Tag Archives: Health Care
So, Mr. Flopsy Mopsy has finally entered the race. Mitt Romney made it official today, declaring his candidacy from the great state of New Hampshire, “I’m Mitt Romney and I believe in America. And I’m running for president of the United States.”
Which America is that Mitt? Is it Paul Ryan’s vision for America? Is it Glenn Beck’s vision of America? Is it the America where you said it would be OK to wire tap Islamic houses of worship? Or is it the America where you signed a health care bill virtually identical to the one President Obama signed, and later flipped over on your back for the favor of the far-right portion of the party who will never support your nomination any way?
Flopsy began his race by challenging President Obama while trying very hard to paint himself as the candidate in the multi-colored coat. He tried to show he was what everyone in the new GOTP wants, a man who can appeal to conservatives, social conservatives, evangelicals and yea verily even to the libertarians.
“It breaks my heart to see what is happening to this great country,” Romney said. “No, Mr. President, you had your chance.”
And exactly why does it break your heart Mitt? Does it break your heart because there’s someone in the White House who isn’t in bed with big business like you are being a former business man?
It’s going to be a long way to the nomination Mitt and you have an equally long record of flip flopping. In fact you’ve flipped more often than a stack of hot cakes at the IHOP. How ill you sell your former support of abortion and gay rights as well as Romney-care? And of course there’s the whole far-right Christian conservative loathing the idea of nominating a Mormon.
Yeah, you’re right in the running for the nomination alright; you’re all set up for the thrashing of your lifetime. You won’t need to worry about what President Obama will do to you because your own are going to eat you alive.
In spite of what Paul Ryan claims, his GOTP budget plan would leave up to 44 million additional low-income people uninsured as the Federal Government would be forced to cut states’ Medicaid funding by about one-third over the next 10 years.
You read that correctly, 44 million additional – as in 44 million new, or 44 million more. That’s the ugly face – or one of the ugly faces – of today’s GOTP. Ryan is willing to throw the poor, the needy, even grandma under the bus while continuing to insist we must continue to not only give tax breaks to the wealthiest among us, but give them even bigger tax breaks.
Both the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Urban Institute claim, Medicaid’s role as the nation’s safety net health care program would be “significantly compromised” under the GOP budget, “with no obvious alternative to take its place.”
But Ryan and his GOTP colleagues don’t care. Reality is they have absolutely nothing to take its place. Why? Because they simply don’t care. The GOTP has had its designs on killing Medicaid since its inception, and cutting it has nothing to do with saving money, and everything to do with undermining it with the eventual hope of toppling it entirely.
The budget passed by House Republicans last month – on a strict party-line vote – called for sweeping health care changes, potentially even more significant than President Barack Obama’s insurance overhaul. And it’s biggest dream baby for the GOTP? The part where it would convert Medicare into a voucher-like system for future retirees. But Medicaid would also be transformed.
The GOTP – with Ryan leading – want first, to kill medicare; second, to give you a voucher (money); and third, have you go give that voucher to some insurance company. Sounds sort of OK, but what’s the catch? How many seniors do you know who don’t have some kind of pre-existing medical condition that would keep them from obtaining health insurance? Grandma would be thrown under the bus if Ryan and the GOTP have its way. Medicare destroyed = Grandma with no health coverage. It’s very simple mathematics.
If this bill had passed, and if the Senate had been controlled by the GOTP, and if the Congress could have over-ridden the President’s veto, then the federal-state partnership (Medicaid) which now covers more than 60 million low-income families and seniors, including most nursing home residents, as well as disabled people of any age would have been converted from an open-ended program in which the federal government pays about 60 percent of the cost of services, into a block grant that would give each state a fixed sum of money. Not a continuous influx of money mind you, but a block grant to take care existing costs, but no more. Future seniors? Under the GOTP/Ryan plan you’re out of luck, aka under the bus.
Ryan’s wonderful little budget would also have done away with the right to Medicaid benefits under federal law, and it would have repealed a coverage expansion to low-income adults included in Obama’s health care law.
As the current law stands, it’s estimated Medicaid will be covering 76 million people in 2021, the end of the ten-year estimating window used in federal budgeting. Of those, some 17 million would gain coverage under President Obama’s expansion.
The study also estimated that 36 million to 44 million people would lose coverage from the combined impact of the block grant and the GOTP’s repealing of the new health care law. Researchers said they gave a range to account for different approaches states might take to reduce their Medicaid rolls. Under the worst case scenario, Medicaid enrollment would plunge by nearly 60 percent from current projected levels.
And of course because the GOTP caters only to the richest among us the hospitals, community health centers and other health care providers serving low-income people would be disproportionately affected. In 2021 hospitals would face Medicaid funding cuts of $84 billion.
