Rep. Cantor's Class Warfare

October 21, 2011 9:45 am ET

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is speaking at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School today (Update: Cantor's scheduled speech was canceled), where he plans to discuss how to bridge the gap between rich and poor in the United States. Given that Cantor has dedicated his political career to upholding this disparity, he has wealth of knowledge on the topic. Since becoming House Majority Leader, Cantor has done everything in his power to protect the wealthy from making the same sacrifices he's determined to force upon everyone else. Whether he's working to end Medicare for seniors, withholding relief from disaster victims to secure further spending cuts, or using the unemployed as political fodder while rejecting policies that will create jobs, Eric Cantor has proven that he is committed to making life easier for people who are already on top, even if it comes at the expense of those who are struggling.

The Unemployed

Cantor Declared President Obama's Jobs Bill "Dead." From the Wall Street Journal:

President Barack Obama's $447 billion jobs bill was declared dead in Congress Monday, as Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) said he did not expect the House to take it up as a package.

Mr. Cantor announced the House would consider elements of Mr. Obama's jobs agenda in the coming month, including trade agreements the White House sent to Congress Monday and a tax break for government contractors. But asked if the president's jobs bill as a whole is dead, Mr. Cantor replied, "Yes." [Wall Street Journal, 10/3/11]

Macroeconomic Advisers LLC: American Jobs Act Will Boost Employment By 2.1 Million Over 2012-13. From Macroeconomic Advisers LLC's Macroadvisers blog:

We estimate that the American Jobs Act (AJA), if enacted, would give a significant boost to GDP and employment over the near-term.

  • The various tax cuts aimed at raising workers' after-tax income and encouraging hiring and investing, combined with the spending increases aimed at maintaining state & local employment and funding infrastructure modernization, would:
  • Boost the level of GDP by 1.3% by the end of 2012, and by 0.2% by the end of 2013.
  • Raise nonfarm establishment employment by 1.3 million by the end of 2012 and 0.8 million by the end of 2013, relative to the baseline. [Macroadvisers,9/8/11, emphasis original]

Moody's: American Jobs Act Will Create 1.9 Million Jobs. As reported by UPI: "President Barack Obama's $447 billion job-creation plan would likely add 1.9 million payroll jobs and grow the U.S. economy 2 percent, a leading economist said. The plan, which Obama outlined before a joint session of Congress Thursday, would likely cut the unemployment rate by a percentage point, Moody's Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi said as Obama prepared to tout the plan at Virginia's University of Richmond." [UPI, 9/9/11]

Cantor Admitted Republicans Have Been Focused On Spending Cuts, Not Job Growth. From Slate's Dave Weigel:

At his pen-and-pad briefing today, I asked Cantor if Republican if he'd been surprised that the cuts of Cut and Grow had not come with the, well, growth.

"We've been about cut and grow," he said. "The fact is, the last eight months plus, we've been about cuts. And that's why it is imperative that all of us join together, work with the president, to see how we can grow this economy. That's why I welcome the president's speech tomorrow night, I welcome him to Richmond on Friday. I also think it's imperative in the spirit of trying to reach results, and stop impugning motive, and calling people out, and insinuating people are putting politics above country." [Slate, 9/7/11, emphasis added]

Cantor Decried "Pumping Up Unemployment Benefits." From an August 5, 2011, appearance by Cantor on CNBC:

JIM CRAMER (HOST): One of the things that I hear you say - obviously you're very concerned about unemployment, which is spot-on, so I imagine therefore you are certainly for extending unemployment benefits given the chaotic situation for most of the workforce.

CANTOR: Jim, the most important thing we can do for somebody who's unemployed is to see if we can get them a job. I mean that's what needs to be the focus. For too long in Washington now we've been worried about pumping up the stimulus monies, pumping up unemployment benefits, and to a certain extent you've got states in which you can get unemployment for almost two years. And I think those people on unemployment benefits would rather have a job. [CNBC, 8/5/11, via Political Correction]

Disaster Victims         

Cantor Demanded Offsets For Disaster Relief For His District. From Roll Call:

"There is an appropriate federal role in incidents like this," [Cantor] said after touring the damage in his district. "Obviously, the problem is that people in Virginia don't have earthquake insurance."

The next step will be for Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) to decide whether to make an appeal for federal aid, Cantor said. The House Majority Leader would support such an effort but would look to offset the cost elsewhere in the federal budget.

