This Veteran's Day

| By

One of the first people to come see me in Washington after I got elected to the Senate – back before we had a real office and were working out of a clunky trailer – was a Boston locksmith named Joe.

At the time, Joe was the president of the Massachusetts Chapter 1 of Rolling Thunder, an organization dedicated to fully accounting for American prisoners of war and servicemembers who are still missing in action. He came to my office that day because he had one goal: to honor their sacrifices. Joe laid out his plan for me, and his passion lit up our little trailer. He wanted to place an honorary chair on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. The chair would remain empty, a constant reminder of America’s prisoners of war and service members who remain missing.

These chairs were already showing up in unexpected places. You’ll find one on Beacon Hill, at Gillette Stadium, the Garden and Fenway. Similar POW/MIA chairs can be found at arenas, theaters and government buildings across the country. But not on Capitol Hill.

So that day, I promised Joe that we were going to fight to get it done. I worked with Senator Marco Rubio and Boston Congressman Stephen Lynch to introduce a bill to establish a POW/MIA Chair of Honor on the U.S. Capitol grounds. Yes, believe or not, this was truly a bipartisan effort – when Democrats and Republicans work together, we can still get things done.

Our bill received powerful support from Rolling Thunder National and its Massachusetts Chapters, the National League of POW/MIA Families, and the National Alliance of Families for the Return of America’s Missing Servicemen. We couldn’t have won without their voices speaking out and fighting for it.

And last year, that bill Joe came to see me about became law.

On Wednesday, leaders from both parties (including Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan) came together and held a beautiful ceremony unveiling the commemorative chair in the Capitol’s Emancipation Hall. Joe wasn’t able to make the trip – but his Rolling Thunder friends rode down from Massachusetts to see Joe’s vision come to life.

Veterans Day has always been an important day in my family. All three of my big brothers served in the military. I remember my mother running back from the mailbox with a note from David, who trained as an emergency medic at Fort Sam Houston – or John, who did a tour in North Africa. And she held her breath for word from Don Reed, who completed 288 combat missions in Vietnam.

The letters kept coming home, and my brothers came home too. But the heartbreaking reality is that many families aren’t so lucky. Today, there are tens of thousands of service members still missing in action, many from World War II, and more than 1,600 from the Vietnam War. They haven’t returned home to us, but they will never be forgotten.

This Veterans Day, as we honor all those who have served our country, I hope you’ll join me in pausing to remember those who have yet to return home from past wars, and the families who still check the mail everyday. We owe them a debt that can never be repaid.

We will resist. We will persist. And we will win.

| By

A year ago today, Hillary Clinton earned three million more votes than Donald Trump. She fought Trump. And Russian interference. And FBI interference. And an alt-Right media. And in any other democracy on Earth, she would be President right now.

So let’s be really clear: We are not the minority party. We are the opposition party. A party with brains, a party with guts, and a party with heart.

And last night, we proved it.

For 365 days, everyone has had an opinion about what went wrong last year. The pundits. (“I always knew…”) The partisans. (“Of course this loss happened because they…”) Lots of political types certain that they could have done it all much, much better.

People don’t just wake up one day and elect leaders like Donald Trump because hey, “everything is awesome, but what the hell, let’s roll the dice and make life interesting.” People don’t elect leaders who campaign for office by attacking communities of color, or religious groups, or immigrants, or women when things are just swell. Men like Trump come to power when countries are in real trouble – when people start to lose hope for a better future and start looking for someone to blame.

This is bigger than just one campaign. Bigger than poll numbers or talking points or Facebook ads. And if we’re going to lead the Democratic Party back from the wilderness and lead our country out of this dark time, then we can’t waste any more energy arguing about who in our alliance should be voted off the island, or whether we should be the party of Black Lives Matter or the white working class.

I say we can care about a dad who’s worried that his kid will have to move away from their factory town to find good work – and we can care about a mom who’s worried that her kid will get shot during a traffic stop.

We know how to win. We have to believe in ourselves, in our values, and in our absolute, unwavering willingness to get in there and fight. And we must see each other’s fight as our own – because none of us can win any of these fights alone.

That’s how we stopped Trump and the Republicans from repealing health care from tens of millions of Americans. That’s how we stopped his unconstitutional Muslim ban. And yesterday, that’s how we elected Democratic governors in Virginia and New Jersey – and incredible new leaders up and down the ballot in states across the country. I’ve never been prouder to be a part of this team.

