our nation’s health care crisis worse,” said AFJ President Nan Aron. “Any senator who supports Trump’s judges so committed to dismantling the very protections we need now more than ever cannot then purport to care about the health of their constituents.”
"Mitch McConnell wants to risk the health of Senators and staff and everyone else to come back to the Senate to appoint more far-right-wing ideological, anti-health care, anti-reproductive rights judges and continues to back Trump’s lawsuit to rip health care from millions of Americans during this crisis," said Brad Woodhouse, POC Executive Director.
“It’s time to end the GOP’s partisan political war against our health care and focus on ensuring that Americans can keep their health care so that we can defeat COVID and build a better future. We need judges committed to upholding the Constitution and protecting people from powerful interests, not ideologues who are hell bent on stripping millions of Americans of their health care,” said Joel Foster, HCAN Deputy Executive Director.
“The COVID-19 pandemic’s unprecedented scope has devastated our country and worsened the inequities in our health care system. Women – especially women of color – are bearing the brunt of this devastation,” said Fatima Goss Graves, NWLC President and CEO. Our leaders must prioritize protecting people across the country who desperately need essential, lifesaving healthcare – not confirming judges, many of whom have a history of undermining access to health care.”
"Healthcare is a human right, not a privilege, and it shouldn’t take a global pandemic to understand that. SEIU members fight for healthcare for all because nobody should have to wait in the hospital parking lot, worrying that they won’t be able to pay the bill if they go inside. The deaths of Americans due to a broken healthcare system lie squarely at the feet of the politicians and judges who weaken the ACA," said Michelle Boyle.
Senate Republicans have indicated that, as the nation grapples with the threat of COVID-19, they plan on moving forward Fifth Circuit Court nominee Cory Wilson and D.C. Circuit Court nominee Justin Walker when the Senate returns. Senator Murray and the other speakers on the call discussed the nominees’ alarming records on health care and reproductive rights, emphasized how outrageous it is that even during a pandemic Republicans are continuing to prioritize confirming far right judges with anti-health records, and made clear that these efforts are part and parcel of Republicans’ larger health care attacks.
Senator Murray’s full remarks below:
“Families across the country are looking to Congress for action as their communities struggle to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. So what does Senator McConnell want to do as soon as the Senate is back in session? The same thing he always wants to do: jam through more far right judges who are openly opposed to the Affordable Care Act—regardless of the consequences.
“And as usual—the consequences for families, for women, and for people’s health care—are incredibly alarming. Because even in the middle of a global pandemic—when access to health care is more important than ever—President Trump and Senate Republicans are continuing to attack it through the courts.
“They are still championing a lawsuit that could end protections for people with pre-existing conditions and take health care away from millions, and they are still trying to pack our courts with far-right conservatives who won’t hesitate to strike down protections for patients’ health care.
“Like Justin Walker, President Trump’s nominee to the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Walker was rated not qualified by the American Bar Association which noted ‘the absence of any significant trial experience’ in his record. So what experience does he have to serve on one of the highest courts in the country? Well, mainly that he’s on the record against families’ health care. In fact, he called the decision that upheld the Affordable Care Act, and maintained health care access for people across the country ‘indefensible.’
“And speaking of indefensible decision—Republicans are also gearing up to try and ram through Cory Wilson’s nomination to the Fifth Circuit. Wilson has called the passage of the ACA, which makes health care more accessible and affordable to families across the country ‘perverse’ and ‘illegitimate.” He has called to repeal it, and called on the Supreme Court to strike it down. And now Republicans want to put him on a court that could rule on that exact issue.
“And when it comes to women’s health care and reproductive rights—his record goes from bad to worse. As a state legislator he’s voted for legislation to criminalize medical care providers, ban abortion before most women even know they are pregnant, and even praised one bill he supported as ‘the most restrictive abortion law in the country.’ Wilson has also confirmed he supports the complete and immediate reversal of Roe v. Wade.
“Women across the country shouldn’t have to entrust their rights to someone who has made clear he wants to take them away. And with so much at stake for health care in our country right now, Republicans shouldn’t be tipping the scales of justice against families’ health care and toward disaster. Confirming judges who will make it harder for people to get the care they need might be Senator McConnell’s first priority—but it’s the last thing we need right now.
“So Democrats are going to continue pressing Republicans to put partisanship aside, put their harmful judicial crusade on hold, and work with us to actually address the problem at hand, instead of making it worse.”
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