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DNC: Republican Platform “Extreme on Issues Important to the Middle Class”

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From the Democratic National Committee:

 

For Immediate Release

August 22, 2012

 

REPUBLICAN PARTY PLATFORM EXTREME ON ISSUES IMPORTANT TO THE MIDDLE CLASS

 

The Republican Party, led by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, has approved a platform that is extreme on issues important to the middle class, from Medicare to immigration to women’s health.  The Republican platform embraces the Romney-Ryan plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system.  The Romney campaign’s decision not to protect the mortgage interest deduction for middle class families in his party’s platform is further evidence of what independent economists have already shown – that Mitt Romney’s $5 trillion in tax cuts geared toward millionaires and billionaires can’t be paid for without raising taxes on the middle class. Over 30 million middle class families currently benefit from the mortgage interest deduction, and Romney has once again shown that his priority is more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, not those middle class homeowners. 

 

It includes the Akin amendment, which bans abortion even in the cases of rape or incest. Top Romney surrogate and head of the platform committee, Governor Bob McDonnell, “applauded” the move to limit a woman’s right to make decisions in her own health care, and included a “salute” to states that have adopted mandatory ultrasound laws in the platformRomney adviser and Arizona immigration law author Kris Kobach took a leadership role in drafting immigration provisions that he says are supported by the Romney campaign.  And the Platform Committee rejected an amendment to recognize civil unions, further solidifying Romney’s commitment to enshrining discrimination in our Constitution.

 

The Los Angeles Times reported this week that the Republican Party platform “was written at the direction of the Romney campaign.” It is no surprise then that it reflects the views of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and is extreme on every issue.

 

MEDICARE

 

HEADLINE:  “Draft Republican platform embraces Ryan Medicare ideas” [Politico, 8/21/12]

 

The Republican Platform Included Language Committing The Party To Turning Medicare Into A Voucher-Like Program.  “The Republican platform committee will take up Medicare language Tuesday afternoon that would officially commit the party to the kind of overhaul championed by Paul Ryan, including turning it into a voucher-like program and raising the retirement age.  The platform language isn’t a total surprise, since Ryan is now on the ticket and Mitt Romney has endorsed the general approach of his plan. But it gives the Republican Party one more level of commitment to the controversial idea of turning Medicare into a premium-support program, in which seniors would get subsidies to buy private health insurance.  [Politico, 8/21/12]

 

·         Draft Platform:  “We Call For A Transition To A Premium-Support Model For Medicare.”   “POLITICO reviewed a draft of the platform, which will not officially be published until next week. Here is the text of the Medicare language:  ‘The first step is to move the two programs away from their current unsustainable defined-benefit entitlement model to a fiscally sound defined-contribution model. This is the only way to limit costs and restore consumer choice for patients and introduce competition; for in health care, as in any other sector of the economy, genuine competition is the best guarantee of better care at lower cost. It is also the best guard against the fraud and abuse that have plagued Medicare in its isolation from free market forces, which in turn costs the taxpayers billions of dollars every year. While retaining the option of traditional Medicare in competition with private plans, we call for a transition to a premium-support model for Medicare, with an income-adjusted contribution toward a health plan of the enrollee’s choice. This model will include private health insurance plans that provide catastrophic protection, to ensure the continuation of doctor-patient relationships. Without disadvantaging retirees or those nearing retirement, the age of eligibility for Medicare must be made more realistic in terms of today’s longer life span.’”  [Politico, 8/21/12]

 

TAX REFORM

 

The Republican Platform Committee Rejected A Bid To Include A Plank Calling For The Preservation Of The Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction. “The committee drafting the Republican Party’s platform rejected a bid to include a plank calling for preservation of the mortgage interest tax deduction Monday. The battle pitted allies of the beleaguered real-estate industry – who favor the deduction – against some conservative activists, who favor a simpler tax code with fewer deductions overall. Party leaders also opposed the amendment, hoping to avoid a drawn-out battle over preserving a range of different tax breaks in the party platform.” [Wall Street Journal, 8/21/12]

 

Tax Policy Center: Romney’s Tax Plan Is Paid For, It “Will Result In A Net Tax Cut For High-Income Taxpayers And A Net Tax Increase For Lower- And/Or Middle-Income Taxpayers—Even If Individual Income Tax Expenditures Could Be Eliminated In A Way Designed To Make The Resulting Tax System As Progressive As Possible.” “In this paper we examine the tradeoffs between rates, tax expenditures, and the progressivity of the tax schedules that are inherent in revenue-neutral tax returns. We show that plans that advance steeply lower marginal tax rate structures would require deep cuts in tax expenditures to offset the revenue losses arising from low rates. Because many of the largest tax expenditures benefit middle- and lower-income households, deep reductions tax expenditures can alter the distribution of the tax burden. To illustrate these tradeoffs, we examine as an example a set of tax rate reductions specified in Governor Romney’s tax plan. We show that given the proposed tax rates and proscription against reducing tax expenditures aimed at saving and investment, cutting tax expenditures will result in a net tax cut for high-income taxpayers and a net tax increase for lower- and/or middle-income taxpayers—even if individual income tax expenditures could be eliminated in a way designed to make the resulting tax system as progressive as possible.” [Tax Policy Center, On The Distributional Effects Of Base-Broadening Income Tax Reform, p. 15, 8/1/12]

