MEMO: Congratulations to Koch-crony Joni

To: Interested Parties
From: Brad Woodhouse, President of American Bridge 21st Century
Re: Congratulations to Koch-crony Joni
Date: Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Congratulations to Joni Ernst. Last night she captured the Tea Party Senate nomination in Iowa, and all she had to do was oppose the minimum wage, “philosophically” oppose renewable fuel standards, and flatter the billionaire, out-of-state Koch brothers.

Ernst faced a slew of conservative candidates in the Republican primary, but ultimately, her extreme record prevailed. You can’t question her Tea Party bona fides–in addition to opposing a federal minimum wage altogether, she thinks shifting a greater tax burden onto the middle class is “a great way to go.” She has made the case for privatizing Social Security, supported Paul Ryan’s budget to gut Medicaid and voucherize Medicare, and called for the elimination of Renewable Fuel Standards along with all other taxpayer subsidies. Her position on every one of those issues is in lockstep with the Koch agenda, and she even co-sponsored a personhood amendment, which would make some forms of contraception illegal and take away a woman’s right-to-choose even in the case of rape or incest. What more could a Tea Partier ask for?

Now, general election voters in Iowa can enjoy five months of getting to know Koch-crony Joni and her anti-middle class agenda.

Read more after the jump.

What WASN’T In Rick Scott’s Budget Speaks Volumes

Rick Scott signed his record-breaking budget today, packed with taxpayer handouts to special interests. But perhaps what is even worse than what’s in his budget is what isn’t.

The Scott budget did nothing to increase Florida’s minimum wage and give a raise to hardworking Florida families trying to get by. Not surprising, considering even the thought of raising the minimum wage makes Rick Scott cringe. His budget did nothing to expand Medicaid, as over 750,000 Floridians, including 41,000 veterans, continue to be denied health care. And his budget did nothing to guarantee equal pay for women in the Sunshine State.

Budgets are an embodiment of priorities, and Rick Scott’s priorities are clear: Special interests first. Florida last. Check out the graphics below:


Read more after the jump.

Rick Scott’s 2014 Budget: A Textbook Case Of Election Year Pandering

As Governor Rick Scott delivers his 2014-2015 budget address, Floridians would do well to see Scott’s budget for what it is: A textbook case of election year pandering. While Scott’s budget plans included hundreds of millions of dollars in vague tax breaks for special interests and dramatic cuts to various revenue sources, the Tea Party governor has also discovered an election year infatuation with spending on Everglades reconstruction, child welfare, and teacher pay raises. Scott’s predilection for election year pandering is nothing new, but the extent of it in his latest budget proposal is staggering.

Scott Has A History Of Election Year Pandering (VIDEO). According to a news segment highlighting clips of Governor Rick Scott, Scott has a history of election-year pandering. In the clip, a FOX reporter states of Scott: “He’s the Tea Party Republican who slashed school funding then raised it as he prepared for re-election, after he tied teacher pay to performance, before giving out raises regardless of performance.”

Read more after the jump.

VIDEO: Rick Scott Turns His Back on Medicaid Questions, Florida Families

The failure of Gov. Rick Scott and Florida Republicans to expand Medicaid as provisioned under the Affordable Care Act has subjected hundreds of thousands of low-income Floridians to uncertainty over their access to affordable health insurance. According to the Tampa Bay Times, these are families too poor to qualify for federal subsidies, yet can’t qualify for Florida’s Medicaid program, “one of the stingiest in the nation.”

Read more after the jump.

We told you: Steve Lonegan is the face of the “new” GOP

Just over two months ago, on the night Steve Lonegan won the Republican nomination, American Bridge sent the memo below arguing that Lonegan’s brand of extremism was perfectly in line with the “new” & “rebranded” Republican Party.

If Washington Republicans’ reckless and embarrassing behavior over the past three weeks weren’t proof enough, take a look at what RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said at a Lonegan campaign rally just last night (VIDEO HERE).

“I’ll tell you what. Steve’s been able to do something that we need a lot more of in this party. And that’s unify our party, bring our party together. The Tea Party, the Republican Party, all in this together.”

— Reince Priebus, RNC Chairman

What Mr. Priebus doesn’t seem to understand is that the Republicans’ problem isn’t a lack of unity with the Tea Party. This month’s shutdown fiasco proves the GOP’s problem is, in fact, its obedience to the Tea Party.

Read more after the jump.

VIDEO: Christie & Lonegan: We “believe in so many of the same things”

During his endorsement event on Tuesday, Gov. Chris Christie heaped praise on New Jersey Republican Senate candidate Steve Lonegan. “I am proud to have him as our candidate for the United States Senate,” Christie said. “Steve and I have believed and still believe in so many of the same things.”