Today isn’t an easy day for people. What happened a year ago is still fresh, still raw, and still painful for people who gave their time, their energy, and their hearts to elect Hillary Clinton. I still remember the faces of the people I met in Ohio and Wisconsin, Nevada and Colorado, Missouri and North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. How hard we fought and how people looked to us with hope.

I wish last year had been different. Different for all of us.

This is our moment in history: Not the moment we wanted, but the moment we are called to. We will not back down. We will not play dead. We will not give up and go home.

The character of our country is not in its President, but in its people. And you are putting up one incredible fight – to build a future, not just for some of us, but for all of us.

We will resist. We will persist. And we will win.

Posted in:

November 6, 2018

| By

If I had tried to sit down and watch the election results come in on Election Night 2012, I probably would have thrown up.

So five years ago tonight, I locked myself in a quiet little room at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston and paced around practicing both of the speeches I had ready for that night. This wasn’t the moment to take anything for granted.

The next few hours are largely a blur of news flashes and cheers and hugs. But I remember exactly what I said when I finally walked up to the stage and delivered the speech I really wanted to give that night.



I told the hundreds of volunteers there that night, and many more watching from home: “I won’t just be your Senator, I will also be your champion." I meant every world of it. Being a part of this team and fighting for our values has been the greatest honor of my life. But our fight isn’t over.

Exactly one year from today, people will be heading back to the polls in Massachusetts to cast their ballots for the Senate – and I hope to recommit my promise to you and working families across the country.

I'll be honest: This wasn’t the fight I expected us to be having when I ran for the Senate five years ago. If you had told me that Donald Trump would be President and he’d be delivering one gut-punch after another to America’s working families, I would have thought you were dreaming. But that’s the fight in front of us – and we’re using every tool in the toolbox we’ve got to fight back.

Donald Trump wants to defeat us in 2018. Mitch McConnell wants to make us to shut up. The right-wing billionaires want to spend big bucks to smear us. You know what that means? We must be doing something right.

This fight isn’t about me – it’s about the millions of Americans in Massachusetts and across the country who deserve the opportunity to succeed. We’re in this fight for students trying to get an education without sinking in debt. Seniors trying to live with dignity on their Social Security. Parents struggling to make ends meet. And we’re in this fight so everyone can build a future no matter where they’re from, how they pray, or who they love.

We ran the biggest grassroots campaign in Massachusetts history in 2012 – and if it’s possible, we’re going to run a bigger one in 2018. For the sake of working people in Massachusetts and across this country, we don’t have any other choice.

The year ahead will test us like never before – but there’s no one I’d rather have by my side than you. Let’s get our there and keep fighting.

Posted in:

Puerto Rico needs our help

| By

Over the weekend, I spoke with the Mayor of San Juan – Carmen Yulín Cruz – and told her to keep up her heroic work and leadership for the people of Puerto Rico.

But Puerto Rico’s leaders don’t need thanks. They need help.

US citizens are dying and people need basic medical care now. On Friday, I met with people from Worcester, Springfield, Holyoke, and other cities and towns in Massachusetts. They are desperately worried about their loved ones in Puerto Rico.

Congress must take up an emergency appropriations bill to help the people of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands – and Donald Trump must do a heck of a lot more than bully the disaster victims who are begging for help. But while we wait for the Trump Administration and Republicans who control Congress to step up and do their jobs, you can help the people of Puerto Rico right now.

Please make a donation to local charities on the ground in Puerto Rico to help their emergency response and long-term recovery efforts. Even $5 can help make a difference in this emergency. 

Long before the hurricane, Puerto Rico was in crisis. For more than a decade, the island has been under enormous economic pressure.

Puerto Rico has been at the mercy of so-called "vulture funds" - Wall Street hedge funds that wait until a borrower is in trouble to buy up their debt at a steep discount. Vulture funds don’t care about the well-being of the island or of the Americans who live there. They just want to squeeze the Puerto Rican government for every penny they can.

In 2015 and 2016, I urged the Treasury Department to do as much for the struggling people of Puerto Rico as they did for the Wall Street big shots that they bailed out in 2008. I traveled to Puerto Rico and met with the governor, other top officials, the Archbishop, unions, and local citizens in the territory to discuss a long-term plan for the island. They described the unfolding disaster due to the debt crisis: closed hospitals, shuttered schools, and difficulty finding work. I’ll never forget how furious it made me that these US citizens were suffering because of our federal government’s indifference.

