Saturday, October 24, 2015

GOP (+ The DCCC's BlueDog Collin Peterson) Vote To Gut The Affordable Care Act... For The 61st Time


Blue Dog Collin Peterson was the only Democrat who voted Friday to defund Planned Parenthood and wreck the Affordable Care Act-- and the DCCC loves him for it

As the crackpot House Republicans got ready to call it a week and scurry off for the weekend, they voted on Georgia nut case Tom Price's latest attempt to take health insurance away from millions of working families-- and to defund Planned Parenthood, all rolled up into one ugly bill, H.R.3762. It passed 40-189, 7 Republicans voting with the Democrats-- mainstream conservatives Bob Dold (IL) and Richard Hanna (NY); libertarian Walter Jones nervous about a primary challenge from an extremist teabagger; and 4 lunatics who didn't find it sufficiently extreme, Mark Meadows (NC) and Matt Salmon (AZ), Ken Buck (CO) and Mark Walker (NC). Crossing the aisle in the other direction was Minnesota Blue Dog, Collin Peterson, who votes with the Democrats when questions of naming post offices comes up but is otherwise a safe bet for the GOP on everything from refusing to increase the minimum wage and shutting down Planned Parenthood to trying to force gays back into the closet.

It's worth mentioning that Peterson is on financial life-support from the DCCC and that if they didn't pump money into his miserable campaigns he would retire immediately. Last cycle alone the DCCC spent $3,611,284 to prop up Peterson's failing career and Pelosi's related House Majority PAC spent another $332,439. They can be safely expected to waste as much money on his this cycle, money that could be used to elect actual Democrats who vote with the Democrats, not with the Republicans.

Right after the vote, Donna Edwards explained to Maryland voters what was at stake and why this ostensibly silly vote-- which will fail in the Senate or be vetoed by President Obama-- matters. "Today's vote," she wrote, "was the 61st Republican vote to repeal or dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has helped more than 16.4 million Americans gain health care coverage. I agree that we need to address our budget deficit, but this bill does the exact opposite. H.R. 3762 undermines the ACA and is another unpaid-for GOP permanent tax cut that would significantly increase the federal deficit over the next ten years, while actually reducing by 14 million the number of Americans with health insurance coverage.

"This Budget Reconciliation bill is not a serious proposal. Instead of voting on another fiscally irresponsible ACA repeal and defunding or restricting access to Planned Parenthood, House Republicans should be addressing issues that impact Maryland families, especially with looming expirations of the Highway Trust Fund next week, the debt limit that directly impacts the full faith and credit of the United States the following week, and government funding and budget agreement that invests in our nation’s future in December."

This morning, writing editorially for the NY Times economist Paul Krugman explained just how successful Obamacare has been so far, despite GOP sabotage.

Sometimes you almost have to feel sorry for Mitt Romney. He has one great achievement in life: the Massachusetts health reform, which acted as a template for the Affordable Care Act. If he were a member of a sane political party, he’d be boasting about that record. But he wanted to be president, which meant having to accommodate himself to his party; and in Iowa, 81 percent of Republicans say that Ben Carson’s statement that Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery makes him more attractive as a candidate. So he has to trash the best thing he’s done.

Sometimes, it turns out, he can’t maintain the facade. The other day he took credit for setting the stage for Obamacare. Then he tried desperately to walk it back, claiming that Obamacare has failed-- which is literally and figuratively the party line.

...Obamacare has led to a rapid drop in the number of uninsured, especially in states that have fully implemented its provisions. It hasn’t covered everyone, but it wasn’t expected to: it doesn’t cover undocumented immigrants, and the relative complexity of the program always meant that some eligible people would fall through the cracks. The original CBO estimates were that eventually 92 percent of non-elderly residents would have coverage, and in Medicaid expansion states we’re getting there.

Meanwhile, the whole thing has come in well below projected costs; insurance premiums will rise for 2016, but after two years of remarkably small rises that still leaves things cheaper than expected. And overall health care spending has come in far below expectations.

None of the other terrible things that were supposed to happen-- job loss, destruction of full-time employment, a surge in the budget deficit-- have happened either.