 

Wall Street Journal: “A New Study Released Wednesday Suggests That Mitt Romney’s Tax Plan Would Benefit The Rich And Hurt The Poor And Middle Class, No Matter How Current Blanks In The Plan Are Filled In.”” [Wall Street Journal, 8/1/12]

 

·         If Romney’s Tax Plan Was Paid For, Families With Kids Who Make Less Than $200,000 Would See An Average Tax Increase Of $2,041. [Tax Policy Center, On The Distributional Effects Of Base-Broadening Income Tax Reform, p. 18, 8/1/12]

 

·         If Romney’s Tax Plan Was Paid For, The Top 0.1% Would See An Average Tax Cut Of $246,652. [Tax Policy Center, On The Distributional Effects Of Base-Broadening Income Tax Reform, p. 19, 8/1/12]

 

ABORTION

 

The Republican Platform Committee Approved An Anti-Abortion Plank That Included No Exemptions For Rape, Incest, Or To Save The Life Of The Mother.“Even as Mitt Romney sought to quash the furor surrounding Todd Akin’s ‘legitimate’ rape comments, the Republican platform committee here approved an abortion plank that includes no exemptions for rape, incest or even to save the life of the mother. The platform committee instead approved draft language Tuesday, calling for a ‘Human Life Amendment’ that gives legal protection to the unborn. Democrats quickly labeled the GOP language the ‘Akin Plank,’ referring to the Missouri Senate candidate’s statements that victims of ‘legitimate rape’ rarely get pregnant.” [Politico, 8/21/12]

 

·         Gov. Bob McDonnell Applauded The Platform Committee’s Work After It Affirmed A Party Platform That Included No Exemptions For Rape, Incest, Or To Save The Life Of A Mother.  “Even as Mitt Romney sought to quash the furor surrounding Todd Akin’s ‘legitimate’ rape comments, the Republican platform committee here approved an abortion plank that includes no exemptions for rape, incest or even to save the life of the mother. … ‘I appreciate the good work that that committee did — in past platforms that has been hours of discussion — and I applaud the committee’s work in affirming our respect for human life,’ said Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, the chairman of the platform committee. ‘Well done.’” [Politico,8/21/12]

 

ULTRASOUND LAWS

 

Washington Post: The Republican Party Platform “Contains A ‘Salute’ To States That Have, Like His Own, Passed ‘Informed Consent’ Laws” Like Virginia’s Mandatory Ultrasound Law. “The Republican platform that Gov. Robert F. McDonnell is helping to hammer out in Tampa contains a ‘salute’ to states that have, like his own, passed ‘informed consent’ laws meant to dissuade women from having abortions. Virginia’s informed consent law, requiring that women seeking an abortion first undergo an ultrasound, brought unflattering national attention to Richmond this year and forced McDonnell into an awkward balancing act. Some observers think it may have cost the governor the chance to be Mitt Romney’ running mate.” [Washington Post, 8/21/12]

 

·         The Republican Party Platform Said We “Salute The Many States That Have Passed Laws For Informed Consent.” From the GOP platform: “We also salute the many states that have passed laws for informed consent, mandatory waiting periods prior to an abortion, and health-protective clinic regulations. We seek to protect young girls from exploitation through a parental consent requirement; and we affirm our moral obligation to assist, rather than penalize, women challenged by unplanned pregnancy. We salute those who provide them with counseling and adoption alternatives and empower them to choose life, and we take comfort in the tremendous increase in adoption that has followed Republican legislative initiatives.” [ABC, 8/21/12]

 

IMMIGRATION

 

Arizona Immigration Law Author Kris Kobach Encouraged The GOP Platform Committee To Take A Harder Line On Immigration.  “Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach persuaded the Republican platform committee Tuesday to toughen its language on immigration. ‘We recognize that if you really want to create a job tomorrow, you can remove an illegal alien today,’ he told the 100-plus representatives to the committee…” [Politico, 8/21/12]

 

