Remind Us Why This Makes Sense, Congressmen?

Yesterday Republican Reps. Mike Coffman and Scott Tipton both voted in favor of a budget that would all but destroy Medicare, and we’re having trouble understanding the political strategy here. As Talking Points Memo explains:

For the second year in a row, Republicans voted Thursday to effectively dismantle Medicare – this time, just over seven months before a presidential election. And Democrats are salivating at the political opportunity, eager to hang the vote around the neck of the party’s presidential nominee and its candidates in tough congressional races.

“A year ago, nobody was talking about Democrats having a shot at the House. Now we’re talking about it,” a Democratic leadership aide told TPM after the vote, a party-line 228-191 that didn’t win a single Dem.

The blueprint by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan is similar to his controversial Medicare plan last year, in that it ends the health insurance guarantee for seniors and replaces the program with a subsidized insurance-exchange system. Unlike last year’s plan, seniors can buy into traditional Medicare as a sort-of public option, and the vouchers it provides are more generous…

…As it turns out, Democrats would love to fight the battle on those terms. They’re expected to make Medicare a focal point of their election message, portraying Republicans as seeking to “break the Medicare guarantee” in order to fund large tax cuts for the rich.

“Our main focus will be on Medicare,” the Democratic aide said. “There’s clear evidence that seniors are very worried about what Republicans are doing with Medicare. And we want people to know that this is who they are in a nutshell. There’s no wiggle room for them.”

Both Coffman and Tipton voted for the “Ryan Plan” in 2011 as well, and we’re just as confounded by this vote as we were last year. While these votes may make the Tea Party happy, it’s not going to go over well with moderate and Independent senior citizens. The votes are particularly problematic for Tipton, who pledged as a candidate in 2010 that he would protect Medicare (see press release after the jump from the campaign of Democrat Sal Pace). Tipton is going to have a tough time holding off Pace in CD-3, and pissing off senior citizens isn’t a smart idea in our book.

As for Coffman, we can only assume that he is casting these votes with an eye towards a 2014 Senate race against Democrat Mark Udall; while these votes will certainly be dredged up in a general election against Udall, Coffman might figure he needs to position himself firmly on the right in order to fend off primary challengers. Democrat Joe Miklosi will make as much hay out of this as he can in his challenge to Coffman this fall, but at this point it doesn’t look like Miklosi’s campaign will have enough strength to really make a run at the CD-6 incumbent.  

Scott Tipton Again Breaks Promise To Seniors By Voting To End The Medicare Guarantee

Today, for the second time since being elected, Congressman Tipton broke his 2010 campaign promise to never cut or privatize Medicare. Tipton voted for the controversial House budget that would end the Medicare guarantee and raise health care costs for seniors while giving people making over $1 million per year a $394,000 tax cut.

In contrast, just days ago days ago, his opponent Sal Pace – with over 1,000 other Coloradans – promised to protect Medicare for our seniors.

“Even though while campaigning in 2010 my opponent said ‘no cuts, no privatization’ to Medicare we are seeing once again where his priorities are” said Pace. “Getting the deficit under control is important, but we have to do it in a reasonable fashion. Eliminating benefits for seniors and replacing it with a voucher program that would more than double what seniors currently pay is not the way to do it.”

The House proposal supported by Tipton according to the AARP, would “simply increase costs for beneficiaries while removing Medicare’s promise of secure health coverage” and the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found Medicare benefits “would likely shrink.”

###

Background

In his 2010 campaign, Tipton promised never to privatize Social Security or Medicare. “I’ll never put our seniors’ future at risk. No cuts, no privatization, and no scaring our seniors just to try and win this election.” [American Spectator, 10/15/10]

Tipton Voted for the House Republican Budget. On March 29, 2012, Tipton voted in favor of the House Republican budget. H.Con.Res. 112, Vote # 151, 3/29/12]Congressional Budget Office: Ryan’s Plan Would Likely Shrink Medicare Benefits, Increase Number Of Uninsured. “Medicare benefits would likely shrink under Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) latest proposal, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday. The budget office also said the number of people without health insurance could be ‘much higher’ under Ryan’s plan because it would repeal President Obama’s healthcare law. Ryan’s Medicare plan would convert some of the program’s funding into subsidies for private insurance. Seniors could choose between the traditional single-payer program or a private plan.” [The Hill, 3/20/11

AARP: Ryan’s Plan Would Increase Health Care Costs for Older Americans. AARP CEO Addison Barry Rand wrote to Members of Congress on House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget resolution. In the letter, Rand wrote: “this proposal simply shifts these high and growing costs onto Medicare beneficiaries, and it then shifts even higher costs of increased uninsured care onto everyone else […] By creating a ‘premium support’ system for future Medicare beneficiaries, the proposal is likely to simply increase costs for beneficiaries while removing Medicare’s promise of secure health coverage — a guarantee that future seniors have contributed to through a lifetime of hard work.” [AARP Letter, 3/21/12]