Did you get that number? $84 billion would be taken away from hose who need health care the most, the poor and the elderly.
Is this the America conservatives cry out for? Is this the America they call for taking us back to? Is this the America they want to leave to their posterity? One can only think yes it is. This is what and where the current GOTP wants us to go to. They assume no one in their families will ever be poor, or will ever be born with a disability, or will ever be elderly. It’s “fixing” a problem for today only, leaving it to be “fixed” again at a later date so they can garner political flowers today.
During one of his radio shows late last month, the “leader” of the GOTP, Rush Limbaugh claimed the President was going to start cutting Medicare, start the “death panels”, and the rationing of health care, and this was why seniors in USA Today had been recently granted a waiver.
“Because it’s drastic. It’s rationing. And it wasn’t supposed to happen till 2013. But now, you know, it’s happening before the election. That’s not the way it was supposed to happen. It’s been elevated some — or sped up. So here comes a waiver for the seniors,” Limbaugh claimed.
He then went on to praise the Paul Ryan plan, stating, “There’s not one rules change under Paul Ryan.” And how under the President’s plan changes were drastic and immediate, “But under Obama, it’s immediate. And not to be repetitive and redundant, but to be repetitive and redundant, it was just yesterday that Obama granted another waiver to senior citizens to keep them away from his IPAB board, who could have denied them coverage for — just because they wanted to.”
Wow, really Rush? For someone who claims to be 99.9% accurate you sure get a lot a stuff not just wrong, but really wrong; but of course when you’re making stuff up it’s hard to keep truth and reality from lies and fables isn’t it Rush?
First off, the “waivers” you’re making such a big deal about had nothing to do with the new Health Care Law, and everything to do with existing Medicare Advantage.
In fact those “waivers” were made to help those seniors – millions of them enrolled in popular private insurance plans offered through Medicare – by awarding quality bonuses to hundreds of Medicare Advantage plans rated merely average. The $6.7 billion infusion could head off service cuts to the more than half the roughly 11 million Medicare Advantage enrollees are in plans rated average.
Not rationing at all Rushdie, but actually awarding quality bonuses. Let’s see, that means one of two things, first, you just don’t know what you’re talking about, or second, you’re a liar. Well, there’s a third option, which actually suits you best, that you don’t know what you’re talking about, and you’re a liar.
But, wait for it folks because Rush wasn’t through spinning his tale of woe and death panels in his effort to continually scare his ever aging audience, “Now, folks, you are going to be hearing — IPAB, I-P-A-B, Independent Payment Advisory Board — you’re going to be hearing a lot more about IPAB in the days and weeks ahead,” Rusty said. “And I want to tell you today, what IPAB is. IPAB is the death panels. That’s all you need to know, don’t doubt me. IPAB is where the rationing will take place.”
And he continued his bloviating, “These are the death panels. These are the people that are gonna decide who gets coverage and how much coverage will be paid for. Ergo the rationing. Congressional approval? There will be none. Whatever this board decides case by case happens by presidential fiat.
“They’re there. It’s one. There is one death panel. It is IPAB. The Independent Payment Advisory Board. Current Medicare recipients, individual cases, decided on by these 15 people. Two things. Will there be coverage or not? And if so, how much will they be paid.”
Once again Rusty, YOU”RE WRONG! The IPAB Is actually prohibited from rationing, and according to the New England Journal of Medicine the Affordable Care Act “Establishes Specific Target Growth Rates For Medicare And Charges The IPAB With Ensuring That Medicare Expenditures Stay Within These Limits.”
In its 26 May 2010 edition, NEJM states, “Provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (now being referred to as the Affordable Care Act, or ACA) create an Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) to meet the need to oversee health care system costs. The legislation establishes specific target growth rates for Medicare and charges the IPAB with ensuring that Medicare expenditures stay within these limits. The IPAB must also make recommendations to Congress as to how to control health care costs more generally.
“The board is charged with developing specific detailed proposals to reduce per capita Medicare spending in years when spending is expected to exceed target levels, beginning with 2015. The DHHS must implement these proposals unless Congress adopts equally effective alternatives. The board is also charged with submitting to Congress annual detailed reports on health care costs, access, quality, and utilization. Finally, the IPAB must submit to Congress recommendations regarding ways of slowing the growth in private national health care expenditures.”
Gee, who to believe? Rusty Limbaugh, who dropped out of college after the first semester, unable to pass even ball room dancing, or the New England Journal of Medicine?
