On March 14 we published a list of thirty pieces of Republican legislation “that Republicans are using to destroy America.” That list was updated on March 17 with several new items and now we present a completely updated list including those additions from March 17 along with additional pieces of legislation. Furthermore, the list has been rearranged and several new categories introduced, including The War on National Public Radio and The War on Net Neutrality.
As stated on March 17, we intend to continually update this list to reflect new pieces of legislation and where applicable, some Democratic responses. Additional addenda will be posted from time to time and the entire list updated and republished less frequently in order to keep readers apprised of the status of the Republican War on America. While we apologize for the length, we have done all we can to organize the material in such a way that it is easy to parse.
The War on Women’s Reproductive Rights
There is no doubt that the GOP’s first goal is to deprive women of their reproductive rights. It’s so important that we find Mike Huckabee promising Christian conservatives that his number one priority if he runs for president will be abortion
o Anti-abortion Laws
Republican legislators have introduced a wide array of laws designed to either outlaw abortion outright or to discourage it by making ridiculous and sometimes humiliating requirements of women who might consider having a pregnancy terminated.
- Rep. George Lavender, R-Texarkana, has proposed a bill (House Bill 2988) that would prevent any abortion except in cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother.
- In Georgia, a bill (SB 209) sponsored by Sen. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, would close all abortion clinics in the state and require abortions to be performed in hospitals
- South Dakota wants to require “spiritual” counseling (House Bill 1217) at religious centers before allowing an abortion to take place
- The Texas State House of Representatives has passed the Sonogram Bill (HB 15), a measure requiring women to get a sonogram before ending a pregnancy, forcing even victims of rape to have an ultrasound probe inserted into their uteruses at least 24 hours before the procedure.
- Georgia State Representative Bobby Franklin has introduced a bill that would not only make abortion illegal but would make miscarriages illegal.
- Indiana (House Bill 1210) wants to force doctors to lie to women about abortion causing breast cancer despite medical evidence to the contrary in order to discourage women from having abortions
- Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” (HR 3) that would limit the rape exemption for abortion to “forcible rape” which would have defined many rapes, for example, statutory rape of a minor, as non-forcible and therefore not covered by federal assistance. Mother Jones has reported another aspect of this legislation, that the IRS would be turned into abortion-cops: “Were this to become law, people could end up in an audit, the subject of which could be abortion, rape, and incest,” says Christopher Bergin, the head of Tax Analysts, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit tax policy group. “If you pass the law like this, the IRS would be required to enforce it.”
- Representative Joe Pitts (R-PA) introduced a bill (HR 358) would allow states to deny insurance coverage for birth control meaning hospitals could deny abortion procedures and transport to a facility that would provide a woman with an abortion even if failure to provide an abortion would mean the death of the woman
o Arguing that it is “morally wrong to take the tax dollars of millions of pro-life Americans and use them to fund organizations that provide and promote abortions,” Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind, introduced a bill (HR 217) in the U.S. House of Representatives to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding, despite the many other services Planned Parenthood provides to both men and women, including contraception and STD testing
o Legalizing the Murder of Abortion Doctors
- South Dakota flirted with a law to make the murder of an abortion doctor legal as self-defense
- When South Dakota was forced to drop the idea of murdering abortion doctors, Nebraska and Iowa picked up the idea
o “Personhood Laws” and Fetal Rights
Seven states are now considering laws that would give fertilized eggs the rights of “personhood” – in other words, fertilized eggs would have the same rights as you or me – a blatant ploy to attack women’s reproductive rights.
- In Iowa a pregnant woman was arrested for falling down a flight of stairs. Yes, for falling down a flight of stairs. You see, following a fight on the phone with her husband, Christine Taylor fell down a flight of. Like any responsible pregnant woman would, she went to the hospital to check on the fetus – and was arrested thanks to one of the many state laws that grant fetuses rights separate from the mother. Iowa has a “feticide” law that pertains to the second trimester and beyond, and since Taylor confessed that she had contemplated abortion but had chosen to have the baby, the nurse and doctor at the hospital decided to phone the police and accuse her of trying to terminate her pregnancy illegally. She was fortunate not to be charged with a crime – for falling down the stairs.
- Nebraska banned abortions after 20 weeks on the unscientific grounds that fetuses feel pain at that gestational age. Shortly thereafter, Danielle Deaver discovered at 22 weeks she had a pregnancy that could not result in a living baby. Yet Nebraska law denied her an abortion. Nebraska is not alone, and Deaver will not be alone. Legislators in 12 other states — Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico and Oregon — are considering similar laws. But banning abortion could not save Deaver’s fetus: With undeveloped lungs, the baby likely would never survive outside the womb, and because all the amniotic fluid had drained, the tiny growing fetus slowly would be crushed by the uterus walls. On Dec. 8, Deaver delivered 1-pound, 10-ounce Elizabeth, who, as doctors had predicted, lived for only 15 minutes outside the womb. Idaho is the latest state, inspired by Nebraska’s example, to put such a law on the books.
- On February 11, 2011, the North Dakota House of Representatives passed House Bill 1450; a bill which seeking to define a fertilized egg as a human being. As Planned Parenthood reports, “HB 1450 is backed by a national activist group, Personhood USA, working to make North Dakota the epicenter of a heated national debate.”
- The Oklahoma House of Representatives voted 94 to 2 to a ban on abortion’s later than 20 weeks of gestation similar to Nebraska’s in what it called the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.” Bill 1888 will go on to the state Senate.
The War on National Public Radio (NPR)
o The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives voted to defund NPR: “It is time for American citizens to stop funding an organization that can stand on its own feet,” said Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., the sponsor. The real reason, of course, is that NPR is seen as a bastion of liberalism and it’s voice stands in stark contrast to the propaganda-laden broadcasts from FOX News. The Free Press and Freedom of Speech are the staunch enemies of fascism, and so NPR has to go. Only the “official” voice must be heard. The President is against defunding NPR and Seven Republicans broke ranks to vote against the bill. It is unlikely to pass muster in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
The War on Desegregation
No, you didn’t read that wrong. Republicans are actually waging war on desegregation in the seeming belief that you can never turn the clock back too far.
o In Minnesota, the Education Finance Committee is readying a funding bill that will eliminate the goal of desegregated schools. On page 53 of the legislation is a complete repeal of the school integration section of the Minnesota Administrative rules. In defense, Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington), chair of the committee, claims the goal is to change the focus to academic achievement from diversity of the student body.
The War on High-Speed Rail
o Gas prices are rising and President Obama wants to improve the nation’s infrastructure through the introduction of high-speed rail corridors in areas where they would be particularly effective, and linking the Midwest’s population centers with those of the East Coast. The Republicans and Tea Party are opposed.
- In Wisconsin, Governor Walker rejected an $810 million federal grant for a high-speed rail line between Milwaukee and Madison, declaring the project “dead.”
- In Ohio, Governor John Kasich turned down nearly $400 million from the Department of Transportation for a high-speed rail line between Cleveland and Cincinnati.
- In Florida, Governor Rick Scott—siding with his backers in the Tea Party—rejected $2.4 billion in Department of Transportation funds for a rail line between Tampa and Orlando
The War on Marriage Equality and the Anti-Gay Agenda
To demonstrate how serious the GOP is about depriving a segment of Americans of their constitutional rights, conservative activist Alan Caruba called Obama’s DOMA decision an act of “societal suicide” in a column titled, “America’s Gay White House.” So the equality guaranteed by the Constitution is societal suicide?
o The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives wants to defend DOMA (the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act) in court despite the unconstitutionality of the law according to the DOJ’s own review. As Nancy Pelosi has asked John Boehner, how much will that cost?
o The Indiana Senate Judiciary Committee considered but did not take a vote on House Joint Resolution 6 (HJR-6), the proposed amendment to the state constitution that would define marriage as between one man and one woman and prohibit the state from enacting civil unions or domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.
The War on Net Neutrality:
o Republicans oppose net neutrality. They want corporations to control the internet to better their profits and to control the message getting out. A free press has always been fascism’s most potent enemy; it is no wonder they want to strangle it. At a Communications and Technology Subcommittee Hearing “House Republicans pushed for a resolution to eliminate ‘net neutrality’ rules recently adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).” Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) introduced H. J. Res. 37 which would prohibit the FCC from regulating the Internet. Republicans claim net neutrality rules amount to a government takeover of the Internet; what they really amount to is protection against a corporate takeover of the Internet. To counter this move, Al Franken (D-MN) has said he will introduce legislation that will make violations of net neutrality illegal.
The War on Obama: Birthers and Anti-Obama Legislation
o The Republican and Tea Parties are determined that President Obama should be a one-term president, and that meanwhile, punitive damages should be assessed against him for having the audacity as a black man to not only run for president, but to win.
- In Tennessee, state Sen. Mae Beavers has introduced SB 1091, a bill that would require presidential candidates to present a “long-form” birth certificate in order to be on the ballot in that state. Nearly a dozen states have had similar anti-Obama legislation aimed at making President Obama a one-term president, including – unsurprisingly – Arizona – as well as Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Connecticut, Indiana, Nebraska, Tennessee, Montana, and Maine. Mae Beavers admits she has no idea what a “long-form” birth certificate even is. She “hasn’t looked into it yet.” Keep in mind, all these proposals will cost the taxpayers money at a time when the GOP claims we’re too poor to even educate our children.
- Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., proposed legislation to eliminate funding for the president’s Teleprompter. He later withdrew the proposal citing as a reason the inability “to get an estimate on how much it would save.” Womack told FOX News, “We’re asking people to do more with less. And I think the president ought to lead by example. He is already a very gifted speaker. And I think that’s one platform he could do without,” Interestingly and tellingly, he didn’t suggest putting aside his own government funded healthcare program. “I think we made our point,” Womack said. Yes, you did. You proved you’re a petty-minded hypocrite.
- Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), proposed legislation “to strip funding for the alteration, repair or improvement of the executive residence of the White House and instead divert that amount to deficit reduction.” Because letting the White House fall down sends a powerful message to other countries.
The War on Unions and Collective Bargaining/War on Middle Class
This is more than an attack on unions, teachers, the public sector and collective bargaining and it is far from being the budget/deficit issue Republicans claim. It is, as Noam Chomsky writes, an attack on democracy itself.
o Class Warfare
Examples of Republican hostility to average working- and middle class Americans are many. Rep. Tom Emmer, the 2010 Republican candidate for governor in Minnesota announced that many waitstaff made six figure salaries at their jobs, a statement that he quickly had to back away from as false. Do you know many waiters and waitresses making better than minimum wage? I don’t. It’s no wonder Democrat Mark Dayton won.
- In Georgia a new bill (HB 385) would raise taxes on things like Girl Scout Cookies, groceries and gasoline but would lower tax rates on corporate income, from 6 percent this year to just 4 percent in 2014
- Republicans voted to end a program “that helped low-income families weatherize their homes and permanently reduce their energy bills”
- Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) has proposed some tax changes that are corporate-friendly and middle-class hostile. The Michigan League for Human Services reports that “Business taxes would be cut by 86 percent from an estimated $2.1 billion in FY 2011 to $292.7 million in FY 2013, the first full year of the proposed tax changes…Taxes on individuals from the state income tax would rise by $1.7 billion or nearly 31 percent, from an estimated $5.75 billion in FY 2011 to $7.5 billion in FY 2013, the first full year of the tax changes.”
- The Raw Story reported on March 17, 2011 that “Congressman Dave Camp (R-MI), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said he hopes to cut the tax rate for the richest individuals and corporations to 25 percent to help spur job growth.” Right, Dave; that must be why rich industrialists like the Koch Brothers (who increased their wealth by $9 billion last year) continue to lay off employees claiming the economic downturn has hit them. Hint to Dave: Wealth does not trickle down – it goes in the Koch Brothers’ bank accounts.
- “Minnesota GOP wants it to be illegal to carry cash if you’re poor” reports City Pages – “A bill introduced by Rep. Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) would prohibit people who use EBT cards–government assistance on plastic–from withdrawing cash at ATMs with the cards, except for $20 per month.”
o Attacking Unions/Collective Bargaining
A Tea Party-led movement is afoot to attack collective bargaining and public sector pay as responsible for our nation’s economic woes even though the problem is clearly Wall Street. Fights are going on in several Republican-controlled states:
o Deregulating Wall Street – The Great Recession Part Two Plan
- The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, tasked with overseeing derivative swaps and financial instruments, would lose $56.8 billion in the House budget. President Obama did not want to cut the CFTC at all; he wanted to increase its funding, and for good reason following the irresponsibility on Wall Street that led to the Great Recession of 2008.
- Reuters reports that “Congressional Republicans on Wednesday will stage their first outright challenge to 2010’s Dodd-Frank financial regulation reforms with a fistful of bills favoring private equity firms, derivatives end-users and corporate CEOs.” This legislation “would repeal or amend parts of the laws approved after the severe 2007-2009 financial crisis.” Unsuccessful at defunding these important economic protections the Republicans have resorted to voting them away.
The War on Immigration
o Nobody hates an immigrant like the Republican Party – except for the Tea Party. Anti-immigration legislation, though bad enough in Arizona, has reached new lows in Arizona and Texas. But not only in those states (and the Arizona measures listed below were voted down on March 17, 2011): Kansas State Representative Virgil Peck, a Republican, in a recent legislative budget hearing said, “It looks like to me if shooting these immigrating feral hogs works maybe we have found a [solution] to our illegal immigration problem.”
- Texas Department of Agriculture sets up border vigilante website to promote and support (sometimes violent) vigilantism
- In Texas, more than 60 anti-immigration bills have been filed this legislative session including requiring birth certificates to enroll in public schools and allowing police officers to act as immigration agents
- In Texas, “Tea Party favorite Debbie Riddle (I kid you not) (R-TX) introduced House Bill 2012 into the Texas State House, a bill that would jail folks who hire undocumented workers but would exempt anyone who hires “the help” for their homes, thereby effectively legalizing slavery for illegal immigrants..”
- In Arizona, Senate Bill 1222 would require public-housing operators to evict anyone who allows an illegal immigrant to live with them, as well as require proof of legal status to receive any public benefits.
- In Arizona, SB 1012 would allow the Arizona Department of Public Safety to conduct fingerprint-background checks on only individuals who can prove that they are U.S. citizens or legally eligible to work in the state. The state-issued fingerprint-clearance cards are required for a variety of jobs and work permits.
- In Arizona, Senate Concurrent Resolution 1035 would ask voters to change the state Constitution to prohibit any state official or agency from using a language other than English for official communications. Individuals could ask that communications be conducted in a second language, but the state doesn’t have to adhere to the request.
- In Arizona, the full Senate is also expected to vote in the coming days or weeks on broader immigration-related measures, including SB 1611, which makes several changes to immigration law, including preventing children not born in the U.S. from attending school, prohibiting illegal immigrants from driving or buying a car, and denying illegal immigrants the ability to obtain a marriage license in Arizona.
- Other pending bills in Arizona include SB 1405, which would require hospitals to check the legal status of a patient if he or she was unable to show proof of health insurance, and SB 1308 and SB 1309 – the “birthright citizenship” measures.
The War on Child Labor Laws
o Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah said that Congressional laws banning child labor are forbidden by the US Constitution despite the fact that the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 was unanimously upheld by the Supreme Court in 1941 (United States v. Darby Lumber). (A similar movement is underway in Missouri where State Sen. Jane Cunningham (R) has introduced a bill [S.B. 222] to minimize child labor laws)
The War on Islam/Islamophobia
o Islamophobia has become institutionalized in the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives as Rep. Peter King (R – N.Y.), is begins his McCarthy-esque “investigation of radical Islam”
o The states of Missouri , South Carolina and Oklahoma are all attempting to ban the alleged “creeping influence” of Sharia Law. Needless to say, most of the opponents of Sharia Law are strongly in favor of its exact equivalent, Mosaic Law – otherwise known as the Ten Commandments.