House Republican Budget Would Give People Making Over $1 Million Per Year a $394,000 Tax Cut. “New analysis by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center (TPC) finds that people earning more than $1 million a year would receive $265,000 apiece in new tax cuts, on average, on top of the $129,000 they would receive from the Ryan budget’s extension of President Bush’s tax cuts.” [Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/27/12; see also Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, Table T12-0078 and T10-0132]

37 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. RegisteredRepublican says:

    He seems to have missed a lot of days — and votes — at the state legislature lately.  No doubt he is still collecting his pay though.   He certainly has no worries about Colorado Ethics Watch filing a complaint against him.  Democratic front groups don’t go after Democrats.  

  2. MADCO says:

    Why should the young and fir workers of America pay for the healthcare of the old and the weak?  Why can’t they buy their own damn insurance or go without- just like the rest of us?

  3. rocco says:

    and this is exactly the time to get rolling on campaign ad’s.

    When the ACA ruling comes down, it’ll be a neutron bomb whichever way it goes.

    Obviously the reds will cry “gummint takeover” thanks to “activist Judges” if the Law stands, motivating the already   “fox and friends, ill-informed” and angry goober base that much more, and if it goes down, the drumbeat from the right will be that the “guy without the birth certificate got put in his place”, now let’s run him out of town”.

    If we’re not front and center, in your face with how this Ryan plan ends Medicare and Medicaid and literally allows no infrastructure funding, which in itself will kill the economy, then the ACA ruling will suck all the air out of the room.

    Of course it dies in the Senate, so we don’t have to worry about the full on 2nd Great Depression it will bring, but the point is that if the republicans had a majority in the Senate, and the Democrats didn’t filibuster, this could be law!

    That is terrifying.

    The House Budget should be the 2nd most motivating issue we have, second only to the absolutely indisputable war on women these idiots have declared, and just ahead of the voting suppression campaign by the reds, in half the States no less, that’s no longer even debatable.

    It doesn’t matter any more how we got to this point. We gotta get rollin’.

    We have to reelect President Obama, keep the U.S. Senate and retake the House. The Democrats have to start thinking reconciliation for all legislation they can introduce that way. Losing this election is simply not an option.

    This is the worst I’ve ever seen it. It’s intoxicating, it’s addictive, true, but it’s the worst I’ve ever seen the political climate.

    Poisonous.

    I phone bank once a week, meet with Democrats for recruiting to the campaign, and want to participate in voter registration. but up ’till now, it seems there’s other stuff to do, including work,  so I’ve been too hit and miss…….’till now.

    All the sudden, that other “stuff” might not be that important.

    Right now, the Koch brothers are ahead on points.

  4. ArapaGOP says:

    Way to regurgitate Politifact’s Lie of the Year though, Pols.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      Is to eliminate it. That’s like telling your 6 year old when their report card is not all A’s that you’re kicking them out of the house because you demand perfection.

    • ClubTwitty says:

      And you’re welcome.  

    • BlueCat says:

      or broken no matter how often you people say so, ArapG. And it sure beats a coupon and the tender mercies of the for profit insurance industry that doesn’t want to pick up expensive old people and certainly not for anything most of them can afford.  That’s why we have medicare.  Because seniors couldn’t get anything close to affordable insurance before medicare. You can give them discount coupons for BMWs, too.  That doesn’t mean they will then be able to afford them. More people are more likely to need medicaid altogether.  

      Besides, the public hated it when GW tried to push it, when Ryan proposed his first plan and still do. Nobody’s buying the load of crap your side is selling on medicare.  

    • MADCO says:

      When is it ever appropriate to raise taxes?

    • GalapagoLarry says:

      Where’s that “replace” in your oh, so courageious “repeal and replace”? You’re a bunch of fucking chickens. Can’t even admit you don’t have an idea in your heads.

  5. ellbee says:

    It’s better than Obama’s budget (not a single Dem vote) and the Senate’s budget.

    Wait – when is the last time a Dem-controlled Senate actually put a budget on paper?

    In a couple of decades, entitlement spending will take up all government revenues.  What then?  Do we just wait until that happens?

    I’m being serious about that last question.  There’s only so much money you can take from some people to provide entitlements for other people.

    • ParkHill says:

      Aren’t fiscal bills required to originate in the House of Representatives?

      • ellbee says:

        But the two pieces of Congress are supposed to hammer one out together.  The Dem Senate hasn’t had the onions to submit one since April 26, 2010.  Why is that?

        What exactly does Kent Conrad do?

        • GalapagoLarry says:

          they don’t want to face your scathing but oh, so intelligent criticism?

          • ellbee says:

            …from anyone, eh?

