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Bridge Briefs

News Wednesday, Oct 10 2012

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]

News Wednesday, Oct 10 2012

BRIDGE BRIEFING: Ryan And Medicare

The Ryan Plan Would End Medicare As We Know It By Turning The Program Into a Voucher

Wall Street Journal: Ryan Plan Would “Essentially End Medicare.” According to Naftali Bendavid at the Wall Street Journal, “The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/4/11] Wall Street Journal: Romney’s Proposal Would Privatize Medicare. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Mitt Romney waded into the hot-button issue of Medicare, proposing to offer future seniors a choice between the current fee-for-service health plan or a voucher to purchase health insurance plans offered by private insurance companies. The Romney Medicare plan could become a hallmark of the 2012 presidential campaign should he win the Republican nomination. Democrats had already planned to make the Ryan plan a centerpiece of their efforts to unseat Republicans in Congress. Now, Mr. Romney has thrust Medicare privatization into the presidential race.” [Wall Street Journal, 11/4/11]

Medicare Would Be Turned Into A Voucher System

Politifact: Claim That Ryan’s Budget Plan Would Turn Medicare Into A “Voucher” Was Mostly True. According to Politifact, “U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez yesterday attacked a Medicare reform proposal from Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan by claiming it would turn the health care program into a voucher system…It’s accurate that Ryan’s plan, starting in 2023, would provide premium support payments for new beneficiaries to purchase private insurance or a plan that acts like traditional Medicare. The term ‘voucher’ generally describes this approach. We rate the statement Mostly True.” [Politifact, 10/5/12] Ryan’s Alternative Plan To The Health Care Bill Replaced Medicare For Everyone Under 55 With A Voucher System. According to a New York Times column, “In recent weeks, critics have done a nice job highlighting flaws in the White House plan (which Congress is now turning into an actual bill). What the critics have not done nearly so well, however, is explain which politically realistic plan they prefer.  Paul Ryan, the top Republican on the House Budget Committee, has admirably produced a detailed alternative to the Democrats’ plan. It would balance the budget by getting rid of Medicare for everyone under 55 and replacing it with a voucher system. When I recently asked another high-ranking Republican what he thought about the Ryan plan, however, he replied, ‘Paul is very thoughtful.’ Follow-up questions did not yield further details  So I agree that health reform should do more to reduce spiraling medical costs. But saying so doesn’t qualify as hard-headed fiscal realism. In fact, it’s the easy thing to say. The bigger issue is how policy makers can achieve the goal, given the political realities.” [The New York Times, Column, 3/10/10]

News Wednesday, Oct 10 2012


Wage Discrimination

Ryan Voted Against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to Prevent Wage Discrimination. In 2009, Ryan voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The Senate measure was nearly identical to some provisions in the House passed version HR 11. The final bill allowed employees to sue employers for wage discrimination within 180 days of their last paycheck affected by the alleged discrimination. The measure was designed to overturn a 2007 Supreme Court decision (Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.) that ruled a worker could not bring a wage discrimination suit more than 180 days after the initial discriminatory act. The Senate version of the bill did not include a provision from HR 12 that would have required employers seeking to justify unequal pay for male and female workers to prove that such disparities are job-related and required by a business necessity. [Roll Call 37, S 181, 01/27/2009; CO House Action Reports Legislative Week, 1/26/09] Ryan Voted Against Paycheck Equity. In 2008, Ryan voted against a bill that would lift the cap on compensatory and punitive damages that women may be awarded in wage discrimination cases. The bill would also require employers who contended that pay discrepancies did not result from discrimination to give an actual business reason for why female employees were paid less than their male counterparts. Democrats argued that the bill would close some loopholes for pay discrimination. “The current system is rife with loopholes that allowed employers to avoid responsibility for discriminatory pay scales,” Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said. Republicans criticized the legislation, saying that it would be fodder for frivolous lawsuits. “This bill will make it easier for trial lawyers to cash in, and taxpayers should be outraged that their money is being put to such use,” Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC) said. [Roll Call 556, H 1338, 07/31/2008; CQ Today¸7/31/08]

News Wednesday, Oct 10 2012

BRIDGE BRIEFING: Ryan And Veterans

Ryan Plan Would  Slash Non-Discretionary Spending, Which Funded Veterans’ Health Care

