Campaign 2010

Oct 26, 2012

The Only “Insanity” Is Congressman Southerland’s Record in Washington

Congressman Steve Southerland continued to show why he’s so vulnerable during last night’s debate against small businessman Al Lawson. In Washington, Congressman Steve Southerland has voted twice for extreme budgets that end the Medicare guarantee just to pay for new tax breaks for millionaires, so it figures he would claim that facts about his extreme record are “totally false” and “insane.”

“Congressman Steve Southerland knows he can’t run on his record in Washington, so he desperately claimed that the facts on his record were ‘insane’ at last night’s debate. However, the only insanity is Congressman Steve Southerland complaining about his $174,000 taxpayer-funded salary while cutting Medicare for seniors in order to protect tax breaks for millionaires,” said Stephanie Formas of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.”

FALSE CLAIM: Congressman Southerland said he had never voted against Medicare

Congressman Steve Southerland once again claimed that his opponent supports taking “money away from doctors and hospitals and nursing homes, home health care, [and] hospice” although he actually voted for these same so-called “cuts”, which are actually not cuts from current spending but rather limits on future excessive payments to insurance companies.  Even worse, Congressman Southerland supported Congressman Ryan’s budget which turns Medicare into a voucher program and raises health care costs for seniors by $6,400 a year according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

Tallahassee Democrat: Study: Medicare voucher plan would cost Floridians more, raise premiums. “A new study says more than 90 percent of Floridians on Medicare would have seen their premiums rise in 2010 had a voucher plan similar to the one championed by GOP vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan been enacted [… ] Florida also was one of only six states where Medicare beneficiaries would have had to pay at least $100 more on average to retain their existing coverage, according to the analysis.” [Tallahassee Democrat, 10/15/12]

Republicans Voted for Kept The Same Medicare Savings. House Republicans “voted for the same Medicare cuts as president Obama’s health plan known as ObamaCare. Under the 2011 Ryan plan bill approved by nearly every House Republican, ObamaCare would have been repealed almost entirely – except when it came to the Medicare reductions in future reimbursement rates to hospitals and drug and insurance companies. So Medicare’s bottom-line spending would have been about the same under ObamaCare or under what some are now calling RyanCare.” [Miami Herald, 8/13/12]

Congressman Southerland Voted to End Traditional Medicare. “Ryan’s budget bill also would end traditional Medicare by capping spending and offer vouchers to buy private insurance.” [Bloomberg, 8/13/12]

FALSE CLAIM: Congressman Southerland said it is “totally false” that he supports giving tax breaks for the ultra wealthy.

While complaining about his $174,000 salary, Congressman Southerland has voted twice for Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget that drastically cuts Medicare for seniors in order to protect tax breaks for millionaires.

Congressman Southerland Voted to Give Millionaires Another $160,000 Tax Break. On August 1, 2012, Congressman Southerland voted to give people making more than $1 million a year another $160,000 tax break. [HR 8, Vote #545, 8/1/12]

Congressman Southerland Voted To Give Millionaires a $265,000 Tax Cut. In 2012, Congressman Southerland voted for the House Republican budget. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported that the budget would reduce the taxes of those making over $1 million dollars by $264,970. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 4/12/12; HCR 112, Vote #151, 3/29/12]

FALSE CLAIM: Congressman Southerland said it is “totally false” that he supports eliminating the Department of Education.  

Although Congressman Southerland can disregard his disastrous position of eliminating the Department of Education, he cannot disregard that fact.  Eliminating the Department of Education which would cut $11 billion in education funding to Florida schools and students. Under the Southerland plan, Pell grant funding for college students, job training, teacher grants, special education programs, and school improvement grants would all be slashed.

Congressman Southerland Supported Eliminating Department of Education.“I think departments like the Department of Education, Department of Energy, the EPA,  I think those are things that right now we can’t afford. And in business, if we can’t afford it, we don’t buy it. There’s a lot of money being spent in Washington D.C. that we could eliminate if we cut, and those are some of the departments I would cut right there.” In 2012, Florida was estimated to receive over $11 billion in funding from the Department of Education in 2013. [Suwannee County REC Candidate Forum, 6/08/10; Department of Education, 10/11/12]

Congressman Southerland Voted for a Plan That Cut Could Pell Grants for 9.6 Million Students. On March 29, 2012, Congressman Southerland voted in favor of a spending plan that could cut Pell Grants by more than $1,000 in 2014 for 9.6 million students.  [H Con Res 112, Vote #151, 3/29/12; OMB, 3/21/12]

FALSE CLAIM: Congressman Southerland said it was a “blatant falsehood” and “insane” that he voted against the RESTORE Act.

The only thing that is insane is that Congressman Southerland has voted against the initial framework that would have ensured that the Gulf Coast receives funding after the BP Oil Spill. Even worse, Congressman Southerland has continued to support tax breaks to oil companies like BP making record profits.

Congressman Southerland Voted Against House Restore Act Framework .  In February 2012, Congressman Steve Southerland voted against the PIONEERS Act which was the first legislation to pass the house the established a Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund. The PIONEERS Act “will increase the offshore drilling revenue given to Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama from $500 million per year to $750 million per year.” [HR 3408, Vote #71, 10/16/12; KATC, 2/15/12; Congressional Research Service, 2/21/12]

Congressman Southerland Voted to Keep $40 Billion in Tax Cuts for Big Oil. “House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposed FY 2012 budget resolution is a backward-looking plan that would benefit big oil companies at the expense of middle-class Americans. It retains $40 billion in Big Oil tax loopholes while completely eliminating investments in the clean energy technologies of the future that are essential for long-term economic growth.” [Center for American Progress, 4/06/11; HCR 34, Vote #277, 4/15/11]

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