            They don’t want their constituents to see how insane a Senate budget would really look.  Probably not as insane as Obama’s (Zero votes in entire House) but still enough for someone to use it against them.  

        • gaf says:

          Spends his time trying to compromise with Republicans–who keep leading him to more and more compromises and then still tell him no. That’s what Kent Conrad does.

          • ellbee says:

            …on the budget?

            Hint:  It’s not 60.

            • gaf says:

              My response was to your question, “What exactly does Kent Conrad do?” That’s what he does–he tries to work within a bipartisan group, he tries to compromise. And he compromises and compromises and compromises and the Republicans still tell him no. He is a damn slow learner; apparently he will never learn. His efforts are worthless. No, worse than worthless as they simply continue stalemate.

              Note that I answered your question, and you didn’t respond to my answer but changed the subject. It’s not like I was defending Conrad. Did you somehow miss that?

            • First, that the Senate can originate a budget.

              Second, that the number of Senators required to advance a budget (absent a House resolution) is less than 60.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      It’s the medical inflation rate. And if you move that to the individual, the problem remains. That’s what needs to be addressed.

    • VanDammer says:

      Since when down your side worry about 2+ decades in the future?  Your side has saddled this gen and at least the next generation with debts for TWO unfunded wars, unprecedented tax cuts during times of war, loss of wealth equity in personal savings, decimation of infrastructure spending, and dereg of industries causing devastating environmental damage.

      You really think what you deem entitlement spending cost more in gov’t revenues that what is blown on the military/security industrial expenditures?  If you do then you are sorely and sadly stupid.

      Matter of fact, your side took us to the brink of credit default and only backed off with sure-to-fail SuperComm agreement that would mandate 50/50 entitlement and military cuts.  Now your bunch of emasculated chickenhawks are gonna renege on your own deal because military/security spending is so sancrosanct.

      Your side is ruining America.

      There’s only so much money you can take from some people to provide bombs and armaments to kill and conquer other people.

      • ellbee says:

        You really think what you deem entitlement spending cost more in gov’t revenues that what is blown on the military/security industrial expenditures?  If you do then you are sorely and sadly stupid.

        Yes. As a percentage of the U.S. Budget, military spending is far below the aggregate of SS, Medicare, Medicaid, and Welfare.

        Is that what you were referring to?

        BTW – when’s the last time you posted anything without insulting someone?

        • VanDammer says:

          Hard not to insult when you trot out the tired old scapegoat of Social Security.  Do you have any friggin’ clue how the SSA is funded ?  And do yourself a favor and drop the perjorative use of entitlements as barked out by rabid Randians. Why don’t you try backing SSA numbers out of any public funding discussions before you open your mouth — otherwise you’re just a Repug parrot.

          Since 1937, almost $8.7 trillion has been put into SSA trust funds and about $7.4 trillion has been paid out.  Hmm, so please tell me how a net + $1.3 trillion becomes a loss of revenue in your math?  Oh yeah right, it’s a rightie parrot doing the math here and one that would of course equate domestic social welfare less worthy than funding a war found on lies.  

          • ellbee says:

            I don’t get my feelings hurt from you.  I just stop reading after the three hundredth “repug” you throw in every post.

            I’m familiar with SS funding, and also aware that the pool drawn from for that funding is shrinking while the payees list is growing.  Not a genius, but at some point, that won’t work.

            Didn’t we just have a big shriek-a-thon about the “payroll tax cut” the Admin has been using to say ‘the R’s just want to raise your taxes!’?  That is the funding mechanism for SS, is it not?  Shrinking that can’t be too good for the bottom line.

            I never said it’s lost revenue.  It’s unsustainable without changes in the longterm, as are Medicare and Medicaid.  

            And the three of those plus welfare combined are much more than defense spending.

            I hope you have a nice night.

    • gaf says:

      There’s only so much money you can take from some people to provide entitlements for other people.

      There’s only so much of the gains in income that can be taken by the top 1% and still have a functioning country. At 93% this past year, we are well past that tipping point. The inequity in income is a much bigger problem than redistribution. Our current scheme favors those with wealth over those without.

  6. BlueCat says:

    Yesterday Republican Reps. Mike Coffman and Scott Tipton both voted in favor of a budget that would all but destroy Medicare, and we’re having trouble understanding the political strategy here.

    There is no political strategy. It’s dogma.  Just like  the assault on women doesn’t make sense from a political strategy point of view.

    Coffman is my congressman and this is exactlyy what I expect from him. I’ve received enough of his form letter replies.  

  7. dwyer says:

    Why are the “progressive guys” here responding rationally to something that is political??? Do you all reasonably think that the republican voters are going to say. “Oh, the dems make sense, I will vote for the democrat.” Do you really????  There must be a reason why Coffman, a hands down winner in his District, thinks that this is a good and wise position to take.

    What is it???

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