Congresswoman Veronica Escobar of Texas delivered the Democratic Spanish language response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union. Below is a transcript of her remarks, translated to English. Good evening. I’m Congresswoman Veronica Escobar and I’m proud to represent El Paso, Texas.
It is an honor to address you tonight from El Paso’s Segundo Barrio, one of our oldest neighborhoods. Here, at El Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe, community clinics like this one help millions access the health care that they need.
But since President Trump was sworn into office, clinics and other pillars of our health care system have come under attack.
Here in Texas, Republican leaders have refused to lift a finger to improve access to affordable, quality health care. In my state, the expansion of Medicaid would provide care for hundreds of thousands of Texans.
And at the same time, Republicans across the nation are actively fighting to dismantle benefits that save lives, working in the courts to eliminate every last protection of the Affordable Care Act, including protections for the 130 million people with pre-existing conditions.
Democrats are fighting back. In the first year of our House Majority, Democrats passed sweeping legislation to dramatically reduce the price of prescription drugs, shore up protections for people with pre-existing conditions and crack down on shoddy short-term health insurance plans – what we call ‘junk plans.’
In contrast to the Republicans, we know that health care is a right for all, not a privilege for the few.
Democrats also know that too many families are struggling to get by in our economy. President Trump’s economic policies have created inequality that is creating two Americas: one where the wealthiest 1 percent benefit and one that leaves too many farmers, businesses, and working families behind.
And at the same time, instead of investing in our children’s future and in opportunity, the President has exploded the debt by more than $3 trillion – all to give billion-dollar tax cuts to the wealthiest few.
Democrats are fighting for an economy that works for all, not just a select few. Last year, we passed bills to increase the minimum wage, secured equal pay for equal work for women, and protected the pensions of millions of workers and retirees.
It’s this same determination to fight for hard-working families that was central to the Democrats’ work on the trade deal that President Trump ratified last week.
And make no mistake about it: the USMCA was vastly improved because of the hard work and values my fellow Democrats carried to the negotiating table.
Democrats gave us enforcement power, eliminated the President’s special interest gift to pharmaceutical companies, protected the environment and strengthened workers and jobs.
As we enter our second year of our Majority, Democrats continue our commitment to create jobs and lift up workers.
That’s why, last week, Democrats unveiled our historic infrastructure plan, which will create ten million good-paying jobs with strong worker protections.
And our plan is future-focused: designed to combat the climate crisis.
We are working to rebuild our infrastructure and make sure no one is left behind, unlike President Trump after the devastation in Puerto Rico.
Fires, floods, droughts and hurricanes like Maria show that the climate crisis is the biggest threat of our time, threatening the world our children will inherit.
We cannot afford four more years of denial and inaction. Democrats are fighting to protect clean air, clean water, and combat this climate crisis.
As Members of Congress, our first responsibility is to keep our communities safe. And that means taking action to end the gun violence epidemic in America.
On August 3rd of last year, El Paso suffered from the deadliest targeted attack against Latinos in American history. A domestic terrorist confessed to driving over 10 hours to target Mexicans and immigrants. Just before he began his killing spree, he posted his views online and used hateful language like the very words used by President Trump to describe immigrants and Latinos.
That day, the killer took 22 innocent lives, injured dozens, and broke all of our hearts.
Incidents of gun violence take place in our schools, places of worship and neighborhoods every single day.
Democrats understand that this is a matter of life and death. As one of our first actions, our Majority passed legislation that would strengthen background checks and save lives, which is supported by an overwhelming majority of the public.
Frankly, the biggest threat to our safety and security is a President and a Republican controlled Senate unwilling to take action for our country acting solely in their own interest.
Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Senate, is openly stonewalling legislation that would help improve the lives of veterans, women, and families– all of us. House Democrats have passed more than 275 bipartisan bills, this Congress, but these bills are gathering dust on his desk.
Mr. McConnell, Mr. President, lives are literally at stake. Action is long overdue.
Sadly, over the past few months, Republicans have again and again declared that their loyalty to the President comes first – even before the Constitution of the United States.
We know that President Trump violated his oath by asking for foreign interference, jeopardizing the integrity of our elections, putting our national security at risk, and then attempting to cover up his wrongdoing.
This is a tragic moment, and Congress must defend our republic.
We Democrats will continue to fight for truth and for what is right.
No one is above the law.
As we reflect on this past year, I know how fortunate I am to be a member of the most diverse Congress in history, sworn in last year with a record number of women.
In America, our diversity makes us stronger – it is what uplifts all voices and makes us an inclusive, dynamic country.
Yet, the President clearly does not share this belief.
From attacks against Dreamers, family separation, the deaths of migrant children, to the Remain in Mexico policy that sends asylum seekers into dangerous situations. These are policies none of us ever imagined would happen in America in our lifetime.
I remember seeing the Statue of Liberty from Ellis Island for the first time. I was in awe of Lady Liberty. She stands as the guardian of our ideals – that all people are created equal, that the vulnerable are to be cared for and not shunned, and that America is the shining example of goodness.
It is up to all of us – in the face of one of the most challenging times in history – to reflect the dignity, grace of Lady Liberty and the values of America.
In America, we want strong, safe, healthy communities for every individual, regardless of the color of their skin, their religion, or who they love. But we have to work for this America.
This year, 2020, we need to make sure that all our voices are heard.
The voices of justice, hope, and compassion. The voices of love and unity. The voices of patriotism and courage.
Together, we will confront these challenges, continue to protect our men and women in service and veterans, and forge a more perfect union. That is what our Founders intended.
May God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.
Senate Democrats (2020, Feb. 4). Democratic Response to President Trump's State of the Union Delivered by Texas Congresswoman Veronica Escobar. Retrieved on Feb. 5, 2020, from https://www.democrats.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/democratic-response-to-president-trumps-state-of-the-union-delivered-by-texas-congresswoman-veronica-escobar.
PBS NewsHour (2020, Feb. 4). La congresista Escobar da su respuesta en español al Estado de la Unión [Video]. Retrieved on Feb. 5, 2020 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgOAdZUIPJc.