Witness For Justice #845 - 21st Century Race Matters

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Aguilar Responds to Report Projecting 24 Million People Losing Health Coverage Under GOP Plan

Washington, D.C. — Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-San Bernardino) issued a statement in response to the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) score of House Republicans’ Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal plan. This afternoon, the CBO projected that 24 million Americans will lose health care coverage under House Republicans’ new bill. The legislation would also dramatically increase premiums by allowing insurance companies to charge older adults up to five times more for coverage, driving up premiums for older adults by as much as 25 percent.

“Today’s report confirms what we all feared – House Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace the ACA will strip health care from millions of hard-working Americans, drive up premiums for older adults, and give tax breaks to the uber-wealthy. This bill is being rushed through Congress because House Republicans know it’s a bad deal for middle-class families. This bill was written in secret, hidden from the public and forced through committees in the dead of night. Now we know why.” said Rep. Aguilar.

Rep. Aguilar worked with House Republicans in the 114th Congress to improve the ACA by repealing the tax on health insurance plans and on medical device manufacturers. Rep. Aguilar supports improving the ACA but remains committed to opposing any actions that threaten affordable coverage for San Bernardino County families, which includes a full repeal of the bill. Rep. Aguilar hosted a health care roundtable on Saturday afternoon, where he met with Inland Empire health care providers, patient advocacy organizations, union representatives and officials from the San Bernardino County Government to discuss the impact of the new health care bill on Inland Empire residents.

The CBO is a nonpartisan, independent federal agency that provides impartial budget analysis and cost estimates for legislation under consideration by Congress. You can read the CBO report on the American Health Care Act here.


No Hope, No Change: The GOP Buries Its Own Autopsy

Your Take: Three years ago the GOP undertook a project to expand its reach to people of color and women, yet the 2016 campaign reflects a more divisive, less inclusive party.

The Republican Party has largely been tone-deaf to the changing electorate, adopting a hands-off approach to the increasingly heated rhetoric we have heard from the party’s presidential front-runner. It’s no coincidence that Donald Trump’s divisive, race-baiting campaign has vaulted him to the top of the Republican primary field. The Republican Party has a long history of using wedge issues—from race to gender equality—to divide our nation.

Everything we have seen from the GOP field this election year directly contradicts the findings of its Growth and Opportunity Project, a so-called autopsy examining how the Republican Party should engage and broaden its appeal among women, people of color, aspiring Americans and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. As we mark the third anniversary of the autopsy, it’s become increasingly clear that the Republican Party never bothered to read its own report and that its findings have been buried alongside any hope the party once had of broadening its reach.

The autopsy noted that “many minorities wrongly think that Republicans do not like them or want them in the country.” I take offense at the suggestion that we are wrong in feeling this way.

Trump denounced Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and accused them of bringing drugs and crime into our country during his campaign kickoff in June 2015. His rhetoric has only grown more vicious, giving rise to protests like those we saw in Chicago. Nor did we fail to notice that Trump was slow to distance himself from white supremacist groups that endorsed him, and that he promised to pay legal expenses of supporters who assaulted protesters.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who would like to paint himself as Trump’s only viable challenger for the Republican nomination, is hardly any different. In 2013 Cruz bragged to a crowd at the conservative Heritage Foundation that the first political donation he ever made was to Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina and exclaimed that “we need a hundred more like Jesse Helms in the U.S. Senate.” Helms was known for his staunch opposition to civil rights legislation, pledging to make Carol Moseley Braun, the first African-American woman elected to the Senate, cry by singing “Dixie.”

We’ve heard other dog whistles from the Republican presidential contenders. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush erroneously claimed that the Democratic Party owes its loyalty among black voters to “free stuff,” repeating a claim that Mitt Romney made after his 2012 loss to President Barack Obama. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio declared that the October Democratic debate was a competition to see who could “give away the most free stuff,” and Ohio Gov. John Kasich later made a similar claim at a New Hampshire town hall.

