NEW REPORT: The Elephant In The Room

The Pope Addresses A GOP-Controlled Congress Opposed To His Progressive Values

This Thursday, all eyes will be on Pope Francis for his historic and much anticipated address to a joint meeting of Congress. But before the pope arrived in the United States, Republicans already started picking fights and attacking the pope’s teachings.

In advance of the pope’s address, Bridge Project is releasing a new report titled, “The Elephant In The Room: The Pope Address A GOP-Controlled Congress Opposed To His Progressive Values.

Since the start of his papacy, Pope Francis has signaled a shift in focus for the church towards protecting “the least of these,” whether it’s through the stewardship of our environment or addressing income inequality and providing a livable wage. Republicans’ policy views continue to move further and further to the right, and the pope is finally calling them on it.

On countless issues, the GOP’s policy positions go against the pope’s teaching. Bridge Project’s latest report examines how on the following issues, the GOP’s […]

Read more after the jump.

The Koch Conspiracy To Cut Off Millions Of Americans’ Access To Healthcare

It’s Medicaid’s 50th birthday, and the Koch brothers planned something special: a death panel.

In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Medicaid, Bridge Project today released a new report, “The Koch-Backed Effort to Kill Medicaid,” highlighting the Koch brothers ongoing assault on Medicaid, which they would give just about anything — hundreds of millions of dollars, anyway — to destroy.

And unlike some of their other, more subversive campaigns of destruction that prioritize their profit margins over the interests of the American public, the Kochs haven’t been too subtle on this one: the Kochs and Koch-funded groups have explicitly spoken out against Medicaid, advocated Medicaid-crippling budgets, and even attacked Republicans (!) for not supporting their Medicaid-destroying agenda.

This time, the Kochs are all-in. All-in to block state-level Medicaid expansions that would extend healthcare access to millions of Americans. All-in to strip healthcare from the millions who already benefit from the program […]

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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.

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Senate Finance Committee Republicans To Continue Cruz’s Crusade

On Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee is holding a hearing on the October launch of the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges. While the committee’s Republicans are expected to keep up their extreme, Ted Cruz-led attacks calling for the wholesale repeal of Obamacare, it’s worth remembering that a number of them sang a different tune during the problematic implementation of Medicare Part D in 2006.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), for example, now the Finance Committee’s ranking member, said of Medicare Part D in 2006 that “any program of that size and magnitude will have problems initially!” Hatch also commended a CMS administrator for doing a good job with “this very, very difficult to implement bill that we saddled you with.” And fellow Finance Committee member Mike Crapo (R-ID) argued in 2006 that glitches shouldn’t outweigh the benefits of positive public policy, saying of Medicare Part D that “we should not let these problems overshadow the fact that every day there are folks who are paying far less for their medications than they were before.”

But the similarities between the rollout problems facing the Affordable Care Act and Medicare Part D are unlikely to buy Obamacare any leeway from a Republican Party that has been bent on destroying health care reform from the outset. Like their counterparts in the House, who have voted nearly 50 times to repeal or defund the health care reform law, Senate Republicans have introduced dozens of bills designed to chip away at the law and repeatedly tried to use political tactics to undermine its viability. Yet the GOP’s blind devotion to sabotaging the health care law at any opportunity ignores the millions of Americans who would suffer if the legislation were repealed, including those with pre-existing conditions and seniors who fall into the prescription drug “donut hole.”

Wednesday’s hearing follows several similarly themed events held in recent weeks by other Senate and House committees, at which Republicans berated witnesses from CMS and HHS and used the opportunity to attack Obamacare as a whole. With the Finance Committee’s Ted Cruz-led Senate Republicans likely to pile on, it’s clear that the GOP’s real interest is partisan grandstanding, not fixing the glitches in the law.

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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