But to be a good Republican you have to insist that it has been a disaster. And Mitt Romney is therefore in the position of trashing his own life’s work. Sad. But he has nobody but himself to blame.
Just like the 4 crazy Republicans who voted against it in the House because it didn't go far enough-- Mark Meadows, Matt Salmon, Ken Buck and Mark Walker-- 3 of the most extreme Republicans in the House are already saying they're not voting for it for the same reason-- and two neo-Nazi groups, Heritage Action and Freedom Works are cheering them on. Anti-health care, anti-women right-wing fanatics Ted Cruz (R-TX), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mike Lee (R-UT) claim Boehner and McCarthy reneged on their promise to completely repeal Obamacare and that this bill only repeals most of it. So now it's part of a filibuster-proof reconciliation package and if McConnell loses one more Senate Republican-- maybe Susan Collins who sometimes votes in favor of women or one of the vulnerable members who have to face the voters next year, like Mark Kirk, Lisa Murkowski or Dean Heller or one of the other far right extremists, say a Sasse, Ernst, Perdue, Tillis, Lankford, Sullivan, Grassley, Cotton or Inhofe-- the bill will fail... unless of course Miss McConnell can round up a right-wing Democrat like Joe Manchin or Joe Donnelly to "save" the day.

Democrats like Joe Manchin and Joe Donnelly are far from the kinds of Democrats we're backing at Blue America. Ours are very progressive and very motivated by progressive ideals and values. Like Ruben Kikuen in Nevada. Right after the vote he told us that "Congressman Hardy once again voted today to repeal the Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood against the interest of millions of Americans and particularly women in the 4th Congressional District. I know women who use Planned Parenthood's excellent services and have seen first-hand how the Affordable Care Act has improved the lives of individuals, especially those in the low-income neighborhoods of North Las Vegas that I grew up in. Congressman Hardy's attacks on Planned Parenthood and the ACA make me angry and frustrated with his reckless disregard for the struggles of every day Nevadans. He should be ashamed and we must continue to work hard to defeat him next November... With another debt ceiling disaster looming and military funding on the line, Congress should be working overtime. Instead, they've just voted for the umpteenth time to repeal Obamacare and to defund a critically important public health program.It is embarrassing that our current representative in Congress is so blind to the struggles of working Nevadans. Congressman Hardy should be ashamed of today's vote.

Former Marine and LAPD officer Lou Vince is the independent-minded progressive running for a newly blue L.A.-Ventura seat held by extremist Tea Party bigot Steve Knight. After the vote yesterday, he posed some questions he hopes Santa Clarita, Simi Valley and Antelope Valley residents will take to heart. " Steve Knight is full of nothing but empty promises and bad decisions. He made a campaign promise not to vote to repeal Obamacare. Yet there have been countless votes to repeal Obamacare and who has voted to repeal it? Steve Knight. Republicans have waged a long war on women and their reproductive health. Who continues to lead the war on women? Steve Knight. He just voted to defund Planned Parenthood so that women can’t get vital health services like cancer screenings and important preventative healthcare. Who does Steve Knight represent? Not the voters of the 25th District. We are going to take back this district for the residents and stop Steve Knight’s divisive war on healthcare and women. Enough is enough!"

Back in Michigan Paul Clements is running against Boehner/Ryan ally Fred Upton. "Why," he asked rhetorically, "is Congressman Upton trying to take our health care away from us? Today he voted for the 61st time to defund the Affordable Care Act, and, adding insult to injury, he also voted to defund Planned Parenthood. Maybe he doesn’t know that millions of women in America, one of them in my family, depend on Planned Parenthood for contraceptive services. Maybe he doesn’t know that millions of Americans have gained health insurance for the first time from the Affordable Care Act. But if not, someone this ignorant of the consequences of their votes certainly doesn’t deserve to be in Congress. If he does know, well, someone who would bring this much harm and disruption to the lives of so many millions certainly doesn’t deserve to be in Congress. It’s bad enough for House Republicans to be so dysfunctional that they take America once again to the brink of defaulting on our debt. That they should also try to tear down institutions that underpin basic well-being for so many of us is criminal."

And Pat Murphy, former Speaker of the Iowa House, is running for Congress in the first congressional district. He was just as passionate about the vote yesterday as Paul and Ruben. "Congressman Blum is a proud member of the 'Freedom Caucus' which in the last month has taken down the Speaker of the House and his heir apparent, Kevin McCarthy, to create gridlock in Congress. Now he wants to create gridlock in middle class America by repealing the Affordable Care Act which would take away healthcare to 11 million Americans. But, he didn't stop there; he wants to deny millions of American women from having access to basic healthcare by the defunding Planned Parenthood. He wants to make government leaner and meaner at the expense of women, children and families. This is not what Americans want out of Congress. This is the month of Halloween, but Congressman Blum is the one that is the real life scary."

Do you want to help stop these kinds of brutal and unjustifiable right-wing incursions against American families? Here's where you can pitch in.

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