Boehner and his merry band of well poisoners

Yesterday, President Obama announced his plan to take action to address immigration reform. Today, House Speaker John Boehner will use his 9 a.m. address to try to explain away the Republican Party’s obstructionist plan to fight the President’s effort.

Yesterday, American Bridge sent you a list of the many other times Republicans have claimed the President “poisoned the well” on an issue. Today, we’re showing you those Republican claims – in their own words.

Read more after the jump.

Rubio Left Thirsting For New Ideas On Poverty

Following a disastrous 2012 election cycle in which Mitt Romney infamously described 47 percent of voters as “dependent upon the government,” Republican leaders set out to make their party more appealing – or at least less insulting – to middle-class and working Americans.

Just weeks after the election, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) gave a speech on “middle-class opportunity” that was hailed as a sign of shifting conservative priorities and a more compassionate Republican Party. However, Rubio’s message did not translate into action, as he and his party spent the next year opposing middle-class tax cuts, pushing massive cuts to the safety net, and even shutting down the government in a futile attempt to undermine access to affordable health insurance.

Meanwhile, Rubio endorsed comprehensive immigration reform but failed to sell conservatives on a bipartisan bill and, after damaging his standing on the right, eventually dialed back his support. That failed leadership led one major Florida newspaper to dub Rubio the “political loser” of 2013, so it’s no surprise to see the senator delivering yet another highly publicized speech to give his image a boost.

It is almost unfathomable that Rubio is giving a speech on poverty just a day after voting against unemployment benefits. But his refusal to help the unemployed is actually emblematic of conservatives’ empty rhetoric on poverty. Until Rubio and the Republicans come up with any actual ideas beyond their endless calls for more tax cuts and repealing Obamacare, the real war on poverty in America remains their endless attacks on the middle and working class.

Read more after the jump.

Oversight GOP’s Hearing: “Obamacare’s Impact on Premiums and Provider Networks”

While committee Republicans can be expected to blame premium increases and changes to provider networks on Obamacare, the truth is that health care costs and premiums were rising dramatically for years prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Between 2000 and 2009, every Republican committee member saw premiums in his or her home state rise at a rate that far outpaced wages, with insurers sometimes spiking plans’ costs by as much as 50 percent in a single year.

Yet instead of supporting the health care law’s protections against insurance industry abuses – including the provision that requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on actual medical care – congressional Republicans have pursued a extreme deregulatory agenda. In addition to their dozens of attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the party has pushed to allow insurance sales across state lines, tried to exempt certain types of plans from state oversight, and even signed onto alternative plans that don’t include the prohibition against pre-existing condition discrimination. Incidentally, congressional Republicans – including many of Oversight Committee members participating in today’s hearing – have received tens of thousands of dollars from top health care industry PACs.

To make matters worse, the majority’s witness list is full of conservative operatives and anti-health care reform crusaders, including a Romney campaign adviser and the author of an ALEC model bill. The GOP’s mission to destroy health care reform and replace it with a “free-market” alternative that lets insurance companies run wild suggests the Oversight Committee’s hearing is likely to be little more than another excuse to publicize extreme anti-Obamacare GOP talking points as we roll towards the 2014 elections.

Read more after the jump.

GOP Glitch: Failed War On Obamacare Stuck On Repeat

The Republican Party is historically unpopular after shutting down the government in a futile attempt to defund the Affordable Care Act. In fact, with a favorability rating of just 24 percent, Republicans are far less popular than the health care law, which a majority of Americans support or would like to make stronger. Yet the backlash against them has not convinced Republicans to give up their desperate crusade to take away people’s health care.

On Tuesday, the House Ways and Means Committee is holding a hearing on the glitches in the Affordable Care Act’s recently launched insurance marketplaces. A memo from the committee’s Republican majority contends that the “significant and ongoing problems with the launch of the Exchanges further exacerbates the challenges facing American families.” However, a look back at President Bush’s Medicare Part D expansion shows Republicans – including members of the very same committee holding today’s hearing – defending the need to give new health care programs enough time to succeed. For example, as current chairman of the Ways and Means health subcommittee Kevin Brady (R-TX) said, “I think it needs to be understood that in a major reform, an improvement of a program like this, there are bound to be glitches.”

While the past conduct of these Republican committee members makes it abundantly clear that the hearing has nothing to do with improving people’s access to health care, the overall record of Republicans in Congress provides even more evidence that they are not genuinely concerned with the difficulties of obtaining health insurance. House Republicans have voted nearly 50 times to repeal or defund the Affordable Care Act without offering any realistic replacement. Furthermore, Republicans have repeatedly approved radical budget proposals that would privatize Medicare and gut health care programs for children and the poor.

Read more after the jump.

GOP Refuses To Shut Down Unpopular War On Health Care Reform

The Republican Party is historically unpopular after shutting down the government in a futile attempt to defund the Affordable Care Act. In fact, with a favorability rating of just 24 percent, Republicans are far less popular than the health care law, which a majority of Americans support or would like to make stronger. Yet the backlash against them has not convinced Republicans to give up their desperate crusade to take away people’s health care.

On Thursday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding a hearing on the glitches in the Affordable Care Act’s recently launched insurance marketplaces. A memo from the committee’s Republican majority contends that the rollout “has been fraught with significant problems that are leading to major delays for Americans attempting to shop for health coverage.” However, a look back at President Bush’s Medicare Part D expansion shows Republicans –including some of the very same committee members holding today’s hearing – defending the need to give new health care programs enough time to succeed. For example, as then-Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX) said, “This is a huge undertaking and there are going to be glitches.”