Now Puerto Rico faces an existential crisis – and with every day that passes, I’m more outraged that the federal government isn’t doing much, much more to help. We’re using every tool in the toolbox to push the Trump Administration and Congress to step up. And we’re working with Puerto Rican leaders to do everything we can to hold back the creditors and make sure the federal relief aid goes to the people – not the hedge funds.

We don't have time to play petty partisan politics. The people of Puerto Rico need help right now.

Please donate now to local charities in Puerto Rico to fund their emergency response and long-term recovery efforts. This is a matter of life or death.

 

Posted in:

They might have the votes to repeal health care

| By

The Republicans want you to believe that their plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act is dead. They want to slip in below the radar and take one more run at repealing health care coverage for millions of Americans.

Here’s the reason they are moving now: Senate Republicans have until September 30th to repeal the Affordable Care Act with only 50 votes.

And here’s the scary fact: They just might have the votes to do it.

The Cassidy-Graham bill that the Republicans pulled out of the trash is their worst “health care” bill yet.

  • It guts funding for Medicaid – so if you need a nursing home or your baby is born with complex medical needs, you’re on your own.
  • It rolls back protections for people with pre-existing conditions – so if you have a heart attack or get a cancer diagnosis, too bad.
  • And it completely eliminates help for families to buy health insurance – so if you can’t afford health insurance, good luck out there.

Make no mistake: This Cassidy-Graham “health care” bill is Trumpcare on steroids – and millions of Americans will lose their health care if the Republicans pass this piece of garbage in the next 11 days.

Remember everything you did to stop the Republicans from repealing the Affordable Care Act seven weeks ago? We need you to do it again.

  • Share your story again about why the Affordable Care Act or Medicaid matters to you or someone you love. Email it to your friends and family. Post it on Facebook or Twitter. Take a photo or record a video on your phone.
  • Our Senate Democrats are still united against this bill – but if you have family or friends who live in a state with a Republican senator, make sure they know what’s happening to health care this week. Call, text, email, message – check in and then spread the word.
  • Join a group. If you belong to an organization that has been fighting to save the Affordable Care Act, keep your eyes peeled. If you don’t belong to a group, find one. Organizations will be holding events, making calls, sharing content, and keeping people informed about what’s going on. Two voices are more than twice as powerful as one. Ten voices are more than ten times as powerful. And thousands – even millions – of voices working together can stop this ugly bill. Don’t delete all those emails.

I know we thought this was over. I know we worked hard and thought Republicans had gotten the message. But they are giving it one more try, and that means we’ve got to jump back in the fight. Health care for millions of Americans hangs in the balance, so we need to get out there and fight one more time.

Let’s kill this Republican “health care” bill once and for all.

Thanks for being a part of this,

Elizabeth


I'm co-sponsoring Bernie's Medicare for All bill

| By

When the Republicans tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act and gut Medicaid, I heard from parents all across Massachusetts who were terrified about what it would mean for their children.

One message kept hitting home: If the government hadn’t been there to help, these hard-working moms and dads would have been forced to pick between the health of their child and financial ruin. Their families would have been destroyed.

There is something fundamentally wrong when one of the richest and most powerful countries on the planet can’t make sure that a person can afford to see a doctor when they’re sick. This isn’t any way to live.  

I believe it’s time to take a step back and ask: what is the best way to deliver high quality, low cost health care to all Americans? Everything should be on the table – and that’s why I’m co-sponsoring Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All bill that will be introduced later this month.

Health care is a basic human right – and it’s time to fight for it. Please join me in signing on as a citizen co-sponsor of Medicare for All.

My own family plunged deep into debt when my daddy had a heart attack. My parents paid on those bills for years. Years later, as a bankruptcy law professor, I studied why working families were going broke. Through interviews and court documents, my research partners and I showed that most people who file for bankruptcy looked a lot like my family.

The overwhelming majority had once been solidly middle class – and about half had filed for bankruptcy in the aftermath of a serious medical problem. And here was the kicker: about three-quarters of them had health insurance – but it just wasn’t enough. Medical bankruptcy was crushing millions of American families.

The Affordable Care Act changed everything – and President Obama deserves tremendous credit. Consider what health care reforms have accomplished:

  • Insurance companies are barred from denying people with preexisting conditions
  • The caps on insurance coverage are gone so help doesn’t run out after a few chemo treatments or a long hospital stay
  • Young people can stay on their parents' insurance until age 26
  • Small business get tax breaks for providing health care
  • Insurance companies can no longer discriminate against women

We owe a huge debt to President Obama. Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care coverage is better – more people can get the treatment they need and families are less vulnerable to the financial fallout from a serious illness or accident. Senate Democrats will keep doing everything we can to stop Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and the Republicans from rolling back these gains. They are too important for all of us.

