March 30th, 2010
10:49 AM ET
5 years ago

Republican candidates told to talk health care

Atlanta (CNN) – Republican Senate candidates are being instructed Tuesday to promote the party's health care policy proposals as they continue to push the "repeal and replace" theme following passage of President Obama's health care reform legislation.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who oversees Senate Republican campaign efforts, outlines the key health care talking points in a new memo, "Moving Forward," that was also conveniently sent to some media outlets including CNN.

"On the trail, it's critical that we remind people of the fact that it was Republicans who fought to force insurance companies to compete with one another over state lines for Americans' business," Cornyn writes in the memo. "It was Republicans who fought to reform the junk lawsuits that raise medical costs and lower quality by forcing doctors to practice 'medicine.' It was Republicans who fought for policies that protected Americans with preexisting conditions and it was Republicans who proposed health care reforms that didn't cut Medicare by $500 billion and raise Americans' taxes by $400 million."

Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, also emphasized a talking point that you should expect Republicans to repeat as the midterm election nears: Americans prefer checks and balances in the system.

"Americans don't want a one-party rule in Washington that brings them unprecedented government intrusion in their lives, with no accountability," Cornyn writes.

Responding to the memo, Democratic Senatorial Communications Director Eric Schultz said, ""Republicans need all the spin they can muster after a yearlong transparent display of shilling for the insurance industry. "

"As they adopt the same strategy for financial regulatory reform, we suggest the memo writers get to work trying to creatively defend their zealous advocacy for Wall Street," he also said. "The bottom line is, Republicans in Washington want their Senate candidates to run on repeal, and nearly all of them have succumb to the pressure. They are now are in the unfortunate position of looking voters in the eye and pledging to take away their health care, reinstate the donut hole for seniors, and restore pre-existing conditions for insurance companies."

Full memo

To: Republican Senate Candidates
From: U.S. Senator John Cornyn, NRSC Chairman
Re: Moving Forward
Date: Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Just hours after popping the champagne and patting themselves on the back for passing a trillion dollar government health care plan that raises taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars, reality is setting in for the Democrats.

The Department of Labor reported last Friday that the already-high unemployment rate rose again in 27 states during the month of February 2010, setting records in four states – including in Nevada, the home state of Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), where unemployment hit 13.2 percent.

Businesses across the country – including American job creators John Deere and Caterpillar – announced that this massive legislation will cost their shareholders tens of millions of dollars, placing them in an even more vulnerable economic position against their global competitors. AT&T announced that they would assess, and likely reduce, the health care benefits provided currently to employees. California reported that the bill will add another $2 to $3 billion annually in increased costs, which will ultimately be passed on to taxpayers in the form of higher fees and property taxes. And critical state industries – such as the ski industry in New Hampshire and Colorado – announced they will likely hire fewer workers because they simply cannot afford the higher costs and mandates resulting from this bill.

The impact of this flawed legislation has been echoed in local headlines around the country. For example:

· "Polk Jobless Rate Holds Steady At 13.4 Percent "
· "A Rough Time For Nevada's Unemployed "
· "Report: Illinois Has Lost Over 100,000 Jobs To China "
· "Pay Drops For Colorado Workers "
· "Florida Workers Must Get Used To Long-Term Joblessness "
· "Another Hard Year For California Economy: Report "

As U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) appropriately noted in the Republican radio address this weekend:

"Most people aren't interested in celebrating a bill that makes their lives more complicated, takes more out of their paychecks and puts decisions they're used to making themselves into the hands of federal bureaucrats. Most people aren't celebrating the fact that their insurance premiums will go up. Seniors aren't popping champagne corks at more than a half a trillion dollars in Medicare cuts. And, job creators, already struggling in a down economy, aren't doing any cartwheels over all the mandates and new taxes they'll have to shoulder as a result of this bill."

This is the real story that is quickly taking hold across the country. It's a story which has been missed or ignored by the Democrat elites in Washington. It's a story that is not, however, lost on Americans who will cast their ballots this November.

In a Washington Post poll taken after the Democrats' health spending bill was passed and signed into law, support for the bill is unchanged and upside-down:
· Despite the bill's passage and signing, support for the health spending bill remains statistically unchanged since July and remains upside-down at 46-50 in this poll
o The intensity is with the opposition, with 4 in 10 "strongly" opposed-equal to the intensity of August
o 46 percent of respondents support a full repeal of the health care bill
· The President's handling of health care is up slightly at 48-49
o But 43 percent "strongly disapprove" (equal to the intensity of August) while only 33 percent "strongly approve"

And pollsters not on the payroll of the Democrat campaign committees are also acknowledging this serious political problem for their party. In an article titled, "After reform, no quick poll boost," Politico reported Monday, for example, that Democrat pollster Doug Schoen said, "It's pretty clear to me that public opinion is arrayed against the plan. And among swing voters, opinion is even more against the plan. I don't think there's any evidence it will be good politically, except for maybe some marginal impact firing up the base…..Them's the facts."

