WASHINGTON, March 20 Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats were joined by President Barack Obama this afternoon for a Democratic Caucus Meeting in the auditorium of the Capitol Visitor Center before tomorrow's vote on health insurance reform. Below are the Speaker's remarks:
"Thank you all very much.
"Thank you, John Larson. I receive your kind words on behalf of all of our courageous Members of the House of Representatives who want the best for the American people and what we can do that is best for them in the next 24 hours is to pass affordable, accessible health care for all Americans. [Applause.]
"The best for all Americans is to have 32 million more people to have health insurance in our country. The best for our country is to have $1.3 trillion in deficit reduction so that we're not heaping on mountains of debt. [Applause.] The best for our country is to hold the insurance companies accountable and not let them come between patients and their doctors. [Applause.]
"We are on the verge of making great history for the American people and in doing so, we will make great progress for them as well. The President has said over and over: 'We will measure our own success on the progress that has been made by America's working families.' That is our responsibility and we will honor it when we vote on health care reform.
"We would not be here, Mr. President, without the courage of my colleagues here. They have fought this fight; they have understood the issues; they have brought great exuberance to the debate. This will be about wellness and prevention and innovation, as well as reducing our deficit and making America healthier.
"And we certainly would not be here, Mr. President, without your inspiration, without your leadership, without your fresh-thinking on this subject -- and we thank you for that leadership. [Applause.]
"It is now my privilege to introduce my friend, a great leader of the United States Senate. A man who understands also how important this issue is -- an issue that has hit home for him very closely, very recently. He has said at the time of his wife's accident that it even made him further aware of why we must pass this bill, because it so important for all Americans to have the same access that Landra has. But to watch him on a day-to-day basis is to see a master at work -- an understanding of the issues, a dedication to the values, a vision for America, and a knowledge of the procedures.
"I'm very, very pleased to thank him for what he has done to bring us to this point and to introduce to you, my colleagues, the great Democratic Leader of the United States Senate, Harry Reid." [Applause.]
SOURCE Office of the Speaker of the House