Today marks a new format for new iterations of the Dirty Thirty: rather than a re-posting each month of the entire list, only the updated information will be included, while the entire list including updates will be found under the Dirty Thirty link above (likewise under the Proof of the GOP War on Women link for legislation related to reproductive rights, etc). This move has been necessitated by the sheer bulk of data provided and in response to reader complaints and in order to make that data more accessible to readers. The Dirty Thirty is now a 52-page Word document approaching 30,000 words in length, daunting not only to upkeep but to read. The result of this format change is a 10-page, 5,000 word document, still a chilling reminder of what the Republican Party has in store for Americans and their liberties.
It is hoped that this new format will draw sighs of relief from readers.
(As always, new items and categories in red).
The War on Women’s Reproductive Rights
o Anti-abortion Laws
- In Indiana, at one point early in 2011 the Hoosier state had 13 anti-abortion bills going at the same time. In addition to the above-mentioned bill, there were, according to the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel:
- House Bill 1205 would prevent the state from entering into contracts with or making grants to any entity that performs abortions or operates facilities in which they are performed. Planned Parenthood receives $1.6 million in state-directed funds annually, Swayze said. Senate Bill 116 would require Indiana to opt out of abortion coverage offered by any health plan under the new federal health-care reform act. Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, is among the sponsors.
- Senate Bill 457 is an “informed consent” law that would require women to be informed orally and in writing with information pertaining to abortion, such as adoption and fetal development. Kruse and Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) are among the sponsors. “The more you know, the less likely you are to make a decision (to have an abortion),” Swayze said.
- Senate Bill 1258 would regulate chemically induced abortions. A chemical-abortion clinic on Coliseum Boulevard recently closed, but the procedure remains a “horrific circumstance” for women using it, Allen County Right to Life Executive Director Cathie Humbarger said. “The home becomes an abortion mill.” Sponsors include freshman Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne.
- Senate Bill 522 would ban abortion after 20 weeks – the point at which Humbarger said the fetus is capable of feeling pain. Nebraska passed a similar bill that has not yet been challenged in the courts, she added.
- As bad as things are for Virginia women, they could have been worse. Many anti-women bills were killed, as NelsonCountyTimes.com reported in February 2011:
- Senate Bill 1202 would have prohibited health-insurance providers under the new health-care law from providing coverage for abortions.
- Senate Bill 1207 would have allowed civil lawsuits to be brought on behalf of “unborn children.”
- Senate Bill 1217 would have made it a separate crime to coerce a pregnant woman to have an abortion.
- Senate Bill 1378 would have given human rights to “unborn children” equating to those of all residents of the commonwealth.
- Senate Bill 1435 would have required anyone seeking an abortion to first have an ultrasound of her fetus and be given an opportunity to view the ultrasound.
- In the U.S. House of Representatives, the Stop Abortion Funding in Multi-state Exchange Plans (SAFE) Act (HR 4971), introduced in late April by Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), would, reports Raw Story, “amend the new federal health care law to ensure that health insurance exchanges would not cover abortion procedures. The health care reform law required all 50 states to set up a health insurance exchange system by 2014… Like the Hyde Amendment, the SAFE Act would allow for exemptions if the pregnancy was the result of an act of rape or incest, or if the mother experienced certain medical conditions.”
- In Ohio, Janet Porter’s “Heartbeat Bill” criminalizing abortion and which was backed by Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann, passed the Ohio State House on June 28, 2011. “It prohibits abortions after only about six weeks, a time when many women do not yet even know they are pregnant,” said Armond Budish, leader of the Democratic caucus in the House. The bill is currently being held up in the Senate. See the latest update on Porter’s antics at Right Wing Watch. Update [5.4.12]: The Heartbeat bill is dead; its high-water mark was making it past the House. As Right Wing Watch reports, the bill “stalled when it reached the state Senate amid concerns that it was blatantly unconstitutional. Convinced that she had the votes in the Senate needed to pass the legislation if it could simply be brought to a vote, Porter began holding regular rallies to pressure Republican Senate leaders to allow a vote, even bringing in a variety of self-proclaimed apostles and prophets to wage spiritual warfare as part of her effort.” As of May 4, 2012, “Senate President Thomas Niehausannounced that Porter’s Heartbeat Bill was dead and blasted her organization for its unwillingness to accept any compromise on the legislation and for making “exaggerated and inflammatory statements” about his opposition to it.” Janet Porter, meanwhile, has announced “Phase 2” running ads in various newspapers to bully Republican legislators into doing what she tells them to do. Hell hath no fury like a GOP woman scorned.
