Well, they’ve done it! 235 House Republicans have put themselves on record wanting to privatize Medicare, in order to give millionaires and billionaires, and corporations, additional tax cuts. Democratic-leaning firms lining up to make the 2012 campaign commercials in those 235 districts? You’re welcome.
In the end, only four Republicans balked at the Ryan bill, while one GOPer, a Congressman Reichert, didn’t vote. The House website doesn’t make it simple to figure out who’s who, but the names of the Republican “no’s” are Paul (probably Ron, who votes no on pretty much everything,) Jones, McKinley and Rehberg. Everyone else will probably spend the next week furiously emailing seniors in their districts insisting they really, really do LOVE Medicare.
Needless to say, every House Democrat voted “no.”
Having already put themselves on the record opposing women’s healthcare by voting to end Planned Parenthood subsidies, Republicans now face a second walk off the rubbery plank: today, they’ll be forced to vote to end Medicare.
You know you’re losing an argument when you have to go around insisting your plans are “compassionate.” No, really, I swear, they’re “compassionate!” That’s just what Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan is doing in an op-ed this morning, as the doomsday vote nears on his draconian, numbers-don’t-add-up budget proposal, which he calls the “path to prosperity,” but which pretty much everybody else, including the Wall Street Journal, calls the “end of Medicare as we know it.” (Other ways of putting it:
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), meanwhile, said Thursday that the GOP budget would mean “throwing many seniors out of nursing homes,” and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), the incoming chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), suggested the changes to Medicare in Ryan’s budgetwould put senior citizens’ lives at risk.
Pick any one that suits you.
It now appears that not only did President Obama’s deficit speech this week, and his approach of forcing the GOP to go first on a deficit plan, “smoke Republicans out” on their desire to end Medicare, as no less an Obama critic as Robert Reich said on MSNBC last night, it appears the tone of his speech has thrown Republicans completely off their game.
Where they first shrank from the Ryan budget, which stamps anyone who touches it with the “cut taxes for the rich, throw grandma under the train” badge of lack of courage (or as the president put it, 33 seniors get to pay $6,000 more apiece for their healthcare for each millionaire who gets a huge tax cut) — now, pissy GOPers are rushing to embrace the Ryan plan.
Seniors vote. And scaring them into believing Democrats were taking away their Medicare is in large part the way the tea party Republicans won in 2010. Now, Republicans are reduced to whining on the House floor that it’s the Democrats who are trying to “scare seniors,” as South Carolina Rep. Tim Scott did on the House floor yesterday.
The Republican Party, already on record as the enemy of unionized teachers, cops and firemen (which is even making some of them nervous), not to mention the fastest growing demographic group in the country, Hispanics — who they’re targeting with anti-immigration/profiling bills in maybe a dozen states — and having gone after women, is now going after seniors. Not only will they vote today to end Medicare, which seniors are not going to take lying down, they’re doing it at the same time they’re also pulling an ACORN on the organization most closely identified with seniors: they’re trying to sick the IRS on the AARP. A story I’m sure you’ve missed:
Politico, April 8 – House Republican tax-writers want the IRS to investigate whether AARP should lose its tax-exempt status.
In a letter sent to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman Friday, Reps. Wally Herger (R-Calif.), Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) and Charles Boustany (R-La.) say a recent congressional probe “gave rise to a number of serious concerns regarding AARP’s organizational structure and activities, and it raised questions about whether AARP continues to qualify as a tax-exempt organization under Internal Revenue Service Code (IRC) 501(c)4.”
A 40-page report recently released by the trio of lawmakers accuses AARP of refusing to provide information about its practices.
“In addition … the attached report raises concerns regarding various issues including the organization’s substantial revenues, limited charity work, and generous executive compensation,” they write. “The AARP Foundation has enjoyed increased taxpayer funding, including at least $18 million in ‘stimulus’ funding and a total of $314 million in federal grants from taxpayers between 2008 and 2010. At the same time, AARP, Inc.’s charitable contributions have flat-lined or in some cases decreased.”
Of course, some Republicans realize this is madness:
In an op-ed in POLITICO earlier this month, former House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Bill Tauzin (R-La.) implored Republicans not to push for an end to AARP’s tax status on both policy and political grounds.
“[I]f one of the largest non-profits in existence becomes an expendable political casualty for short-term political gain coming out of congressional hearings, every non-profit organization would be left wondering if they’re going to face similar inquiries,” Tauzin wrote. “This won’t help Republicans long-term and it won’t help seniors in the short term.”
But these days, madness is what the GOP is all about.