Rounds, Thune, Noem Vote to Cut Medicare, Pell Grants, ACA

I’m having trouble finding much comment online from our Congressional delegation on the big budget resolution they voted for last week. Most Republicans are bragging up the magic numbers, not the policy details. I probably wouldn’t go into much detail, either, if I were voting to further damage the social safety net and the middle class.

KEVN-TV tells us that Senator Mike Rounds sees the budget resolution as an opportunity to change government spending. Of course, as we know from the debate over the youth minimum wage, “opportunity” is South Dakota Republican code for cuts:

The Republican–backed plan promises to cut spending by $5 trillion over the next ten years.

Rounds said, it will cut funding to programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps. It could also repeal President Obama’s healthcare plan [Robert Grant, “Senator Rounds’ Take on Budget Resolution Plan,” KEVN-TV, 2015.05.07].

Cut Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps? Did Mike Rounds include that in his campaign slogans? Did Mike Rounds campaign on refloating Paul Ryan’s destructive and immoral plan to voucherize Medicare?

Senator Thune calls the budget resolution a “framework for efficient, effective, and accountable government.” Senator Thune doesn’t mention that by supporting that budget resolution, he voted to cut the Pell Grants that helped many of those Lake Area graduates that he watched the President congratulate on Friday. Senator Thune says that higher education is important and that we should look for ways to make it more affordable, but his budget vote shows he thinks higher education is not important enough to stop him from making higher education less affordable for millions of Americans who’d like to stay in or join the middle class.

What else did you vote to cut, Senators Rounds and Thune?

Democrats vowed to block deep funding cuts for medical research, food stamps, housing programs for low-income workers and the federal Pell Grant program for students. Instead, they are calling on Republicans to help craft a plan to lift the spending caps for both domestic and military spending [Kelsey Snell, “Senate Passes Budget Even as Impasse on Spending Continues,” Washington Post, 2015.05.05].

Medical research? Thune and Rounds say we don’t need any more science or knowledge.

Food stamps? Thune and Rounds say we don’t need to help poor people eat or help urban Senators see a good reason to help pass the next Farm Bill.

Housing programs? Mike Rounds has all the housing security he needs with a committee position he can use to sic inspectors general on the Army Corps of Engineers for flooding his fancy floodplain mansion. Why should he worry about anyone else being able to afford a little house?

But hey, calm down—the budget resolution is all show. Rounds and Thune are just setting up another vote to repeal Obamacare:

The measure pleases the GOP faithful by setting up a debate this summer that would permit Republicans to finally pass legislation to repeal Obama’s health care law. That’s because Senate Democrats would be unable to filibuster the repeal bill under fast-track budget rules, though Obama is certain to veto it.

But Republicans have no plans to follow up the budget document’s call for other spending cuts with binding legislation that would, for instance, curb Medicare payments to providers, tighten eligibility rules for food stamps, or dump poor and disabled people off the traditional Medicaid program [Andrew Taylor, “Senate Adopts GOP Budget Targeting Obamacare,” AP via Yahoo, 2015.05.05].

There, see? Our delegation votes for cuts to Medicare, Pell Grants, and science, but they don’t really mean it. They’re still just obsessed with repealing the Affordable Care Act.

The Rural Community Assistance Partnership tweeted (and Senator Rounds proudly retweeted) its thanks to Senator Rounds, Senator Thune, and Congresswoman Noem for their “support of rural America.” Rural areas have a higher percentage of residents who don’t have employer-provided health insurance, who rely on public insurance, and who fall in the coverage gap that the ACA can cover with Medicaid expansion (if their governors would just get off their ideological backsides and do it!). The Affordable Care Act is vital to rural health. Even if we can blithely disregard most of the words on the page that Thune, Rounds, and Noem voted for, even if we accept the notion that all that they really want to do is repeal Obamacare, our Congressional delegation would still be guilty of threatening to undermine the health and pocketbooks of rural South Dakotans.

