Ted Cruz and the rest of the GOP hardliners may be making the television rounds hawking their mistaken belief that Democrats are not willing and able compromisers, but anybody who’s been a supporter of the party or a reader of light news for longer than 12 hours knows differently. VERY differently.
So, in honor of our first day of GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN MEDIA BLITZ 2013 (aka Obamacare Exchange day!!!), we thought we’d remind our faithful Congresspeople, Senators, and American neighbors just how much the Democrats have already compromised to make nice with the Capitol Hill bully squad.
Democrats really knocked this compromise out of the park. After all, they ended up with a program that was proposed by the GOP in the first place, in the process abandoning their most important proposal - the creation of a public option. They also lowered the fines on people unwilling to abide by the mandate, increased the size of the companies that would be required to provide coverage to employees, and struck down a proposal that would have allowed undocumented people to participate in the health exchanges. Oh, and of course pro-choice Democrats would also ultimately support a bill that prevents federal funding from going to abortion services, allows health plans to strike abortions from their list of covered procedures, and protects doctors that refuse to perform the procedure even in circumstances in which the mother’s life is at stake.
So that program that Ted Cruz and John Boehner and Mitch McConnell are so eager to get rid of? It was the brainchild of conservative economists in the 80s, endorsed at one time by Newt Gingrich and much of the GOP establishment, and was a major part of their platform for the better part of 20 years. So yeah…compromise.
Though he specifically campaigned on the promise that he would let the Bush Tax Cuts expire, Obama extended them for two years after meeting the GOP more than halfway. He didn’t want to raise taxes on the middle class in a recession, so he allowed the rich to keep their cuts as well, all in an effort to get the GOP to work with him on other kinds of stimulus spending, which they didn’t.
What would the ideal non-compromise plan have been for Democrats? To end the Bush tax cuts, especially those for the already money-logged wealthy. What actually happened? None of that.
Remember when the sequester was just a threat that Congress used to legislate large, unspecified, mandatory cuts? That was thanks to this piece of "compromise" legislation, which was basically only a compromise in that Democrats successfully prevented the GOP from ending funding to most of the government and world at large (minus subsidies for big business of course). This is where the debt ceiling tomfoolery first began, and what it began with was compromise.
Oh lord, Obamacare never just goes into effect, does it? No, not when we have a GOP hellbent on poking any insane hole in it that they can.
In 2010, the law included a provision that required health plans to cover contraception coverage for women because women always pay more for healthcare and that’s annoying and unfair. Also, accessible birth control is good for all of society, so, like, get on board people.
Unfortunately, the Catholic Church (not our favorite people - see here), with the help of some evangelical GOP crazies, decided to change all that by demanding that they somehow have the unique right to get all up in their employee’s specific benefits packages and prevent their church-purchased insurance from offered birth control to interested parties. To be clear, they were not going to have to pay more for birth control coverage, nor were they going to have to condone it. They were, however, going to have to trust their employees to make a decision that 82% of their flock doesn’t agree with anyway and forgo birth control.
Democrats, against their better judgement and own principals, decided to allow religious institutions to unique right exclude contraception from their insurance plans. If you are a woman and work for the Catholic church, sorry your life is going to carry on being so expensive. You can thank compromise for that.
GOP Proposal: Gave the GOP exactly what it wanted – 100% cuts, 0% revenue – but would force President Obama to decide where to make over $85 billion in cuts this year. (The plan failed miserably, drawing only 38 votes in the Senate, so not even their entire caucus).
Democratic Proposal: Would have replaced the sequester with a combination of spending cuts and new revenue from closed tax loopholes. Unlike the GOP approach, a majority of the Senate supported this compromise, but a simple majority isn’t enough to do anything in the Senate so it never went anywhere. (Final vote was 51-49, all for a plan most Democrats wouldn’t have touched with a ten foot pole in any other circumstance.)
The Democratic compromise, which included elements of both plans, got shot down because the GOP wouldn’t move from their absolutist position. The sequester cuts happened, so enough said. Compromise proposals were not enough.
We all wanted to do something after Newtown and Aurora, didn’t we? Well, not all of us. The initial Democratic proposals, which included vastly expanded background checks, an assault weapons ban, and improved mental health services, were thrown out in favor of a final proposal so weak that nobody from either party could support it. It basically functioned only to keep guns out of the hands of people inside mental institutions, and even that was deemed too controversial for the GOP.
While we at Brain Trust weren’t surprised to see this one go down in flames, that’s only because it went the way of gun control. What began as a bipartisan attempt to create a comprehensive reform bill ended up as a glorified money funnel to border patrol that still didn’t appease the hardliners. Democrats gave in on making meaningful reforms to the path to citizenship (which got more onerous in this proposed bill) and wound up with something that seemed like it might actually make immigrants lives harder in the long run.
Oh, and in related news, don’t even get us started on the DREAM Act. Don’t.
So there you have it. The Party of Compromise (known colloquially as the Democratic Party) strikes again. And again. And always. Ted Cruz: Eat your words. GOP: Get a life. Nancy Pelosi: Continue with the snazzy red pantsuits if you must.
We leave anything out? Comment below!