Rep. Paul Ryan’s Severely Conservative Budget Benefits The Rich At The Expense Of The Vulnerable

Those familiar with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) last budget proposal won’t be shocked at this year’s updated “Path to Prosperity,” a fiscal plan for 2013 and beyond that pledges policy prescriptions for “safeguarding America from the perils of debt, doubt and decline.” Like the old version of the “Path,” Ryan’s second attempt at engineering fiscal policy – including recommendations for overhauling the tax code, cutting spending, and reforming Medicare and Medicaid – takes an axe to federal spending that benefits those without political or economic power but showers tax breaks on the wealthy. With its absence of reasonable solutions for lowering debt and its far-fetched proposals to shift the country’s fiscal burdens onto the poor and middle class, the latest Ryan plan is at heart the same as the old one: A blueprint not for stabilizing the country’s fiscal situation but for forcing an ultra-conservative vision on the federal government.

Ryan Plan’s Cuts Are Enormous, Unrealistic, And Wouldn’t Balance The Budget Until 2040

The New Ryan Plan Proposes Even Larger Deficit Cuts Than Last Year’s GOP Budget. From the Associated Press: “This year’s GOP measure would produce deficit estimates that are significantly lower than a comparable measure passed by the House a year ago, claiming deficit cuts totaling $3.3 trillion – spending cuts of $5.3 trillion tempered by $2 trillion in lower taxes – below Obama over the coming decade. The deficit in 2015, for example, would drop to about $300 billion from $1.2 trillion for the current budget year. Last year’s GOP draft called for a 2015 deficit more than $100 billion higher.” [Associated Press via, 3/20/12]

The New Ryan Budget Cuts Spending By $100 Billion From This Year To Next. From the Associated Press: “The measure would cut spending from $3.6 trillion this year to the $3.5 trillion range in 2013 and freeze it at that level for two more years.” [Associated Press via, 3/20/12]

The New Ryan Budget Cuts Spending By $5 Trillion Over The Next Ten Years. From Bloomberg: “House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan today proposed reducing spending by $5 trillion over the next decade from the U.S. budget with Medicaid, food stamps, Pell college tuition grants and other programs facing reductions.” [Bloomberg, 3/20/12]

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It’s Not Just Abortion: The Far-Reaching Conservative War On Women’s Health


Attempts to restrict women’s access to legal and safe abortion is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the conservative assault on women’s health care. Conservatives, particularly the increasingly right-wing House Republicans who rode into the majority on a Tea Party wave, have also sought to undermine and defund a variety of what ought to be non-divisive women’s health care services. Over the last year or so, conservatives have ramped up the war on women’s health care, including access to contraceptives, preventive services like cancer screenings, and programs that promote maternal and childhood health.

Title X: Birth Control And Cancer Screenings

House GOP Repeatedly Tried To Zero Out Title X Funding

In The 2011 Spending Bill, House Republicans Tried To Completely Eliminate A Program That Provides Family Planning And Cancer Screenings For Low-Income Women. From the National Women’s Law Center: “The bill to fund – and de-fund – the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, H.R. 1, passed the House on February 19, 2011, on a party-line vote (all but three Republicans voting voted for the bill; all Democrats voting voted against it). […] H.R. 1 eliminates funding for the Title X program, which for more than 40 years has provided family planning services, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and other preventive health care to low-income women in need. Title X-funded health centers serve more than five million low-income women and men each year, and six in 10 women who obtain health care from a family planning center consider it to be their primary source of health care.” [National Women’s Law Center, 2/23/11]

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Contraceptive Coverage: No Bitter Pill For Most Americans

The arguments in favor of the new Health and Human Services (HHS) rule requiring employers to provide health plans that cover contraceptives with no cost-sharing are overwhelming. Yet, as is often the case in matters concerning women’s health and reproductive rights, what ought to be an issue of effective and practical modern public health policy has been reframed by the right as a threat to religious liberty. Despite an exception to the HHS rule allowing religiously affiliated employers to avoid paying premiums that support contraceptives by shifting the responsibility onto insurers, conservatives remain outraged. But the outside groups and politicians who persist in protesting over the issue are at odds with the American public.