"All of us know that the federal government is busy spending money it doesn't have," Cantor said in Culpeper, where the quake damaged some buildings along a busy shopping thoroughfare. [Roll Call, 8/24/11]

Cantor-Led "Partisan Standoff" Over Offsetting Disaster Relief "Nearly Shut Down The Government." From the Huffington Post:

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials have been busy convincing Congress to quickly fill its emergency aid coffers, as the agency finds its funds drained by the natural disasters that have hit the country in recent months. The insistence, led by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), that Congress should cut spending elsewhere to offset disaster relief funding, led to a partisan standoff and nearly shut down the government. [Huffington Post, 9/27/11]


Cantor: Defund Planned Parenthood And "All Organizations That Perform Abortions." From Cantor's address to the 2011 Values Voters Summit:

As you all know, at the beginning of our new majority, the House moved to try and cut off all taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood and its abortion clinics.

But that is not the way things played out. But I can tell you, after November 2012, we look forward to a Senate and a White House that will partner with us to, once and for all, eliminate government funding for any and all organizations that perform abortions. [Cantor Address to Values Voter Summit, 10/7/11, via Nexis]

Cantor Supported GOP Spending Plan, H.R. 1. In February, Cantor voted "yea" on passage of H.R. 1, the Republican legislation to fund the government through the end of the 2011 fiscal year. [H.R. 1, Vote #147, 2/19/11]

GOP Spending Plan  "Would Cut All $327 Million From Title X." As reported by the Wall Street Journal: "Among the programs that would be eliminated entirely under the new Republican spending plan announced today is Title X, a which provides family planning for low-income Americans. The GOP plan would cut all $327 million from Title X." [Wall Street Journal2/9/11]

  • Title X Funding Supports Numerous Preventive Health Services, Not Abortions.According to HHS' Office of Population Affairs: "Over the past 40 years, Title X Family Planning clinics have played a critical role in ensuring access to a broad range of family planning and related preventive health services for millions of low-income or uninsured individuals. In addition to contraceptive services and related counseling, Title X-supported clinics provide a number of related preventive health services such as: patient education and counseling; breast and pelvic examinations; breast and cervical cancer screening according to nationally recognized standards of care; sexually transmitted disease (STD) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) prevention education, counseling, testing and referral; and pregnancy diagnosis and counseling. By law, Title X funds may not be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning." [Office of Population Affairs, accessed 10/4/11]

Read more about the GOP's war on women's reproductive rights HERE.


Cantor Voted For The House GOP Budget. On April 15, 2011, Cantor voted for the House Republican budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). [H. Con. Res. 34, Vote #277, 4/15/11]

GOP Budget Turns Medicare Into A Voucher System. From the House GOP budget, "The Path to Prosperity":

Save Medicare for current and future generations while making no changes for those in and near retirement. For younger workers, when they reach eligibility, Medicare will provide a Medicare payment and a list of guaranteed coverage options from which recipients can choose a plan that best suits their needs. These future Medicare beneficiaries will be able to choose a plan the same way members of Congress do. Medicare will provide additional assistance for lower-income beneficiaries and those with greater health risks. [The Path To Prosperity, 4/5/11, emphasis added]

CBO: Under The GOP Budget, "Most Elderly People Would Pay More For Their Health Care Than They Would Pay Under The Current Medicare System." According to a Congressional Budget Office analysis of the House GOP budget proposal: "Under the proposal, most elderly people would pay more for their health care than they would pay under the current Medicare system. For a typical 65-year-old with average health spending enrolled in a plan with benefits similar to those currently provided by Medicare, CBO estimated the beneficiary's spending on premiums and out-of-pocket expenditures as a share of a benchmark: what total health care spending would be if a private insurer covered the beneficiary. By 2030, the beneficiary's spending would be 68 percent of that benchmark under the proposal, 25 percent under the extended-baseline scenario, and 30 percent under the alternative fiscal scenario." [, 4/5/11]

Wall Street Journal: GOP Plan "Essentially End[s] Medicare" For Americans Under 55 Years Old. As reported by the Wall Street Journal"The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills. Mr. Ryan and other conservatives say this is necessary because of the program's soaring costs. Medicare cost $396.5 billion in 2010 and is projected to rise to $502.8 billion in 2016. At that pace, spending on the program would have doubled between 2002 and 2016. Mr. Ryan's proposal would apply to those currently under the age of 55, and for those Americans would convert Medicare into a 'premium support' system." [Wall Street Journal4/4/11]

Cantor: America's Promises To Seniors "Frankly, Are Not Going To Be Kept For Many." From a Wall Street Journal interview with Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA): "What we need to be able to do is to demonstrate that that is the better way for the people of this country. Get the fiscal house in order, come to grips with the fact that promises have been made that, frankly, are not going to be kept for many. [Cantor interview with Wall Street Journal, 8/4/11, via YouTube]

Read more about the GOP budget's impact on America's seniors HERE.

