DNC - The Party of No: 50 Days of GOP Obstructionism

While President Obama Leads, Limbaugh Republicans Have Become the Party of "No"

Washington, DC – Today marks the 50th day of the Obama Presidency. In last seven weeks, President Obama and the Democrats in Congress have provided health care to 11 million children by expanding SCHIP, promoted equality in the workplace by passing the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, lifted Bush-era restrictions on life-saving stem cell research, and passed an economic jobs and recovery plan that will save or create 3.5 million jobs while fixing our schools, putting America on the path to energy independence, and laying the foundation for long-term growth in the 21st Century.

Unfortunately, instead of joining the President in finding practical solutions to the challenges facing our country, Republicans in Washington have chosen to follow Rush Limbaugh’s obstructionist politics every step of the way. Almost every single Republican in Washington voted against the Presidents’ jobs and economic recovery plan, and the Chairman of the Republican National Committee even suggested he would support primary opponents for the three Republicans who voted for it. The bills to expand SCHIP and promote wage equality passed on largely party lines, and all Republican leaders in both chambers of Congress are resisting the President’s stem cell plan. In fact, just yesterday one key House Republican admitted that his Party is more interested in bringing down Democrats’ poll ratings than in passing real efforts to address the challenges facing our country. And, during the debate over the President's jobs and economic recovery plan one House Republican Leader, Eric Cantor of Virginia, told the Washington Post the Republican approach to the Obama plan was “just saying no.”

“While President Obama has spent his first 50 days in office working to address the challenges facing America’s working families, Republicans are more interested in saying no and driving down poll numbers,” said Democratic National Committee Communications Director Brad Woodhouse. “Instead of joining Democrats in supporting the President’s economic recovery plans, Republicans in Congress have chosen to follow Rush Limbaugh by becoming the party of no. Americans want leaders who will work together to confront the challenges we face. When Congress debates the President’s budget, Republicans should stop following Rush Limbaugh and instead help the President create jobs, fix our schools, reform our health care system, make America energy independent, and lay the foundation for long-term growth in the 21st Century.”

The Party of No:

50 Days of GOP Obstructionism

House Republican Leader: “Our Goal Is To Bring Down Approval Numbers” For Democrats. “GOP Rep. Patrick McHenry, a key player in helping craft the Republican message, has offered an unusually blunt description of the Republican strategy right now. McHenry’s description is buried in this new article from National Journal (sub. only): ‘We will lose on legislation. But we will win the message war every day, and every week, until November 2010,’ said Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., an outspoken conservative who has participated on the GOP message teams. ‘Our goal is to bring down approval numbers for [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and for House Democrats. That will take repetition. This is a marathon, not a sprint.’ [Washington Post, Plum Line blog, 3/9/09: http://theplumline.whorunsgov.com/house-republicans/gop-rep-our-goal-is-to-bring-down-approval-numbers-for-dems/?ref=fp1]

Boehner Agrees: GOP’s Drag-Dems-Down Strategy Is “Largely Correct.” “I asked House GOP leader John Boehner’s office if he agreed with Patrick McHenry’s claim yesterday that the GOP strategy is to “bring down approval numbers” of Nancy Pelosi and House Dems... Here’s the response, from Boehner spokesperson Michael Steel: ‘I think that’s largely correct, but incomplete. Obviously, as Leader Boehner has said repeatedly, we stand ready to work with the Speaker and the President when it is in the best interest of the American people. When we cannot work together, Republicans will offer better solutions — rooted in our principles — to the problems facing our country. If House Democrats push for the same tired liberal agenda of higher taxes to pay for more ineffective government spending, I imagine that their standing with in the polls will suffer, but our first priority is doing the right thing for the American people, and we hope it is theirs as well.’ My parsing of this is that Boehner believes that McHenry’s description of the party’s strategic goal as winning the message war and dragging down Dem poll numbers is ‘largely correct,’ but that McHenry left out the GOP’s willingness on principle to work with Dems and that the GOP’s ‘first priority is doing the right thing for the American people.’” [Washington Post, Plum Line blog, 3/10/09: http://theplumline.whorunsgov.com/house-republicans/boehner-spokesman-description-of-gops-drag-dems-down-strategy-is-largely-correct/]

Cantor: GOP Recovery Strategy is “Just Saying No.” “The second-ranking House Republican, Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.), put it more bluntly. ‘What transpired . . . and will give us a shot in the arm going forward is that we are standing up on principle and just saying no,’ he said.” [Washington Post, 2/9/09: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/08/AR2009020802344.html]

Despite Bipartisan Outreach, Every Single House Republican Voted Against Bill to Create or Save 3.5 Million Jobs. “Without a single Republican vote, President Obama won House approval on Wednesday for an $819 billion economic recovery plan as Congressional Democrats sought to temper their own differences over the enormous package of tax cuts and spending.... All but 11 Democrats voted for the plan, and 177 Republicans voted against it. The 244-to-188 vote came a day after Mr. Obama traveled to Capitol Hill to seek Republican backing, if not for the package then on other issues to come.” [New York Times, 1/29/09: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/29/us/politics/29obama.html?_r=1&ref=us&pagewanted=print]

