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.

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the health care law at any opportunity ignores the millions of Americans who would suffer if the legislation were repealed, including those with pre-existing conditions and seniors who fall into the prescription drug “donut hole.”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.

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.

Anti-McAuliffe “Documentary” Continues Citizens United’s Long History Of Dishonest Propaganda

If the Citizens United “documentary” on Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe looks like a right-wing hack job, don’t be surprised. The group, known primarily for the Supreme Court decision that helped pave the way for the proliferation of outside spending in elections, has churned out viciously dishonest propaganda for years.

The very film that spawned the landmark campaign finance case was a transparent attempt to trash Hillary Clinton during the 2008 primary by calling her a “congenital liar” and “the closest thing we have in America to a European socialist” – and it isn’t even the most inflammatory Citizens United production in recent years. “Celsius 41.11,” a response to Fahrenheit 9/11, juxtaposed images of Hitler, 9/11, and dead children with Michael Moore, John Kerry, and anti-war protesters. The group’s 2008 Obama hit job claimed that Obama “thinks infanticide is acceptable.” And “America At Risk,” Newt Gingrich’s Islamophobic film warning that a “war will go on until the entire world either embraces Islam or submits to Islamic rule,” was also a Citizens United Production.

That kind of incendiary rhetoric is the norm for Citizens United and its leaders, co-founder Floyd Brown and president David Bossie, whose resumes are full of panned ad campaigns and electoral strategies. Brown was behind the behind the infamous 1988 “Willie Horton” ad, which exploited racial fears by linking crimes committed by Horton, who is African-American, to a program authorized by Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis when he was governor of Massachusetts. Two decades later, Brown was still putting together controversial ads, including a 2008 spot drawing a connection between then-candidate Obama and Chicago gang murders. He also authored a “vicious” book on Bill Clinton, accusing the Democrat of “promoting witchcraft and fostering blasphemy,” in which Brown gave special thanks to segregationist and White Citizens Council leader Jim Johnson.

Bossie has been president of the organization since 2001, a position he assumed after nearly a decade as the group’s director of political affairs, during which time he relentlessly sought to undermine President Clinton. A former investigator for the House Oversight Committee, Bossie was dismissed in 1998 after releasing transcripts of phone calls that had been edited to implicate Hillary Clinton in a scandal at her former law firm. Together, Brown and Bossie co-authored Prince Albert, a 192-page hit job on Al Gore.

In addition to its films and ad campaigns, Citizens United consistently lends financial support to extreme right-wing candidates through its political action committee. Among the recipients of Citizen United contributions in recent years are Reps. Michele Bachmann, Allen West, Steve King, and Todd Akin. Furthermore, one of Citizens United’s affiliates has endorsed McAuliffe’s opponent, Ken Cuccinelli, and given him over $100,000 since 2008 – not including the cost to produce Citizens United’s anti-McAuliffe movie.

Read more after the jump.

Barriers To Reform: The Anti-Immigration Policies And Extremist Money Blocking Progress In The Senate

As immigration reform moves forward in the Senate, the success of any legislation will depend on the cooperation of conservative lawmakers with troubling histories on the issue. However, it is not only their past policy positions and quotes that are disturbing. These key conservative senators also share a history of campaign contributors who also fund extremist anti-immigrant organizations, including those labeled as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Each of the Republican senators in the immigration “gang of eight” have supported extreme positions and aligned themselves with anti-immigrant forces. Beyond the “gang,” leading conservatives such as Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sens. John Cornyn, Chuck Grassley, David Vitter, and Ted Cruz will figure prominently into the fate of immigration reform despite having similarly concerning records.

Read more after the jump.

Conservative Hostility To Women’s Rights Doesn’t Stop At Health Care

Amid a decades-long crusade against abortion rights and a more recent uproar over access to contraceptives, conservatives’ efforts to intrude upon women’s control over their own health care are well publicized. But the GOP of recent years has also demonstrated that women’s physical safety, economic security, and equal access to the workforce are increasingly low on the priority list. For the first time since its initial 1994 passage, the GOP has put up a fight against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. Republicans on both the state and national level have sneered at the need for laws that address the fact that women still earn only about 75 percent of what men do for performing the same jobs. Conservatives have rejected legislation to mandate paid parental leave – something every other economically advanced country in the world requires. They are skeptical about allowing women to serve in military combat roles despite an on-the-ground reality that already puts women in dangerous combat situations. And they are dismissive of an Equal Rights Amendment that would afford the same weight to sex-based discrimination that the 14th Amendment currently gives race-based discrimination.

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

The Violence Against Women Act, First Passed In 1994, Is A Multifaceted Effort To Address Violence Against Women. From the Urban Institute: “In 1994, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) as Title IV of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (P.L. 103-322). This event marked a turning point in federal recognition of the extent and seriousness of violence against women, and a commitment to address the problem from the federal vantage point. […] The resulting Violence Against Women Act for the first time recognizes the common barriers to legal protection faced by women victims of violent crimes. The four subtitles within the Act—the Safe Streets Act, Safe Homes for Women, Civil Rights for Women and Equal Justice for Women in the Courts, and Protections for Battered Immigrant Women and Children—target domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and protection against gender-motivated violence. The Act undertakes reform in legislation, rules of evidence, and the policies and procedures of law enforcement agencies and the courts. It creates new offenses and tougher penalties, mandates victim restitution, and begins system reforms that will, for example, shield victims during prosecution and increase consistency in sentencing. Recognizing that attitudinal change and knowledge are essential to practical implementation of legal reforms, VAWA authorizes support for prevention, education, and training and the development of systems for maintaining records on violent incidents and perpetrators and improving communication within the justice system.” [Urban.org, 3/1/96]

Read more after the jump.