Merkley Statement on the President’s Address to a Joint Session of Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after President Donald J. Trump’s address to a Joint Session of Congress:

“In President Trump’s speech tonight we heard the exact same things that we have heard so many times before: vague, nice sounding campaign-style promises of what he wants for our country, without any details on how he intends to achieve those promises.

“He said he’s going to build a ‘great, great wall’ to stop illegal immigration, but didn’t say how he’s going to pay for it. He said he wants massive tax relief for the middle class but gave no details on the tax reform his team is working on. He said he wants to invest in our nation’s infrastructure, but offered no plan.

“There’s no clearer example of Trump’s empty promises than his continuing calls to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and rip health care coverage away from 20 million low-income and working Americans without providing any real replacement plan. The truth is, rather than the ‘disaster’ that Trump claims it is, the Affordable Care Act is literally saving lives. That’s a fact. I know it, because I was honored to bring as my guest tonight a woman who owes her life, and the life of her son, to the Affordable Care Act.

“Marlene Barbera and her son Max were both deathly ill and in need of liver transplants to survive. Because of the ACA, they were both able to get insurance coverage, both able to get the transplants they needed, and they are both alive today to share their stories. Without the ACA, the continuing post-transplant care they need will be put in jeopardy, and both of their lives will be put at risk.

“The American people deserve answers. They deserve to know the details of Donald Trump’s plans and how he intends to pay for his programs. Above all, they deserve to know their access to quality, affordable health care is secure and that they have a fair and equal shot at prosperity.”