But there’s so much more we could do right now to bring down the costs of quality health care for every American. We could start by ending health insurance company price gouging – ending high deductibles, surprise bills, and endless fights with insurance companies over coverage for critical medical procedures or out-of-pocket costs. We could also cut the cost of prescription drugs by importing drugs from Canada, where the same prescription can sometimes cost far less than in the US. Bipartisan improvements are possible – in fact, just a few weeks ago, President Trump signed my bill with Republican Chuck Grassley to make hearing aids more affordable by allowing certain hearing aids to be sold over the counter.

Medicare for All is one way that we can give every single person in the country access to high quality health care. Everyone is covered. Nobody goes broke paying a medical bill. Families don’t have to bear the costs of heartbreaking medical disasters on their own.

The American people have made it clear that they believe health care is a basic human right – but it will be a tough fight. The giant insurance and drug companies will send out their army of lobbyists to fight our Medicare for All bill every step of the way. Sign up now to join our fight and become a citizen co-sponsor of Medicare for All and fight back.

Wells Fargo's Board should be removed

| By

Last year, Wells Fargo got caught creating 2.1 million fake bank accounts and credit card accounts using their customers’ names and credit information without permission.

Last month, Wells Fargo got caught charging 800,000 people for auto insurance they did not want or need.  

And just yesterday, we’ve learned that the fake accounts scandal was even worse than we thought. Wells Fargo just “discovered” an additional 1.4 million fake accounts that they had created since 2009. Unbelievable.

The Department of Justice and SEC should conduct a thorough criminal and civil investigation of Wells Fargo’s practices during this scandal, and any senior executive who broke the law should be held responsible. I’ve also asked Senate Republicans to hold a September hearing with Wells Fargo CEO Timothy Sloan and current Board of Directors Chair Stephen Sanger.

But the Federal Reserve has its own authority to hold Wells Fargo’s board accountable right now – it just needs the courage to do it.

Join me in calling on the Federal Reserve to immediately remove all 12 Wells Fargo board members who served during the fake accounts scandal.

Oversight – including adequate safeguards to prevent fraud – is the job of the Board of Directors of a bank. But Wells Fargo’s Board of Directors did almost nothing as the bank’s employees opened 3.5 million fake accounts to meet their impossible sales quotas. Either the Board knew or the Board fumbled their job so badly that they didn’t know – but either way, they bear responsibility.

More than 5,000 lower-level employees got fired, but not one of those board members lost their jobs. That’s our screwed up corporate accountability system in a nutshell.

The Federal Reserve has the power to remove a bank’s board members if they “engaged or participated in any unsafe or unsound practice” that caused the bank to “suffer financial loss” and demonstrated “continuing disregard… for the safety or soundness” of that institution.   

This is a clear-cut case for the Federal Reserve to use its authority to remove the Wells Fargo Board of Directors. The board failed to monitor the conduct of management and ignored many red flags about the fake accounts scandal. The result was a massive fraud that hurt Wells Fargo customers and damaged the bank’s reputation.

Enough is enough: It’s time for Wells Fargo to be held accountable for cheating its customers and breaking the law. Tell the Fed to remove Wells Fargo’s board members who served during this scandal.

Posted in:

They are wrong

| By

Since Election Day, so-called “strategists” have said that Democrats need to choose whether we’re the party of the white working class or the party of Black Lives Matter.

They are wrong. I say we can care about a dad who’s worried that his kid will have to move away from their factory town to find good work – and we can care about a mom who’s worried that her kid will get shot during a traffic stop.

We shouldn’t be wasting energy arguing about whose issue matters most or who in our alliance should be voted off the island. What Democrats really need is some backbone to get in the fight for working families – to be strong when we lay out a plan to make this country work for the people instead of the powerful.

This month, I spoke to thousands of progressive grassroots organizers about how we pick sides and fight for our values. I wanted to make sure you had a chance to watch this speech and share it with your Facebook friends.


We don’t have to tip-toe around what we believe in. We don’t have to hedge our bets. We don’t have to ask permission from the pundits or the corporate CEOs – and we sure don’t have to ask permission from Mitch McConnell.

When we’re bold enough to stand up for our values, when we’re bold enough to stand up for our fellow Americans, that’s when we ARE powerful.

