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New Year Is Bill Cassidy’s Chance To Quit Ducking Questions & Explain His Anti-Louisiana Agenda

Cassidy Spent 2013 Refusing To Explain Votes To Slash Social Security & Medicare, Defend His Government Shutdown Or Discuss Inexplicable Reversals On Virtually Every Issue

New Orleans, Louisiana – It’s a new year in the Louisiana race for Senate, and for Bill Cassidy that means it’s a chance to finally quit ducking voters and the press, and start explaining his agenda that would hurt Louisianians. Something tells us Bill Cassidy’s in no hurry to come clean, so we took it upon ourselves to suggest a few resolutions for the New Year Bill Cassidy would do well to adopt.

1.    I, Bill Cassidy, will explain why I’ve repeatedly voted to slash Social Security and Medicare benefits for Louisiana seniors.

Bill Cassidy voted to raise the retirement age for Social Security and Medicare to 70, forcing seniors across Louisiana to work for even longer before they can retire. He voted to cut seniors’ benefits by tens of thousands of dollars, and to force “deep cuts” to Social Security that were opposed by the AARP.

Cassidy even voted to end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher program that would increase Medicare costs by more than $6,000 for hundreds of thousands of Louisiana seniors. Cassidy has repeatedly voted to slash Social Security and Medicare benefits, but in 2013 he refused to explain why he thinks that’s a good idea for Louisiana. The New Year presents the perfect opportunity for him to do just that.

2.    I, Bill Cassidy, will tell voters why I think the government shutdown I helped lead was a good thing for Louisiana.

In 2013 Bill Cassidy helped lead a reckless and irresponsible government shutdown that cost Louisiana more than $90 million and caused serious harm to Louisiana’s small-business owners, seniors, students, homeowners and children. After the government shutdown of his own making began, Cassidy voted 16 times against re-opening the government and even voted against the bipartisan compromise that got the government back up and running. In 2014 Cassidy should explain how exactly he believes this helped Louisiana families.

3.    I, Bill Cassidy, will finally have an honest discussion about why I reversed myself on issues like health care reform and the Wall Street bailout.

In a multitude of ways, Bill Cassidy’s 2013 was a lesson in rank hypocrisy and political opportunism. Bill Cassidy introduced the statewide equivalent of the Affordable Care Act when he was a state legislator in 2007, but as a candidate for senate tried to pretend he had been a model of consistency when it came to opposing it. Similarly, though he explicitly endorsed the Wall Street bailout in 2008, in 2010 he claimed that he actually opposed it, only to claim through a spokesperson in 2013 that his explicit endorsement of the bailout… didn’t mean he would have actually voted for it. Cassidy would do well to explain his inexplicable political reversals to voters in 2014.

“In 2013 Bill Cassidy refused to explain why he thought shutting down the government was a good idea for Louisiana, why he wants to slash Social Security and turn Medicare into a voucher program, and why he shamefully reversed himself on issues like health care reform and the Wall Street bailout,” said Campaign for Louisiana Communications Director Andrew Zucker. “But it’s a new year for Louisianians, and for Bill Cassidy that means it’s a chance to finally clean, quit ducking voters and the press, and start explaining his agenda that would hurt Louisiana families even more in the Senate.”

BACKGROUND

CASSIDY HAS REPEATEDLY VOTED TO SLASH AND LIMIT SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE BENEFITS FOR SENIORS

Bill Cassidy Voted For The FY 2014 Republican Study Committee “Back To Basics” Budget Plan. [H.Con.Res.25, Vote #86, 3/20/13]

  • The Republican Study Committee Budget Would Increase The Social Security Retirement Age To 70. “This budget would slowly phase in an increase in the Social Security full-retirement age for individuals born in 1962 (currently 51) and after to an eventual full retirement age of 70.” [Republican Study Committee FY 2014 Budget, accessed 5/10/13]
  • The Republican Study Committee Budget Would Increase The Medicare Retirement Age To 70. “To address the increased demands on Medicare, this budget proposes raising the age of Medicare eligibility, beginning in 2024, by two months every year beginning with those born in 1959 until the eligibility age reaches 70, bringing Medicare eligibility in parity with Social Security.” [Republican Study Committee FY 2014 Budget, accessed 5/10/13]

Cassidy Voted For Cut, Cap and Balance Plan to Force Deep Cuts to Social Security. In July 2011, Cassidy voted for the Cut. Cap and Balance Act, which CNN reported “would impose strict caps on all future federal spending while making it significantly tougher to raise taxes — the solution favored by hard-line conservatives.” [HR 2560, Vote 606, 7/19/11; CNN,7/19/11]