As Members of Congress travel around their home states for recess this week, congressional Democrats may consider this a victory for their personal agendas, however, the majority of Americans clearly disagree. There is no doubt that the Democrats' contentious health care takeover, and the partisan maneuvers they used to force it into law, will be a critical issue for both parties over next seven months – and the contrast for voters could not be more clear. Americans have a chance to restore the checks-and-balances and accountability that they deserve in Washington by electing Republicans to the U.S. Senate. Or they can maintain the status quo and endorse the Democrats' partisan maneuvers and costly spending agenda that will continue to cost critical American jobs.

Republicans are offering a robust and positive alternative to the current one-party Democrat rule in Washington. We're offering constructive solutions that, unlike those of the Democrats in Washington, don't fly in the face of our fiscal and economic reality, our Constitution, or the will of the American people.

You and I must remind Americans of that, because our Democrat opponents will use every tool at their disposal to distort our record and our ideas. On the trail, it's critical that we remind people of the fact that it was Republicans who fought to force insurance companies to compete with one another over state lines for Americans' business. It was Republicans who fought to reform the junk lawsuits that raise medical costs and lower quality by forcing doctors to practice "defensive medicine." It was Republicans who fought for policies that protected Americans with preexisting conditions and it was Republicans who proposed health care reforms that didn't cut Medicare by $500 billion and raise Americans' taxes by $400 million.

It's Republicans who continue to believe that we should focus on reforms which actually lower health care costs for Americans, first and foremost.

I have been honored to travel all over our country as NRSC Chairman in the past fifteen months, and one thing is clear: Americans know that Democrat-run Washington is out of control – and they want to replace it with a government that listens to them and works for them.

Americans don't want a one-party rule in Washington that brings them unprecedented government intrusion in their lives, with no accountability. They don't want higher taxes, reckless spending and crippling debt that our children and grandchildren will have to pay off.

The difference between Republicans and Democrats is clear – both in our specific proposals and the big ideas behind them.

· Democrats are for higher taxes, reckless spending, crippling debt, and a federal government that interferes more and more in Americans' daily lives.

· Republicans are for lower taxes, controlled spending, fiscal sanity, and a renewal of the entrepreneurial spirit that will provide Americans with secure, well-paying jobs, and allow them to build a foundation of prosperity for generations to come.

As Republican candidates for Senate, your job is to continue drawing these important contrasts with the Democrats' agenda in Washington, while advancing our positive agenda for creating jobs, and striving to bring fiscal sanity to our Federal government. I'm confident that, given the choice, Americans will overwhelmingly choose our strong values and leadership this November.


Filed under: Health care
soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. Brice

    Where were you last 8 years under Bush?

    March 30, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  2. cspurgeon

    This guy is one of the worst obstructionists right up there with Demint. What a pair. Thugs and Bullies! UGH

    March 30, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  3. noneofyourbusiness

    "Americans don't want a one-party rule in Washington that brings them unprecedented government intrusion in their lives, with no accountability," Cornyn writes.

    We had this for six of the eight years of the Bush Administration and I did not see Cornyn complaining then! What a hypocritical comment.

    March 30, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  4. Abu Bhuiyan

    People will not listen Republican lies. President Obama sign a historical bill for American people which will help a lot for the middle class families.

    March 30, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  5. AndyBlue

    Well maybe if they spent more time working with the president instead of obstructing they would have some sort of bragging rights.

    Too little too late and everything the Republicans "Claim" to be absolutely contradicts the reality of the past 8 years of garbage they brought onto all Americans.

    The GOP keeps putting out these statements that are proven to be based on nothing. They accomplish nothing. Just keep pushing fear and division.

    They have nothing. They are "limp"

    March 30, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  6. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "It was Republicans who fought to reform the junk lawsuits that raise medical costs and lower quality by forcing doctors to practice 'medicine.'..."

    The actual quote was "... forcing doctors to practice "defensive medicine."

    CNN, your screw-up of that quote rendered a perfectly sensible statement senseless. You need to be more careful.

    March 30, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  7. Anonymous

    You've had 233 years to enact meaningful healthcare reform and did not do so, and fought every attempt from the left.

