WASHINGTON, July 10 Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Chairman John Dingell, Chairman Charles Rangel, Chairman Max Baucus, and Congressman Xavier Becerra joined together in the Speaker's office in the Capitol today at an enrollment ceremony for the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act. The Speaker signed the bill and it will now go to President Bush, who has promised to veto it despite the House and the Senate passing it by veto-proof margins. Below are the Speaker's remarks:
"Good afternoon. It is indeed a pleasure to welcome you here this afternoon on this very special day for the Congress. Actually yesterday was the very special day when this bill was passed in the United States Senate thanks to the leadership of Senator Reid and Chairman Baucus who worked so hard to make it possible.
"Thanks to the courage of Senator Kennedy for always being there, for America's seniors, for America's children, you name it, for the American people when he is needed he is there and he is in the lead. So congratulations to Chairman Baucus for his extraordinary leadership in putting this legislation together and to Senator Reid for getting it passed in the United States Senate.
"I'm particularly proud of course of the actions and work and leadership of Members of the House on this legislation. Chairman Rangel, Chairman Dingell, their colleagues Congressman Stark and Congressman Pallone. And I'm especially proud of a member of our leadership, Congressman Becerra, who was instrumental in getting this legislation put together and passed in the House of Representatives with nearly a 300-vote margin. It was quite remarkable. Because of the example and the leadership of Senator Kennedy throughout his career we are able to come together here.
"This legislation that is being signed today and sent to the President is a remarkable testament to the powerful voice of America's seniors and their health care providers. Seniors spoke clearly for quality affordable and reliable health care under Medicare and against bloated and unnecessary subsidies for insurance companies.
"For this reason, Republicans joined with Democrats to improve Medicare for patients and providers. Every health provider group supported this legislation. The only organization against it is the American Health Insurance Plans. The legislation earned overwhelming bipartisan and veto-proof margins.
"We urge the President to join us in signing this effort to strengthen Medicare for our seniors and for those with disabilities. If he does not, seniors should rest assured that we will work hard to make this bill become law by overriding the veto so that they have quality, affordable and reliable health care."
SOURCE Office of the Speaker of the House