  • Cut, Cap and Balance “Would Require a 25 Percent Cut to Everything in the Federal Budget – From Social Security to Veterans’ Benefits to the Pentagon to Education.” According to the Center for American Progress, “Of that $4.4 trillion in 2016, about $520 billion will be interest payments on the debt—an area Congress can’t directly cut. That leaves about $3.9 trillion in noninterest spending, from which Congress would have to slash about $1 trillion in order to bring total spending down to 18 percent of GDP. This would require a 25 percent cut to everything in the federal budget—from Social Security to veterans’ benefits to the Pentagon to education. Congress could try to protect some programs from such severe reductions but then, of course, other areas would have to be slashed even more.” [Center for American Progress, 7/18/2011]
  • AARP Opposed Cut, Cap and Balance Because It Did Not Shield Social Security and Medicare From “Arbitrary Reductions.” In a July 2011 letter to Senators, AARP CEO Addison Barry Rand wrote, “The Cut, Cap and Balance Act requires that a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution be transmitted to the states as a pre-condition of increasing the debt ceiling.  Social Security and Medicare, which are not excluded under the balanced budget amendment, would therefore be at risk for arbitrary reductions under the constitutional amendment, and as such, AARP is opposed.” [AARP Letter, 7/21/11]

Cassidy Voted For The Republican Budget Blueprint For FY 2012 That Ends Medicare As We Know It. In April 2011, Cassidy voted for the House Republican budget blueprint drafted by Paul Ryan that effectively ends Medicare. It calls for converting Medicare for persons currently younger than 55 into a “premium support system” through which the government would pay private insurance companies directly for each enrollee. The resolution was adopted 235-193. [H Con Res 34, Vote 277, 4/15/11]

  • The CBO Found That The Average Medicare Beneficiary’s Out Of Pocket Costs Would Increase By Over $6,000 Under This Budget Plan. “In 2022, the first year the voucher would apply, CBO estimates that total health care expenditures for a typical 65-year-old would be almost 40 percent higher with private coverage under the Ryan plan than they would be with a continuation of traditional Medicare.  (See graph.)  CBO also finds that this beneficiary’s annual out-of-pocket costs would more than double — from $6,150 to $12,500.  In later years, as the value of the voucher eroded, the increase in out-of-pocket costs would be even greater.” [Center On Budget And Policy Priorities, 4/7/11]

CASSIDY VOTED SIXTEEN TIMES FOR A GOVERNMENT SHUT DOWN 

Six Times, Cassidy Voted For Extreme House Republican Plans That Would Shut Down Government. [Vote #478, 9/20/13; CNN, 9/20/13; CNN, 9/29/13Vote #498, 9/29/13; Vote 502, 9/30/13; Vote 504, 9/30/13; Vote 505, 10/1/13; Vote 550, 10/16/13]

  • Cassidy And House Republicans Voted Sixteen Times Against Efforts to Re-Open the Government. Following the government shutdown, House Republicans including Bill Cassidy voted sixteen times against efforts to vote on a clean government funding resolution by allowing consideration of the Senate-passed continuing resolution. Of these votes, the New York Times wrote: “So far, however, there has been little tangible headway. Part of the problem is that moderates are behaving a bit too moderately. They have yet to vote with Democrats on procedural maneuvers that could force the hand of the Republican leadership or to sign a petition Democrats are circulating that would require a vote on a short-term spending bill to reopen the government if a majority of House members signed. They are unwilling to defy their leaders to that extent.” [H Res 370, Vote #509, 10/02/13; HJ Res 70, Vote #512, 10/02/13; HR 3230, Vote #515, 10/03/13; HJ Res 72, Vote #517, 10/03/13; H Res 371, Vote #519, 10/04/13; HJ Res 85, Vote #521, 10/04/13; HJ Res 75, Vote #523, 10/04/13; H J Res 77,  Vote #527, 10/7/13; HJ Res 84, Vote #529, 10/08/13; H Res 373, Vote #531, 10/08/13; HR 3273, Vote #533, 10/08/13; HJ Res 90, Vote #536, 10/09/13; HJ Res 79, Vote #539, 10/10/13; HJ Res 76, Vote #541, 10/11/13; HJ Res 380, Vote #543, 10/11/13; HJ Res 80, Vote #547, 10/14/13; New York Times, 10/07/13]