The War on Science, the Environment and Health
o Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives kills climate committee, the Select Committee on Global Warming. Not only that, but as Care2 reports, “House Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee demonstrated their commitment to science denial…by unanimously voting down three separate amendments offered by Democrats to reaffirm basic facts about climate science. They then unanimously voted to pass the Upton-Inhofe bill to repeal the Environmental Protection Agency’s scientific endangerment finding on greenhouse pollution.” In other words, they have legislated that climate-change does not exist. They have legislated it out of existence.
o The House budget for 2011 would have taken $126 million away from the Natural Weather Service. This is, of course, the agency within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that prepares and warns us of nasty life-threatening and property-destroying things like tsunamis, hurricanes, blizzards, floods and fires. Keep in mind, the House wants to continue to subsidize the oil industry that gouges you at the pumps each week and is increasing profits hand over fist. But dying in a tornado you didn’t know about is just fine.
o Republicans oppose energy saving lightbulbs, citing the evils of government interference. In a case of Republican cannibalism, Republican lawmakers want to repeal a 2007 U.S. law (signed by President George W. Bush) which phases out the old incandescent light bulbs in favor of alternative energy-saving bulbs (that use 25%-30% less energy than standard incandescent). With typical ignorance of the facts, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) blames the Obama Administration
o Senator Rand Paul blames the administration and the Department of Energy for the fact that his toilet doesn’t work, telling Energy Department official Kathleen Hogan that it’s her fault (the EPA says if we replaced our old toilets we “could save nearly 2 billion gallons per day across the country—that’s nearly 11 gallons per toilet in your home every day”
o Republicans in the House (House CR or continuing resolution) voted to cut $1.6 billion from the National Institutes of Health or NIH (5% below the president’s 2011 request and $638 million, or 2%, below current levels), which would do untold damage to cancer research and probably result in cuts to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s research, and cause job losses.
o The Republicans launch a stealth attack on endangered species, showing they love animals at least as much as the middle class.
o The Tea Party in at least a dozen states has come up with a radical, states-rights-centered proposal to attack healthcare reform: the health care compact would allow, Mother Jones reports, “them to seize control of and administer virtually all federal health care programs operating in their states and exempt them from the requirements of the health care law.”
o The House Judiciary Committee is looking at the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act (H.R. 10), a bill that would undermine the public protections most crucial to our health, safety, environment and economy
The War on Education
o “War on Evolution/Creationism/Intelligent Design”
- Creationism and its non-science version known as “Creation Science” or Intelligent Design are invading our school curriculums and dumbing-down the most scientifically advanced nation in the world to a Bronze Age level. The National Center for Science Education reports that of nine of these anti-science bills have been introduced around the country in 2011, including Texas, Florida and Tennessee.
- In Oklahoma, Rep. Josh Brecheen introduced an anti-evolution bill which fortunately died in committee. Senate Bill 554 would have required “every publicly funded Oklahoma school to teach the debate of creation vs. evolution.” The problem for Rep. Brecheen is that in science, there is no debate. Brecheen calls evolution the “religion” of evolution, which is an ironic label from a believer in creationism.
- In Florida, Senate Bill 1854 calls for educators to “teach efficiently and faithfully… a thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution.” Florida state Sen. Stephen Wise (a Republican), chairman of the Senate Education Committee (who failed in a similar attempt in 2009) told the Florida Times-Union in 2009, “If you’re going to teach evolution then you’ve got to teach the other side so you can have critical thinking.”
o House Republicans voted to cut Pell Grants, that help middle class kids go to college, by 25%
o Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has proposed to cut teacher pay by 12 percent to 20 percent
o De-funding Head Start
- In Frederick County, Maryland, the Board of County Commissioners voted to end the county’s contribution to Head Start, cutting funding for the program by more than 50 percent. Two of the Republican officials justified their decision by arguing that women should be married and staying at home with their kids, which would make the program unnecessary.
- Saying that the country is broke and we need to tighten our belts, Senate Republicans vote to cut the Head Start budget by $2 billion, or nearly a quarter of President Obama’s $8.2 billion 2011 budget request (the program’s current funding is $7.2 billion) but voted to continue $4 billion worth of subsidies to Big Oil (Exxon, etc). Exxon’s profits went up 53% in the last quarter of 2010. The Head Start funding cut will have the following effects:
- 218,000 children from low income families will lose Head Start/Early Head Start services;
- 16,000 Head Start/Early Head Start classrooms will close;
- 55,000 Head Start/Early Head Start teachers and staff will lose their jobs;
- 150,000 low-income families and their children will lose assistance in paying for child care.