This afternoon three Democratic congressional candidates held a joint press conference outside the Philadelphia Senior Center. The topic was the Paul Ryan budget. The candidates were George Badey, 7th district, Kathryn Boockvar, 8th district, and Dr. Manan Trivedi, 6th district. All of the campaigns released part or all of the candidate’s prepared remarks. In addition, for those who provided only a portion of the remarks, I have supplemented with my notes on what was said. The event was held on the sidewalk and passing traffic sometimes drowned out their comments. As always, my notes are not intended as an exact transcript. I apologize in advance for any errors or misconceptions and encourage interested voters to research the candidates for themselves.
Badey’s campaign provided the full text of his prepared remarks:
Thank you all for being here today.
Kathy and Manan – we share a common mission: fighting for good paying jobs and working with the middle class to rebuild the security they had which has been lost.
We’re here today because Medicare’s future is under attack.
Mitt Romney’s decision to pick Congressman Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential candidate makes clear that he has his sights firmly set on privatizing Medicare next year – replacing the security of Medicare with a voucher that comes with no guarantee of coverage.
Ending Medicare as we know it is now the central plank of the Romney-Ryan ticket and will be the defining issue of the 2012 elections.
If Paul Ryan’s bill is signed into law by a President Romney, seniors would pay $6,400 more a year for their health care, and nearly four million seniors would be forced to pay an additional $2.2 billion for prescription drugs next year alone.
Their plan for goes furthest for those not yet at retirement. It eliminates guaranteed benefits for anyone aged 54 or younger. As we approach 65, we rely on the security that comes with knowing you will have medical coverage in your retirement. In this economy, we need a Congress focused on building job security, not creating even more insecurity for the middle class by privatizing Medicare.
But privatizing Medicare is just what my opponent, Congressman Meehan, voted for - despite his promise in 2010 to vote against the Ryan agenda.
Mitt Romney has made his decision; now Congressman Meehan’s votes for the Ryan plan to privatize Medicare are all the more real, serious, and dangerous. This is not a hollow vote they took, but a concerted effort to end Medicare as we know it.
We must not let this happen – but we cannot stop it if we have a Congress that is also set on this reckless plan. This is a crystal clear difference between me and Congressman Meehan. He voted twice to end Medicare as we know it and force seniors to pay $6,400 more a year in premiums in order to protect subsidies for oil companies.
I'm running to protect seniors and middle class Pennsylvania families from this reckless agenda.
I look forward to letting voters choose which makes more sense.
Kathryn Boockvar spoke next. She said this election is about a stark difference between two ideas. Paul Ryan and Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick are working hand in hand against the interests of the middle class and families. Even Newt Gingrich describes the Ryan budget as right wing social engineering.
Her campaign included a portion of her remarks in a pressrelease:
“Congressman Fitzpatrick twice voted for the Ryan budget, which hands Medicare over to private insurance companies and raises health care costs for seniors by over $6,000 dollars every year, while at the same time, extends tax cuts for billionaires and companies that outsource Pennsylvanian jobs overseas,” said Boockvar. “We need representatives in Congress that will fight against the Ryan/Fitzpatrick Budget and, instead, for seniors and middle class families.”
Dr Manan Trivedi spoke last of the three. He said it’s the middle class that makes America go and makes America strong. Paul Ryan’s budget plan would cripple the middle class. As a primary care doctor most of my patients are middle class. Ryan would cut taxes on millionaires and billionaires. Ryan and Congressman Jim Gerlach might be workout buddies but they are not working for us. Their ideas would turn the American dream into the American nightmare. My father came to America and worked in the backrooms of hotels and restaurants, washing dishes and cleaning toilets, because he wasn’t allowed to work out front. The GOP has not passed a single piece of legislation to create American jobs.
His campaign included a portion of his remarks in a press release:
“As a primary care physician, I know it’s my middle-class patients who significantly rely upon Medicare and under the Romney-Ryan plan, it would be devastated,” said Trivedi. “And Rep. Paul Ryan has no better ally for his proposal to crush our economy in Pennsylvania than Jim Gerlach. They may be workout buddies in the gym but they aren’t working out for our middle-class. The American Dream starts with an American job and Paul Ryan, Jim Gerlach or the GOP leaders in Congress have done nothing to create an environment for improving employment.”