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The Wire

The Wire Tuesday, Jun 10 2014

Chris Christie And Curious The Case Of The Disappearing Taxpayer Money

Just throw it on my tab! That's Chris Christie's message to New Jersey taxpayers, as his self-exoneration bill keeps climbing and climbing. New documents yesterday showed that through February, New Jersey has been billed over $3 million so that the Governor can "clear" himself of wrongdoing in his bridge fiasco. It's a feeble attempt to rehabilitate an image that has been tarnished not only by scandal, but also by economic failures. But Christie has shown time and time again that his image comes before the well-being of his constituents. Just a few weeks ago it came to light that Christie gave significant raises to his own staffers, especially those who helped boost his image during his 2013 re-election, while he ransacked pension funds due to his own massive budget shortfall. What's more, in October, Christie wasted $24 million in taxpayer money to hold a special Senate election, rather than just holding it concurrently with the gubernatorial election three weeks later. Why? He was worried that having Cory Booker on the same ballot as him would shrink his margin of victory. For a guy who was supposed to be a fiscal conservative, Chris Christie has been extremely liberal about throwing taxpayer money around--as long as it's to his personal benefit.

The Wire Economy Jobs Tuesday, Jun 10 2014

Scott Walker, Where Are The Jobs? (They're In Other States)

Scott Walker isn't just failing to fulfill his own job creation promise--he's failing to keep up with surrounding states. A new report shows that Wisconsin has created about 45,000 fewer jobs than would have been expected if the state kept up with historical trends. Moreover, the analysis shows that by December of 2010, towards the end of the Doyle administration, Wisconsin had regained a higher percentage of jobs lost in the recession than any other state included in the study. But by September of 2013, after three years under Gov. Walker and his hyper-conservative policies, Wisconsin had recovered a fewer percentage of its jobs than Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa and Indiana. The state's job gap doubled in Walker's first year, and increased again in his second year. This report is more than just a confirmation that Scott Walker's agenda has been bad for Wisconsin. It's a real-world indictment of the very policies that the Republican Party constantly champions. We've been told time and time again that if only we slashed taxes and shrank government, the free market would bring prosperity to all. But this austere path has only stifled once-booming job growth in Wisconsin, and the state is set to spend $559 million more than it takes in next year. Walker's conservatism has long been the toast of the GOP. Chris Christie praised his reforms for making Wisconsin "a better place to live and work." Grover Norquist declared that "his success in Wisconsin will change America." And AFP president, Tim Phillips lauded his agenda as "the new model for the country." Well, the results are in. The model has failed. And America is not soon to follow in Walker's footsteps.

The Wire Friday, Jun 6 2014

VIDEO: Rick Scott's Hypocrisy On Veterans Health Care

Rick Scott is talking a lot about veterans health care these days. With the recent VA issues that have surfaced, Rick Scott has been making the rounds, bashing the federal government and demanding that we do everything in our power to get our veterans the care they deserve. But while Rick Scott pays lip service to those who have served, 41,000 veterans in his own back yard don't have access to Medicaid because Florida won't expand the program. We all agree that our veterans deserve nothing but the best. Surely they should have access to quality health care. So why is Rick Scott still refusing to take action on Medicaid expansion, denying that health care coverage to the very veterans he claims he is fighting for?

The Wire Reproductive Rights Wednesday, Jun 4 2014

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.

AB Leadership The Wire Tuesday, Jun 3 2014

Thom Tillis is a Fraidycat

Speaker Tillis, what do you have to hide, sir?

But the House isn’t making it easy on the Democratic group – prohibiting them from filming at times in the center gallery above the chamber and imposing tougher restrictions. Under new informal rules from the sergeant-at-arms and Tillis’ office, the trackers are not allowed to set up tripods and use the center gallery area, which they say is reserved for credentialed media. No such restrictions exist in the Senate.
You can read the whole report at the News & Observer here.

