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GOP Field on Medicare

 SOURCE: Correct the Record

Jeb Bush

 

Jeb Bush on Medicare: “We need to figure out a way to phase out this program.” “Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said Wednesday that we ought to phase out Medicare, the federal program that provides health insurance to Americans once they’re 65. ‘We need to make sure we fulfill the commitment to people that have already received the benefits, that are receiving the benefits,’ Bush said. ‘But we need to figure out a way to phase out this program for others and move to a new system that allows them to have something, because they’re not going to have anything.’” [Huffington Post, 7/23/15]

 

 

Jeb Bush: Medicare is an “entitlement” and “an actuarially unsound healthcare system.” “During a town hall meeting here Thursday afternoon, Jeb Bush was put on the defensive about his comments Wednesday night about ‘phasing out’ Medicare by an elderly woman who said she was worried about losing benefits she’s spent years paying for. ‘We’re not going to have adequate coverage for our children or our grandchildren without Medicare. I paid into that for years and years just like all these other seniors here and now you want to take it away?’ said the woman, who did not identify herself and left before the town hall concluded. ‘Why are you always attacking the seniors?’ ‘Well, I’m not,’ Bush responded. ‘Here’s what I said: I said we’re going to have to reform our entitlement system. We have to.’ ‘It’s not an entitlement,’ the woman shot back. ‘I earned that.’ ‘It’s an actuarially unsound healthcare system,’ said Bush, who said something must be done before the system burdens future generations with $50 billion of debt.” [Politico, 7/23/15]

 

 

Scott Walker

 

Scott Walker said that cutting “entitlement programs” like Medicare and Social Security is “something that has to be done.” “The governor said entitlement programs, such as Medicare and Social Security, are expanding the federal budget deficit. Cutting entitlements won’t hurt the economy, he said. ‘I don’t think that has a negative impact on the economy,’ he said. ‘Politically, it may be a challenge for some folks in this town, but it’s something that has to be done.’” [Bloomberg, 2/23/15]

 

 

Marco Rubio

 

Marco Rubio supported turning Medicare into a voucher system. “Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, the Florida Republican said he supports gradually raising the Social Security retirement age, which now sits at 67, for future beneficiaries, and embraced Rep. Paul Ryan’s push to transition Medicare into a ‘premium-support’ plan, where seniors would be given a voucher to buy insurance on the private market. ‘I propose we transition to a premium-support system, which would give seniors a generous but fixed amount of money with which to purchase health insurance from either Medicare or a private provider,’ Mr. Rubio said. ‘The choice would be theirs to make.’” [Washington Times, 5/13/14]

 

Marco Rubio claimed that Medicare and Social Security had “weakened us as a people.” “In another sign that Medicare and Social Security will continue to be major issues in political campaigning and ongoing deficit reduction talks, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has drawn flak this week from Democrats and retirement experts for his comments that such programs have ‘weakened us as a people.’ Democrats called Rubio ‘out of touch’ and ‘beholden to the extremist Tea Party’ for his comments in a speech Tuesday night at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library in California.” [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 8/25/11]

 

 

Ben Carson

 

Ben Carson said he would eliminate Medicare. “Dr. Carson also advocates an alternative to the Affordable Care Act. Most people could pay most of their medical bills through health savings accounts, he said in his office. He would eliminate Medicaid and Medicare, and for the poor, government would make the contributions to their health accounts.” [New York Times, 3/20/13]

 

 

Rand Paul

 

Rand Paul introduced legislation “that would end traditional Medicare.” “A group of Senate Republicans has introduced legislation that would end traditional Medicare and sign seniors up for the same private healthcare plans received by members of Congress. The ‘Congressional Health Care for Seniors Act’ would allow seniors to choose from the array of plans currently offered to the four million federal employees and their dependents in the Federal Employee Health Benefit program, starting in 2014. It would also gradually increase the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 70 over a 20-year period. The bill was introduced Thursday by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). South Carolina Sens. Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint are co-sponsors, along with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).” [The Hill, 3/15/12]

 

 

Chris Christie

 

Chris Christie called for an increase in the Medicare retirement age. “The New Jersey governor, in a speech at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, called for means testing Social Security, raising the retirement age for Social Security to 69 and gradually raising the eligibility age for Medicare to 67 by the year 2040.” [WMUR Manchester, 4/14/15]

 

 

Rick Perry

 