While the past conduct of these Republican committee members makes it abundantly clear that today’s hearing has nothing to do with improving people’s access to health care, the overall record of Republicans in Congress provides even more evidence that they are not genuinely concerned with the difficulties of obtaining health insurance. House Republicans have voted nearly 50 times to repeal or defund the Affordable Care Act without offering any realistic replacement. Furthermore, Republicans have repeatedly approved radical budget proposals that would privatize Medicare and gut health care programs for children and the poor.

Read more after the jump.

GOP Shutdown Sells Out Small Business

Members of Congress – both Democratic and Republican – have long touted the merits of America’s small businesses. The value of small businesses as job creators and pillars of the local community are one of the few views shared by both parties. However, Republicans are demonstrating that their affection for small businesses is not deep enough to warrant any action beyond hollow rhetoric.

With the deadline to raise the debt limit looming, Republicans have been holding the economy hostage and threatening to let the nation default unless President Obama and Democrats give in to right-wing demands. In 2011, the mere threat of default caused significant damage for small businesses and the economy; an actual default – attributable solely to Republican intransigence – would be catastrophic, rivaling the 2008 economic crisis. Yet many conservatives dismiss the potential consequences of their actions, and have convinced Speaker Boehner to follow them down this perilous path.

Although Republicans have justified their opposition to the Affordable Care Act by falsely claiming that it will hurt small businesses and kill jobs, their decision to shut down the government in a desperate attempt to stop the health care law has led to actual suffering for small businesses. The Republican shutdown has created crippling uncertainty in the form of cancelled ongoing work, delayed payments, collapsed consumer confidence, and Small Business Administration loans “in limbo.” But Republicans show no signs of concern for the small business owners they purport to defend.

Read more after the jump.

Conservatives In Crisis: Right-Wing Infighting Exposes Inability To Govern

After voting 41 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act, it appears that some congressional Republicans have finally realized that passing legislation to repeal health care reform is a right-wing pipe dream. Unfortunately, conservative groups and their allies in Congress are now pushing an even worse idea: threatening to shut down the government or manufacture another debt-ceiling default crisis in a last-ditch effort to defund Obamacare.

Heading into the fall, Republicans are divided – most visibly over how far they are willing to take the fight against Obamacare. Potential presidential contenders Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) are calling on their party to oppose any continuing resolution that does not reject funding for the health care law, even if it results in a government shutdown. Their effort is opposed by establishment Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), who have signaled their preference for refusing to raise the debt ceiling unless Democrats agree to one-year delay to Obamacare implementation. However, it’s unclear whether Boehner and Cantor will be able to convince their conservative members, as ongoing divisions on a host of legislative issues point to a party in crisis. Making matters even worse, Republicans are under intense pressure from right-wing activists and organizations to defund Obamacare or face the consequences.

If it seems like déjà vu all over again, that’s because this isn’t the first time the Tea Party base has pushed Republicans to recklessly wreak havoc on the economy to get their way. In the past, Republican leaders have readily played along, most notably by threatening to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood funding and refusing to raise the debt ceiling until Democrats agreed to draconian budget cuts. The result is an expectation on the right that Republicans will use even the most basic responsibilities of governing as leverage to advance their extreme agenda.

Read more after the jump.

60 Plus Association: “Clear”

The 60 Plus criticizes Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ) for supporting President Obama, blaming the president’s policies for the number of Americans who are still looking for work or receiving food stamps. The truth is that Obama inherited an economy that was losing hundreds of thousands of jobs per month and forcing millions of Americans to rely on government assistance, as Americans suffered through the worst downturn since the Great Depression. Today the economy is growing, the private sector has added almost 5 million new jobs in the last 32 straight months, and consumer confidence has climbed to its highest level since February 2008. The ad also blames the Obama for the rising debt, but the real culprits are Bush-era policies and the recession itself, and Republicans have repeatedly blocked Obama’s deficit-reduction proposals.

Read more after the jump.

Crossroads GPS: “No Clue”

An ad from Crossroads GPS nonsensically attacks New Mexico Senate candidate Rep. Martin Heinrich both for too much spending and for a vote that may result in spending cuts. In reality, it was the recession and policies like the Bush tax cuts – both rounds of which Heinrich’s opponent voted for – that drove up debt. The automatic spending cuts are looming thanks to Republicans’ refusal to compromise on deficit reduction; when Heinrich voted for the last-minute deal that imposed those cuts as an incentive for a super committee to find compromise on deficit reduction, his primary concern was raising the debt limit and avoiding the economic catastrophe that would have resulted from default.

Read more after the jump.

American Crossroads: “Debate”

American Crossroads wants to know what it is about President Obama’s first term indicates that “another four years would be better” if he wins the election. The answer is simple: Obama inherited an economy that was losing hundreds of thousands of jobs per month, as Americans suffered through the worst downturn since the Great Depression. Today the economy is growing – as evidenced by 4.97 million new private-sector jobs created in the last 32 months – and consumer confidence has climbed to its highest level since February 2008. The ad also blames the Obama’s spending for the rising debt, but the real culprits are Bush-era policies and the recession itself, and Republicans have repeatedly blocked Obama’s deficit-reduction proposals.

Read more after the jump.