Democratic lawmaker: Repealing health reform is 'killing Americans'

Repealing healthcare reform would result in "killing Americans," one Democratic lawmaker suggested Tuesday night.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), in a speech on the House floor about the rhetoric surrounding Republicans' bill to undo the new reform law, said repeal would result in more deaths in the U.S.

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"Frankly, I would just say to you, this is about saving lives. Jobs are very important; we created jobs," Jackson Lee said. "But even the title of their legislation, H.R. 2, 'job-killing' — this is killing Americans if we take this away, if we repeal this bill."

The Texas Democrat's words come on the heels of a national debate on the tenor of political rhetoric, especially with respect to healthcare reform. Some Democrats had pressured GOP leaders to change the name of their healthcare bill ("Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act") given the recent violence in Arizona. Some Republican leaders have subtly bowed to that request by now using the phrase "job-destroying," or some other iteration.

Democrats have focused their defense of healthcare reform on highlighting the benefits that would be threatened by the GOP-led repeal. But the tone of the debate has been colored by the calls for increased civility made on both sides following the attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) earlier this month.

Lawmakers will make their best arguments throughout the day Wednesday, when the House wraps up debate on Republicans' healthcare repeal and votes in the afternoon on the legislation.

"So I would argue that my good friends, some of them are new and I appreciate their newness, I appreciate their desire to keep a commitment to constituents — but when you come to the Congress, you have to govern, you have to look at the whole of America," Jackson Lee said in her floor speech. "And therefore, looking at the whole of America, you need to look at the crux; the crux is saving lives."