But hold on there’s additional expert commentary – far from what Rush ever gives. The Kaiser Family Foundation while attempting to explain the current health care reform has said, that the IPAB cannot “Ration Care, Increase Taxes, Change Medicare Benefits Or Eligibility, Increase Beneficiary Premiums And Cost-Sharing Requirement, Or Reduce Low Income Subsidies Under Part D.” From KFF’s “Explaining Health Reform: Medicare and the New Independent Payment Advisory Board”.
That sound like it can’t do what the fellow from Missouri is claiming. Once again who to believe? The guy who abused illegally obtained prescription drugs to the point he destroyed his own hearing, or the Kaiser Family Foundation?
Kaiser goes on the clarify that “… the Board is prohibited from submitting proposals that would ration care, increase taxes, change Medicare benefits or eligibility, increase beneficiary premiums and cost-sharing requirements, or reduce low-income subsidies under Part D. Prior to 2019, the Board is also prohibited from recommending changes in payments to providers and suppliers that are scheduled to receive a reduction in their payment updates in excess of a reduction due to productivity adjustments, as specified in the health reform law. The law establishes specific rules and deadlines for Congressional consideration of the Board’s recommendations, and specific timelines and procedures for Congressional action on alternative proposals to achieve equivalent savings.”
This is the part Limbaugh listeners never get. Rush tells you every day, “Don’t worry about looking stuff up, or checking into things, that’s what I’m here for”. But he isn’t telling the truth, he isn’t right 99.9% of the time, he’s frequently never right, or even close to right. As said earlier, Rush either doesn’t know what he’s talking about or he’s lying. Odds are it’s the latter.
GOTP presidential hopefuls hammer health care, have nothing new to offer? Nope not one new idea, just more of the same old tripe they’re always scooping out …
And so, it’s 20 some odd months until Election Day 2012 and a very small group of potentially high-profile Grand Old Tea Party (or the group formerly known as Republican) candidates show up like the early spring honey bee hoping to impress the equally small hundred or so conservative activists Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa that most Americans (that would be GOTP, Independent and the very small smattering of Democratic voters) agree with their particularly odd variation of “values”, and opposition to all and everything President Obama represents, but mostly his socialistic health care overhaul; and that all of this could somehow magically help the GOTP make historic gains in 2012.
One of the most incredible long shots in political history, except for possibly with this year’s gathering of right-wing odd balls and fruit cakes is Michigan Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who not surprisingly is a huge a tea party favorite, and who – also not surprisingly – got the noisiest reception when she told the “huge” hundred plus crowd gathered that voters are ready to overturn the federal health care law and oust President Barack Obama during next year’s election.
“The ultimate arrogance, in my opinion, is Obama-care,” Bachman said. “That’s why I am so absolutely confident in 2012. Americans have made the decision that we’re going to take our country back.”
Ah yes, the perennial GOTP favorite line, “we’re going to take our country back.” But to where do you want to take it, and for whom Congresswoman? Are we going back to 2008? Back to those happy carefree days of Bush/Cheney when habeas corpus was suspended on a whim if your name had Mohamed in it, or before our military was free from Gays and Lesbos? Or back to the pre-Camelot days before all those pesky Black people dared to eat at the same lunch counter?
Of course the Newt was there, and the deep south’s Haley Barbour and even former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain spoke to add a splash color to the Midwest white bread event as the token conservative African-American, since Justice Clarence Thomas was unable to attend due not being sure how to bill the gathering and still at least try to appear impartial on the bench.
But why Iowa you ask? Is it because it’s a field of dreams, and hopefully Newt, Barbour and company will all walk into the corn and finally fade away? Or is it simply because event organizer, Iowa Congressman Steve King, believes that his home state, the state where the nation’s first presidential caucus will take place, is the proper venue to help conservatives shape the debate as members of the GOTP begin looking for a candidate to run against Obama.
“We need to take this nation to the next level of its destiny,” King told the crowd. “You can shape that destiny.”
Of course with Bachman, Newt and Barbour that “next level of its destiny” can only mean backwards or farther off the cliff of economic collapse started during the last administration.
While Iowa is the traditional launch pad for the presidential nominating season, when one sees the sharply conservative rhetoric from Saturday’s little rally, allegedly reflecting an Iowa GOTP that’s drifted not just to the right, but to the far right, coupled with some polling data from last year showing more than 60 percent of GOTP caucus-goers there are identifying themselves as not only Christians but evangelicals, you have the makings of a gold old fashioned revival meeting, the type where Mormons – such as Mitt Romney – need not apply; of course it’s also then going to be an evangelical crowd that’s going to have a hard time getting its arms around a two time adulterer, or a deep south nominee, which leaves the nomination wide open for Huckleberry, Bachman and Palin. How wonderful.