But Senator Rounds, Senator Thune, and Representative Noem aren’t just voting to repeal Obamacare. They are voting to end Medicare as we know it, slash Medicaid, cut Social Security, throw another 400,000 kids out of Head Start, and raise taxes on working families, all to pay for more tax cuts for the wealthy. (See the list of cuts from Senator Bernie Sanders, who isn’t afraid to expose the specifics of what Rounds, Thune, and Noem want.) We don’t get to hold Rounds accountable for this budget vote until 2020, but we can make Thune and Noem answer for these destructive policies next year at the polls.

Related (update 10:33 CDT): Rounds, Thune, and Noem have time to vote for this destructive budget resolution, but they still haven’t found time to fund fixing our roads.

20 Responses to Rounds, Thune, Noem Vote to Cut Medicare, Pell Grants, ACA

  1. mike from iowa

    Need more proof that wingnuts are soul-less,gutless,phony kristian spawn of Satan?

  2. The problem is trying to get this information to the average South Dakotan. We can scream at the top of our lungs and they don’t seem to hear or care.

  3. As statements go, the one by Rounds is the funniest. Eliminating Medicare would cost his insurance firm millions and he knows it. Rounds insurance firm, Fisher Rounds, is a huge player in the South Dakota insurance game with Medicare being a big source of his income. He only says this to keep the money flowing from his out of state kool aid drinkers. NOem is only concerned with her family crop insurance business. Thune, well Thune is just an idiot.

  4. Porter Lansing

    How Republicans exaggerate the Nat’l Debt to justify their own selfishness: e.g.(example given) “We know it’s harsh to cut food stamps to poor families with children BUT USA is in such a debt crisis that something must be done!!” i.e.(information expanded) – If you owned a $225,000 home free and clear and you bought a new pickup truck and financed $17,000 of it and that was your only debt would you consider yourself to be in a “fiscal crisis”? Of course not. That’s exactly where our country is. Every quarter the Federal Reserve releases the Z.1 Financial Accounts of the United States Report. It’s a balance sheet for USA. Currently the USA’s total worth is at $225 trillion dollars. We are in debt $17 trillion dollars so if you just drop most of the zeros the example above with the new truck is a proper representation made easier to process for we folks never having had a trillion dollars. When the Republicans in Washington do harsh and unnecessary cuts to poor people just so they and their super rich benefactors can get a few more personal dollars don’t buy it. IT’S JUST SELFISHNESS and we don’t have to stand for it any longer!!
    …if your response is that USA isn’t taking in enough in taxes to make the payments the answer isn’t to cut out the poor. It’s to make the wealthy pay their fair share for the opportunity to do business in our safe and secure economic environment. That’s worth more than they’re paying, by far!!
    However, there IS a problem in this family and also the USA. A big problem… one member has a severe fetish with guns. He’s rarely seen a gun he doesn’t want to buy. He has enough guns for hunting and enough guns for every member of the family to have one in an emergency but that’s just not enough. In one eight year period he bought a $trillion$ dollars worth of guns, put it on the credit card and tried to hide it from the rest of the family. WOW!! If this family and the USA needs to cut back on their spending it’s the gun fetish that’s the biggest waste not the money the family gives to charity.

  5. Porter Lansing

    …ps Erin and Cory, Happy Anniversary tomorrow #grins

  6. (Thanks, Porter! In lieu of flowers, please send us new Congresspeople!)

  7. Deb Geelsdottir

    Mike said: “Need more proof that wingnuts are soul-less,gutless,phony kristian spawn of Satan?”

    I think that pretty much covers it.

  8. rollin potter

    yes my friends, senator Thune should talk about a frame work of efficient,effective and accountable government!!!!!!!!!! From the day he was in high school and jim abnor got him on the government tit in pierre he has did nothing but suck that tit his entire life!!!!!!!!!!! What a joke this monkey is !!!!!!!!!

  9. Douglas Wiken

    Right on Rollin Porter. Janklow was another one who spent nearly his whole life sucking a government teat or using his government experience to suck money out as a lobbyist or lawyer gun for hire. Thune, Noem, and Rounds have built their lives around sucking a government teat. Others have done it too, but almost none of them has ever been as monumentally hypocritical as these Republicans.

