Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 19, 2011

THE CBO KEEPS SPOILING THE GOP'S FUN.... The first wave of the Republicans' anti-health-care crusade proved to be a reckless waste of time. Knowing the outcome in advance, the House approved a bill to bring back the old, dysfunctional, budget-busting system and strip millions of families of their benefits, only to see the Senate defeat the same bill.

We saw the second wave yesterday, though it's likely to meet an identical fate.

The House voted Friday to block funding for the health care law in several ways -- starting the countdown to the defunding clash with Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama.

As expected, lawmakers approved Rep. Denny Rehberg's amendment to the continuing resolution, which bars all payments to "any employee, officer, contractor, or grantee of any department or agency" to implement the law.

The Montana Republican's amendment is aimed at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Labor Department.

The final vote was 239 to 187. Three Democrats broke ranks and voted with the GOP majority, while two Republicans voted against the measure.

The point of the effort isn't subtle -- if there's no funding to implement the law, American families can't enjoy the new protections and benefits. Republicans couldn't repeal the reforms, so they're trying to gut them from within. The Rehberg measure was accompanied by three other amendments: (1) blocking enforcement of the individual mandate; (2) denying funding for health insurance exchanges, apparently because giving consumers more choices is communism; and (3) freeing insurance companies from having to spend so much on patient care.

Honestly, I wonder sometimes if congressional Republicans just don't like Americans very much.

In any case, the measures, the latest in a series of efforts for the GOP to avoid trying to create jobs, will die in the Senate, but will nevertheless be part of the Republican case as to why they're inclined to shut down the government.

And at nearly the exact same time as the Republican votes to destroy the Affordable Care Act, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office delivered a revised estimate on what repealing the Affordable Care Act would do to the federal budget: the federal budget deficit would go up $210 billion in the first decade, and roughly $813 billion in the second decade.

So to review, House Republicans are making brutal spending cuts to domestic and foreign priorities, ostensibly because they're worried about the deficit, while at the same time trying to destroy a health care law that lowers the deficit.

I don't imagine GOP leaders were pleased with the CBO's inconvenient timing, but since Republicans have decided independent cost analyses of their priorities no longer count, and the objective referee needs to be discredited, the latest score will probably be swept under the rug.

Steve Benen 11:20 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (23)

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That's why they've been screaming about the CBO, trying to play the results down.

The CBO uses facts.
And facts have a notoriously Liberal bias.

And Steve, it's not that they hate Americans. It's that they dont care.
They love their party more.

Americans are just there to be duped into voting for them, so that they can reward themselves and their corporate cronies.
And there are enough ignorant and stupid dupes in this country who are willing to vote against their own best interests, that they stand a very good chance every election.
Too many Americans act likey they're part of the "Chickens for Col. Sanders!" movement.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on February 19, 2011 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

You have to give the nasty people credit for their consistency. At every opportunity, they stick a knife in the back of average Americans.

Their stated goal is to make government so small you can "drown it in a bathtub". They are rapidly achieving their goal. And - when they get there, 98% of the country will be stunned at the hole they are in.

But Republicans who are actively screwing themselves should cheer up. They can always fall back on yelling "It's Obama's fault, it's Pelosi's fault". That should make them feel better about the pit they've voted themselves into.

Posted by: Mark-NC on February 19, 2011 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Any time the CBO says things those ass-hat-holes don't like, they start spinning the meme that the CBO is a worthless partisan hack joint (altho not perfect, the CBO is reasonably objective and professional, more or less - ?) Then millions of their duped, gullible minions believe accordingly to disregard the CBO. Then later, the CBO says something the cons like (maybe about needing to push back hard against debt) and the CBO goes right back to being a wonderful voice of authority. (Of course, we must not do the same, however: it is logically possible to selectively criticize what an institution professes, since it's absurd to say it has to be either always right or always wrong. However, that doesn't justify the mistake of sometimes pretending it is credible in general and other times, saying it is not in general credible. The latter is a true contradiction, like "it is mostly white yet also mostly black" etc.)

Fine minds make fine distinctions.

Posted by: neil b on February 19, 2011 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

"Honestly, I wonder sometimes if congressional Republicans just don't like Americans very much.'

What's to wonder about. They love Americans they just hate giving them money.

They hate Muslims but don't have a problem spending 3 trillion on them.

They bankrupted America and refuse to help their own country men.

They shower those they hate with money and starve the ones they swear they love.

Posted by: Langx on February 19, 2011 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

The Rethugs don't give a rat's ass about the CBO or any other entity like it. They are pandering to their base, and all they need is a great big megaphone, which they have, and an echo chamber to spread their lies, which they also have. Lies win every time.