Interestingly enough Newt insisted that most Americans agree with his conservative values, with the Newtster actually saying the 2012 election would provide a chance to end the “domination of the left and move this country back to the center-right.”
That would be the center right where family values stands for cheating on not just one but two spouses, marrying each mistress in turn and then claiming you couldn’t control your hormones because of your deep seated love of country?
Haley said the GOTP can win next year if their candidates stay focused on key issues — health care and balancing the federal budget — without getting distracted by arguments about personality. Of course by balancing the budget he means zeroing out any progressive programs, while continuing to cut taxes to the top 2% of the nation’s population and allowing defense spending to maintain its unabashed feeding frenzy.
“What is important to us is to have a new president,” Barbour said. “This election needs to be about policy.”
That’s right. It’s all about the policy of taking our country back to a time when uppity folks like foreign born blacks knew their place, isn’t that right Governor? It’s about an America where homos and lesbians weren’t allowed in polite society, and it’s about the America where the term foreign policy meant telling our allies to shut up, sit down and do what we told them to do.
During the “event”, the speakers all focused on criticizing President Obama and the Democratic Party, and the Newter even took the time to say how he “helped balance a budget for four straight years” while House speaker. That of course was due more largely to the efforts to his fellow philanderer President Clinton, than for anything he himself managed to do, between his own affairs while impeaching the President for his infidelity.
But of course, Newty also took the opportunity to attack – yet again – President Obama’s handling of the air strikes in Libya. He ridiculed Obama for consulting the Arab League and the United Nations, but not Congress, before getting involved. The Newt said he wouldn’t have approved the air strikes, even though he pushed for air strikes and a no-fly zone just a week or two before the President implemented that very policy, but said Newt, “once you get involved, you put on the pressure and you win quickly.” As compared to becoming bogged down in not one but two wars with absolutely any exit policy, clear cut goals or objectives.
Cain, who decided to be the one speaker not talking about the federal health care law, said the conservative movement is gaining strength and will help the GOTP “take back the government”.
He does understand that the GOTP’s version of “taking back” the government would mean he’d be serving them the pizza, and driving Miss Daisy around town, doesn’t he? Taking the country back doesn’t mean equality for Blacks, Hispanics, Gays or Lesbians. It’s taking the country back to the happier times of Herbert Hoover before Labor Unions and desegregated class rooms.
Seeming to be oblivious to all of this, and believing the fact that since he’s a wealthy black man meant he shared in the GOTP dream, he said the U.S. has “an entitlement spending crisis” that must be reformed in order to solve the nation’s financial woes. Being the GOTP code for throwing the poor and the elderly out on the street where they belong. Cutting social security benefits to the disabled, cutting WIC and women’s pre-natal and health care, slashing college loan programs to the poor and zeroing public broadcasting, and arts programs.
“We don’t like the radical socialist agenda that is being shoved down our throats,” he said.
And what he wanted to say is we don’t like the idea that the poor can have free health care, and have their standard of living increased, and that we have a minimum wage and child labor laws and the like, and that he could’ve made much higher profits if only he could’ve paid lower salaries or could’ve had five and six your olds slaving away in his pizza kitchens.
Meanwhile, Bach on the farm, the Congresswoman from Michigan steered things back onto the effort to repeal the health care reform law and said that American’s bad feelings for the law had created a strong tide of support for the GOTP positioning itself for next year’s election.
“It’s never gone below a majority of Americans who want to see Obama-care repealed,” Bachmann said. “This is, I believe, the greatest power grab that I have ever seen.”
Really, “it’s never gone below a majority of Americans who want to see Obama-care repealed”? While that might be true of any Rasmussen poll, in the world outside of the FOC PAC bubble the clear majority doesn’t want it repealed, and is happy with the law. And are you really serious when you claim this is the greatest power grab you’ve ever seen Congresswoman? So, one can only assume you either haven’t paid any attention to the whole political coup thing in Wisconsin? Or, you wholeheartedly agree with it?
Bachman exhorted the hundred or so listeners that the stakes in next year’s election are enormous, and that “what we are going to determine together, here in Iowa, is quite frankly whether we will pass the American Dream on to the next generation.”
Of course that’s the American dream of white, Anglo-Saxon, Christian evangelicals. Not the one that includes people of color – except to clean the house, repair the roof, pick the vegetables and maybe collect your garbage. It’s also not the American Dream of any of those darned Muslims and their Mohamed; it’s not the American Dream of religious freedom, unless you strictly uphold to the idea that America is a Christian nation; of course it’s a Christian nation that is largely denying the Christ, and his teachings regarding caring for the poor and the sick among us, and of brotherly love etc. It’s the Evangelical Christian American Dream of the Old Testament where Gays are stoned to death, and only white people get to be President. It’s the American Dream of preemptive warfare and unending tax cuts and never having to pay the bill for the Wild West diplomacy.