AB Leadership The Wire Koch brothers Tuesday, Jun 3 2014

President Brad Woodhouse Op-Ed: The TRUTH About the Koch Agenda

Don't miss American Bridge President Brad Woodhouse's new op-ed on on the truth behind the Koch agenda, and visit to learn more.

They called Social Security "the most serious threat to the future stability of our society next to the threat of nuclear war." They wanted to abolish all minimum wage laws, while giving tax breaks to the rich and big oil. All in a self-serving attempt to drive the policy discourse further toward their extreme ideals to benefit their own bottom line. Voters deserve to know the truth behind the Kochs' self-serving agenda and just what they stand for. So, at American Bridge, we've launched, a new research and rapid response resource to highlight the truth about the Koch agenda and what it means for working families in states around the country.
You can read the full op-ed over on

The Wire Health Care Monday, Jun 2 2014

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: ScottBudgetEqualPay ScottBudgetMedicaid ScottBudgetMinWage

The Wire Energy Friday, May 30 2014

Romney and Ernst: Trying to Take The Wind Out of Iowa's Economy

Mitt Romney, twice the loser of the Iowa presidential caucus, is visiting the Hawkeye state to lend a hand to extreme Tea Party Senate candidate Joni Ernst. While Romney may signify the face of the GOP establishment, he and Tea Partier Ernst share the extreme position of railing against the wind energy tax credits that are crucial to Iowa's economy. In 2012, Romney voiced his opposition to renewing wind energy tax credits, joking that they were unnecessary because "you can't drive a car with a windmill on it." An Iowa paper editorialized that Romney's stance was disappointing, and wind energy industry executives warned that letting the credits expire could kill 3000 Iowa jobs. Fast forward to the 2014 Senate race: Joni Ernst has similarly called for an end to wind energy subsidies. Unsurprisingly, Ernst's position is the same as the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity, who have railed against the same wind subsidies in Iowa--and who she recently thanked on facebook for pouring money into the race. Romney, Ernst and the Koch brothers: partners in extreme ideology. Bad for Iowa.

The Wire Thursday, May 29 2014

Christie Gives Big Raises To Staffers While Ransacking Pensions Funds Due To Budget Shortfall

Under Chris Christie's watch, the New Jersey economy has fallen on tough times. Christie has presided over downgrades on his debt from every major credit rating agency, unemployment well above the national average, and a private sector job growth rate among the worst in the country. And this month he announced that he would ransack workers' pension funds in order to balance his massive budget shortfall created under his leadership. Now it comes to light, that amidst these economic mishaps that have left New Jersey families struggling, Governor Christie found it appropriate to give "hefty pay increases" to his staff--especially to those who "help craft and promote his image." Melissa Hayes of The Record points out Christie's inappropriate priorities and fiscal hypocrisy:

The raises come as Christie is withholding more than $2.4 billion in payments to the state pension fund because of revenue shortfalls. And Christie has delayed a property tax relief program that averages nearly $500 for seniors and some families. And the raises to the governor’s staff appear to have happened around the same time Christie vetoed the minutes of the Pinelands Commission because it voted to increase the personnel line item in its budget by 5 percent — a move the governor castigated the commissioners for by saying it was “conscious disregard of fiscal realities.”
Once again, Chris Christie has shown that maintaining his image is more valuable to him than the well-being of his constituents.

The Wire Wednesday, May 28 2014

The Man With No Answers: Scott Won't Take Position On Executing The Mentally Disabled

Rick Scott just won't answer questions. It's nothing new--we've seen him on the run for months now. But it's a habit that's only getting worse, and yesterday, he was at it again. After the US Supreme Court blocked an execution, ruling that Florida's standards for determining if an inmate was mentally disabled were inadequate, Miami Herald's Marc Caputo asked Scott about the case. After Scott said he would review the particular case, Caputo followed up. And this is when Rick Scott went to his trademark move to avoid answering questions: just keep saying the same thing over and over. It's almost like a wind-up doll.

Caputo: "More globally, why should we execute the mentally ill?" Scott: "Well I'll review that case." Caputo: "But, you know, generally?" Scott: "I'll review that case."

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