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.

Republicans Still Unwilling To Protect Voting Rights and LGBT Equality One Year After Supreme Court Rulings

One year after major Supreme Court decisions on the Voting Rights Act and the Defense of Marriage Act, conservative leaders are still denying equal rights for all Americans by failing to address the issues raised by these cases.

After the Supreme Court struck down a critical provision of the Voting Rights Act, or VRA, there has been little appetite among conservatives in Congress to fix the sections of the law that have been almost universally considered the most successful part of the landmark civil rights legislation. The VRA enjoyed bipartisan support when it was reauthorized in 2006; House Speaker John Boehner said at the time that the law had been “an effective tool in protecting a right that is fundamental to our democracy.” However, in the face of extreme opposition from the Tea Party, conservatives have either questioned the need for a legislative fix or ignored the issue entirely.

Sadly, the inaction on this issue – which has led to the passage of voter suppression laws in several states – is almost certainly politically motivated. As Paul Weyrich, founder of the Heritage Foundation and the American Legislative Exchange Council, bluntly stated in 1980, “our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.” In fact, analysis has shown that election fraud, particularly the in-person voter impersonation that supposedly prompted tougher voter ID laws, is virtually non-existent. In addition, the voters who are disproportionately affected by voter ID laws – the poor, students, Africans Americans and Hispanics – all tend to vote for Democrats.

Read more after the jump.

The Conservative Attack On Contraceptive Coverage

Today, the Supreme Court will hear a new challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage requirement. Two companies are arguing that obligating businesses to provide insurance plans that cover contraceptive services free of charge intrudes on their owners’ religious rights. A victory for the companies could open the door for any private for-profit employer to interfere with its employees’ health care on the basis of the employers’ personal beliefs.

In this case, the plaintiffs are challenging commonsense public policy. The costs associated with birth control interfere with women’s ability to use it consistently and effectively, leading to higher numbers of unintended pregnancies. That leads to more abortions and negative outcomes for mothers, babies, and families who do go through with an unplanned birth.

Allowing women to plan their pregnancies yields healthier babies, more stable families, and better economic and social outlooks for women. There’s also evidence that covering contraceptives saves insurance companies, employers, and taxpayers money; one study suggested that unintended pregnancies cost taxpayers $11 billion each year.

Yet leading conservative politicians and right-wing groups insist on slapping a scarlet letter on contraceptive care, painting this sound health care policy as a question of religious intrusion. According to Rep. Steve King (R-IA), for example, “preventing babies from being born is not medicine.” And Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) insists that the controversy over women’s access to contraception “is not about women’s rights or contraception, this is about the religious liberties that our country has always cherished.” However, these Republican critics are out-of-step with the mainstream. Polling shows that 99 percent of women – including most Catholic women – have used birth control, and most women approve of the contraceptive coverage rule.

Read more after the jump.

GOP Union: Rep. McMorris Rodgers In Lockstep With Tea Party’s Sen. Lee

Hoping to break the trend of awkward or forgettable State of the Union responses, Republicans have selected Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers to counter President Obama’s annual address tonight.

As a top lieutenant to Speaker John Boehner who generally steers clear of controversy, McMorris Rodgers could seem like a logical choice to try and represent the more welcoming GOP that party leaders called for after the 2012 election. However, a brief review of her record indicates that McMorris Rodgers is no less extreme than many of her Tea Party colleagues. In fact, on several key issues, McMorris Rodgers is closely aligned with Tea Party responder Sen. Mike Lee.

Both McMorris Rodgers and Lee oppose increases in the minimum wage, support deep cuts to food stamps, and have voted against unemployment benefits. McMorris Rodgers has opposed equal pay for women and supported several attempts to restrict women’s health care choices – including notorious legislation that would have redefined rape as “forcible rape” – while Lee believes the Violence Against Women Act is unconstitutional.

Read more after the jump.

GOP Budget Blues: How Conservative Policies Increase Inequality

As congressional leaders from both parties negotiate over the federal budget, it is important to remember that many Republicans are similarly unsympathetic to the idea that addressing inequality should be a priority. Echoing Mitt Romney’s infamous “47 percent” remarks, congressional conservatives routinely blame the safety net for making people “dependent” on government, implying that low-income Americans remain at the bottom of the economic ladder by choice. For instance, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the leading Republican voice on budget issues, has complained that “we’re going to a majority of takers versus makers in America.”