Six-term Republican (GOP) Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah is facing re-election next year, a usually not to difficult task, however, in recent months the political phenomenon known as the Tea Party movement has turned what used to be a cake walk into a very steep uphill battle.
Groups such as Save the American Republic (STAR) and Utah Rising are not falling in line behind Hatch, and many other Tea Party (TP) groups are also not so sure if they will throw their support behind him.
But Hatch isn’t the only Republican possibly fighting for his political life in Utah, two other Republicans closely associated with Utah, Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, and Jon M. Huntsman Jr., the former governor of Utah, both possible presidential candidates are also facing the chopping block because as far as TP members are concerned they’re simply not conservative enough.
“We oppose all three,” said David Kirkham, a businessman who helped found one of Utah’s first Tea Party groups in a recent New York Times interview.
Romney’s biggest obstacle to overcome is his leadership – as governor – in passing the Massachusetts health care overhaul that is anathema to many Tea Party members who see it as a model for the Obama plan passed last year.
Huntsman’s on the “list” for nonsupport because he played the “moderate” on many social issues as Utah’s governor and he also supported carbon emissions cap-and-trade legislation to reduce heat-trapping gases. Of the two, the latter is the larger sin in the TPs estimation.
“On a good day, he’s a socialist,” said Darcy Van Orden, a co-founder of Utah Rising, a clearinghouse group, referring to Mr. Huntsman also in the NY Times. “On a bad day, he’s a communist.”
Really, Jon Huntsman a socialist, or a communist? It’s laughable to think anyone would ever place those nomenclatures on the former governor, which simply highlights how far to the right edge of the political spectrum some of these TP nuts are.
As for Senator Hatch, Mr. Kirkham said in the NY Times, “We have exactly the same game plan as we did last time with Bennett.”
Meaning former Senator Bob Bennett, a Republican whose long political career was unceremoniously ended in 2010 when Kirkham and other TP-inspired delegates swept into control at the party’s state convention, where in short order the TP delegates denied Bennett’s re-nomination, and in his place put Mike Lee, a former clerk for Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. of the Supreme Court, who – not surprisingly – handily won the general election.
For the coming 2012 elections it is indeed looking grim for the GOP in Utah, the monster all the Republicans thought was controllable, the one they thought they could politically potty train, is messing all over their carpet, and no amount of rolled up news paper is going to change that.
Another hypocrite from the right has spun up his presidential campaign. Grand Old Tea Party (GOTP) presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has ridiculed President Barack Obama’s health care law — modeled closely after the one Mitt signed into law as the governor of Massachusetts — as a “misguided” and “egregious” effort to seize more power for Washington.
“Obamacare is bad law, bad policy, and it is bad for America’s families,” Romney declared, vowing to repeal it if he were ever in a position to do so.
That’s pretty bold talk from a political has been who will never be allowed to get any closer to the Republican nomination in 2012 than Hillary Clinton can.
Talking about his own Massachusetts health care law, Romney claimed the solution for the unique problems of one state isn’t the right prescription for the nation as a whole.
“Our experiment wasn’t perfect — some things worked, some didn’t, and some things I’d change,” Romney said.
Oh, so Romney’s health care law in Massachusetts was an experiment? That’s how he ran the state as governor? As a political laboratory trying things out in case he wanted to use them later?
“One thing I would never do is to usurp the constitutional power of states with a one-size-fits-all federal takeover.” Romney said: “The federal government isn’t the answer for running health care anymore than it’s the answer for running Amtrak or the post office.”
First, since when did Mitt Romney become a states-rights candidate? What’s next he’ll put a confederate flag license plate on his car? Second, what do you mean the federal government isn’t the answer for running the post office? I’ll have you know Mitt that the founding fathers set it up that way, and Benjamin Franklin was the first Post Master General. You wouldn’t be claiming to be smarter than the revered founders would you? I don’t think people in the GOTP cotton much to that kind of talk. Especially from a carpet bagger like yourself.
Romney’s Tea Party states-rights pitch is one GOTP primary voters are likely to hear over the next year as he tries to persuade them to overlook his flaws because – in his mind – he’s the strongest Republican to challenge Obama on the country’s top issue — the economy.
And what if the economy continues to improve? Holy cow, then what will he do? If the economy is his one thing he thinks he can challenge the President on good luck with that. What will Middle America think when he’s exposed as a big business, let’s export American jobs candidate that he is?
