McSally Talks Coronavirus Relief Bill & Lowering Prescription Drug Prices
WASHINGTON, D.C.– Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) joined Winning For Women (W4W) for a virtual discussion on her new memoir, Dare To Fly. In the discussion, moderated by former State Department official and former FOX News host Heather Nauert, McSally talked about a wide range of issues including the newest coronavirus relief package, her bill to lower prescription drug prices, and efforts to hold China accountable.
Watch the full discussion here. A rough and partial transcript is below.
Coronavirus Relief Bill
HEATHER NAUERT: Before we get to talking about your book, I just want to go over quickly some of the news of the day items, and we’re talking a lot about coronavirus this week and the package that the Senate is working on. Something that has been important to you and other women in the Senate is a provision that would provide some funding for daycare facilities so that women and families can get back to work to help boost the economy. Tell us what that would do.
SENATOR MARTHA MCSALLY: Absolutely. Well, thanks. This is an unprecedented, once-in-a-century pandemic that we’re dealing with, and I hope everybody’s tuned in as well and is healthy and hanging in there. And I know, again, the challenges are very real for people’s health and lives and also livelihoods. And the focus of this provision and this legislation is simply, we’ve got so many parents that are doing everything they can to try to continue to work, but with schools closed and a lot of daycare centers closed, even if they have an opportunity to safely return to work, there’s not a lot of options for them. And daycare centers often have very tight margins, they’re highly regulated. And so this provides additional support to the daycare centers to provide that important daycare for our center workforce and for others, so that they can feel safe their kids are getting the care they need, and they can safely return to work. So providing a little bit of help to get us through these days going forward. It’s good for the kids. It’s important, of course, for these child care centers to be able to keep their doors open. And it’s important for working moms – working parents – who need that peace of mind so that they can also safely return to work.
Reducing Prescription Drug Prices
NAUERT: Yeah, I couldn’t agree with you more, Senator, as a mom of two. Indeed, we certainly need that.
Something else that you’ve been working on and that is important to your constituents in Arizona, because there are so many older folks in Arizona, is trying to reduce the cost of prescription drug prices. How are you planning to go about doing that?
MCSALLY: Well, this isn’t just for seniors. But everywhere I go in Arizona, I hear from too many people who can’t afford their important prescription drugs, life saving drugs important for quality of life. We should not have seniors or anyone of any age having to choose between their medicine or their rent, or their medicine or their groceries, and many of them are leaving their medicines at the pharmacy counter, or they’re rationing their pills. And so I’ve worked on this for a long time, but Senator Grassley and I have legislation that used to be bipartisan. Unfortunately, in an election year, the Democrats have left us on something they were for before they were against it. But it caps out-of-pocket costs for seniors on Medicare Part D, because right now, there’s just no cap. It passes on the rebates from the middleman to the patient. And it caps the costs, the year-to-year increasing costs. We have way too many drugs that there’s been a monopoly for too long. They’re well past their patent expiration – things like insulin and other drugs – and the prices just keep going up. And it’s not right. So we need to bring those costs down to help patients and seniors, and I’m going to continue to lead on this issue. It’s more important than ever with the pandemic and economic challenges people are having.
Her New Memoir, Dare To Fly
NAUERT:In your book, you write about the tragic loss of your father as a young girl. You write about your time at the U.S. Air Force Academy and battling all this bureaucracy at the Pentagon, which I want to hear about that. At one point you even took on Donald Rumsfeld, the former Secretary of Defense, and you sued him. What gave you the courage to do all of this, and then write about some very, very personal things in your memoir?
MCSALLY:Well, what I talk about in Dare To Fly, everybody who’s listening may not ever fly fighter jets. They may not sue the Secretary of Defense. But we can all understand fear. And those of us who served in uniform, we weren’t born courageous. So I share very practical steps of how I found my own strength and my own courage.