CASSIDY PROPOSED “OBAMACARE-LITE” IN 2007

2007: Cassidy Introduced Legislation To Create A State-Run Exchange For Individuals To Purchase Health Coverage. “In 2007, Cassidy, now a Baton Rouge congressman, offered up a bill that would establish a state-run exchange where individuals without health coverage through their employer, Medicare or Medicaid could purchase insurance. That’s similar to the exchanges established under the president’s law, known as ObamaCare. Cassidy’s 2007 legislation, first reported by the NOLA Defender, had the goal of health care insurance reform, defined, in the bill, as the ‘study, research, evaluation, and implementation of a variety or combination of experienced based entitlements, subsidies, and health insurance innovations public or private, or both, designed to provide health insurance coverage to each citizen of this state.’” [Times-Picayune, 8/26/13]

  • 4/30/07: Cassidy Introduced His Legislation On Literally The First Day He Was Sworn In As A Member Of The Louisiana State Senate. [Official Journal Of The Senate Of The State Of Louisiana, 4/30/07]
  • James Gill: Cassidy Legislation Meant  He “Will Be Portrayed Throughout The Campaign As A Traitor To His Own Signature Issue.” “Republicans, as they do every six years, pronounce Landrieu vulnerable, an anomaly in a red state. Their other sexennial routine is to run a flawed candidate against her. Secretly, they must love her. They are out to keep her safe this time by rallying behind U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, who will be portrayed throughout the campaign as a traitor to his own signature issue.” [James Gill, The Advocate, 8/29/13]
  • James Gill: “Cassidy’s Proposal Amounted To Obamacare Lite.” “Cassidy’s proposal amounted to Obamacare lite, and did not include an individual mandate for buying health insurance, which would indeed have been tied up in court for years anyway. But the compulsory elements of Obamacare were what stuck in the Republican craw, and Cassidy will no doubt be stressing the difference between his voluntary system and government diktat”. [James Gill, The Advocate, 8/29/13]

CASSIDY FLIP FLOPPED ON HIS SUPPORT FOR THE WALL STREET BAILOUT

2008: Cassidy Would Have Supported $700 Billion Financial Institution Bailout Bill To “Keep The Economy Afloat And Save Jobs.” “Cassidy said he would have supported the [financial] bailout bill, because it was needed to keep the economy afloat and save jobs.”  [The Advocate, 10/17/08]

Video: 10/13/08: Cassidy Said He Would Have Voted For TARP, Which He Said Was For “Jobs,” “Small Business,” And For “Retirees.” When asked for his position on the recently passed TARP financial bailout legislation, then State Sen. Cassidy said “I work in [inaudible] care hospital and I’ve worked there long enough to see several recessions. And I’ve seen in recessions that people lose jobs, people lose insurance – now I will treat anybody that comes to my hospital but I can promise you I’d rather they keep their job and keep their insurance and stay in the private sector. Make no mistake about it – we have a recession coming and government has to have the tools to address that. Yesterday a fellow walked across the street and said ‘hey, I’m praying for you.’ I said I appreciate that man this has been a little bit of a strain. And I said how can I pray for you. He says ‘my business cannot borrow money. We have a book it business now but we don’t know where it’s going.’ This is not about billions, this is about people in Baton Rouge keeping their jobs, keeping their benefits, able to expand their business and employ other people, and retirees keeping their ability not to go back to work. Now the bill had problems, but having said that, sometimes you gotta accept problems for the greater good. I would have voted for that bill. And it was for jobs. It was for small business, and it was for retirees.” [Louisiana 6th District Congressional Debate, 10/13/08, video]

2010: Cassidy Said He Opposed Financial Industry Bailout. Cassidy responded “No” to the following statement: “Supports taxpayer bailouts of the financial industry.” [Louisiana Family Forum 2010 Voter Guide, Accessed 8/1/13]

The Advocate: Cassidy Opposed Using Federal Money To Bail Out Wall Street Investors. In October 2010,The Advocate reported: “Cassidy opposed using federal dollars to bail out Wall Street investors and to stimulate the economy.” [The Advocate, 10/29/10]

2013: Cassidy’s Spokesman Said That He Stood By His Statement In Support Of TARP But That His Support Was “Different Than A Vote.” “‘The bill had problems, but having said that, sometimes you have to accept problems for the greater good,’ Cassidy said during the debate. ;’I would have voted for that bill. And it was for jobs. It was for small business, and it was for retirees.’ A spokesperson for Cassidy said he stands by that statement today, but that his verbal support was ‘different than a vote.’ ‘There are so many more issues that are prevalent in people’s minds,’ the spokesperson said.’” [The Examiner, 11/11/13]

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