  10. I wish that they would get what they want and what the majority of South Dakotan’s vote for: drastically cut Medicare, Medicaid, Pell Grants, ACA, Social Security. I wish they would get what they want and send hundreds of thousands of South Dakota’s elderly, their parents, into senior poverty. I wish they would get what they want and deny their kids, nieces, nephews, and grandkids the same or similar college financial aid assistance. I REALLY wish they would get what they want – that states only receive federal receipts equal to the federal revenue input of that state. If they would receive what they want for a decade we’d never again have a republicant wing-nut lock on South Dakota politics.

  11. Lars Aanning

    So why not have South Dakota completely independent of any and all federal funding?…don’t pay any federal taxes either…gut education and health care…subsidize gun ownership for everyone…

  12. Owen, on getting that message out: after we get done having every DFP reader collect 20 signatures on each referendum petition (that would put us over the top!), maybe we need to have every DFP reader share one DFP article a week on Facebook, or print off ten copies of one DFP article a week and tack them to the bulletin board at the local grocery store or café.

  13. Good reminder, Rollin! Thune is a creature of government. He has made his living in the public sector nearly all his life, just like me.

  14. If we sold Girl Scout cookies, veterans, along with the Medicare enrollees and students who need Pell Grants, we would be just fine. The serious Republican solution to paying for social needs, is to sell cookies.
    Rounds, Thune and NOem are all on the same page as republican senator Ted Cruz. This is what happens when you see Republican majorities in Washington and in Pierre and shows they still do not get how business works, only monkey business.

  15. rollin potter

    Cory, you are thinking wrong!!!! Teaching is not the same as the government teat that thune and these congressmen and women are on!!!!!
    You are providing a service to our youth at a low level wage with no perks added on and have nothing to to say about your pay,your retirement, your free ride home every weekend,your medical benefits, your free trips to china,cuba asia and wherever else they like to go!!!!!! That is what I call sucking the government teat!!!!!!!!!!

  16. For the Democratic Party of South Dakota, hang this around their neck like an albatross!

    Imagine the headline to campaign on:

    “SD GOP Votes to Hurt Seniors and Kids!”

    What is sad, funny, ironic or just tragic is that everyone in top elected leadership in South Dakota has gotten to their position on the backs of taxpayers and country club entitilements…yet they go after those with the least to fight back and protect those with the most!

    That just goes against the grain of real South Dakotans.

    Fight we must!

  17. Deb Geelsdottir

    This editorial in today’s Strib shows just how much a strong educational system can mean to a state:

    “Until the 1940s, Minnesota was a relatively poor state. Today, we rank among the wealthiest in the country — home to the most Fortune 500 companies per capita and an above-average per capita income. This generational transformation did not happen by accident. Through the foresight of leaders who recognized the importance of higher education, initiatives like the GI Bill, Pell grant program, and state grant program in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s made college affordable to an entire generation of young Minnesotans.”

    It’s written by Tina Smith, MN’s Lt. Gov. DFL. (Democratic Farm-Labor Party.) MN’s Republicans have almost as little foresight as SD’s. They want to reduce higher education assistance. The entire article can be read here:

  18. Douglas Wiken

    I woke up this morning in a state of awe and amazement. Rounds, Thune, Noem, and Daugaard all attended a meeting where firearms were banned. At least they could be consistent and say they would not attend because the anti-gun, anti-bazooka, dynamite ban around the President contradicted their very soulless principles and made hash of their pro-NRA sympathy.

  19. The problem is trying to get this information to the average South Dakotan. We can scream at the top of our lungs and they don’t seem to hear or care.

    That is because the GOP has underfunded education for so long that the constituancy is either incapable of comprehending the message, or spending so many hours working two unskilled jobs that they don’t have time to care.

    We either spend money on education up front, or we spend that same money (x2) on social programs and jail cells later in life. Many states are starting to figure this out, but since SD is about 30 years behind the curve in most of these matters, we should see some positive change around the year 2045. By then Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa will have long since drained our state of our best and brightest teachers along with many of the skilled jobs – so we will spend the next 50 years trying to catch up.

    Today’s splinter becomes tomorrow’s puss-filled infection.

  20. mike from iowa

    South Dakota’s three muskynumbnuts prolly hung around to see that Obama didn’t declare martial law and herd Dakotans into tunnels under closed down Walmart stores for interrogation-just like Texas claims. Chuck Norris bought into the Obama is taking over Texas with Jade Helm 15 military exercise.