I am an athlete, so I use athletic examples. But you really have to start today. Maybe today is the day for those who are feeling paralyzed by fear out there. You have to choose to do things afraid, today. And like an athlete, you start to build muscle memory. I bring you into the cockpit of the A-10 Warthog, for example. The first time I was cleared for takeoff, there wereno two-seaters and there were no simulators at the time. And so this was now a ten year journey, to have my dream come true, to finally take off in an aircraft attack plane, but I was totally afraid. I thought Iwas gonna throw up. My heart was beating fast. My mouth was dry. But I was cleared for takeoff. And I had to make a choice in that moment. Was I going to taxi back in and just give into my fear and just stay safe? Or was I going to push up the power? Was I going to trust the people who went before me and my instructors and everything I went through to get to that moment, and learn to take off afraid?
I obviously took off afraid. And by doing that, I built my own courage to say, you know what, the fear doesn’t have any power over me. And that built my courage to then do the next flight and then to fly in combat and then to command in combat. So just like anything, we can either have a habit pattern of being paralyzed by fear, or we can start to build those patterns of choosing to do things afraid, and then don’t allow the fear to overpower you.
NAUERT:What’s your advice for us getting back to a place where we can have more effective progress in Washington and in our home communities?
MCSALLY:The division is very real. Honestly, I was surprised by it. I kind of laugh at my story of breaking barriers as a woman, you know, all the feminists were behind me, like ‘wow, taking on the establishment,’ until they found out – and the media as well – found out I was a Republican candidate for Congress. Then my story wasn’t as inspiring as it was before. But, you know, it is what it is. I would say for all of us, look, I realize there are sincerely held different views. But we’re Americans. There’s more that unites us than divides us. We need to have a diversity of ideas as well. We should respect each other as we share our views. And if we disagree, let’s do it without being disagreeable.
And I don’t mean to be like, pie in the sky, but we’re in a real place where people just want to shut down, not listening to somebody who doesn’t agree with them. And, and not just that, not just do I think you’re wrong, but you know, then it’s like, it goes even worse – you’re evil, and I wish you harm. And it’s just not, it’s not right. I get messages like that all the time. Like, come on, man. I’m just trying to make a difference. I’m just trying to serve. We may not agree, but we’re doing the best we can. And so can’t we find places as Americans that we can find common ground to solve the problems in front of us.Our enemies out there want to see us divided internally. Let’s show our strength together as Americans to face the challenges that we have right now and in the future.
Holding China Accountable
NAUERT:You mentioned our enemies, and I know I wasn’t planning on asking you about China, but that is a very real geopolitical threat. And it’s something that I worked on at the State Department, you, of course, work on in the Senateand in your time in the military.
How do you see us being best positioned to take that on, whether it’s coronavirus, intellectual property theft, any of those issues. Where is the best place to start right now?
MCSALLY:Well, the rise of China has and is the biggest geopolitical threat that we’ve had over the last many years and it’s been happening in plain sight. Those of us who’ve been focused on national security have been deeply concerned about it. Unlike previous threats, like when it was against the Warsaw Pact of the USSR, we are entangled with China because over the years jobs have been outsourced to China, our manufacturing has been outsourced. So now here we are in a pandemic and relying on an adversary for our PPE and our pharmaceuticals and our critical minerals.
So things we’re working on right now are to bring that manufacturing home so we’re not reliant on an adversary for things that we need. We don’t want to be held hostage for these very important health and national security issues. They also need to be held accountable. They have been cheating. They unleashed this virus on the world, they’re still covering it up. They’ve been stealing our research and our intellectual property and our technology. So we need to do everything we can to protect that.
And our allies – Europe in particular – need to step up and join with us because we’re stronger together. If we can continue to work together and have manufacturing even be with, you know, friendly nations, but work together to stand up to China so that they can not continue to be preying upon the, you know, circumstances in technology and other things. There’s concern for access and surveillance – certainly, propaganda efforts to spread misinformation. So it’s very multifaceted. This is going to be a multi-year – probably multi-administration – approach.This is the biggest geopolitical issue we will face, and the window is closing for us to stop their march to replace us and dominate the world. We’re America, and with our leadership, we can do it. But we need the resolve and the policies that go with it.