BREAKING: Republicans Vote To Raise Taxes On Middle Class Americans, Cut Medicare, And Send Jobs Overseas

American Bridge Vice President Shripal Shah released the following statement in response to the House passing the Trump tax plan:

“In lockstep with Donald Trump, House Republicans just voted to raise taxes on 36 million middle class Americanscut Medicare by $25 billion, and outsource American jobs – all to cut taxes for the super rich and big corporations.  This is a disastrous plan that sells-out hardworking, average Americans who are counting on jobs and a better economic future.  The country deserves better, and the public will hold these Republicans accountable.”

Yesterday, Bridge Project released a new digital ad running nationally on Facebook, “Trumps Tax Plan Sells You Out,” which highlights warnings that the Republican tax plan would break Donald Trump’s #1 promise and help outsource American jobs he said he would protect.

Raising taxes on middle class Americans
The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that the House […]

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Rubio Cozies Up To The Kochs’ VA Privatization Advocacy Group

Marco Rubio is releasing his plan to partially privatize veterans healthcare today at a West Des Moines town hall event put on by Concerned Veterans for America, Charles and David Kochs’ “veterans advocacy” front group. The event will be all about shoring up Rubio’s “pro-veteran” credentials, but the truth is the Kochs and CVA — leading advocates of privatizing the VA — don’t have veterans’ best interests at heart. Case in point: Almost two-thirds of veterans oppose VA privatization, but that isn’t stopping the billionaire brothers from passing it off as a pro-veteran plan supported by the individuals they claim to represent.

It’s the Kochs we’re talking about, so that should come as no surprise. As revealed in a Bridge Project and VoteVets.Org report, “The Vets Group That Fights Against Veterans,” CVA promotes extreme, right-wing polices that stand in opposition to nearly every other veterans group. From pushing a plan to privatize the VA health […]

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Florida Man Buys State: Koch Impacts in the Sunshine State

Through their decades in business and politics, Charles and David Koch have honed their methods for rigging the system in their favor, both through their national operations and activities. Their history in Florida is indicative of this overall multifaceted strategy, which includes lobbying and raising funds for politicians, using their advocacy network to sway public policy, and leveraging financial donations to universities to buy professors that promote their worldview. Time and time again, the Koch brothers’ self-interested actions proved to be beneficial to their bottom line at the expense of hardworking Floridians.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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Romney’s “47 Percent” Comments Reflect Conservative Dogma

The Mother Jones video of Mitt Romney telling his donors that the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income tax are entitled, dependent “victims” is consistent with the nominee’s preference for addressing inequality “in quiet rooms.” But this is no mere pander to wealthy Republican donors. In the Obama era, conservatives have fully embraced the notion that those who owe no federal income tax must have more “skin in the game.” That means raising income taxes on the bottom 47 percent of earners.

In August of last year, the Wall Street Journal labeled this soak-the-poor idea “the new Republican orthodoxy.” Indeed, Republican leaders, movement activists, and powerful conservative institutions have pushed for “skin in the game,” for higher taxes on the bottom half of the income distribution.

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