Ryan Budget Would Slash Funding For Crucial Programs Assisting Vulnerable Individuals, Including Low-Income Housing, Head Start, Child Nutrition Programs, And Home-Delivered Meals For Senior Citizens. “Also striking is Ryan’s slashing of non-defense discretionary spending, which funds everything from veterans’ health care to medical and scientific research, highways, education, national parks, food safety, clean air and clean water enforcement, and border protection and other law enforcement. This part of the budget also funds a number of programs to assist poor or otherwise vulnerable people such as low-income housing; child care for the working poor; Head Start; the Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program (WIC); and home-delivered meals for seniors. The Budget Control Act of last August substantially cut funding for non-defense discretionary programs by imposing tough annual budget caps, but the Ryan budget would cut these programs nearly $1.2 trillion below the caps. In fact, it would slash funds for non-defense discretionary programs over the coming decade by $800 billion below the level to which that funding would fall if sequestration occurred every year through 2021.” [Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/21/12]

Ryan Plan Would Slash Benefits For Veterans

The Post Standard: Ryan Plan Would Pay For Tax Cuts On Top Earners And Corporations By Slashing Entitlements, Pell Grants And Benefits For Veterans. According to The Post Standard, “As the GOP continues its war on women, it adds to its victims the weak, disabled, elderly, poor and disadvantaged. Congressman Paul Ryan’s ‘Path to Prosperity,’ lauded by our representative Ann Marie Buerkle as ‘courageous,’ is in fact downright cowardly. Ryan wishes to extend the Bush tax cuts and cut the top tax rate for individuals and corporations from 35 percent to 25 percent. He pays for this by slashing Medicare, Medicaid, Pell Grants, food stamps, low-income housing subsidies and veterans’ health care.” [The Post Standard, 6/9/11]

News Wednesday, Oct 10 2012


Ryan Used Similar Rhetoric To Romney’s “47%”

Ryan Said 30% Of The Country Were “Takers” Who Did Not Want The American Dream In 2010, Ryan Said 60 % Of Americans Received More Benefits From The Government Than They Paid In Taxes; Labeling Them “Takers” Versus Makers. According to the Huffington Post, “Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said in 2010 that 60 percent of Americans receive more financial benefits from the government than they pay in taxes, making them ‘takers,’ rather than ‘makers,’ according to a 2010 video of Ryan speaking with Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.). ‘Right now about 60 percent of the American people get more benefits in dollar value from the federal government than they pay back in taxes,’ Ryan said. ‘So we’re going to a majority of takers versus makers in America and that will be tough to come back from that. They’ll be dependent on the government for their livelihoods [rather] than themselves.’” [Huffington Post, 10/5/12] Ryan Said 30 Percent Of Americans Wanted A “Welfare State” While 70 Percent Wanted The American Dream. According to the Huffington Post, “Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, share a similarly dim view of a very large portion of Americans, according to previously unreported remarks by Ryan. Both believe that many of their fellow citizens are dependent on government and have no motivation to improve their lives -- but they disagree over the precise number. Romney’s estimate, famously, is 47 percent. For Ryan, it’s 30 percent. ‘Seventy percent of Americans want the American dream. They believe in the American idea. Only 30 percent want the welfare state,’ Ryan said. ‘Before too long, we could become a society where the net majority of Americans are takers, not makers.’ (It’s not definitively clear whether Ryan said ‘the welfare state’ or ‘their welfare state.’ HuffPost originally transcribed it as ‘their welfare state.’ Regardless, the comment was made in reference to people on government assistance.) Ryan’s comments were delivered as part of his keynote address at The American Spectator’s 2011 Robert L. Bartley Gala Dinner, which the magazine posted online.” [Huffington Post, 10/2/12]

Like Romney, Ryan Refers To Poor Americans As “Victims”

In 2005, Ryan Urged Conservatives To Convince People To Rise From “Victimhood.” According to Huffington Post, “On Wednesday, an interviewer asked Ryan three times whether or not he agreed with Romney’s particular characterization of individuals who don’t pay income taxes as ‘victims who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing.’ But back in 2005, Ryan more directly addressed similar questions. In fact, Ryan recommended that conservatives convince people to rise up out of their ‘victimhood.’ In a session he attended at the Ayn Rand-inspired advocacy group, the Atlas Society, Ryan told audience members that the ‘victimization’ argument would be one of their most effective strategies for getting people on the side of a Randian approach to free-market economics: …In arguing that conservatives should ‘try to show how victimhood has gotten them nothing,’ Ryan seemingly accepted the premise that certain Americans are, indeed, ‘victims.’ But instead of placing the blame for that on the people themselves, he argued that it was the byproduct of the political system.” [Huffington Post, 9/21/12]