- And another gem from Arizona is House Bill 2800, introduced in February and now referred to the Senate Rules Committee, which would deprive Planned Parenthood of public funds, depriving women of healthcare unrelated to abortion. Update [4.24.12]: the Arizona State Senate approved the bill on Tuesday, April 24; the House has previously approved it. Planned Parenthood says the ban would affect some 19,000 women in the state. Update [5.4.12]: On May 4, 2012, Governor Brewer signed House Bill 2800 into law.
- Again in Georgia, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on February 15, 2012, “A bill to limit abortions is also being considered in the House. House Bill 954, sponsored by Rep. Doug McKillip, R-Athens, was filed last week and is what is commonly referred to as a ‘fetal pain’ bill. It says that a fetus can react to pain at 20 weeks, and it seeks to outlaw abortions at or past 20 weeks of pregnancy.” Update [5.1.12]: Governor Nathan Deal signed HB 954 into law on May 1, 2012. One of the many problems with this legislation and completely irrelevant to its backers is that as trustwomenpac.org explains, “according to both doctors’ testimony during the hearings and the American Medical Association, fetuses do not develop connections related to pain before at least 24 weeks.”
- In Tennessee, in yet another attempt to shame and punish women and doctor’s who have the audacity to disagree with fundamentalist religious views, the Life Defense Act of 2012 (H.B. 3808) would reveal the names not only of doctors who perform abortions but would also identify women who have abortions, posting that information on the Internet. According to HuffPo, the information revealed would include the woman’s “age, race, county, marital status, education level, number of children, the location of the procedure and how many times she has been pregnant.” The legislation is sponsored by state Rep. Matthew Hill (R-Jonesboro) after it was suggested by Tennessee Right To Life. Since Republicans control both House and Senate, the bill will in all likelihood pass, despite the ruling of the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2000 that abortion is a right protected by the state constitution. Update [3.23.12]: From trustwomenpac.org: HB 3808 “cleared subcommittee on March 6 with a vote of 8-5 and passed the Health and Human Resources Committee this Wednesday, March 21. It is now being scheduled for a vote on the House floor.”
- In Kansas, the 70-page SB 313 could, warns the ACLU, “prevent a woman from obtaining accurate information about her pregnancy, force public hospitals to deny care to a woman who needs an abortion when her health is at risk, and in many other ways, deprive a woman and her family the ability their own private decisions.” It is even worse than it sounds on the surface. As trustwomenpac.org reveals, “The language from the “Woman’s Right to Know,” and “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion” bill, HB 2598, has been placed into a Senate bill that was originally drafted as legislation concerning the consumption of alcohol, H Sub for SB 313. And, the language from the pharmacist refusal and medical non-referral act, HB 2523, was put into an act that was written originally about property seizure, H Sub for SB 62. This strategy, referred to as a “gut and go”, is used to pass controversial bills quickly and without much debate. Both bills will now only have to go through a concurrent/non-concurrent vote – meaning they would be denied the full legislative process of thorough debate and vetting.” Both H Sub SB 313 passed the House and H Sub SB 62 passed the Senate, and is now awaiting Gov. Brownback’s signature. As you can see, the Republicans aren’t much interested in actual participatory democracy: they prefer non-participatory totalitarianism.