The average American doesn't know what to believe, and is so confused by conflicting claims and Fox Faux News that they receive government claims with skepticism, cynicism, and/or outright disbelief. These days, something only has to sound plausible, especially if it's anti-government, to be believed, and if said often enough becomes the sacred truth. The Rethugs are very good at playing this game, and the Dim-Dems don't seem to even know there's a game going on.

Reality may have a liberal bent, but when a alternate false reality is constantly being created and reported on as if it is equal to the 'real' reality most people have no way of sorting it out, and in many cases don't want to.

Those of us signing onto this site regularly (not the trolls) have a firm grasp of reality. Debunking Rethug lies is preaching to the converted here. The propaganda war being waged by the Rethugs and their corporate backers is devastatingly effective where it counts, out in the hinterlands of the homeland. The Dems have really nothing to counter it with, and that situation doesn't seem to be getting any better.

Posted by: rrk1 on February 19, 2011 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

The current crop of House Republicans are particularly loathsome - dumb, rude, vulgar and absolutely cold and heartless. It doesn't seem to matter to them in the least that their actions would cause millions of people to lose all opportunity to BUY health insurance, not just have the government provide it to them free. How loathsome is that? They are undercutting the very free market that they profess to love so much. When someone is so coarse and callous as to undermine their own values in order to fuck over the opposition - that's what defines a monster, in my opinion.

Posted by: Sam Simple on February 19, 2011 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

"it is mostly white yet also mostly black"

The deep pockets of insane rationalising mirror a cornucopia's picture of the bountiful Earth . The infinitely resourceful bounty of the poor at the behest of the lions of waste , commonly known as the rich idlers , Flappers , Café society , jet set , the top one percent .
For convenience it is never hard to deny honoring gravity as an inescapable truth , it is merely a "theory" . Thus for the pleasure of consistency , God grows raspberries , which double as a Bronx cheer for the doubting Thomas amongst the bottom eighty percent . Those who are paying the freight for the gilded class , and glad to have the three jobs it takes to afford supporting the ego's of their betters . Remember it is an abomination in the opinion of Republican lawmakers for the wealthy to be considered for taxes even after they die .

Posted by: FRP on February 19, 2011 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

The point of the effort isn't subtle -- if there's no funding to implement the law, American families can't enjoy the new protections and benefits.

To hear Republicans tell it, oversight is never needed because the "marketplace" will take care of rule breakers. If a company is breaking the law and not offering coverage, people just won't buy from that company.

So corporations don't actually police themselves, and Republicans are acknowledging that the government must implement and enforce its laws? Interesting....

Posted by: AndThenThere'sThat on February 19, 2011 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder why no Republican has yet proposed what should be their obvious solution: defund the CBO. They are trying to do that to the EPA and other science agencies that don't parrot their ideas, and to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

And I think if Senators won't go along with Republican proposals, the House should just vote to defund the Senate. That'll show 'em.

Posted by: tamiasmin on February 19, 2011 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

"Honestly, I wonder sometimes if congressional Republicans just don't like Americans very much"


I work with a young Republican, a very pleasant, attractive, hard-working young man, but he is secretive; plus, he thinks Karl Rove is a genius, someone to admire. I asked him after work yesterday if he had any plans for the weekend. He told me he was going to Madison, WI, to visit a high school friend. hmm. I am sure that he is going to participate in the right-wing counter protest, but he keeps his radical opinions and activities hidden. He has taken Spring vacations in Texas and South Carolina, and I suspect he is doing some kind of networking/training on those occasions. I am sure this is related.

c u n d gulag comments above that "it's not that they hate Americans. It's that they dont care." So I keep trying to suss this young man out. He is a foot-soldier of movement conservatism. He is deeply ill-informed but inoculated against learning differently. He seems to be motivated not by some vision of a functioning, just America, but by a vision of himself as part of prosperous elite (he plans to go to Law School) who need to protect their wealth from the greedy poor.

I don't know. His stealthiness is just deeply disturbing to me. But he is a prime example of someone who just doesn't care about the well-being of Americans.

Posted by: PTate in MN on February 19, 2011 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

PTate beat me to it.

But of course they love SOME Americans, specifically the very wealthy and those that run large corporations and financial firms. That is their TRUE base, and that is whom they serve. That's democracy for ya.

The Tea Partiers are, in Lenin's phrase, useful idiots. They'll march against unions even when they belong to one, and they'll vote for people who defund health-care legislation that they would benefit materially from. But idiots get to vote. That's democracy too.

The only hope is the cynicism of youth.

Posted by: bleh on February 19, 2011 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans are in single minded pursuit of the American Dream for themselves. Once the elimination of the middle class has been achieved, the Machiavellian rich will have no more use for their idiotic lackeys in the Republican party. The absolute arrogance of these uber idiots allows evil to flourish in the form of people like the Koch brothers and will eventually lead to the downfall of those expendable Republican legislators and Governors. The American middle / working class has very little time to wake up to the ramifications of their stupid unfocused anger and the blind belief that Republicans are acting in their best interests. Will the stunning arrogance, lies and overreach of Republicans be enough to jolt people into understanding that the middle and working class are being effectively turned against each other in the service of shifting power to a few individuals and corporations?