News Wednesday, Oct 10 2012

BRIDGE BRIEFING: Ryan And Forcible Rape

Ryan Co-Sponsored “Forcible Rape” Language With Todd Akin

Ryan Co-Sponsored “No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act” With Todd Akin To Narrow Definition Of Rape To “Forcible Rape.” According to the Huffington Post, “Ryan also cosponsored the ‘No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act’ with Akin in 2011. The GOP tried to narrow the definition of rape as it related to abortions with the measure. Only in instances of ‘forcible rape,’ the bill specified, would a woman be eligible to have her abortion covered under insurance. The sentiment behind the notorious attempt to redefine rape was echoed in Akin’s comment on Sunday.” [Huffington Post, 8/19/12] In 2009, Ryan Backed “Limitations On Abortion Mandates” Amendment To Prevent Abortion Coverage Under Health Care Legislation Except In Cases Of Risk To Life Of The Mother, “Forcible Rape” Or Incest. According to NBC, “Three years ago, the then-39-year-old congressman co-sponsored an abortion-related amendment called ‘Limitations on Abortion Mandates.’ That proposed amendment was blocked in what was a Democratic-controlled House Ways and Means Committee. Ryan and only one co-sponsor, Rep. Sam Johnson of Texas, proposed a change to health-care legislation that would have required health insurance cover abortion services.  The Ryan-Johnson failed amendment did specify limited exceptions, permitting abortion coverage including when the life of the mother is at stake and in line 16 of the proposed text ‘... unless the pregnancy is the result of an act of forcible rape or incest.’ … The amendment was proposed by and carried the name of a more senior Republican colleague, Rep. Sam Johnson of Texas. Ryan joined Johnson in offering the amendment.” [NBC News, 8/22/12]

News Wednesday, Oct 10 2012


Ryan Plan Would Cut Alternative Energy While Protecting Tax Breaks And Subsidies For The Oil And Gas Industry

Ryan Plan Protects Subsidies And Tax Breaks For Big Oil The Ryan Plan Protected Tax Breaks For The Oil Industry. According to an article by Newsweek’s White House Correspondent Daniel Stone, “When House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan unveiled the GOP blueprint for cutting government spending, he asked Americans to make sacrifices on everything from Medicare to education, while preserving lucrative tax subsidies for the booming oil, mining and energy industries.” [Newsweek/The Daily Beast, 6/17/11] Ryan’s Budget Plan Would Not Cut Tax Breaks For Oil Companies. According to the New York Times, “Other energy incentives may go unchallenged, however. Questioned on Fox News on Sunday by Chris Wallace on whether multibillion-dollar subsidies for oil and gas companies would also be eliminated, Mr. Ryan did not give a direct answer. ‘Do you eliminate tax breaks?’ Mr. Wallace asked. ‘Do you bring in new revenue by eliminating, for instance, tax breaks for oil companies?’ ‘The problem with our deficit is not because Americans are taxed too little — the problem with our deficit is because Washington spends too much money,’ Mr. Ryan responded. ‘So we’re not going to go down the path of raising taxes on people.’” [New York Times, 4/6/11] CAP: Ryan’s Plan Ignored That Clean Energy Funding Received $6 Billion While $500 Billion In Subsidies Went To The Oil And Gas Industry. According to the Center for American Progress, “Cutting funds for clean energy investments to rely on ‘greater revenue generation through prosperity, and market based solutions’ also ignores the 100 years of federal support for oil production. According to an analysis by DBL Investors, the oil and gas industry received nearly $500 billion in subsidies over the past 90 years, while investments in renewable technologies were limited to $6 billion. Rep. Ryan’s proposed budget also disregards the economic benefits of a clean energy future to middle-class families. In addition to creating new industries and jobs, clean energy sources that rely on homegrown wind, solar, geothermal energy, or efficiency will insulate Americans from rising and volatile energy prices.” [Center for American Progress, Issues, 3/20/12] CAP: Ryan’s Plan Preserved “Huge Giveaways” To The Oil Industry. According to the Center for American Progress, “The latest House Republican budget plan asks low-income and middle-class Americans to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while simultaneously delivering massive tax breaks to the richest 1 percent and preserving huge giveaways to Big Oil. It’s a recipe for repeating the mistakes of the Bush administration, during which middle-class incomes stagnated and only the privileged few enjoyed enormous gains.” [Center for American Progress, Issues, 3/20/12]