This fight is my fight – and this fight is our fight. So let’s go win it.

Posted in:

Nevertheless, we persist.

| By

Six months ago tonight, I went to the Senate floor to speak out about Donald Trump’s nominee for Attorney General – Jeff Sessions.

Nobody wanted to talk about the fact that President Trump had nominated a man that both Democrats and Republicans had decided was too racist to become a federal judge in the 1980s. So I went to the Senate floor to read an old letter from Coretta Scott King. She knew about the way former US State Attorney for Alabama Jeff Sessions had intimidated and prosecuted civil rights workers for helping elderly black citizens to vote, and I wanted the Senate to hear what she’d had to say.

Mrs. King wrote of African-American families visited repeatedly by the FBI. Of people pressured to change their testimony. Of elderly black men and women herded onto buses and driven 180 miles to appear before a grand jury. She talked about fear and the toll it took on people. And she said that Sessions had “used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens.”

Every senator voting for Jeff Sessions and every person in America needed to hear that letter. When Mitch McConnell threw me out of the Senate for reading it, I was shocked. It wasn’t just my voice that was being silenced. No, Coretta Scott King was silenced.

And just to be clear: Mitch McConnell wasn’t the only person who tried to silence me that night. I appealed his decision, so the whole Senate got to vote. Every single Republican in the Senate chamber that night voted to censure me. Not one of them wanted to talk about why Jeff Sessions was a problem.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a problem – and I’m still talking about it:

  • He supported the Texas voter ID law – the strictest voter ID in the country, meant to stop African Americans and Latinos from voting.
  • He reversed the Obama Administration directive to stop using predatory, for-profit private prisons.
  • He reinstated the failed “War on Drugs” with harsh mandatory minimum sentences for low-level, nonviolent drug offenses.
  • He rolled back investigations of police departments that commit civil rights violations.
  • He announced a probe on college admissions programs to twist and distort federal civil rights laws.
  • He promised to withhold federal funding to cities with immigration policies he doesn’t like.

But here’s the deal: When Mitch McConnell and every one of his Republican colleagues kicked me off the Senate floor that night, he didn’t silence me, or Mrs. King, or anyone else. In fact, they made us louder. I went outside to the hallway, pulled out a phone, and read Mrs. King’s letter online. Over the next few days, tens of millions of people heard – or read – Coretta Scott King’s words.

I never expected anything that happened on the Senate floor that night. I never expected “Nevertheless, She Persisted” to become a meme, a t-shirt slogan, a tattoo, or a rallying cry for people all across this country who are tired of being told to sit down and shut up.

This fight isn’t about me – it’s about all of us. This is our moment in history. Not the moment we wanted, but the moment we are called to. Donald Trump may call us names. Mitch McConnell might tell us to sit down and shut up. But we will not give up and go home.

We will resist. We will persist. And we will win.

Posted in:

The nightmare is over (for now)

| By

While much of America was asleep last night, the Senate Republicans voted on a bill to rip health care away from 16 million people. They voted, they voted and finally they failed.

When my head finally hit the pillow at 3:30 am, I slept a little better. I slept better – knowing that everyone else can sleep a little better too.

  • The millions of people who were going to lose their health care coverage under the Republicans’ “skinny repeal” bill can keep their coverage – and sleep a little better.
  • Everyone with private health insurance whose costs were going to skyrocket at least 20% under the Republicans’ “skinny repeal” bill won’t see the Republican spike – and can sleep a little better.
  • Everyone who depends on Planned Parenthood for basic medical care can sleep a little better. 
  • And everyone who simply cares about the health and security of their family, friends, neighbors – their fellow human beings – can sleep a little better.

The energy inside the Capitol a few hours ago didn’t come from senators like me. It came from people like you. People who made calls, sent letters and emails, attended town halls, organized a protest, posted and tweeted stories, and spoke out to their friends and neighbors. Your work made a difference.

Please celebrate. Have an extra coffee today. Do a little dance. Hug someone you love.

But don’t let down your guard – not all the way. Mitch McConnell can reintroduce another “health care” bill at any moment. Who knows what sort of scheme he’s working on with Speaker Paul Ryan right this minute.

People like McConnell and Ryan, people who are willing to take away health care from millions of Americans will be with us for a long time, so we have to be vigilant.  But please, enjoy this moment.

THANK YOU. You make these victories possible. We really and truly couldn’t do it without you.

Posted in:

» See more posts