WILL THE ANTI-FAMILY CONGRESSMEMBERS BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE?
Rumors-- which I can confirm for you-- are swirling that 5 big bombs will be dropping on the heads of the renegade Democrats who, like Bush and most congressional Republicans, are insensitive to the plight of working families with uninsured children. There are only 5 Democrats left in Congress who are still voting to sustain Bush's veto: Jim Marshall (GA), Mike McIntyre (NC), Bob Etheridge (NC), Gene Taylor (MS) and Baron Hill (IN). Marshall and Hill are especially susceptible to grassroots action being planned to pressure them to vote like Democrats or to just give up their seats to actual Republicans. You'll hear some details on Monday.
Meanwhile, however, a much worse problem, obviously, lies with rubber stamp Republicans. With Roy Blunt and Howdy Doody-- who will now be ineligible for health insurance himself if the veto is sustained-- practically threatening to break the legs of any Republicans who vote to override, pro-children/pro-family activists are stepping up to start pressuring some of them. Both the SEIU and AFSCME are launching television and radio campaigns in 17 Republican-held congressional districts.
The vote will be October 18 and between Monday and then the anti-family Republicans can expect to get clobbered on TV, radio, by phone and e-mail, and in newspaper ads. According to one of the groups coordinating the expenditures, Americans United for Change, between one and five million dollars have been committed so far-- and that doesn't count the money committed to the 5 renegade Democrats. If the veto is sustained MoveOn will step in and attack the anti-family Republicans-- and perhaps Democrats-- in close districts.
The AFL-CIO, USAction, and True Majority are planning to generate over a million phone calls to voters in the districts of 43 anti-family Republicans in 24 states. The first hard-hitting round will involve advertising in 17 carefully targeted districts of rubber stamp Republicans with clear records of voting for corporate interests and screwing over their constituents:
Tim Walberg (MI)
Joseph Knollenberg (MI)
Steve Chabot (OH)
Thomas Reynolds (NY)
Randy Kuhl (NY)
Sam Graves (MO)
Marilyn Musgrave (CO)
Tom Feeney (FL)
Tim Johnson (IL)
Rodney Alexander (LA)
John Boozman (AR)
Kay Granger (TX)
Barbara Cubin (WY)
Thelma Drake (VA)
Robin Hayes (NC)
Michele Bachmann (MN)
Robert Aderholt (AL)
Pelosi needs 15 Republicans to do the right thing and Bush's toxic veto will be overridden. In today's Washington Post Eugene Robinson take off the gloves and goes after Bush's contemptible lies. Bush's jihad against responsible government has seen him slash taxes for the very wealthy so that good government can barely function (the Grover Norquist solution). If you liked the government's response to Katrina and the bridge collapse in Minneapolis, you will have plenty to be happy about as the consequences of Bush's brand of Republican economics starts to take hold over the next few years. Meanwhile his quick little war in Iraq is soaring beyond half a trillion dollars and the health care requirements of wounded veterans-- if the war would end tomorrow-- will mean another trillion dollars in expenditures. He signed every single-- NOT ONE EXCEPTION EVER-- pork-stuffed spending bill the GOP Congress sent him for 6 years.
So for Bush to get religion on fiscal responsibility at this late date is, well, a joke. And for him to make his stand on a measure that would have provided health insurance to needy children is a punch line that hasn't left many Republicans laughing.
...Bush's stated reasons for vetoing the SCHIP bill left even reliable congressional allies-- such as Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Charles Grassley of Iowa, both of whom supported the legislation-- sputtering in incomprehension. As for me, I don't know what to call the president's rationale but a pack of flat-out lies.
The president said Congress was trying to "federalize health care," even though the program in question is run by the states. The president said that "I don't want the federal government making decisions for doctors and customers," even though the vetoed bill authorizes no such decisions-- the program enrolls children in private, I repeat, private, health insurance plans.
And here's my favorite: "This program expands coverage, federal coverage, up to families earning $83,000 a year. That doesn't sound poor to me." But the bill he vetoed prohibits states from using the program to aid families who make more than three times the federal poverty limit, or about $60,000 a year for a family of four. Most of the aid would go to families earning substantially less.
Bush's spurious $83,000 figure comes from a request by New York state to use the program for some families earning four times the poverty limit. That request was denied by the Bush administration last month-- and that upper limit is not in the bill Bush vetoed. End of story. If New York or any other state were to ask again to be able to raise the income limits, the administration could simply say no.
Bush seems to be upset that Congress didn't adopt his pet idea to tackle the health insurance issue through-- guess what?-- tax breaks. None of the major players on Capitol Hill thought this would work. When the White House persisted, Congress moved ahead on its own.
Hatch, a conservative Utah Republican, admits he's fed up with Bush. He says he hopes the folks back home "raise Cain." Robinson thinks they will. Grassroots activists hope to make sure of it.