The Poor

GOP Budget Puts Two Social Safety Net Programs Into Block Grants. From the House GOP budget, The Path to Prosperity:

This budget ends an onerous, one-size-fits-all approach by converting the federal share of Medicaid spending into a block grant that gives states the flexibility to tailor their Medicaid programs to the needs of their unique populations. [...]

Convert the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) into a block grant tailored for each state's low-income population, indexed for inflation and eligibility beginning in 2015 - after employment has recovered. Make aid contingent on work or job training. [The Path To Prosperity, 4/5/11]

Debt Commission Chairmen: GOP Budget Cuts To "Safety Net Programs" Would "Disproportionately" Affect "Disadvantaged Populations." The leaders of the president's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform - former Sen. Alan Simpson and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles - wrote: "The [Republican budget] plan largely exempts defense spending from reductions and would not apply any of the savings from eliminating or reducing tax expenditures as part of tax reform to deficit reduction. As a result, the Chairman's plan relies on much larger reductions in domestic discretionary spending than does the Commission proposal, while also calling for savings in some safety net programs - cuts which would place a disproportionately adverse effect on certain disadvantaged populations." [Simpson-Bowles Statement, 4/5/11, via The Hill]

CBO: Block Grants Could Limit Medicaid Programs To The Point That "Providers Might Be Less Willing To Treat Medicaid Enrollees." In its analysis of The Path To Prosperity, the Congressional Budget Office wrote: "If states reduced spending for their Medicaid programs, there would be a number of potential implications for both providers and beneficiaries. Given that payment rates for providers under Medicaid are already generally lower than they are under Medicare and private insurance, if states lowered payment rates even further, providers might be less willing to treat Medicaid enrollees. As a result, Medicaid enrollees could face more limited access to care." [CBO, 4/5/11]

  • If States Have To Reduce Medicaid Benefits Or Eligibility, Low-Income Patients Will Have To Pay More Out Of Pocket And Providers Could Lose Money.In its analysis of The Path To Prosperity, the Congressional Budget Office wrote: "If states reduced benefits or eligibility levels, beneficiaries could face higher out-of-pocket costs, and providers could face more uncompensated care as beneficiaries lost coverage for certain benefits or lost coverage altogether." [CBO, 4/5/11]

CBPP: GOP Budget's Food Stamps Block Grant Proposal Would "Eliminate" Program's "Ability To Respond To Rising Need ... During Recessions." According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: "Chairman Ryan's proposal to convert SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called food stamps] into a block grant beginning in 2015 would seriously damage the program and cause harm to the millions of low-income Americans who rely on it. Although the chairman's proposal does not include details on how deeply the block grant would cut the program, a capped funding structure of the kind he proposes would largely eliminate SNAP's ability to respond to rising need, such as during recessions. In such times, states would be forced to cut benefits to some households or create waiting lists for needy families." [, 4/5/11]

CBPP: Converting SNAP And Medicaid To Block Grants "Would Not Only Increase Hardship And Destitution In Recessions, But Also Would Further Weaken A Slumping Economy And Lead To The Loss Of Many More Jobs." According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

The plan justifies its large food stamp cuts by claiming that the trend in food stamp costs "is one of relentless and unsustainable growth." The claim is false. Food stamp costs have risen sharply in the past few years due mainly to the recession and a temporary food stamp benefit increase of the 2009 Recovery Act. As the economy recovers, food stamp costs will drop and, by the end of the decade, will return to about 2005 levels as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)

Finally, the impact of the Ryan plan would be harshest during recessions. Currently, Medicaid as well as SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) respond automatically to assist more people when, during recessions, more people lose their jobs, income, and health insurance. This automatic response both lessens hardship and keeps the economy from plunging deeper into recession, by adding more purchasing power to the economy that replaces part of the loss of demand from consumers and businesses. The Ryan plan would convert both Medicaid and SNAP to block grants, however, which means they would no longer respond automatically to increased need during recessions. That would not only increase hardship and destitution in recessions, but also would further weaken a slumping economy and lead to the loss of many more jobs. [, 4/6/11]

Read more about how the House GOP budget proposal would harm the poor HERE.

The Uninsured

Rep. Cantor Voted To Repeal The Affordable Care Act. Rep. Cantor was the lead sponsor of H.R. 2, the "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act," which passed with unanimous Republican support in the House. [H.R. 2, Vote #14, 1/19/11]

  • 32 Million More People Will Have Health Care Insurance Because Of The Affordable Care Act. From the Kaiser Family Foundation: "The Affordable Care Act will reduce the number of people without health insurance by expanding eligibility for Medicaid and providing tax credits that make insurance more affordable for people buying coverage on their own through new health insurance Exchanges. The Congressional Budget Office projects that 32 million more people will have insurance by 2019." [Kaiser Family Foundation, accessed 10/20/11]