- In Oklahoma, a victory for women. HB 1970, signed by the governor on May 11, 2011, had prohibited “the off-label use of medications for the purpose of ending a woman’s pregnancy, but specifically and explicitly” permitted off-label use of medication “for any other purpose.” In other words, it targeted pregnant women by blocking their access to medication abortion. In October 2011, after the Center for Reproductive Rights filed the original legal challenge [Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice et al., v. Terry Cline, et al.] in October 2011 on behalf of the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, Oklahoma District Judge Daniel Owens granted a temporary injunction blocking the law’s enforcement (it was due to take effect on Nov 1, 2011). Now, reports RHRealityCheck “in what the Center for Reproductive Rights calls an ‘unprecedented ruling recognizing bodily integrity and reproductive choice as fundamental rights under the Oklahoma state constitution,’ an Oklahoma state judge has found that a law restricting medical care for women seeking an abortion is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced. Judge Donald Worthington ruled that the bill’s restrictions are “so completely at odds with the standard that governs the practice of medicine that [the bill] can serve no purpose other than to prevent women from obtaining abortions and to punish and discriminate against those women who do.“
- In North Dakota, Measure 3, the “North Dakota Religious Freedom Amendment” – actually an anti-women’s reproductive rights amendment – would alter the North Dakota Constitution by adding a new section to Article I which states: “Government may not burden a person’s or religious organization’s religious liberty. The right to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief may not be burdened unless the government proves it has a compelling governmental interest in infringing the specific act or refusal to act and has used the least restrictive means to further that interest. A burden includes indirect burdens such as withholding benefits, assessing penalties, or an exclusion from programs or access to facilities.” Measure 3 will appear on the June 12, 2012 ballot in North Dakota. It is supported by the North Dakota Family Alliance. Not only will Measure 3 impinge on women’s reproductive rights, but it could be used as an excuse to say, abuse your wife or children, as pointed out by North Dakotans Against Measure Three, and NorthDecoder.com calls it a “wife beater’s dream come true.” In other words, you can do pretty much any damn thing you please and leave it to the government to prove you didn’t do it because of a “sincerely held religious belief.”
- In Mississippi, a dream of coat-hanger abortions is revived. Reports AlterNet: “With pride, this Mississippi State Representative, Bubba Carpenter, describes the onerous burdens placed on abortion doctors that will potentially, in his words “literally,” end legal aboriton in Misssissippi. It’s horrifying to hear him speak of the disguises the few doctors who currently fly into the state do wear to avoid violence as though it’s a good thing. But the kicker is when he describes “the other side:” “they’re like, the poor pitiful women that can’t afford to go out of state… are just going start doing them at home with a coat hanger… well, you have to start somewhere.”
- Missouri (97 percent of Missouri counties have no abortion provider) has so far escaped our notice but that is being rectified with this edition of the Dirty Thirty. Here are NARAL Pro-Choice America’s analysis of Missouri abortion laws:
- Missouri bans safe abortion procedures.
- Missouri law subjects women seeking abortion services to biased-counseling requirements and mandatory delays.
- Missouri prohibits certain state employees and organizations receiving state funds from counseling or referring women for abortion services.
- Missouri restricts insurance coverage of abortion for all individuals.
- Missouri has added anti-choice language to its state code to express its opposition to abortion and its intent to restrict the right to choose to the greatest extent possible.
- Missouri prohibits the use of all public facilities and public employees for abortion services.
- Missouri allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide women specific reproductive-health services, information, or referrals.
- Missouri law restricts young women’s access to abortion services by mandating parental consent.
- Missouri subjects abortion providers to burdensome restrictions not applied to other medical professionals.
- Missouri restricts post-viability abortion.
o ”Personhood Laws” and Fetal Rights and Mandatory Ultrasounds
- From Florida, religious demagoguery: Rep. Charles Van Zant (R-Palatka), an ordained Baptist minister, has introduced legislation that nixes the Constitution, proclaiming that God is the creator of life and as such it is beyond the purview of government to interfere. The bill (HB 415 – the “Florida for Life Act”) claims that ‘all life comes from the Creator and begins at conception.’ Therefore the United States Supreme Court is not qualified to ‘determine, establish, or define the moral values of the people of the United States and specifically for the people of Florida.'” The bill has language in common with Personhood Florida’s proposed law.