That attitude has been on display throughout the recovery from the massive recession that President Bush left behind, even as the wealthiest Americans recovered their losses and the income gap widened. In each of the past three years, Ryan has authored – and House Republicans have approved – extreme budget plans that shred the safety net while providing tax giveaways to the wealthy and big corporations. Republicans have repeatedly sabotaged bipartisan budget talks by demanding that working Americans shoulder the burden of deficit reduction while dismissing any proposal that requires the rich to pay their fair share. And, despite shamelessly citing the job losses that Obama inherited as evidence of his supposed failure, Republicans have been consistent in obstructing efforts to actually help the unemployed.

Read more after the jump.

House Of Hate: The GOP’s War On Equality

Earlier this month, the Senate affirmed that all Americans deserve basic civil rights in the workplace regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Backed by a large majority of voters who believe it should be illegal to fire somebody because they are gay, 64 senators – including 10 Republicans – came together in support of the bill, which social conservatives have bitterly opposed since it was first introduced in the 1990s. Now, the only thing standing in the way of long-overdue protections for LGBT workers is House Speaker John Boehner, who has declared his opposition and signaled that he may not even allow a vote on it.

Boehner has justified his stance by falsely suggesting that any workplace discrimination is already illegal, but past statements by many members of his party reveal another factor at play: the homophobia and bigotry of extreme House Republicans. Among other ugly views, conservative House members have described homosexuality as “personal enslavement,” compared being gay to “somebody who has love for an animal,” and warned that LGBT rights are “a threat to the nation’s survival.”

The choice for Boehner is clear. He can listen to the American people and recognize that everybody deserves equal rights in the workplace, or he can acquiesce to the far right and turn the people’s House into a House of Hate.

Read more after the jump.

Rep. Steve King: “This Is The Homosexual Lobby Taking It Out On The Rest Of Society”

In May 2010, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) justified anti-LGBT discrimination, saying:

And he said, ‘let me ask you a question.’ ‘Am I heterosexual or am I homosexual?’ And they looked him up and down, actually they should have know, but they said, ‘We don’t know.’ And he said, ‘Exactly, my point. If you don’t project it, if you don’t advertise it, how would anyone know to discriminate against you?’ And that’s at the basis of this. So if people wear their sexuality on their sleeve and then they want to bring litigation against someone that they would point their finger at and say ‘you discriminate.’ …This is the homosexual lobby taking it out on the rest of society and they are demanding affirmation for their lifestyle, that’s at the bottom of this.

Click here to read our report, House Of Hate: The GOP’s War On Equality
Read more after the jump.

The Week In Conservative Attack Ads

Including a stray late-Friday-afternoon spot that didn’t make it into our roundup from last week, Bridge Project fact-checked 10 conservative ads this week. Eight of those were from the usual players – the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which focused on House races, Crossroads GPS, which took on its usual Senate targets, and American Crossroads, with a presidential ad. The remaining two came from the National Rifle Association and American Unity PAC, more minor players on the electioneering ad scene.

Rhetorically, this week saw a heavy focus on supposed threats to small business jobs, with six of the ads mentioning small businesses specifically. But most of the conservative claims about “small business” rely on distortions – for example, the conservative definition of a small business often includes large corporations and wealthy individuals rather than the mom-and-pop businesses the term conjures for most people. And the health care law, often cited as a source of crippling new taxes on small business, actually offers tax credits that will help those small businesses provide their employees with health insurance.

Read more after the jump.

Santorum Dismisses Marriage Equality: “Are Some Things Better Than Other Things?”

From Rick Santorum’s remarks at a Family Policy Institute of Washington dinner on October 9, 2012, in Spokane:

They asked about the issue, one of the questions, about equality. My response to him on the issue of equality, which you are going to be hearing, marriage equality: Are all things equal? Is everything equal to everything else? Or are there differences? Are some things better than other things? Are some things more worthy of support than other things? Equality is a great term, just like freedom is a great term. But in excess it undermines the virtue that each is. The greatest threat to freedom is unbridled freedom. Everybody going out and doing whatever they want to do. Red light, green light, I don’t care, I’m free. The greatest threat to equality is equality that shows no discernment, has no basis for value.

Rep. Cantor: “Traditonal Marriage” Is “More Successful At Allowing For That Pursuit Of Happiness”

At the Values Voters Summit on September 14, 2012, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) stated:

CANTOR: Now, pursuit of happiness. We all know, as do most Americans in their hearts know, that the way for us to allow the pursuit of happiness is through individual effort, it is not through government program. And that is why we believe in traditional marriage. Because marriage, more than any government program ever has or ever will, has lifted up people out of poverty, even those who felt there was no hope. Marriage has proven to be that formula which has been more successful at allowing for that pursuit of happiness and that is why we stand tall and stand proud for traditional marriage.