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.

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.

Americans For Prosperity: “Doctor Questions”

A new ad from Americans for Prosperity stars a pediatrician who says that “Obamacare has me worried” about her ability to give patients the attention they need and the future of her practice. However, while the conservative group identifies Dr. Mary Ellen Gallagher as a “Family Doctor and Pediatrician,” the ad does not mention that she also has a history of attaching herself to Republican campaigns in Virginia, including Ken Cuccinelli’s bid for governor.

Read more after the jump.

Michele Bachmann’s Legacy Lives On

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has announced that she will not seek another term in the House of Representatives. However, the former presidential candidate’s legacy of extreme statements, paranoid conspiracy theories, and ideological witch hunts will live on through the right-wing members of Congress who will continue to champion her views.

Anti-American Conspiracies

Bachmann Called For A Media Investigation Into Whether Members Of Congress Are “Pro-America Or Anti-America.” During an interview on MSNBC’s Hardball, Michele Bachmann said, “What I would say — what I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look. I wish they would. I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America? I think people would love to see an expose like that.” [MSNBC, Hardball, 10/17/08]

  • Steve King Called Joe McCarthy “A Hero” And Said He Would Support Something “Along the Lines Of the House Un-American Activities Committee.” In an interview with Right Side News, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) was asked, whether he would support “resurrection of the Congressional internal security committees along the lines of the House Un-American Activities Committee.” King replied, “I would. Something similar. If we called it the House Un-American Activities Committee, that would be lighting up the history of McCarthy in a way that wouldn’t be necessary, although I am often quoted as saying McCarthy was a hero for America. He was. He was right far more times than he was wrong. It is a historical fact. But I would submit a different committee name so that we don’t have to deal with the history, and move forward. I think that is a good process and I would support it.” [Right Side News, 10/5/10]
Read more after the jump.

Susan B. Anthony List’s Anti-Choice Machine

Susan B. Anthony List has committed to spending at least $1.5 million on behalf of arch-conservative Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, continuing its pattern of support for extreme politicians. Although it is named for the nineteenth-century feminist pioneer, SBA List has little to do with championing the rights of women and everything to do with ending women’s access to abortion, mostly by supporting candidates who are fiercely opposed to reproductive health choices.

Using the 2013 Virginia election as a “proving ground” in advance of 2014’s midterm elections, SBA List is testing out electoral strategies that will further President Marjorie Dannenfelser’s vision of an anti-choice “political machine” as impossible to ignore as the National Rifle Association. An ad in April from the SBA List targeting Cuccinelli’s Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe, was the first paid advertising of the race. Beyond its efforts in Virginia, SBA List has pledged to focus its upcoming efforts on 12 key states, eight of which will host field offices pursuing electoral and legislative goals.

In addition to backing extreme candidates like Todd Akin, who infamously claimed that women are unlikely get pregnant from “legitimate rape” because their bodies have mysterious ways to “shut that whole thing down,” SBA List supports policies in line with its leaders’ radical perspectives on birth control and sex. Instead of endorsing preventive measures that could reduce the need for abortions, Dannenfelser has illogically argued that “contraception and family planning” are responsible for increasing the number of abortions. “The bottom line,” she has said, “is that to lose the connection between sex and having children leads to problems.”

Read more after the jump.

Fact Check: Susan B. Anthony List’s Radio Ad Supporting Ken Cuccinelli

Given that Susan B. Anthony List defended Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock after their extreme comments on pregnancy in cases of rape last year, it’s no surprise they also support Ken Cuccinelli’s extreme advocacy for unnecessary and burdensome regulations that could force many of the state’s 23 abortion clinics to close.

Fact Check

SBA List Radio Ad Attacks McCauliffe Over Abortion Clinic Regulations. According to Politico’s “Morning Score,” “The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List is targeting Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe in new radio ad out today—the first paid advertising so far on behalf of either candidate. In the ad, SBA List goes after McAuliffe for opposing the Virginia Board of Health’s new regulations for abortion clinics—measures McAuliffe called an ‘unnecessary move’ on the part of the state and many pro-abortion rights activists opposed as an attempt to financially cripple abortion clinics. ‘In the race for Governor…there’s one candidate who has taken extreme positions far outside the mainstream….one candidate whose radical ideas are troubling to every woman in Virginia. It’s Terry McAuliffe,’ the ad says.” [Politico, 4/23/13]

Read more after the jump.

Ending Spending: “Spending Our Future Away”

Ending Spending claims that Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) is “spending our future away,” connecting his support for the health care law and the Recovery Act to the rising debt. However, the Affordable Care Act actually reduces the deficit, while the stimulus bill created jobs and helped rescue the economy from a deeper recession. In reality, Bush administration policies and the recession itself caused deficits to explode in recent years.

Read more after the jump.

Super PAC For America: “Obamacare Hurts Seniors: Here’s How!”

Dick Morris’ literally named “Super PAC for America” a flagrantly dishonest ad against President Obama’s health care law, forgoing all the nuance and subtlety usually used by other conservative groups to skirt the truth in favor of blunt falsehoods. Far from weakening Medicare, the law extents the program’s solvency by eight years, and rather than ending Medicare Advantage, the Affordable Care Act shores up traditional Medicare by decreasing overpayments to the private alternative that end up driving up the traditional program’s premiums. Virtually every word of the ad’s claims about the Independent Payment Advisory Board is also false: the “unaccountable” board is actually Senate-confirmed, the board is specifically prohibited from cutting Medicare benefits, and Congress can override the board’s recommendations by finding alternate savings or rejecting them with a supermajority.

Read more after the jump.

U.S. Chamber Of Commerce: “PA Senate – Bob Casey”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce accuses Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) of “voting against western Pennsylvania” by supporting the health care law, a cap-and-trade bill, and EPA regulations designed to cut down on toxic air pollution. But the Affordable Care Act doesn’t, as the ad suggests, cut any money out of Medicare’s current budget. The estimate of job losses the ad cites for the cap-and-trade law comes from the right-wing Heritage Foundation, and the EPA’s air toxics regulations would prevent an estimated 11,000 premature deaths per year.

Read more after the jump.