Conservatives Would Like You To Pick Between Healthcare And Education So They Can Give Away Subsidies To Big Oil
Friday I noticed a tweet from disingenuous New Hampshire teabagger, Frank Guinta about how he voted to keep interest rates low for students, a topic we took up a few days ago. Carol Shea-Porter, Guinta's progressive opponent, who really is concerned with working families and student indebtedness released a statement within minutes of Guinta's deceitful posturing.
"Congressman Frank Guinta and his party first refused to vote to keep student interest rates at 3.4% for college students. Political pressure from Democrats, students, and middle class families became too great, so Congressman Guinta raided the preventive health fund, that pays for screenings for breast cancer and cervical cancer among other things, to make up for the money that would have been collected from higher interest rates. Congressmen Frank Guinta and Paul Ryan, instead of taking away tax loopholes for millionaires, are shifting resources from health screenings to students, hoping voters won't notice. Voters already have noticed."
Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, also noticed-- and she slammed right-wing anti-education Republicans like Guinta and Ryan as well.
“Higher education is a down payment on a lifetime of success and future earnings, so we are glad the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives finally decided to support keeping the interest rate on federally subsidized Stafford student loans from doubling. However, the Republican House majority chose a scheme to pay for the cost of keeping the interest rate at 3.4 percent by robbing billions of dollars from the prevention and public health fund in the Affordable Care Act.
“It is unconscionable to solve the student loan problems by undercutting healthcare to women, children and others most in need of assistance. A wiser option to prevent higher loan rates would be to end unfair tax loopholes that benefit wealthy individuals and corporations.
“College students are graduating with record levels of debt and facing a precarious job market, so it hardly could be a worse time to raise student loan interest rates. Snatching public funding for breast and cervical cancer screenings, child immunizations and community health centers, while refusing to require wealthy individuals and corporations to pay their fair share of taxes, is just plain wrong.”
When the Democats offered a Motion to Recommit instructing the committee to go back and rewrite the bill in a way that would "protect health insurance benefits for women and children by prohibiting the underlying bill from reducing coverage or raising costs for healthcare benefits offered by insurance companies, including benefits such as contraception, mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, childhood immunizations, and health screenings for newborns," it was defeated 178-231 100% of the Republicans voting against it and even the most rot-gut Blue Dogs sticking with the Democrats for a change. In the end 30 Republicans voted against the actual bill-- but they were the radical teabagger fringe who oppose public education in general (freaks like the John Birch Society's Paul Broun, Justin Amash, Jeff Flake, Tom McClinton, Joe Walsh (who just hates children in general and is still refusing to pay his child support), Tom Price, Scott Garrett... the real bottom of the barrel. There were also 13 putative "Democrats," all Blue Dogs and Blue Dogs allies, who voted with Boehner and Cantor, giving them the right to call the bill "bipartisan." It passed 215-195.
Guinta and the rest of the Republicans had just voted for the Ryan budget a week ago-- a budget that absolutely raises the interest rate on student loans from 3.4% to 6.8%-- quite a bit steeper than loans the banksters routinely give each other... and quite a bit steeper than the rates the banksters pay to use taxpayer funds. The hostage that the Republicans are holding in return for allowing the rate to remain low-- something Boehner refers to as a "slush fund" which is meant to do this:
$143 million for breast and cervical cancer screenings
$107 million for programs to address birth defects, including screening of newborns for hearing loss and congenital heart defects
$72 million for childhood vaccinations
So, the GOP wants to turn their war against students, back to their unending war against women. These people are sick-- as are the Blue Dogs who support them and vote with them. Amy Brundage posted about this outrageous anti-social behavior by these conservatives on the White House blog.
Eliminating the Prevention and Public Health Fund would have a devastating effect on women’s health and our work to prevent disease and illness. Eliminating the Prevention and Public Health Fund would mean:
• Hundreds of thousands of women could lose access to vital cancer screenings. Prevention Fund resources are expected to help more than 300,000 women be screened for breast cancer in 2013 and more than 280,000 be screened for cervical cancer.
• Programs that help to prevent congenital heart defects, prevent fetal alcohol syndrome, and promote early identification and intervention efforts for children with developmental delays and disabilities could be eliminated.
• Tens of thousands children could lose access to immunizations.
These are just a few of the important ways the Prevention and Public Health Fund will help keep millions of Americans healthy. Keeping college affordable for America’s students should not come at the expense of putting women’s health at risk.
The Senate will soon vote on a more viable solution to keep interest rates low and provide students a fair shot at an affordable education, by closing a loophole that allows people making more than $250,000 a year to avoid paying payroll taxes. Congress should find a bipartisan solution to keep rates low without hurting Americans’ health or increasing the deficit. There’s no good reason for interest rates to double for over 7 million students. But Republicans in Congress must prove that they’re serious about setting aside the political fights of the past and actually getting this done.
This is only going to stop if voters are willing-- come November-- to stand up against conservatives, of either party, and kick them out of office. It isn't just Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor... it's all the Republicans-- every single one of them-- and all the Blue Dogs. Time for a clean sweep. Sweep here.