California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) gave an impassioned speech Wednesday in opposition to the House Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ― a speech former Vice President Joe Biden found so fiery he said he “was about take [his] tie off.”
Brown was one of several Democrats, along with Biden, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), who spoke at a rally on the steps of the U.S. Capitol a day ahead of the House’s scheduled vote on the GOP health care plan. In his brief remarks, the California governor tore into Republicans for prioritizing politics over the well-being of those affected by health care legislation, and called on President Donald Trump to “see the damage” that would occur if millions lose coverage.
“I came from California to tell the truth about this fake health care bill. This is not about health care reform, this is about disease, death and suffering,” Brown said. “Mr. Trump, come down from Trump Tower, walk among the people and see the damage that this latest exercise in raw political power will wreck on the women, the men and children of this country.”
A Congressional Budget Office analysis of the bill’s impact found that as many as 24 million people stand to lose insurance coverage under the legislation’s current provisions. It’s unclear how that estimate would change as a result of changes pushed by the House’s conservative Freedom Caucus, which were under negotiation early Thursday.
Brown continued, “This is a dangerous bill. It’s written by people who don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. It is so big, so complicated, that I doubt that any member of Congress on the Republican side has even read it. I know the people in Trump Tower have not read it.”
Brown then called on the president to uphold his promise of “insurance for everybody.”
“Do what you said,” he said. “Cover every American with real health care.”
Biden then took to the lectern, lamenting that the governor was a tough act to follow.
“I had planned on saying a lot more, but the truth of the matter is that Jerry Brown summed it up,” Biden said. “As a matter of fact, he got me so cranked up that I was about to take my tie off. And by the way, I think he’s the best governor in the United States of America.”
Brown’s appearance at the health care rally was part of his four-day trip to Washington, the first he’s made to the nation’s capital since Trump took office. He was also scheduled to attend a meeting of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, of which he is a member of the board.