o War on Birth Control/Contraception
- In Montana, a citizen ballot initiative spawned I-155 which created Healthy Montana Kids in 2008. According to healthymontanakids.org, the plan “s paid for by premium taxes paid by insurance companies and is available to children whose families earn up to 250% of the federal poverty level. HMK makes children’s health coverage affordable for tens of thousands of Montana families.” Unfortunately for foes of contraception, Montana District Judge Jim Reynolds ruled on May 4, 2012 that the state’s ban on prescription birth control coverage for teenage girls enrolled in its low-income health insurance is a violation of the Montana Constitution’s privacy and equal protection clauses and he enjoined the state from enforcing them. Poking holes in Republican political theology, he says that poor minors have the same rights as everyone else. “In this scheme,” wrote Judge Reynolds, “if you want to control acne, your birth control is covered; if you want to avoid pregnancy and control your procreative autonomy, your birth control is not covered. This turns the idea of the fundamental right of privacy on its head.”
o Violence Against Women
- The U.S. Senate voted recently to renew the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, a law that in previous years has been a bipartisan slam dunk, providing law enforcement agencies the tools they need to stop domestic violence. The Senate version of this bill, S 1925, introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) was passed by the Senate 68-31 on April 26, 2012. But now the Republican-controlled House has passed (222-205) the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, HR 4970, a Republican version of VAWA sponsored by Rep. Sandy Adams [R-FL24] and introduced April 27, 2012. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) has this to say of HR 4970: “H.R. 4970 is an anti-victim bill strongly opposed by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) and the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. H.R. 4970 weakens vital improvements contained in the recently passed Senate VAWA bill (S. 1925), including provisions designed to increase the safety of Native women and the needs of the LGBT community. In addition, H.R. 4970 includes damaging provisions that roll back years of progress to protect the safety of immigrant victims. While there are portions of H.R. 4970 that mirror the bi-partisan Senate bill and are supported by the field, we remain opposed to this bill.”
The War on Church and State
o Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) is pushing his Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act (Jones bill/HR 235) to the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (H.R. 4520). According to the Interfaith Alliance, “If passed, the Jones bill would go far toward eroding the wall of separation between the institutions of religion and government by reversing IRS tax laws that prohibit houses of worship from engaging in partisan politicking.” With typical Republican underhandedness and disregard for the Democratic process, “The American Jobs Creation Act already passed the House and Senate and is in conference committee. By inserting the Jones legislation into this bill during conference committee, Delay and Jones ensure that the House and Senate will never get a chance to vote on the Jones bill, which the House has defeated in various forms twice before.”
The War on Marriage Equality and the Anti-Gay Agenda
- In North Carolina, both Senate (30-16) and House (75-42) passed the anti-LGBT constitutional amendment (SB 514) “Defense of Marriage” act and place it on the ballot for the May 8 primary election. As a New York Times editorial [April 29, 2012] points out, the measure “enshrine(s) this obvious discrimination in the State Constitution,” “inflicts gratuitous bigotry” and worse, that “In their zeal, lawmakers got careless with the wording of the measure, known as Amendment One. It would constitutionally prohibit recognition not just of same-sex marriages, but of other legal arrangements like civil unions and domestic partnerships. That could harm all unmarried couples, imperiling some children’s health insurance benefits, along with child custody arrangements and safeguards against domestic violence.” Update [5.8.12]: Voters in North Carolina were, in the words of Faith in America, “duped into believing their religious belief justified bringing harm to the state’s gay and lesbian individuals, especially youth and their families” by voting in favor of SB 514. Religion-based bigotry 1, Constitution 0, as “Voters, many unknowingly, decided to change an esteemed constitution into a vehicle of state-sponsored persecution against gay and lesbian people.”
- In Oklahoma, a bill authored by Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, (House Bill 2195) would re-institute DADT in the Oklahoma National Guard even though DADT was repealed in 2011. Reynolds wants to take Oklahoma back in time to 2009 (at least it’s not 1609 though that might be next). A similar bill last year in the Virginia House of Representatives was killed in committee. Update [5.15.12]: This ended up being the fate of HB 2195 as well: On February 20, 2012, the bill was reassigned to the House Rules committee, effectively killing it. Reynolds then asked if he could get his DADT legislation attached to HB 2207, a bill by Rep. Josh Bennett (R-Sallisaw) which would allow vets to stay in medical foster homes approved by the VA. When he was told no, he picked up his laptop and left the committee room.