Rick Perry suggested that Medicare was unconstitutional and a “Ponzi scheme.” “Perry, who referred to the justices as ‘nine oligarchs in robes,’ said he was not convinced that Social Security and Medicare were constitutional. ‘I don’t think our Founding Fathers, when they were putting the term ‘general welfare’ in there, were thinking about a federally operated program of pensions nor a federally operated program of healthcare,’ he said in a book interview with Newsweek last fall. ‘Whether it’s Social Security, whether it’s Medicaid, whether it’s Medicare … they’re bankrupt. They’re a Ponzi scheme. I challenge anybody to stand up and defend the Social Security program that we have today.’” [Los Angeles Times, 8/23/11]

 

 

07.27.15 | permalink

Jeb Bush Is Blowing It In Iowa

The Jeb Bush campaign is blowing it in Iowa. He's getting “torched” in the polls, ducking the straw poll and there's even debate that he'll skip the caucuses altogether. So why is it that the Bush campaign is tanking so bad in Iowa?

For one possibility, let's rewind the tape to 2012. Many, including Obama's own campaign manager, credited Romney's loss in Iowa to a fairly simple, untenable position: Opposition to wind production tax credits, which effect about 6,000 jobs in Iowa. During the 2012 campaign Romney not only opposed the wind production tax credit, he lambasted such subsidies as "boondoggles" from an economic "imaginary world". Maybe it's the same imaginary world where he carries Iowa, because the wind energy tax credits Romney lambasted were also supported by Iowa's Republican Governor, Terry Branstad, and by both Iowa Senators. Heck, even Congressman Steve King supports them. After Romney voiced opposition to the credits, Senator Chuck Grassley said it felt it was just like a knife in my back". Governor Branstad said Romney's campaign was full of a "bunch of east coast people that need to get out here in the real world to find out what’s really going on.” The Obama campaign hammered him with ads over the issue. 

In that same cycle, the Koch brothers’ network stated their goal was to make the Wind PTC “toxic” to Republicans. The oil tycoon brother’s and their network, including Americans for Prosperity, American Tradition Institute, American Energy Alliance and Heritage Foundation have all actively campaigned against the Wind Industry and the PTC. 

This brings us back to Jeb Bush who made the strange anti-Iowa move of announcing that he wants to “phase out” any credits for renewables such as the wind production tax credit. But while Bush has been tanking in Iowa, the good news is he’s been offered an audition spot for the Koch brother’s billion-dollar shadow primary.

So why would Bush turn his back on Iowa and repeat such a glaring Romney mistake? It doesn't take a weatherman to know.

05.19.15 | permalink

An Open Letter to 47 GOP Senators

Dear 47 GOP Senators (you know who you are):

Congratulations on your “breathtakingly reckless intrusion into international diplomacy”. We’re impressed by the “almost maniacal…zeal to deny the president any accomplishments”, despite being completely “unconscious of the damage [you’ve] done to [yourselves]”.

Some people might say that “the senators who signed the letter should be ashamed”, that the letter “amounts to an act of End Times warmongering or merely another bit of cringe-worthy buffoonery on the global stage”. But we stand in awe of this “petulant, condescending stunt”, “depressingly partisan as it is shortsighted”.

It takes a heavy set to “play a role as Official Underminer of a president's direct negotiations”. Real talk: “it’s not every day that a United States senator attempts to… weaken the nation in one cursive swoop”. You may “have done immeasurable harm to [your] image and U.S. credibility in world affairs”, but above all your “disregard for the national security interests of the country…calls into question [your] claims that [your] party can be trusted to govern”.

But governing wasn’t ever the goal, right? “If [you] blow up nuclear talks, it makes war with Iran that much more likely — and nobody would benefit as much from that war as military contractors”… the same ones Tom Cotton met with the day after he sent the letter. Of course it’s not “beyond the pale to write to the leaders of a potential enemy to sabotage the negotiations”!

So who cares about “the credibility of the nation whose constitution [you] took an oath to uphold”. We know your “foreign policy agitprop has moved beyond being merely partisan to downright dangerous” entirely on purpose.

Is “trying diplomacy better than a war into which United States forces most certainly would be drawn?” Not when war bucks means more bucks!

Sincerely,

Americans United for Change

with help from:

The Boston Globe
The San Francisco Chronicle
USA Today
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Salt Lake Tribune
The New York Daily News
The Cleveland Plain Dealer
The Arizona Republic
The Concord Monitor
The Courier Journal
The Baltimore Sun
The Washington Post
The Intercept
The Sacramento Bee
The Detroit Free Press
The News & Observer

03.11.15 | permalink

Twitter Round-Up: Could the Speaker Look Weaker?

Just hours before the Department of Homeland Security was set to shut down at the hands of Republicans, Speaker of the House John Boehner threw up one last Hail Mary toward avoiding governing at all costs and kicking the American Security can down the road. Instead, he lost 52 House Republicans and his 3-week continuing resolution went down 203-224. As can be expected, another in a long list of failures by the House GOP leadership was not lost on the Twitterverse.