News Wednesday, Oct 10 2012

BRIDGE BRIEFING: Romney Supports The Ryan Plan

Romney Endorsed Ryan’s 2013 Budget Plan March 2012: Romney Endorsed Rep. Paul Ryan’s 2013 Budget Plan. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Paul Ryan’s new budget plan drew praise from GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney and an attack from President Obama’s reelection campaign Tuesday. The House Republicans’ fiscal blueprint for 2013 would slash federal spending, lower tax rates and substantially overhaul Medicare in an effort to free the nation ‘from the crushing burden of debt,’ Ryan wrote in a document outlining the plan. In a statement from his campaign, Romney lauded the House Budget Committee chairman ‘for taking a bold step toward putting our nation back on the track to fiscal sanity.’ He said he and Ryan were of the same mind on cutting taxes and overhauling the tax code. ‘As president, I look forward to working with Chairman Ryan and his House Republican colleagues to pass bold reforms that restore America’s promise,’ he said.” [Los Angeles Times, 3/20/12] Romney Aide Eric Fehrnstrom Said Romney Supported The Ryan Plan. According to Talking Points Memo, “Eric Fehrnstrom, a top campaign adviser for Mitt Romney, tied the Republican presidential nominee to the GOP’s budget plan by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). […] ‘…he’s for the Ryan plan. He believes it goes in the right direction. The governor has also put forward a plan to reduce spending by $500 billion by the year 2016. In fact, he’s put details on the table about how exactly he would achieve that. So to say he doesn’t have a plan to – a plan to restrain government spending is just not true.’” [Talking Points Memo, 6/3/12] Romney Endorsed “What Is Essentially” Ryan’s Plan For Deficit Reduction. According to Politico, “Romney also endorsed what is essentially the Ryan plan for fiscal deficit reduction, bring budget into balance in eight years. Said loophole and special tax deductions would be eliminated to offset cost of tax rate reductions, and include ‘some things you’re not going to like.’ Will close some Federal Government departments. Romney spoke with authority and confidence, and appeared relaxed.” [Politico, 5/24/12]

News Wednesday, Oct 10 2012


Ryan Lied About A Wisconsin Plant That Closed In 2008

Janesville Gazette: “Obama Wasn’t President When The Plant Closed.” According to the Janesville Gazette, “Rep. Paul Ryan took an example from his hometown Aug. 16 when discussing energy policy in Ohio. Some have questioned his facts. Ryan told the Ohio audience that the Janesville General Motors plant closed in 2009, and he said President Barack Obama’s policies were, in part, to blame. Obama wasn’t president when the plant closed. Production ended in December 2008.” [Janesville Gazette, 8/28/12] Washington Post: Despite Careful Wording, Ryan Implication Inaccurate Because Plant “Largely Closed In December 2008.” According to the Washington Post, “In his acceptance speech, GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan appeared to suggest that President Obama was responsible for the closing of a GM plant in Ryan’s home town of Janesville, Wis. Obama gave his speech in February 2008, and he did say those words. But Ryan’s phrasing, referring to the fact the plant did not last another year, certainly suggests it was shut down in 2009, when Obama was president. Ryan, in fact, issued a news release in June 2008, urging GM to keep the plant open after the automaker announced it would close it. The plant was largely closed in December 2008 when production of General Motors SUVs ceased — before Obama was sworn in. A small crew of about 100 workers completed a contract for production of medium-duty trucks for Isuzu Motors, a contract that ended in April 2009. Note that Ryan called the plant ‘locked up’ rather than ‘shut down.’ That’s because the plant has not been completely shut down; it remains on ‘standby’ and could reopen if GM production reaches the right level, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.” [Washington Post, 8/30/12]

News Wednesday, Oct 3 2012

DEBATE PREP: American Bridge Releases 25 Issue Briefs on Romney’s Record

American Bridge today released 25 policy-based research briefings laying out the truth about Gov. Mitt Romney’s record. Romney recently expressed his concern that President Obama will “say things that aren’t true” in their upcoming debate. It takes some brass for Mitt to make that statement, considering his own history of mendacity.

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