- On January 25, 2012, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) introduced legislation to keep same-sex couples from getting married on military installations. The bill is called the Military Religious Freedom Protection Act (HR 3828), and it would ensure “that our military facilities are not used in contravention to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which states that marriage is between one man and one woman only.” Irony abounds in Hueskamp’s claim that “Military installations exist to carry out the national defense of our nation, not to facilitate a narrow social agenda.” Update [5.15.12]: HR 3828 was referred to the House Committee on Armed Services on January 25, 2012 and then to the Subcommittee on Military Personnel on February 23, 2012. The House Armed Services Committee chaired by Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) voted 37-24 on May 10, 2012 to back HR 3828. Reports the AP: “The panel also endorsed an Akin amendment that said the services should accommodate the rights of conscience of members of the services and chaplains who are morally or religiously opposed to expressions of human sexuality.” In other words, chaplains would have the right to verbally bully gays and lesbians in the U.S. military.
- The Virginia’s House of Delegates rejected the nomination of openly gay Richmond prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland to District Court Judge on May 14, 2012, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Thorne-Begland’s sexual orientation, not his skill as an attorney, was the issue for Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall (R), who opposed the candidate’s support of marriage equality. Marshall referred to Thorne-Begland as “an aggressive activist for the pro-homosexual agenda.” In other words, any judge must be a religious bigot in order to be acceptable to the state GOP. Raw Story relates that “In 2003, Virginia Governor and former Delegate Robert McDonnell (R) said that ”certain homosexual conduct” could disqualify a person from being a judge because their lifestyle would be violating the state’s sodomy law” – a clear signal that not all have equal standing before the law and therefore a clear violation of the United States Constitution.
- Not to be outdone in the matter of religion-based bigotry, Colorado Republicans have used a special session to kill a civil unions bill. The bill (PDF), would have authorized the state to allow “any 2 unmarried adults, regardless of gender, to enter into a civil union,” as well as allowing for the adoption of children and listing “one another as beneficiaries in retirement plans or other state-issued employee benefits, and the right to make decisions about a partner’s remains.” Colorado Republicans used the facetious argument that allowing civil unions attacked what they call “traditional” marriage because civil unions are always followed by marriage equality.
- Here is one from ThinkProgress: “During an interview last week, Rep. James Lankford (R-OK)told ThinkProgress that he doesn’t believe that LGBT people should be protected from being fired because of their sexual orientation. But yesterday, Lankford went on Oklahoma local television to say that we misrepresented his comments. According to Lankford, he wasn’t saying employers should be allowed to fire someone for being gay — just that being gay is a choice and LGBT people should not be protected from workplace discrimination. Did you notice the distinction? Neither did we.” I suppose we should be able to fire Christians for being Christians too, fair being fair.
The War on Obama: Birthers and Anti-Obama Legislation
- In Iowa, the GOP’s state chairman, Don Racheter, said that the proposed platform of the Republican Party of Iowa requiring candidates to prove they are natural born citizens is aimed at President Obama: “There are many Republicans who feel that Barack Obama is not a ‘natural born citizen’ because his father was not an American when he was born and, therefore, feel that according to the Constitution he’s not qualified to be president, should not have been allowed to be elected by the Electoral College or even nominated by the Democratic Party in 2008, so this is an election year.”
- In Arizona, Secretary of State Ken Bennett says President Obama may be left off their November ballot because he can’t validate the birth certificate. This obsession over Obama’s birth -protestations that he is not a birther himself aside – led to Bennett’s harassment of Jill T. Nagamine, Hawaii’s Deputy Secretary of State, according to emails obtained by Talking Points Memo. Bennett, after coming under fire for his birtherism, has apologized, saying, in an interview with KTAR radio on May 22, “If I embarrassed the state, I apologize.” KTAR reports that “Bennett said Obama will be on the November ballot after the Democratic National Convention and assuming he fills out the paperwork required for all candidates in Arizona.”