    March 30, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  8. kevin

    Oh now, the reThuglican't want health care reform. Don't these people work, because if they did then the would already know that the President of the United States of America already sign our country new health care reform and now he is ready to sign the fixes to the National Health Care. So sorry reThuglican't it is a little to late. President Obama has beat you down. May Silly Sarah can do a heath care plan if she reload and take back her job in alaska (so my fellow citizen I, know you don't want this airhead and we don't want this idiot either

    March 30, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  9. Rob Johnson

    With Obama's approval now at 51%, they can talk all they want, but they aren't going to win Congress in November.

    The GOP's best chance was if the Democrats failed to get health care passed. They still could have railed on the Dems for the failings of the bill, and the Democratic base would have been demoralized by the failure to get it through.

    Now a new narrative is emerging of Obama as a tough leader who gets things done, not an impotent would-be Marxist.

    March 30, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  10. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "Republicans are for lower taxes, controlled spending, fiscal sanity..."

    I really, truly, wish that the GOP really did embrace those goals, but the history of the Bush years doesn't suggest they do. Sure, they kept saying those words, but somehow they never acted like they actually meant them.

    March 30, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  11. Vet.

    It cease to amaze me, the length the Repugs will go, for decades to include the last 9 years when some consideration to Healh care was given, they resisted and fought tooth and nail for any health care reform and at the same time offered no alternative solution. Know that health care regulation have passed, they now claim to have so many ideas and plans which they are going to campaign on, do they really think the majority of Americans are that dumb? if they do, they will find out in November and I guess they will blame their losses on Acorn or some Socialist organization!!

    March 30, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  12. Harry Ramassar

    Quite some interesting talking points (nothing more) with no substance. The "Republicans are offering a robust and positive alternative" – that means saying no to everything. Was there any mention of health care during the 8 years of the Bush administration? Their solution for everything is "lower taxes" just as Bush did to wipe out all of the surplus from the Clinton years and brought the country back into record deficits.

    March 30, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  13. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    I thought McCain and the GOP campaigned on cutting $1.2 Trillion in Medicare waste.

    March 30, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  14. al in memphis

    Businesses across the country – including American job creators John Deere and Caterpillar – announced that this massive legislation will cost their shareholders tens of millions of dollars,
    ______________________________________________________

    What they conveniently forgot to tell you is that the public was already subsidizing these companies by $100 millions each year just to cover prescription drug cost for their company program. This law just closed the loop hole these companies where using to get government money.

    Once again, the Republicans are talking about what it is costing shareholders and very little about what it is costing you and I.
    Also, if you do tort reform– do you think you are going to get insurance companies to automatically lower premiums. Sound like wishful thinking that they want shift this to more quarterly profits.

    March 30, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  15. EDDIE

    So basically this idiot is saying we are responsible for the behavior of the insurance companies up until now.Next I guess he' s gonna say it was the repubs that passed Health Care Reform.What an idiot.

    March 30, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  16. datwood

    Where were the Republican with all of their health care reforms during the eight years of the Bush Administration? I heard nothing at all about healthcare from them during this time period.

    March 30, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  17. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    The Republicans can always run on their platform of obstruction.

    March 30, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  18. phoenix86

    Anyone who votes for a democrat in the next election is simply mentally challenged.

    March 30, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  19. Susan

    Boy look at the rabbid LIERS trying to take credit for the Health Care Bill now (Republicans).......what a bunch of losers ....... do you think we the people out here in main stream American haven't see and heard you protests this Health Care Bill?????.......you must think we are all Blind and Deaf......but we will remember you come November.......

    March 30, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  20. Dan

    "Promote the party's health care policy proposals"? The Republicans don't have any healthcare policy proposals. Unless you consider "NO" a policy proposal, which I guess it technically is. Still, though.

    March 30, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  21. A Waitress

    Its corny not cornyn,these yokels cant spell in Texas.

    March 30, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  22. AEJ

    I see. So if the republicans did all this – why didn't they vote for the bill?
    Because politics comes first – Americans after.
    Another talking point reminder for the Republicans – Joe DeMint's "LET'S BRING OBAMA DOWN ON THIS ONE". Don't forget this one – it is very important.

    March 30, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  23. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    If not for democratic majority in both houses, nothing would have been accomplished. GOP = Gridlock Opposing Progress.

    March 30, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  24. Mike in MN

    I just watched a YouTube video where protesters with signs supporting Harry Reid egged the Tea Party Express Buses. When Andrew Breitbart confronted them, one of the egg throwers threated Breitbart with violence. I'm waiting for all of this to be reported on the lying corrupt mainstream media.

    March 30, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  25. bts

    Why didn't they VOTE YES for the HCR bill if they believed in parts of it? PARTS they NOW want to take credit for. PARTS they were willing to withhold from the American people when they VOTED NO? .Republicans YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS. You're either FOR us or AGAINST us. And by us I mean the American people. Good grief people WE ARE NOT THAT IGNORANT.

    March 30, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
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