WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Leaders, and Members of Congress held a press availability this morning in the Capitol with tribal leaders to highlight the benefits of health insurance reform to the Native American community. Below are the Speaker's remarks:
"Good morning. There are many honors afforded to the Speaker of the House and many privileges that go with this position. I can think of none that exceed my enthusiasm of meeting with these leaders. Here we have the tribal leaders and leaders of the Congress.
"Appropriately we felt that this time -- November is a very important month to honor the heritage of Native Americans in our country. And tomorrow, these tribal leaders will be meeting with the President of the United States in the White House. As Speaker, I know I speak for all Members of Congress when I say that we are honored to be associated with this important recognition.
"We come together at a time when we are on the verge of passing historic health care reform legislation and our Members are very enthusiastic about a provision in the legislation that includes the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. It has been a long time coming and it is a moral responsibility that we carry a healthy nation in the country and one that develops with the participation of our tribal leaders to what works best on health care in Indian Country.
"And so this is a historic November month, at a time when we are on the verge of doing something great on health care for all Americans, and it is important that we do it for our earliest Americans.
"I am pleased that we are joined here today by Jefferson Keel, who is President of the National Congress of Americans Indians and the long time Lieutenant Governor of the Chickasaw Nation. And before I yield to him, I would like to just say that the enthusiasm of many of our colleagues for the inclusion of key provisions in this legislation has been something that they have been fighting for a long time. And our leadership under Congressman Xavier Becerra -- he has been a leader on this issue. George Miller has been a leader. I am thankful to all the chairs of the subcommittees who had hearings on this subject and are fighting for adding this provision. Joe Baca has been fighting on the floor as well. Mr. Rahall, the Chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources has just been a real champion. So has the Chairman of the Health Subcommittee, Frank Pallone, as well as Patrick Kennedy. And I want to thank my colleagues from New Mexico, Ben Ray Lujan and Martin Heinrich.
"Lieutenant Governor Keel."
SOURCE Office of the Speaker of the House