·         Arizona Immigration Law Author Kris Kobach Reminded Republicans That Romney’s “Opposition To In-State Tuition For Illegal Aliens” Helped Romney Move Past Rick Perry During The Primaries. “Trying to make inroads with Latino votes, Romney has toned down the hardline rhetoric he used in the primaries. The GOP convention is also being held in the key state of Florida, which is home to a large population of Hispanic voters that Republicans realize are key to the party’s electoral chances and future. Kobach, who wrote Arizona's and Alabama’s controversial immigration laws, reminded the group of Republicans in a ballroom at the Marriott hotel here of Romney’s stated positions on the hot-button issue ‘These positions are consistent with the Romney campaign,’ he said. ‘As you all will remember one of the primary reasons that Gov. Romney rose past Gov. [Rick] Perry when Mr. Perry was achieving first place in the polls was because of his opposition to in-state tuition for illegal aliens.’” [Politico,8/21/12]

 

Headline: “GOP Platform Calls For More Arizona-Style Immigration Laws.” [The Hill, 8/21/12]

 

The Republican Party Added Language To The 2012 Platform To Say That Arizona-Style Immigration Laws Should Be “Encouraged, Not Attacked,” And Called On The Federal Government To Drop Its Lawsuits Against The Laws. “The Republican Party has officially endorsed its backing for Arizona-style state immigration laws, adding into its platform language that such laws should be ‘encouraged, not attacked’ and calling for the federal government to drop its lawsuits against the laws. That language and other provisions were widely approved by the party after being introduced by the co-author of the Arizona law, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R).” [The Hill,8/21/12]

 

·         Kris Kobach Estimated That 80 Percent Of The Republican Party Platform Committee Supported A Plank Encouraging States To Adopt Arizona-Style Immigration Laws. “The Republican Party has officially endorsed its backing for Arizona-style state immigration laws, adding into its platform language that such laws should be ‘encouraged, not attacked’ and calling for the federal government to drop its lawsuits against the laws. That language and other provisions were widely approved by the party after being introduced by the co-author of the Arizona law, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R).  ‘I was pleased at how overwhelming the majorities were, it was a voice vote and I think there were maybe 80 percent supporting it,’ Kobach told The Hill shortly after the hard-line immigration language was added to the party's official platform. ‘The Republican Platform is now very strongly opposed to illegal immigration.’” [The Hill,8/21/12]

 

Kris Kobach Successfully Persuaded The Republican Party Platform Committee Use The Term “Illegal Alien” Instead Of “Illegal Immigrant.” “Yet Bailey couldn't stop efforts by Kris Kobach, a conservative attorney from Kansas who helped write controversial immigration laws in Arizona and Alabama. On Monday, Kobach convinced delegates to keep the term ‘illegal alien’ in the platform. ‘Illegal alien is the correct term to use,’ Kobach said. ‘Now there are some politically correct terms that people like to use, but I made the point that platform should be legally precise.’ But that term made other delegates bristle, such as Audra Strickland of California, who preferred the term ‘illegal immigrant.’ ‘It speaks to the tone of the document,’ Strickland said. ‘It's important to have that compassionate tone.’” [Tampa Bay Times, 8/22/12]

 

MARRIAGE EQUALITY

 

The Republican Platform Committee Affirmed The Party’s Commitment To Banning Gay Marriage, Rejecting An Amendment Allowing For Civil Unions. “The Republican party platform will continue to call for a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex unions, after a drafting committee rejected an attempt to allow for civil unions for gays and lesbians.  A loud majority of the committee opposed the amendment in a voice vote.  Discussion continues in the committee of other amendments that would also soften the party’s platform language on marriage.  Barbara Ann Fenton of Rhode Island suggested that the 112 members of the GOP platform committee endorse new language that would call for religions to define marriage in their own way but allow government to offer civil unions to both heterosexual and homosexual couples.  Fenton said she opposes gay marriage as a Roman Catholic. But, she added, ‘those are my religious belief and this country was founded on the separation of church and state. Coming from Rhode Island, we take that pretty seriously.’  Other delegates said support for traditional marriage is a bedrock Republican principle.  ‘Government extends benefits to marriage because marriage benefits society,’ said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and a delegate from Louisiana. ‘It benefits children, which in turn benefits society.’” [Washington Post, 8/21/12]

Headline: McDonnell Won’t Hear Lesbian Navy Captain’s DOMA Testimony.”[BuzzFeed, 8/9/12]

Bob McDonnell Announced That The Republican Party’s Platform Committee Would Not Be Hearing Testimony From Retired Navy Capt. Joan Darrah About The Impact Of The Defense of Marriage Act On Her And Her Wife. “Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, heading up the Republican National Convention's platform committee, will not be hearing testimony from retired Navy Capt. Joan Darrah about the impact of the Defense of Marriage Act on her and her wife when the committee meets in Tampa in August to firm up the party's platform. A spokesman says that only official representatives will be speaking before the committee in Tampa, but encouraged Darrah to submit her suggestions for the party platform online.” [BuzzFeed, 8/9/12]

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