All But Three Senate Republicans Voted Against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. “Obama signed the stimulus package into law February 17. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the plan will create between 1 million and 3 million jobs. The package passed Congress on a virtual party-line vote, with no Republicans supporting it in the House and only three Republicans voting for it in the Senate.” [CNN, 3/6/09: http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/03/06/obama.stimulus/]

RNC Chairman Threatens To Withhold RNC Funds From GOP Senators Who Backed Stimulus. “On Fox News, Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele said he was open to withholding RNC funds from the three GOP Senators who backed President Obama’s stimulus package... Speaking of Senators Arlen Specter, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, Steele said that the Senators were likely to face primaries as a result of their vote for the stimulus bill. Then Steele was asked by Fox’s Neil Cavuto: ‘Will you, as RNC head, recommend no RNC funds being provided to help them?’ Steele confirmed that he would ‘talk to the state parties about.’ When pressed on whether he was open to it, Steele said: ‘Oh, yes, I’m always open to everything, baby, absolutely.’” [Washington Post, Plum Line blog, 2/24/09: http://theplumline.whorunsgov.com/stimulus-package/michael-steele-threatens-to-withhold-rnc-funds-from-gop-senators-who-backed-stimulus/]

Republicans Oppose SCHIP Expansion: Bill to Provide Health Care for 11 Million Children Passes “Largely Along Party Lines.” “The Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation yesterday to provide health insurance to 11 million low-income children, a bill that would for the first time spend federal money to cover children and pregnant women who are legal immigrants. Lawmakers voted 66 to 32, largely along party lines, to renew the joint state-federal program and spend an additional $32.8 billion to expand coverage to 4 million more children.” [Washington Post, 1/29/09: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/29/AR2009012900325.html]

Republicans Opposed Equal Pay Act, Bill Passes in Party Line Vote. “President Obama signed his first bill Thursday, a gender pay equity law that had been a hallmark of his campaign for the White House... Earlier this month, the Democratic-run Congress voted largely along party lines to essentially reverse that ruling with a new law that extends the deadline every time a discriminatory pay check is issued.” [USA Today, 1/29/09: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-01-29-obama-equal-pay-bill_N.htm]

Leader of the GOP, Rush Limbaugh: “I Hope he Fails." “In his broadcast on Jan. 16, Limbaugh told listeners he had been asked by a major publication for a 400-word statement about his hopes for the new administration: ‘I'm thinking of replying to the guy, ‘OK, I'll send you a response, but I don't need 400 words. I need four: I hope he fails.’ ...Then, exacerbating the wound, Limbaugh added this in an interview on Sean Hannity's Jan. 21 show on Fox News: ‘We are being told that we have to hope he succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles, bend over forward, backward, whichever, because his father was black, because this is the first black president.’ Limbaugh would repeat some variant of this remark at least four more times in the next month and a half. Really, President Obama could not have asked for more: Limbaugh gets an audience, Obama gets a target and Republicans get the blame.” [Newsweek, 3/16/09: http://www.newsweek.com/id/188279/output/print]

RNC Chairman Apologizes for Criticizing Limbaugh. “Two days after calling conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh a mere ‘entertainer’ with an ‘incendiary’ talk show, Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele apologized and acknowledged him as a ‘national conservative leader.’ ‘To the extent that my remarks helped the Democrats in Washington to take the focus, even for one minute, off of their irresponsible expansion of government, I truly apologize,’ Steele said late Monday.” [AP, 3/3/09: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29478402/]

Congressional Republicans “Rally Against Obama On Stem Cells.” “However, not included in that ‘consensus,’ are conservatives and Republican lawmakers and organizations that have started an opposition rally cry... House Republican Leader John Boehner said the president’s repeal of the ban, ‘runs counter to President Obama’s promise to be a president for all Americans. For a third time in his young presidency, the president has rolled back important protections for innocent life, further dividing our nation at a time when we need greater unity to tackle the challenges before us.’ ...The top Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, called the president’s reversal of former president George W. Bush's 2001 ban a ‘troubling shift.’ ‘With this announcement, the government is, for the first time, incentivizing the creation and destruction of human embryos at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer,’ McConnell said. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor released a statement which said, ‘unfortunately, today the Administration wasted an opportunity to unite our country around these ethically and scientifically sound innovations by allowing the use of taxpayer money for embryo-destructive stem cell research, which millions of Americans find morally reprehensible. This divisive action will divert scarce federal resources away from innovative and proven adult stem cell research.’” [CBS News, 3/9/09: http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/03/09/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry4854254.shtml]

Paid for and authorized by the Democratic National Committee, www.democrats.org.