Posted by: Diane Rodriguez on February 19, 2011 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

Republican leaders would rather spend money killing people than healing them.

Posted by: DavidLA on February 19, 2011 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

So to review, House Republicans are making brutal spending cuts to domestic and foreign priorities, ostensibly because they're worried about the deficit, while at the same time trying to destroy a health care law that lowers the deficit.****************
AND extending tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires that increase the deficit, AND extending tax incentives and deductions for the poor, needy oil companies that increase the deficit. But the deficit is their major concern, oh, and. oh yea. that other thing, um, umm...Jobs, yea, that's it. "That's our priority too!" PULLL-EASE!

Posted by: In what respect Charlie? on February 19, 2011 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

Someone needs to keep track of all the taxpayer dollars that are being wasted by the Republicans since Obama became President, starting with the salaries of the Republican Congress Critters. Then, it needs to be published for all Americans to see how their tax dollars are being thrown away.

Posted by: Bonnie on February 19, 2011 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

Why don't they just de-fund the CBO? It would be simpler for them, AND it would save a few million. In the short term, that is.

Posted by: Nancy Irving on February 19, 2011 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

Or better yet, they could privatize it. Contract it out to Heritage or the Cato Institute.

Then EVERYONE wins!

Posted by: Nancy Irving on February 19, 2011 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans love Americans who make $200,000 a year and up. The rest of us are trouble-making freeloaders.

Posted by: Coop on February 19, 2011 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

Please add Andrew Cuomo to the list of Repugs in donkey clothing. This bsatrd is repealing the millionaires tax which amounts to 3 to 4 billion in annual revenues for NYS, while slashing state aid for schools by 1.8 billion which will force thousands of teachers onto the unemployment lines while needlessly swelling class sizes around the state. All this to set himself up as a fiscally conservative "democrat" with visions of 2016 dancing in his head. And so the modern republican
mind set is oozing into unwanted corners and reshaping a country that the founding fathers they so worship, would not only have trouble recognizing but would have no trouble rejecting.

Posted by: rick on February 20, 2011 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

Ok, so when the Govt. shuts down...
Are the wars over too?

Posted by: cwolf on February 20, 2011 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

In the minds of radical conservatives and Tea Partiers there are only three kinds of people: people who are rich; people who want to be rich; and socialists. They view the job of government to help individuals get rich. If a policy is criticized for not helping a person get rich or for detracting from a person's wealth conservatives whack it from the budget without even trying to understand it's potential value.

They believe that in the devotion to obtaining wealth all good things come to pass -- the economy prospers, the environment cleans itself, health improves, crime disappears, justice becomes manifest. And if it doesn't and there's trouble, we have the national guard and intelligence agencies to keep things in order.

What's the difference between this vision and, say, the vision of a Hosni Mubarak? "America is exceptional, the Tea Partiers would say." And that's where faith comes in to fill any gaps in the implementation of these insidious policies. They are all part of "God's plan." And anything that's not "God's plan" is Godless socialism.

Which takes us back to point 1.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on February 20, 2011 at 5:29 AM | PERMALINK

The point about the zeal to lower the deficit, vis-à-vis health care reform, isn't so much that the GOPers want to eliminate the PPACA, it's the fact that health care costs are the single biggest piece of the deficit puzzle, and it's the one thing that they will not talk about (aside from a fanatical desire to make things worse).

The reason for this silence is the same reason the previous 'debate' on health care reform was so vapid; GOPers have zero ideas that are a) remotely acceptable to Americans or b) even close to a serious effort to solve the problem.

Why the media gives this a free pass is beyond frustrating. Even if one buys into the need to act fast to save the country from financial ruin (and also that tax increases for millionaires and billionaires are verboten), the very next thing that we should be debating is health care. Instead we are treated to Very Serious People who congratulate themselves on the seriousness business of cutting programs which do virtually nothing to worsen the budget, and whose loss would do immense harm, and might actually end up costing more in the long run.

Posted by: jhm on February 20, 2011 at 7:42 AM | PERMALINK

Rethugs for the.... loss!

I am a federal employee and I am so tired already of the Rethugs that are running the lower chamber. They have a mantra that goes something like this:

Government.... bad! Obama.... bad! Making ridiculous decisons to placate the Tea Party and the far right, regardless of the consequences.... Good!

And when the dust settles and the facts come out, the Rethugs will be headed home after the 2012 elections, wondering how they lost their seats after one term.

Posted by: Joe on February 24, 2011 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK



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