02.27.15 | permalink

Republicans in Congress are doing the only thing they know how to do: YELL LOUDER

boehnerass

 

Republicans in the House and Senate have finally accepted the truth that they were only able to acknowledge as a possibility before: GOP Leadership has NO plan for funding Homeland Security beyond the February 27th deadline if the Senate cannot pass their current bill. But coming to terms with the truth and reacting with common sense are not mutually exclusive Republican traits.

In response to their utter failure to undermine the President’s very popular executive action on immigration, Republicans won’t try to work with Democrats to pass their own immigration bill and fully fund DHS. Instead, they’ll dig back into the tried-and-true GOP playbook to do the only thing they’re really good at: ramping up rhetoric and shouting louder than anyone else.

On Wednesday morning, Speaker John Boehner challenged Senate Democrats to “get off their ass” to pass the stunted DHS spending bill. Knowing his use of “ass” would get him plenty of press over the next few days, Boehner was able to ignore that his counterpart in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, has already punted the ball back to the House and, more importantly, the President has promised to veto the bill.

But the loudest, most divisive voice came from Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), who pulled out his crystal ball to do some blamesplaining (emphasis ours):

Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, who is up for reelection in blue Illinois in 2016, was more direct. "If they're cynically trying to restart the government-shutdown battle, they should be blamed directly. … It's a very dangerous game. If we have a successful terrorist attack—all the dead Americans from that should be laid at the feet of the Democratic caucus," Kirk said.

OOF.

He wasn’t done (emphasis, again, ours):

“The Republicans — if there is a successful attack during a DHS shutdown — we should build a number of coffins outside each Democratic office and say, ‘You are responsible for these dead Americans,’” Kirk said Tuesday.

So how did we get to the point where a sitting US Senator decided it’d be advantageous to himself and his party to foretell of terrorism and dead Americans? It’s a short walk off a long pier:

1. The House of Representatives refuses to vote on the bipartisan Senate immigration bill in the 113th Congress.

2. President Barack Obama, seeing the inaction in the House, goes ahead and uses executive action to bring relief to millions of families in the United States.

3. Knowing Republicans would hate this, the President gives them a way out: “Pass A Bill”

4. House Republicans don’t pass a bill.

5. The new Republican majority in both chambers of Congress move to prevent the President’s immigration action through legislation, which doesn’t work.

6. The clock towards a very unsavory Department of Homeland Security shutdown starts to tick louder.

7. Republicans blame Democrats for the deaths of (literally countless because they don’t exist) Americans in (literally countless because they don’t exist) terrorist attacks, all because…

1. The House of Representatives refused to vote on the bipartisan Senate immigration bill in the 113th Congress.

Republicans in Congress can yell above the noise all they want, but their job isn’t to be heard; it’s to ACT. They need to pass a clean DHS funding bill to protect those who protect our homeland.

02.11.15 | permalink

Disastrous First Month For Republicans

This week at the Democratic retreat in Philadelphia, we saw President Obama and members of Congress energized, ‘fired up’ and ready to make a forceful case for progressive policy priorities that will help working families. Meanwhile, as January comes to a close, it’s clear that the first month of this new Tea Party Congress has been full of division, dysfunction and extreme votes, or as one Republican member of Congress put it:

 

“Week one, we had a speaker election that did not go as well as a lot of us would have liked. Week two, we got into a big fight over deporting children, something that a lot of us didn't want to have a discussion about. Week three, we are now talking about rape and incest and reportable rapes and incest for minors. … I just can't wait for week four.” - Congressman Charlie Dent (R-PA)

 

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

 

But unfortunately, week four was no better, with Republicans continuing to propose their extreme policies that would be disastrous for our country:

 

  • Republicans have already made clear their intention to play politics with Homeland Security funding in a reckless effort to stop the President’s immigration executive action that will keep families together.  Polling shows Americans overwhelmingly support the President’s path on immigration, and a CBO estimate out this week showed that the House Republicans’ anti-immigrant DHS funding bill would actually increase the deficit by $7.5 billion. This week also saw Republicans stumble on their border bill – legislation that the Secretary of Homeland Security called "extreme to the point of being unworkable" – because they didn’t have the votes on their side for it.  Another example of leadership in disarray.
  • Polling has also shown that the Democrats’ vision of tax fairness and the middle class priorities laid out by the President in his State of the Union address enjoy wide public support, while the GOP’s trickle-down approach does not. Yet that didn’t stop John Boehner and Mitch McConnell from going on 60 minutes this week to announce that progressive efforts to lift the middle class were “Dead, real dead” in the eyes of Republicans.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services also announced this week that the Affordable Care Act is working, as 9.5 million Americans have signed up for coverage.  So what did Tea Party extremists in Congress do? Double down on their failed efforts to stop this critical law.  They announced their intention to block any attempt to restore the subsidies making health insurance more affordable for an estimated 6.1 million Americans should the Supreme Court strike them down.So what does week five of Republican control of Congress have in store for us? Attempting for the umpteenth time to repeal Obamacare!