The War on Voting Rights
- As David Morris writes, “For its first 200 years the American Republic slowly, sometimes infuriatingly slowly and at horrific human cost (e.g. the Civil War) expanded the franchise…And then came November 2010.” It is not that the Republican Party does not have a long history of disenfranchising voters. If you don’t have a viable platform all that’s left is ensuring that those who would otherwise vote against you can’t vote. President Clinton has compared Republican anti-voting laws to Jim Crow. Rolling Stone reports, “In a systematic campaign orchestrated by the American Legislative Exchange Council – and funded in part by David and Charles Koch, the billionaire brothers who bankrolled the Tea Party – 38 states introduced legislation this year designed to impede voters at every step of the electoral process.” To add insult to injury, Right Wing Watch is reporting that “Robert Knight of the far-right American Civil Rights Union appeared yesterday on VCY America’sCrosstalk to discuss so-called voter fraud problems, where he accused people who oppose restrictions on voting rights such as voter ID laws of being “racist”!!! As Sarah Jones reported here on March 12, 2012: “Republicans pushed ALEC inspired voter ID laws in over 33 states and passed them in states like South Carolina (whose voter ID law was also struck down by the DOJ for discrimination), Kansas, Alabama, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Wisconsin. This legislation is meant to give Republicans a much needed edge, allowing military ID and concealed handgun permits to suffice for ID, while cutting out student IDs in some states. In fact, the NRA was the corporate co-chair of ALEC Public Safety and Elections in 2011.” In all, reports The Nation, as many as 5 million eligible voters could meet difficulties voting this Election Day due to new, restrictive voter laws. Also from The Nation: “Right-wing billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch have funded efforts to thwart 21 million Americans from voting and Koch dollars helped write and propose voting suppression bills in thirty-eight states, as this stunning video from Robert Greenwald’s Brave New Films makes clear”:
- In Florida, as Election Day 2012 approaches, the state chose on Memorial Day to eliminate approximately 180,000 potential noncitizens from voter registration rolls using old DMV records, circa 2000. The Miami Herald analysis then revealed (no surprise) that those to be purged were more likely to be Hispanic, Democratic and Independent (with 58 percent of them Hispanic). Florida Democrats objected to no avail though as reported here by Adalia Woodbury “two County Supervisors, so far, recognize the problem. According to the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting (FCIR), Palm Beach and Hillsborough Counties have suspended the voter purge in those counties because the information they received from Rick Scott’s officials was unreliable” when 6 of the 72 people listed in that county proved they were citizens. But now the U.S. Department of Justice has called a halt to this highly suspicious activity. Talking Points Memo reports that “The Justice Department sent a letter to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner Thursday evening demanding the state cease purging its voting rolls because the process it is using has not been cleared under the Voting Rights Act, TPM has learned. DOJ also said that Florida’s voter roll purge violated the National Voter Registration Act, which stipulates that voter roll maintenance should have ceased 90 days before an election, which given Florida’s August 14 primary, meant May 16.” See the letter here.
The War on Hungry Children and Families
o The New York Times reports, that on May 10, 2012 “The House approved sweeping legislation…to cut $310 billion from the deficit over the next decade — much of it from programs for the poor — and shift some of that savings to the Pentagon to stave off automatic military spending cuts scheduled for next year. The legislation has no chance of passing the Senate or of becoming law. The White House issued a stern veto threat, saying the bill would “fail the test of fairness and shared responsibility.” The Times: “The bill’s political sensitivity came through in the 218-to-199 vote. Democrats were united in their opposition. Sixteen Republicans sided with the Democrats, and one Republican voted present.” Cut are “food stamps, children’s health insurance and Medicaid, eliminated the Social Services Block Grant to state and local governments (which pay for Meals on Wheels, child abuse prevention and other programs) and eliminated a new fund intended to help the government liquidate failed financial giants.” The Times goes on to say that “Of the savings, $23.5 billion came from Medicaid and children’s health care; $4.2 billion from hospitals that serve the poor and uninsured; and $33.7 billion from supplemental nutrition assistance. In all, about a quarter of the cuts would come directly from programs that benefit the poor.” Meanwhile, we can afford to build a missile defense system for the East Coast that probably does not even work and that the Pentagon says is unecessary. Apparently the GOP feels it is important to protect all those people who are going to starve from a non-existent missile threat. The Republicans call taking care of those in need “lower-priority spending,” while protecting us from non-existent threats is higher-priority spending. You get how this works by now.