Congressman Marc Veasey and state Senator Leticia Van De Putte held a press conference Wednesday afternoon addressing the filibuster by Ted Cruz that could lead to a potential government shutdown and hurt Texas families. Both officials chided Cruz and the extreme wing of the Republican party who are holding the government hostage over their objections to funding the Affordable Care Act.
Congressman Veasey referred to Cruz' “fake filibuster” as a “waste of taxpayer money,” and Sen. Van De Putte called Cruz a “Wendy wannabee,” saying that at least when Wendy filibustered it was to preserve access to care and not to deny it.
On the question of whether Greg Abbott should have to formally opine on Cruz's threat to shutdown the government, Congressman Veasey said it was clear from Abbott's support via Twitter that, “Abbott doesn't stand with those [Texas] families, he stands with Ted Cruz.”
Click below the jump to see what is at stake for Texas in this fight…The point of most contention for Democrats seems to be the lack of an alternative plan or a real solution for the 44 million Americans who do not have access to affordable healthcare in this country. “Work with us,” Veasey said audibly frustrated, “As far as healthcare is concerned it shows how far they are removed from everyday middle class America…They never offer any constructive solutions.”
Rep. Veasey said Congress was under serious time constraints, and if they failed to pass a continuing resolution they would lose the authority to fund the government and that could have a devastating affect on our economy and could even, “result in a credit downgrading of our country.”
For Van De Putte the matter was about values, “If you believe every American family deserves a family doctor you'll love Obamacare,” and, “if not, you won't.” adding that the law is not perfect. Rather than obstructing she says Republicans should help Democrats, “work and find out how we do it better”, because we can't continue to have so much of our GDP tied into healthcare and still have so many who are uncovered. Most Americans agree according to a USA Today poll that shows even if they are against the program, people want their state leaders to, “Do what they can to make the law work as well as possible.”
Van de putte then addressed criticisms from the right that businesses are against the law by saying that the Chamber of Commerce in every major city in Texas and many smaller communities pleaded with state leaders to make the healthcare expansion work in Texas. “There's a big disconnect between what Sen. Cruz is espousing, and the business leaders and chambers of commerce of our large cities…they rarely do anything that is counter to their bottom line.”
Sen. Van De Putte turned the tables on state Republicans like Governor Perry who have used the excuse of Medicaid as a “broken system” to deny access. “Why are you [Gov. Perry] blaming the federal government for what you call a broken Medicaid system?,” she asked, pointing out that the federal government only creates guidelines for the program while it is the state's obligation to develop and fund it. Turning her sights on Greg Abbott she asked, “How can you say no to 1 million working families,” or, “deny 55,000 veterans who could have been covered?”
Van De Putte is a particular authority on veteran's issues as Chair of the senate committee on Veteran Affairs and Military Installations. Many of her constituents are veterans and their family members, and when you throw in Lt. Gov. Dewhurst's insinuation that her committee was unimportant, it's easy to see she has a reason to be fired up.
The Senator from San Antonio also has Texas Democrats fired up about the possibility that she might run for Lt. Governor alongside Wendy Davis if she runs for Governor. She famously said, “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?” I can't think of a better campaign theme than one that finds you standing next to everyday middle class Texans — being ignored by our current “leadership.”