 

So what does week five of Republican control of Congress have in store for us? Attempting for the umpteenth time to repeal Obamacare!

That doesn’t sound like a winning plan to us.

 

01.30.15 | permalink

AUFC Wins Reed Award for Best National Ad for Public Affairs/Issue Advocacy Campaign

It’s an honor just to be nominated – and even better to win! This weekend in Las Vegas, AUFC took home a Reed Award, named after Campaigns & Elections founder Stanley Foster Reed, for ‘Best National Ad for Public Affairs/Issue Advocacy Campaign’.  

It was in recognition of ‘Leadership’, the first national ad in support of the President’s immigration executive action to give millions of undocumented workers the opportunity to keep their families together, get right with the law and pay their fair share in taxes.  What caught the attention of award judges was the use of footage of President Ronald Reagan, who in 1986 signed a similar executive action deferring deportations.  Reagan speaking about the U.S. as a ‘shining city’ with doors open to immigrants juxtaposed with President Obama making the same case today really took the wind out of the sails of Republican arguments that this action was unprecedented and unlawful.  Not to mention their complaints that the President had no business acting alone when House Republicans had refused to vote on a bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform the Senate passed over 500 days ago.  As the ad concludes: When Congress Refuses to Act, Presidents Must Lead.

Unfortunately, it’s clear Republicans remain uninterested in making any inroads with the immigrant community. The Reed Award came the same weekend as the Iowa Freedom Summit, where Republican Presidential hopefuls gathered to kiss the ring of anti-immigrant demagogue, Congressman Steve King. 

Watch 'Leadership' Here: 

01.26.15 | permalink

Breaking Down The Medicare Lie

Are you familiar with ‘The Medicare Lie’? Republicans and their shadowy supporters (read: Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers and Tea Party extremist groups) have been using it to attack Democrats for a while. It’s a big one. It’s also important, so let’s break it down.

The claim is that the Affordable Care Act—or “Obamacare”—was funded in part by gutting Medicare to the tune of $716 billion. So, Republicans argue, that any Congressperson or Senator who voted for Obamacare, or anyone who even supports it, essentially is trying to strip Medicare of A LOT OF MONEY. There are tens of millions of seniors across America who rely on Medicare to stay healthy, and they are arguing that Obamacare is taking money directly out of their pocket.

Now I’m the first to admit that this claim sounds bad. But it takes about two seconds to head over to Politifact and see that this ridiculous idea has been debunked literally dozens of times. From the occasional “Half True” to lots of “Mostly False,” “False” and plenty of “Pants on Fire,” Politifact can’t fact check this lie fast enough.

Republicans lying, in and of itself, is nothing new. But The Medicare Lie is particularly egregious. Here’s why: WHILE DEMOCRATS AIM TO STRENGTHEN MEDICARE, THE REPUBLICANS WANT TO GUT IT COMPLETELY!

You know Paul Ryan:  Congressman from Wisconsin, former Vice Presidential nominee, gym rat. Well along with being a conservative politician from the Midwest and Ayn Rand’s biggest fan, Ryan is also the Chairman of the House Budget Committee. In that role, he crafts budget proposals for Congress.

Now we all know how much of a disaster the Ryan budget would be for the American people, cutting taxes for the rich and social services for the poor. But what we need to know for the sake of this post is that one of the social services it would gut is Medicare. Paul Ryan and his Republican buddies in Congress wants to voucherize Medicare. Rather than guaranteeing coverage for all seniors, he would like to give them a gift card to visit the doctor of their choice. Once their gift card is empty... we’ll that is apparently no longer the problem of the Republican States of America.

Republicans and their billionaire friends have been running ads against Democrats throughout the midterms invoking The Medicare Lie. But the truly astounding part is that they are accusing Democrats of trying to destroy Medicare, while at same time trying to destroy Medicare all on their own.

The Republicans are trying to have their cake, and eat it too. And while they are at it, they would also like your cake, your vote and your goddamn health insurance.

 

Brad Woodhouse is the President of Americans United for Change

10.23.14 | permalink

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