The challenge for Romney isn’t just the similarities between his 2006 health care law and the current federal law but that Romney’s universal coverage law has a more sweeping mandate for people to get insurance than exists in Obama’s law — and penalizes the uninsured more severely. Romney’s law requires individuals, with a few exceptions, to obtain health insurance, and those who fail to do so have a $219 tax exemption withheld from them.
The big albatross hanging around Romney’s neck though is all the praise Democrats are heaping on him for his efforts in Massachusetts.
The President praised the efforts in Massachusetts during a meeting with governors at the White House, saying: “I agree with Mitt Romney, who recently said he’s proud of what he accomplished on health care by giving states the power to determine their own health care solutions. He’s right.”
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, an Obama friend, said Romney deserves a lot of credit on health care. “One of the best things he did was to be the co-author of our health care reform, which has been a model for national health care reform,” he said.
Of course the amusing thing with the Democrat praise is that it provides plenty of fodder for his GOTP primary opponents; some of whom are already opening up with pre-emptive campaign salvos.
One presumptive candidate, and someone who understands hypocrisy all too well, Mike Huckabee says in his new book: “If our goal in health care reform is better care at lower cost, then we should take a lesson from RomneyCare, which shows that socialized medicine does not work.”
Another GOTP likely candidate, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, threw Romney under the bus with a late great liberal icon when he said, “Senator (Edward M.) Kennedy and Governor Romney and then Governor Patrick, if that’s what Massachusetts wants, we’re happy for them. We don’t want that. That’s not good for us.”
Healthcare aside, his candidacy isn’t likely to last any longer than it did in 2008 when it was torpedoed by Huckabee’s disparaging remarks about Romney being a Mormon. The GOTP is so heavily weighted by extreme right wing born again Christians that it isn’t going to back a Mormon anytime soon; and if they were ever to be honest most of them would probably say they’d rather see a “foreign born Muslim” in the White House than one of those Mormons.
In a classic move from a Frank Capra film, the Republican-controlled House – led by Claude Rains type characters – passed sweeping legislation Saturday cutting $61 billion from hundreds of federal programs, while at the same time sheltering coal companies, oil refiners and farmers from new government regulations.
The party line vote of 235-189 passes the bill on to the Democratic-controlled Senate where it will in all likelihood meet its well deserved demise; and if by some odd chance it survives the Democratic controlled Senate, it is all but guaranteed to be vetoed by the President.
This week has given the American people one more bill in a series of fluff and nonsense legislation by the GOP House, and is seen by many as another remarkable victory for 87-member uber-conservative class of freshmen Tea Party-Republican hybrids, who were elected last fall, in the mid-term congressional election by the largely unthinking, uneducated and unwashed masses of the Tea Party movement. The new members of Congress promised to attack the deficit and reduce the reach of government.
One of the new kids on the block, Tim Huelskamp of Kansas trumpeted, “The American people have spoken. They demand that Washington stop its out-of-control spending now, not some time in the future.”
Problem is Congressman; the American people spoke no such thing. 80 + local constituencies fed on a daily menu of vitriolic right-wing fear radio and FOX PAC programming elected you, not “the American people”. The one thing you and all the GOP House has forgotten is that all politics are local, and nowhere is that more true than in the House of Representatives.
So, what did they pass, this group of American loving legislators? Well, the $1.2 trillion bill covers every Cabinet agency through the end of the current fiscal year, or through 30 Sep 11, imposing (if it passes the Senate, and the President) severe spending cuts aimed at domestic programs and foreign aid, including aid for schools, nutrition programs, environmental protection, and heating and housing subsidies for the poor. Did you catch all that? The GOP is cutting programs for schools, nutrition, environmental protection, and heating and housing subsidies for the poor. Who does this affect mostly? Minorities; or everyone who isn’t an angry white, right-wing, Christian, gun-toting, Tea Party drinking voter; you know the types, the ones who “spontaneously” show up at “rallies” carrying signs decrying how they’re taxed too much, and how the President is a Communist/Nazi thug. Yeah, all those well read, deep thinking types; Glenn Beck’s masses.
On the brighter side, the bill is doomed when it arrives in the Democratic-controlled Senate, and was doomed even before TPGOP (Tea Party Grand Old Party) amendments adopted later in the week pushed it further and further away from the main stream shores and out onto the right-wing rocks and shoals of health care and environmental policy. Senate Democrats have promised higher spending levels and are more than prepared to defend the recent health care law, environmental policies and new efforts to overhaul regulation of the financial services industry.
But wait, the TPGOP isn’t finished with simply hurting the poor and minorities, it wants to provide shielding for greenhouse-gas polluters and privately owned colleges from federal regulators, block a plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, and bar the government from shutting down mountaintop mines it believes will cause too much water pollution, siding with big business over environmental activists and federal regulators. Why would anyone in their right minds do this? That’s very simple, “money”.
Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass, summed it up very well when he said, “This is like a Cliff Notes summary of every issue that the Republicans, the Chamber of Commerce, and the (free market) CATO Institute have pushed for 30 years.”
But what about the jobs the TPGOP promised to deliver if given control of Congress? Cue crickets chirping – put hand over eyes to shield sun as you gaze out towards the horizon – nope, nowhere in sight.
The one thing this bill passage is guaranteed to do is to drive an even bigger wedge between, not only Democratic members of Congress and the TPGOP membership, but even within the TPGOP itself. It’s as though Speaker Boehner is a maniacal train engineer sending his locomotive plummeting down the tracks to the bridge he knows is out, screaming for more steam, more steam!
As the next two years progress we will no doubt see more of these nonsensical bills, and more Republicans voting against them, and with any luck at all a country tired of the TPGOP and a return of the House to grownups not needing a hanky handy every time they speak.
“But we have to get the deficit under control!” The TPGOP screams. “We don’t want to be bothered with any level headed, clear thinking debate. We just want to cut and slash everything that isn’t good and right in America.”
“Palin/Bachmann in 2012!” others cry.
“On with the revolution!” still more proclaim.
What the TPGOP has managed to do is to remove any and all meaningful discourse on the national debt/deficit and on the federal budget. And in so doing, they’ve magically ensured any differences on spending cuts won’t be resolved soon, meaning before the government runs out of money on 4 Mar 11, requiring a temporary spending bill when the current stopgap measure expires.
Boehner and company are insisting any new stopgap measure must carry huge spending cuts, an ultimatum carrying a threat of a government shutdown like the episodes that played to the advantage of former President Bill Clinton in his battles with Republicans in 1995-1996; the very same shutdown which eventually led to Newt Gingrich’s slinking away from Congress. Is Boehner prepared to slink away as well?
But who cares about government shutting down? Not the TPGOP; it’s on a roll baby, voting for other cuts, including voting for a ban on federal funding for the implementation of the year-old health care law; and falling all over themselves to see who can bow the lowest as they answer the royal command of anti-abortion lawmakers, calling for an end to federal funding for Planned Parenthood; again not only attacking the poor and minorities, but throwing woman under the bus too. “Raped and need help with that pregnancy?” they ask. “Too bad, God says you have to carry that baby to term!”
Is there not any group which benefits from the House being controlled by the TPGOP? Of course there is, it’s the Military Industrial Complex. While mercilessly slashing and burning domestic agencies spending by 12 percent, the TPGOP awarded the Pentagon with a 2 percent increase.
But wait sports fans, the TPGOP wasn’t finished, not by a long shot; one of its greatest nemesis’s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was out there and they needed to wound it, and wound it deeply, they needed to defend big business and industry from its numerous agency regulations constantly threatening job-creation and the economy. And wound it they did, slashing its budget by almost one-third, and hampering its regulatory powers. In the process, if the TPGOP has its way, proposed federal regulations would be blocked on emission of greenhouse gases, and a proposed regulation on mercury emissions from cement kilns would also be stopped.
For those living in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia, Rep Robert Goodlatte, TPGOP-Va., won a 230-195 vote blocking an EPA plan for cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay that would cut pollution from runoff from farms and municipalities throughout the Chesapeake watershed. Yeah for you! Aren’t you happy to have such a wonderful guy looking out for your interests? After all, it’s not like any of you rely on that pesky old bay for your livelihoods or anything.
And woo hoo for Floridians! Your local agricultural interests won a vote blocking those damnable EPA rules issued last year aimed at controlling fertilizer and other pollutants that stoke the spread of algae in the state’s waters. More algae! More algae!
As dire as all this sounds however, these cuts aren’t going to happen. Thank God the Senate and White House are in Democratic hands. And just as Limbaugh, Hannity and Beck have to go further and further to the right-wing extremes to keep their listeners happy, these TPGOP members of congress are going to have to keep going further and further to the right-wing extremes to keep their “constituents” happy. This side show will play well for awhile, but like any traveling circus, eventually it runs out of people wanting to watch the show, pulls up its stakes and moves on. It happened to the GOP House in the nineties, and it will happen to TPGOP of the current Congress. Time – in spite of what the Rolling Stones sing – is not on their side.
Of course they did, in the words of former RNC Chairman Michael Steele, “It’s how they roll baby.”
Of course, if the GOP is successful in its bid of returning federal spending to 2008 levels it would dramatically reduce many agencies’ budgets to include, a 41 percent cut for EPA clean water grants; a 16 percent cut for the FBI and a 13 percent cut in the operating budget of the national parks.
