Denny Rehberg And David McKinley, Fearing Their States' Voters, Try Throwing Ryan And His Budget Overboard
The other day Bill Moyers wrote how the extreme right-- for the first time since Barry Goldwater-- finally have a reason to be happy. "[I]n Paul Ryan, the Golden Boy from Janesville who schooled himself in the ideology of right-wing think tanks inside the Beltway, they finally have one of their own-- a true believer for the new Gilded Age. The country, too, now has a choice, not an echo. And that should add up to a definitive election in November." Moyers was writing about the presidential election. But it's also true of the congressional elections.
Savvy Republican politicians are sensing that... and many are desperately trying to distance themselves from Ryan's plan to kill Medicare, even though they voted for it, many of them several times. Denny Rehberg, now in a tight race for the Montana Senate seat held by Jon Tester, voted against it and he's running TV ads to make sure Montana voters know he abandoned the GOP leadership on Bush's bankster bailout (causing Boehner to label him a "knuckle-dragger"), on their job exporting trade policies and, of course, on Ryan's highly toxic budget. Watch:
The script the Montana Republican Party came up with says: "Rehberg refused to support a Republican budget plan that could harm the Medicare program so many of Montana's seniors rely on... and that's good for Montana." Logically it would be even better for Montana, not to mention the rest of the country, if the Republicans who are pushing these awful policies didn't have the majority they're seeking to shove this garbage down everyone's throats.
The first time Ryan's Medicare-killing budget got out of committee and was voted on was the day after April Fool's Day, 2009. It was soundly defeated, 293-137 and 38 Republicans joined all 255 Democrats voting against it. Denny Rehberg was not among those 38. He voted for the Ryan budget and he voted to kill Medicare. So that ad above isn't really correct.
Ryan changed it the following year (H.R. 4529) but it definitely would have killed Medicare and would have started the process of turning Social Security over to his cronies on Wall Street. It died in committee. But then dozens of teabaggers and other right-wing extremists were elected to Congress and Ryan was ready. It sailed through committee and passed the House on April 15, 2011, 235-193. Every Democrat plus four Republicans-- Walter Jones, David McKinley, Ron Paul and Denny Rehberg-- voted against it. (A month later the Senate killed it 57-40, with 5 Republicans-- Scott Brown, Lisa Murkowski, Rand Paul, and the two Maine ladies-- joining most of the Democrats in rejecting it.)
Ryan introduced a new version this past March and the House passed it 228-191, this time with 10 Republicans joining every Democrat in opposition. Ron Paul was away from Washington campaigning for the presidency but, again, Walter Jones, David McKinley and Denny Rehberg voted NO-- along with 7 Republicans worried about their reelection prospects: Justin Amash (R-MI), Joe Barton (R-TX), Johnny Duncan (R-TN), Chris Gibson (R-NY), Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), Todd Platts (R-PA), and Ed Whitfield (R-KY). [Connie Mack (R-FL), already thinking about running for the Senate, called Ryan's budget "a joke" and managed to avoid voting one way or the other.] So these Republicans are the good guys? Not a chance! Most of them are either shilling for some corporate cronies who didn't get all they wanted or are afraid of defeat at the polls. And, as Sue Thorn explained, they voted for it anyway when it came up again as a cynical "deem and pass" maneuver. A “deem and pass” move allows lawmakers to support a piece of legislation when voting for a separate bill. Before voting on H.R. 4089, an unrelated piece of hunting and fishing legislation, House lawmakers voted to support the Ryan budget, “deeming and passing it.” McKinley and Rehberg both voted to deem and pass and both are now frantically advertising their claims to have opposed Ryan's budget. Sue Thorn isn't letting McKinley get away with it and she's been making sure the local media knows he's trying to mislead the voters.
"Ryan’s budget is in the limelight once again now that Ryan has been selected as the Republican vice-presidential nominee. Voters deserve to know the truth about whether our representatives support or oppose this budget.
“After admitting the Ryan budget would hurt seniors, the congressman voted to pass it. Voting to end Medicare is a shameless move. Seniors deserve better than having to choose between groceries and life-saving medications. The Ryan budget is wrong because it would raise costs for seniors by thousands of dollars and end Medicare as we know it. We can’t turn back on the promise we made to seniors.
“The Ryan budget is an undeserved punishment for working people. My opponent voted to increase taxes for low-income earners to cut taxes for millionaires and give tax breaks to Big Oil corporations. To raise profits for Republican donors, the bill eliminates funds we need in middle class communities for roads and bridges, law enforcement and emergency response.
“The bill slashes Pell Grants and strips funds from schools, all to cut tax rates for the upper 1 percent. We shouldn’t be punishing people for going to school and striving to contribute to society. Since taking office, my opponent has continually showed his allegiance to billionaires and special interests, as well as his disdain for working people. Voting to pass the Ryan budget is just another example of how the congressman’s top 1% values don’t align with the middle class values of the people of West Virginia.”
If you'd like to help Sue get that message out throughout the sprawing West Virginia first district, here's how you can.