The Origins Of The Uproar Over Contraceptive Coverage

The Affordable Care Act Requires New Insurance Plans To Cover Preventive Services For Free. From The New York Times: “Starting this year, insurers will be required under the Affordable Care Act to completely cover such services as annual physicals, childhood vaccinations and dozens of screening tests for everything from high blood pressure to abdominal aortic aneurysms.” [The New York Times, 9/19/11]

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U.S. Chamber Of Commerce: “Tammy Baldwin – Failure”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce accuses Wisconsin Rep. Tammy Baldwin of ‘making it worse’ for Wisconsin families by voting for the Dodd-Frank wall street reform bill and for health care reform, making false accusations about the legislation in the process. For instance, Dodd-Frank regulations target large firms in order to help prevent another financial sector meltdown — not, as the ad claims, small businesses. And the claim that Affordable Care Act — which won’t raise taxes for most Americans – is a job-killer has been debunked.

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U.S. Chamber Of Commerce: “Bill Nelson – Deciding”

An ad from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce attacks Florida Sen. Bill Nelson as a “deciding vote for government-mandated health care,” although he was just one of 60 senators whose votes in favor of the health care reform law counted equally. The Chamber also throws out a series of distortions about the law, saying, for example, that it will cost taxpayers “over $1 trillion,” even though it reduces the deficit, and misusing information about how the law will expand coverage and achieve Medicare savings.

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Crossroads GPS: “Hiding”

Crossroads GPS criticizes North Dakota Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp for supporting the Affordable Care Act, even though, according to the ad, the “Supreme Court ruled Obamacare is a massive increase on working families.” Of course, while the Supreme Court ruled that the law’s requirement that people obtain health insurance or pay a small penalty is constitutional under Congress’ taxing power, the decision did not say anything about how the provision would affect working families. In reality, the Affordable Care Act does not directly raise taxes on most working Americans, and it will actually provide tax relief for millions. The ad also misleads on the law’s Medicare savings – which do not ‘cut’ seniors’ benefits – while failing to mention that Heitkamp’s opponent voted to preserve nearly all of those spending reductions.

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Crossroads GPS: “Calendar”

An ad from Crossroads GPS suggests that Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), who is running for the Senate, is responsible for an “explosion” in debt since he took office. But the main drivers of the debt in recent years are Bush policies, such as tax breaks for the wealthy, and the recession – not policies that Heinrich voted for since he took office in 2009. In fact, the Recovery Act helped prevent an even worse economic collapse, and the Affordable Care Act reduces the deficit.

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U.S. Chamber Of Commerce: “Sherrod Brown – Own It”

In an ad going after Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce complains that Brown supported the Affordable Care Act’s “higher taxes,” even though the health care law won’t raise taxes on most Americans and provides tax credits for millions. Citing Brown’s votes in favor of the Wall Street reform law and against a bill to increase drilling leases, the Chamber accuses the senator of supporting more regulations and opposing energy exploration, ignoring the devastating financial collapse and the Deepwater Horizon accident that had occurred just a year before.

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U.S. Chamber Of Commerce: “Shelley Berkley, In The Wrong Corner For Small Business In Nevada”

An ad from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce targets Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) for supporting health care reform and clean energy legislation. The ad asserts that the Affordable Care Act “hurts small businesses,” citing as evidence a Gallup survey of small business owners that, in fact, contains no mention of the health care law. Of course, the Chamber’s misrepresentation of ACA is predictable considering that health insurers paid it more than $100 million to oppose reform. The ad’s demonization of a clean energy bill supported by Berkley is similarly problematic, relying on a biased analysis from the right-wing Heritage foundation to exaggerate the legislation’s potential impact on Nevada families.

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Crossroads GPS: “Voice”

An ad from Crossroads GPS relies on regurgitated and misleading talking points about the Affordable Care Act to paint Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) as out of touch with his constituents. Contrary to the ad’s insinuations, Obamacare doesn’t cut Medicare benefits, the Independent Payment Advisory Board can’t restrict seniors’ care, and the taxes raised to support the Affordable Care Act pale in comparison to the middle-class tax cuts President Obama and congressional Democrats have enacted.

Read more after the jump.