Meanwhile, the Republican Party refuses to acknowledge the dire economic realities in vulnerable communities like Flint, Mich. Flint is slowly recovering from a major public health crisis, a fact that was barely addressed at the Republican debate in Detroit. Flint looks like so many other cities across our nation and is grappling with the effects of Republican policies that prioritize tax cuts for the few at the very top at the expense of those who promote the public good.

The Republican Party was also content to let Detroit go bankrupt in 2013 and opposed President Obama’s plan to rescue the struggling American automotive industry. Make no mistake—their vision of a smaller government would reduce access to better educational opportunities for our children, roll back affordable health care for those who need it most and strip away critical environmental protections that safeguard our communities.

Republican Party leaders can write as many autopsies as they want to try to make sense of their failures and appeal to a more diverse constituency, but all the reports in the world won’t change the mind of a single voter if they don’t take their own advice.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

Virgie M. Rollins, a Detroit resident, is chair of the Democratic National Committee Black Caucus.


Racism and Bigotry is Doing Well in the Republican Party

By Roger Caldwell, NNPA News Wire Columnist

Roger Caldwell says that many of the Republican presidential candidates are building their campaigns on a platform of racism and bigotry.

As the 2016 election heats up, there is something wrong in a party when the candidates don’t want to operate with political correctness. In this election cycle, the Republican candidates have decided to think and behave as an outsider. By acting as an outsider, they are not obligated to tell the truth, and they can make up the story as they go along.

Racism and bigotry is the platform that many of the Republican presidential candidates are building their campaign around, but it is being done with code words. Political correctness is one of the phrases that has a subliminal message, and means its okay to control things because you are White. There was a time when there were very few regulatory agencies, and there were very few civil rights laws, and being White was right.

The Republicans would like to turn back the clock, so it’s okay for Donald Trump to talk about sending 10 million Hispanics to their homeland, even if it is breaking the law. Donald Trump is standing on a platform of hate, and many of the Republican candidates condemn his policy statements. But once the dust has cleared, many of the Republican candidates are adopting his racist policies in their own campaigns.

The GOP ideological position since President Obama has been elected is to take an extreme position on conservatism, and the Republican Party is primarily for White people. With Trump every week attacking a different minority group, racism is alive and well. A few months ago, Ted Cruz was considered a radical extremist, but in the presidential campaign, he is thought of as a middle mainstreamer.

There is something frightening happening in the Republican Party, when it is not trying to improve its relevancy with an increasing diverse American population. Instead of trying to diversify with other minority voter groups, the candidates’ major focus is connecting with their base, which is mostly White. The base is angry, and they want to change the way things are going in America.

For some reason the Republicans think they will be able to snap their fingers, and many of their problems will simply disappear. The Republicans refuse to discuss issues with race on the campaign trail, and they keep their heads buried in the sand. Racism exists in every system in America, and infects the very structure of daily life, but the Republicans don’t see it as a problem.

The Democrats are starting to acknowledge that racism exists and they are open to dialogue, but it is a very complex problem. They understand in order to win the presidential election, they must get the Blacks and Hispanics engaged in the election and campaign. Diversity is the reason President Obama won the election in 2008 and 2012.

But in 2016, the Republicans have decided that they can win with a small percentage of the minority vote, or none at all. This is a problem for the leadership in the Republican Party, because after losing the presidential race in 2012, they had decided to be more inclusive. They understood that the voting demographics were changing, and it was necessary to engage more minorities.

But everything has been radically shifted since Trump has been the frontrunner for six months straight. Donald Trump is standing on a platform of hate, which he built for himself, because conservatism is a code word for White supremacy and White control.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid says, “This sort of racism has been prevalent in Republican politics for decades. Trump is saying out loud what other Republicans merely suggest. Political leaders must condemn these hateful un-American statements with their words and their actions.”

Racism and bigotry should be a campaign issue for every candidate on the trail and in all the debates. It is time to stop dancing around racism in America, and confront it with policies and discussions.

Roger Caldwell is the President/CEO of On Point Media Group, a marketing and public relations firm located in Orlando, Florida. He is a graduate of Howard University in political science. As a stroke survivor, author, and community journalist, his passion is national and statewide politics. Follow him at or leave comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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