December 6, 2023

Home Republicans have spent their first 100 days in energy discussing plans to chop social packages like Social Safety, Medicare, Medicaid, and meals help and conducting half-baked and conspiracy-fueled investigations.

Friday marked 100 days since Republicans took management of the Home of Representatives. It’s been a memorable, however unproductive time. 

Infighting inside the Republican social gathering started straight away: it took a report 15 rounds of voting for Kevin McCarthy (R-California) to be elected Speaker of the Home, which delayed the swearing in of tons of of members of Congress and delay any precise legislative work for a number of days. To safe the speakership, McCarthy was pressured to make guarantees to a crucial group of far-right conservatives, who wish to slash authorities spending on key social packages, like Social Safety, Medicare and Medicaid, medical health insurance, and meals help. 

The previous three months have seen McCarthy wrestle to reside as much as these guarantees and fail to create consensus in his caucus about the best way to strategy debt ceiling negotiations with the Biden administration. They’ve additionally seen him give a number of the most excessive Home members of his social gathering carte blanche to conduct half-baked and typically conspiratorial investigations into the Biden administration and different Democrats. 

Right here’s a breakdown of a number of the Home GOP’s principal efforts over the previous 100 days:

Cuts to Social Safety, Medicare, Medicaid, and Different Social Packages

Since taking management of the Home, Republicans have mentioned one plan after one other that will goal crucial advantages that tens of tens of millions of People depend on, reminiscent of Social Safety, Medicare, and Medicaid. Whereas Democrats have refused to slash funding for these packages, Republicans have threatened to make use of the upcoming debt ceiling negotiations as a method to extract spending cuts from President Biden.

The debt ceiling is a numerical restrict, set by Congress, on how a lot cash the federal authorities can borrow to pay its payments. Congress has raised the debt ceiling 78 instances since 1960—practically yearly, as a result of failing to lift the restrict would trigger the US to default on its debt, triggering a worldwide monetary disaster. 

However Republicans seem able to push the nation to the brink of default this 12 months to get what they need.

After the GOP took management of the Home, a bunch of Republican lawmakers referred to as for the creation of particular panels that will be capable of suggest modifications—and doubtlessly cuts—to Social Safety and Medicare. One other GOP plan would have raised the Social Safety retirement age to 70, which might goal youthful People who’ve but to see federal advantages. Different Republicans like Rep. Michael Waltz of Florida have been even more specific about the necessity to reduce spending on “entitlement” packages like Social Safety. 

After public blowback and stress from the Biden administration, McCarthy stated that cuts to Social Safety and Medicare could be off the desk. As a substitute, MAGA Republicans have proposed cuts to the Medicaid medical health insurance program and the Supplemental Vitamin Meals Help Program (SNAP), which might have disastrous penalties.

If Republicans have been capable of efficiently make cuts to Medicaid, seniors and folks with disabilities who reside at house would obtain worse house care and tons of of hundreds of nursing house residents could be prone to decrease high quality of care. Thousands and thousands of individuals fighting habit might lose entry to substance use remedy or psychological well being care and 41 million youngsters who obtain protection via Medicaid or the Youngsters’s Well being Insurance coverage Program would even be prone to dropping entry to care, or getting worse protection. 

On Monday, McCarthy launched a brand new debt restrict proposal tying a one-year debt ceiling improve with a set of spending cuts and coverage modifications. His proposal consists of efforts to chop SNAP meals help for tens of millions of low-income People. SNAP helps feed greater than 41 million People and cuts to this system would nearly definitely improve starvation and poverty, particularly amongst households with youngsters.

These numerous proposals have been lifeless on arrival amongst Democrats, who’ve referred to as for Republicans to hitch them in elevating the debt ceiling cleanly—as they helped Republicans do 3 times within the Trump period—with none cuts to social packages.

McCarthy has stated that defaulting on the nation’s debt is “not an choice,” however Republicans make that final result extra possible with every passing day. The influence of a default could be devastating: seniors may not obtain their Social Safety, an estimated six million folks would lose their jobs, and unemployment would skyrocket to 7%, which could lead on the financial system to break down. 

Unpopular Investigations

Even earlier than Home Republicans took management in January, they have been “promising payback,” as NPR notes.

Home Freedom Caucus members, led by Reps. James Comer of Kentucky and Jim Jordan of Ohio, pledged to analyze all the things from the Biden household’s enterprise practices and Hunter Biden’s laptop computer, to the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, and “alleged authorities bias in opposition to conservatives.”

Many of those investigations have begun, however they’ve failed to realize traction or result in any notable findings. They’re additionally not highly regarded among the many American public.

In line with progressive analysis group Navigator, 53% of People say that Republicans in Congress are “centered on oversight of the Biden administration,” however solely 15% deem that to be a “high 4 situation precedence for them personally.” 

In different phrases, voters suppose Home Republicans are centered on the mistaken factor. 

Points nearly all of People deem to be extra necessary embody inflation, the financial system, weapons, well being care, crime, and corruption in authorities. Fifty-nine p.c of these surveyed say they disapprove of Republicans in Congress total. 

Limiting Entry to Reproductive Well being Care

After they took workplace earlier this 12 months, Home Republicans didn’t waste any time attacking entry to reproductive well being care.

In January, they handed the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Safety Act, which unnecessarily compels medical doctors to offer care to infants that survive abortions, an extremely uncommon prevalence. Fewer than 1% of all abortions occur after the purpose of viability, which is roughly 23 to 24 weeks, and within the overwhelming majority of these circumstances, abortions are solely carried out due to threats to the mom’s life or vital fetal abnormalities.

Instances of infants surviving tried abortions are much more uncommon, and within the handful of circumstances the place such a scenario does happen, the invoice would drive medical doctors to deal with infants even when there’s no likelihood of survival, doubtlessly inflicting extra trauma and ache for the mother and father.

Reproductive rights advocates additionally argue that payments like this are superfluous as a result of the rights of infants born alive after an tried abortion are already protected, because of a 2002 legislation that was handed in a bipartisan vogue.

As a substitute, advocates argue, “born alive” payments are supposed to additional goal reproductive freedom and permit politicians to insert themselves into households’ non-public medical selections.

“These payments serve as an alternative to place politicians between well being care suppliers and households as a clear try to additional criminalize abortion,” in line with the Later Abortion Initiative, which is a part of Ibis Reproductive Well being, a nonprofit group. “They depend on inflammatory rhetoric that belittles the lived experiences of households and well being care suppliers and has no foundation in medical or scientific reality.” 

The measure gained’t advance within the Democratic-controlled Senate, nonetheless, making certain its demise. 

That very same month, Home Republicans voted on three extra measures reinforcing the social gathering’s opposition to abortion. One in every of these proposals included textual content that will fast-track consideration of a invoice that will completely block utilizing federal funding for abortions (the Hyde Modification has already applied this restriction in some type or one other since 1976).

Republicans additionally handed laws in January that would topic medical doctors who carry out abortions to prison penalties, however like their different anti-abortion payments, it has no likelihood of passing within the Senate.

Most just lately, a bunch of 69 Republican members of Congress filed a short urging a federal appeals court docket to uphold a choice from a Trump-appointed choose banning the abortion drug mifepristone nationwide. The Biden administration appealed that call and it has since been briefly delayed by the Supreme Courtroom, which is anticipated to situation a ruling on the destiny of mifepristone within the coming days.

  • Isabel Soisson

    Isabel Soisson

    Isabel Soisson is a multimedia journalist who has labored at WPMT FOX43 TV in Harrisburg, together with serving numerous roles at CNBC, NBC Information, Philadelphia Journal, and Philadelphia Model Journal.