So what exactly was Christie endorsing? Here’s American Bridge’s newest video:

BRIDGE BRIEFING: Ryan And Medicaid

The Ryan Plan Would Block Grant Medicaid To States And Cut Medicaid Spending By $800 Billion Over 10 Years

Ryan Plan Slashes Medicaid By Making It A State Block Grant. According to Sun-Sentinel, “The Ryan budget plan would cut federal spending on Medicaid, which provides health care for the poor, and begin distributing money by block grant to states. The plan would do away with Medicare’s direct payment for health care for seniors, replacing it with a voucher system in which recipients choose private insurers. The Congressional Budget Office found that part of the plan, which would take effect in 2022, could nearly double out-of-pocket costs for seniors.” [Sun-Sentinel, 4/16/11]

Ryan Budget Would Cut Medicaid By $800 Billion Over Next Ten Years, And Steadily More After That Until Cuts Extended To Over Half Of The Program. According to the Center For Budget And Policy Priorities, “The Ryan plan would cut Medicaid by more than $800 billion over the next ten years and steadily larger amounts after that (on top of the Medicaid reductions that would result from Chairman Ryan’s call to repeal health reform). After several decades, Medicaid would be cut by more than half. Yet Medicaid already costs substantially less per beneficiary than private insurance because it pays health providers rock-bottom rates and has low administrative costs. In addition, its per-beneficiary costs have been rising more slowly than private-sector health care costs. Assertions that Medicaid costs are highly inflated and that states can provide comparable health care for much less money may serve as convenient rationales for severe cuts in health care for some of the nation’s most vulnerable people, but they do not reflect reality. Last year, the Urban Institute estimated that a very similar Ryan Medicaid block-grant proposal would likely cause 14 to 27 million low-income Americans to lose coverage by 2021 (in addition to the 17 million people who no longer would gain coverage due to the repeal of health reform and its Medicaid expansion).” [Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/21/12]

Read more after the jump.

BRIDGE BRIEFING: Romney’s Medicaid Block Grants Would Hurt Children

Romney Wanted To Block-Grant Medicaid

Romney And Ryan Would Block Grant Medicaid In An Effort To Cut Federal Spending. According to The Huffington Post, “About 30 million children, or one-third of America’s kids, get their health care from Medicaid, a program that serves the poor. Under plans to dramatically cut federal funding backed by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), that number would have to shrink. Romney and Ryan both support transforming Medicaid from an entitlement with an open-ended budget and a guarantee of coverage into a ‘block grant’ program that would provide states a set amount of money to spend on health care services for the needy each year. But it’s not just about giving states more flexibility: It’s about slashing $810 billion in federal spending on a vital component of the safety net — without a plan for making up the difference.” [The Huffington Post, 8/22/12]

Romney Wanted To Convert Medicaid To A Block Grant Administered By The States. According to Forbes, Avik Roy wrote an op-ed noting that Romney’s economic plan “…spends a bit more time on Medicaid reform—by which I mean a lengthy paragraph—promising that, ‘as president, Romney will push for the conversion of Medicaid to a block grant administered by the states. This approach could save the federal government over $200 billion each year by the end of the decade, while also providing states with the flexibility to develop innovative and effective approaches best suited to their needs.’” [Forbes, 9/7/11]

Read more after the jump.

Steelman “Never Voted For A Tax Increase”?

On Monday, Republican Senate candidate Sarah Steelman made a sweeping (and incorrect) claim about her voting record in the Missouri state senate when she stated that she “never voted for a tax increase.” This has sparked a heated back and forth between Steelman and one of her primary opponents, John Brunner, who took a swing and missed when the attack spiraled downward into an argument about semantics. Brunner argues that Steelman voted to make a temporary tax permanent. Steelman counters that Brunner “does not understand the legislative process.”

And while that may be true, it is less because he is mischaracterizing the vote Steelman cast and more because there is a much clearer example of Steelman voting to raise taxes.

In 2002, Steelman voted to create a brand new tax. Here is text from the legislation Steelman supported:

“In addition to all other fees and taxes required or paid, a tax is hereby imposed upon licensed retail pharmacies for the privilege of providing outpatient prescription drugs in this state. The tax is imposed upon the Missouri gross retail prescription receipts earned from filling outpatient retail prescriptions.”

“A tax is hereby imposed.” Maybe Brunner should run with that one instead of arguing about the difference between “increasing” and “extending.”

Steelman Voted To Create Retail Pharmacy Tax In Order To Fund Medicaid Pharmacy Program. On May 15, 2002, Steelman voted for the Senate Substitute version of the Senate Committee Substitute version of HB 1898, a bill that created a retail pharmacy tax “for the privilege of providing outpatient prescription drugs.” The bill imposed a new retail pharmacy tax upon all licensed retail pharmacies in Missouri in order to fund the state’s Medicaid Pharmacy Program. The retail pharmacy tax was limited to 6% of a pharmacy’s monthly gross retail prescription receipts. According to the Missouri House of Representatives, “This act imposes a tax upon licensed retail pharmacies in Missouri for the privilege of providing outpatient prescription drugs. The tax rate of up to [sic] will be based on monthly gross retail prescription receipts of pharmacies, not to exceed 6%… All revenues from the tax will be deposited in the Pharmacy Tax Fund, created in the act. Moneys in the fund will be used to provide payments for services related to the Medicaid pharmacy program.” The bill was passed by a vote of 24-9. [Missouri State Senate, Daily Journal of the Senate, Day 73, 5/15/02, Page 1655; Missouri House of Representatives, Official Summary, HB 1898]