As I look at the proposed cuts I have to ask, how can the party which repeatedly wraps itself in the images of 9-11, and repeatedly spreads fear of terrorist attack justify a 16% cut in the FBI budget; so much for pretending to be the party that’s strong on defense and security.
Regarding the EPA, it’s of course is no big surprise that if you invite big business to give you input into what should be eliminated or cut, that you’re going to cut 41% from the EPA. There have been times when I’ve called liberals who claimed the GOP hates the environment as being hysterical in their feelings. Now I’m not so sure. Forty one percent is a huge cut, and could significantly affect the agency’s ability to administer the law. But of course, “that’s how business rolls baby”.
Cutting 13% from the National Park Service makes perfect sense for Republicans though because only tree hugging progressives visit them any way. However, please don’t stand up any longer claiming how much you love America, and how much you love its rich history and the valiant men who fought and died to defend her. When you cut the budget of the National Park Service you’re not just cutting the upkeep of Yellowstone, you’re also cutting the budgets for the upkeep of Valley Forge, Cowpens, Yorktown, Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, Harpers Ferry and The USS Arizona Memorial.
It’s funny – in that odd sense of the word – but have you ever noticed how the GOP always goes for domestic spending first, never for spending on things like Iraq, Afghanistan or Kosovo. Yes Kosovo. We are spending millions if not hundreds of millions each year to keep thousands of U.S. troops in Kosovo. We spend $1 billion dollars each week funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here’s an idea, before we cut spending for American families, our national security, environment and parks, bring our troops home! Iraq and Afghanistan are failed missions. We didn’t get Bin Laden, and the Taliban are still operating there – FAILURE! We found no weapons of mass destruction, killed and injured hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis – FAILURE! And why are we still putting troops into Kosovo for Pete’s sake?
In spite of the draconian cuts mentioned above, some are also saying it’s unclear how Republicans will treat particularly sensitive programs, including Pell Grants for low-income college students and the Women, Infants and Children program, which provides food for low-income pregnant women, mothers and young children.
It’s not unclear at all to anyone who’s spent any time listening to the talking bovines of FOX PAC and right wing radio, to include GOP members of Congress bleating about the need to cut and slash. Pell Grants will no doubt be cut because low income students need to get jobs to pay for school, and low income women need to stop being welfare queens, get jobs and maybe even put their children to work too. Keeping these programs funded are not priorities for the GOP, after all these groups aren’t part of their constituents.
The GOP always goes for the poor, and the underprivileged first. Why? Because many of them are minorities who don’t vote and if they do vote they vote Democratic.
On the other side of that coin, not only does the GOP always pushes hard to cut the poor, it does so while fighting tooth and nail to keep tax cuts in place for the top 2% Americans. Why? Because many of the top 2% are white, vote Republican and are their Sugar Daddies.
Cut health care, cut funding for abortions, cut Pell Grants, cut WIC, cut, cut, , slash and cut. It’s obscene, it’s racist and it’s wrong.
As the Boehner and his lackey, Cantor, already know it isn’t going to happen. Even if the House passes a bill to repeal the Health Care law, the Senate isn’t going too, and even if that happens, the President is going to veto it.
One thing’s for certain, this is a huge waste of time, and money. It’s all a show, and the GOP members of Congress all know it’s a show, and the talking heads at FOX PAC all know it’s a show. The only people who don’t seem to know it’s a show are their supporters/viewers. The Tea Party folks, and Limbaugh listening, Beck watching, mindless conservative rabble. The people who all complain about the government until their trailer court gets hit by a tornado, or is flooded out by a hurricane. The ones who declare you can have their guns when you pry them out of their cold dead fingers. And Rush, Hannity et. al., will sing their praises and claim the Dems are the party of No, and their listeners will nod vigorously, while forgetting blissfully how the GOP – 99% of the time as a block – voted against everything in the past two years.
The GOP members of Congress, in the mean time, will all thump their chests and say, “We put up a valiant fight to repeal the evil Obamacare, but those nasty Democrats wouldn’t allow us to, all they wanted to do was obstruct, obstruct, obstruct!”
Gee, I wonder who those mean old nasty Democrats might have learned that tactic from?
And here’s another thought, there’s nothing more important right now for the GOP Congress to tackle?
Like, oh I don’t know?
Passing a budget?
After all, it was one of those things the GOP was all upset about until it came into power. Now suddenly it’s, “Budget, smudget we’ll get around to it after we do all this really important stuff”.
And, what about passing the Defense Authorization Bill?
Gee, maybe the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan would like to know there’s money to support them?
I don’t know, maybe?