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Ross voted against healthcare reform, voted to repeal healthcare reform, and with his vote to defund Planned Parenthood, has made his standing on health care pretty clear.


Written by Sarah Jaffe for RHRealityCheck.org - News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

Ten Democrats cosponsored H.R.3, even with language redefining rape; four of those ten also apparently don’t care if pregnant women die. Sarah Jaffe takes a closer look at all ten, find all posted to date here.



Last week, the House voted to defund Planned Parenthood--in other words, voted to take the war on people's health beyond the war on abortion rights and to healthcare for low-income people. Not just women, but everyone who receives their care from Planned Parenthood would be affected by this move. 


Ten Democrats joined this vote. You know who they were, right? Shuler, Boren, Costello, Donnelly, Lipinski, Peterson, Rahall, McIntyre and Ross were joined by Silvestre Reyes.  (Critz actually, shockingly, voted no.) 


Today, we meet Mike Ross. 


Mike Ross is from Arkansas. He's the Blue Dog Co-Chair for Communications, and votes with his party 50 percent of the time, according to OpenCongress. (Those vote percentages should be weighted, because a large majority of votes in Congress are to name post offices and suchlike, things that almost everyone votes for.) He's also a cosponsor of H.R. 3, H.R. 358, and of a bill to reaffirm "In God We Trust" as the official motto of the United States. 


Ross voted against healthcare reform, voted to repeal healthcare reform, and with his vote to defund Planned Parenthood, has made his standing on healthcare pretty clear, I think. Interesting, then, that the industry that gave him the most this campaign cycle was health professionals, with $163,600.  He got an additional $57,750 from the pharmaceutical industry, and $38,550 from hospitals or nursing homes. The American Hospital Association spent $118,000 on his race this past election cycle, but the Sunlight Foundation doesn't have data on whether that's pro or anti Ross.  


ProPublica reported in 2009 on a sale Mike Ross made in 2007; a pharmacy that he owned, Holly's Health Mart, was sold for $420,000 to USA Drug. The price was substantially more than the value the county assessor had placed on the property, and USA Drug's owner then followed up with a campaign contribution to Ross. 


Over the course of his career, he's gotten $795,148 from health professionals. Also interesting--31 percent of his money comes from outside of Arkansas. But maybe not so interesting, as 39 percent of the $231,657,914 in earmarks he's gotten went outside of his state as well. Though a lot of that money went to programs like Teach for America, Reading is Fundamental, and the National Writing Project. But he bragged publicly about holding up the health care reform vote over the public option: 








From the Blue Arkansas blog, David McAvoy, who blogs as ARDem, notes that Ross also voted with Republicans to defund Obama's "czars," one of Glenn Beck's favorite conspiracy-minded targets. 


So when he runs for Governor, is Ross going to include in his talking points something like, “In Washington, I led the fight against imaginary people”?



He also wants to undo Washington, D.C.'s semiautomatic gun ban, because despite the conservative rants about big government, it's clearly the Congress's responsibility to deal with local regulations. 


Ross voted for the bank bailouts and the auto bailouts, but against the stimulus, Wall Street reform, and cap and trade for polluters. 


He voted to renew the PATRIOT Act, against Don't Ask Don't Tell, for FISA, for extending the war in Iraq without a timeline for withdrawal, and generally for a lot of expensive things that cost far more than Planned Parenthood. Military commissions? Check. "Secure Fence" (translation: keep immigrants out)? Check. Cut the estate tax? You betcha. Tax breaks for oil companies? Bring them on! Terri Schaivo? She's TOTALLY the federal government's business. 


McAvoy told me, "The district is very poor, very rural, has more African-Americans in it than any other district in Arkansas. To be fair to Ross, the district has a lot of competing interests. It stretches across the southern half of the state.


"Beyond even the abortion issue," McAvoy continued, "Mike Ross has long voted for corporate interests over what would benefit those poor constituents. This is a man who stages a town hall, makes sure no unfriendly media can come in, and goes on and on about extending the Bush tax cuts, and then you look at the income in his district. It's phenomenal how this man lies to his people."


Bill Halter, the progressive Democrat who challenged Arkansas' conservative Democratic Senator, Blanche Lincoln, in a 2010 primary, carried Ross's district, McAvoy says. "Had Bill Halter won, my plans would have been to try and get someone to primary Mike Ross."


He continues, "We were hoping to give Blanche Lincoln a scare, and it turned out better than we thought. Unions and progressives and the Netroots got together and they took on a Conservative Democratic senator in a state with 5% union membership and no netroots until Blue Arkansas. It was an amazing thing, and that infrastructure that was built, that networking that was done has't gone away. Mike Ross has got to watch his P's and Q's."


In other words, McAvoy thinks that the fourth district can do better. 


So why does Mike Ross keep voting against health care, against choice, against the people of his district? 


You can ask him on Twitter, @Ross4Congress


You can call or write or go to his office: 


2436 Rayburn House Office Bldg
Washington, DC 20515
1-800-223-2220
(202) 225-1314 Fax


And as usual, you can ask the DCCC why it likes antichoice Dems like Mike Ross better than it likes women.


430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003
Main Phone Number: (202) 863-1500&


While you're at it, you can ask them why they're only asking for $100,000 for "the DCCC’s Women’s Health Rapid Response Fund."  Antichoice Dems are worth $3.4 million and women's health is worth $100,000?


Meet the rest of the HR3 Ten here. Meet Dan Boren next!

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