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At some point in our lives we all encounter the false friend, one who holds themselves up as a friend but engages in behavior that makes them anything but an ally. One can't observe the relationship between 8th District Rep. Chip Cravaack and organized labor without thinking of such a person. While he publicly declares himself a friend to working people by touting his past as a union steward and claiming to vote independent of his party, Chip Cravaack quietly and consistently assists his Tea Party friends in their unprecedented war on unions and the middle class.

Indeed, Tea Party Chip's labor voting record is dismal. The AFL-CIO reports that Cravaack voted against organized labor on 22 of 29 key votes in 2011, for a rating of 24%. His report card for 2012 isn't much better; Cravaack voted against organized labor on 12 of 20 key votes taken through August 2. This includes:

Three votes AGAINST worker rights, safety and retirement

1. Cravaack voted for HR 4078, legislation that bans new federal regulations and puts both workers and the public in danger by stopping implementation of new safety rules to protect workers on the job as well as rules to limit the power of big banks and corporations. Two Republicans broke with their party to vote with organized labor. Chip Cravaack was not one of them. The bill passed by a vote of 245 -172.

2. Cravaack voted for HR 3606, the 'Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, a bill that would "reduce critical regulatory protections for investors that are essential to safeguarding the retirement savings of America’s workers from fraud and other risks. The so-called “Jobs Act” would create few jobs and would instead inevitably weaken investor confidence in our capital markets by creating new and expanded loopholes in our securities laws." No Republicans broke with their party to vote with organized labor. The bill passed by a vote of 390 -23.

3. Cravaack voted for the Coffman amendment to HR 4310, Fiscal 2013 Defense Authorization that would "make it easier to privatize Defense Department work and services now conducted by civilian DOD employees, and make it more difficult to return contracted work and services to the DOD civilian workforce." 29 Republicans broke with their party to vote with organized labor. Chip Cravaack was not one of them.  The amendment was rejected by a vote of 209-211.

Seven votes AGAINST jobs and the middle class
1. Cravaack voted for HR 6169, a bill that expedites a Republican plan to overhaul the tax code and increases tax incentives for corporations that ship U.S. jobs overseas,  cuts taxes for the wealthy and corporations, and raises taxes on the middle class. Three Republicans broke with their party to vote with organized labor. Chip Cravaack was not one of them. The bill passed by a vote of 232-189.

2. Cravaack voted for the Ryan Budget Resolution, which "caps spending  and makes major cuts in vital working family programs while cutting tax rates for the richest Americans and Wall Street. Its more egregious provisions include privatizing Medicare, gutting Medicaid and repealing the 2010 health care reform law—the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It  increases the number of Americans without health insurance, makes it easier to make cuts in Social Security, and undermines U.S. economic growth over the long term by eliminating productive federal investments in infrastructure, education, worker training, manufacturing, and clean energy." Ten Republicans broke with their party to vote with organized labor. Chip Cravaack was not one of them.  The resolution was adopted  by a vote of 228-191.

3. Cravaack voted for the Small Business Tax deduction, "touted as part of the Republicans so-called “jobs” package, the bill doesn’t include a single requirement that businesses create jobs or invest within the United States before qualifying for the new tax deductions. It simply adds even more tax loop holes for businesses to take advantage of.   The Joint Committee on Taxation found that H.R. 9’s impact on economic growth and jobs is “so small as to be incalculable.” The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center estimates that nearly half of the $46 billion tax cut would go to people with incomes more than $1 million a year." Ten Republicans broke with their party to vote with organized labor. Chip Cravaack was not one of them. The bill passed by a vote of 235-173.

4. Cravaack voted for HR 5652, another one of Paul Ryan's plans, that replaces billions  in spending cuts outlined in the 2011 debt ceiling legislation with cuts in programs that help millions of families "Forty percent of the total $324 billion in cuts in mandatory spending comes from programs targeted to low- and moderate-income families, including food stamps, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and social services for vulnerable children and elderly and disabled poor." 16 Republicans broke with their party to vote with organized labor. Chip Cravaack was not one of them. The bill passed by a vote of 218-199.

5. Chip Cravaack voted for HR 6079, the Repeal of the Affordable Care Act. If the ACA is repealed, "1.2 million young adults would lose their coverage through their parents’ health plan; 2.7 million seniors would pay higher prices for prescription drugs; 44 million seniors would be denied free preventive services; and insurance companies would be allowed to resume denying coverage, limiting care and spending premiums on larger CEO salaries and profits." No Republicans broke with their party to vote with organized labor.  The legislation passed by a vote of 244-185.

6. Cravaack voted against the Levin Amendment to HR 8 (Bush tax cuts)  that would permanently extend tax cuts on income under $250,000 for joint filers ($200,000 for individuals), or about 98 percent of taxpayers and 97 percent of small business owners, saving the federal government nearly $1 trillion over the next 10 years. No Republicans broke with their party to vote with organized labor. The amendment  was defeated by a vote of 170-257.

7. Cravaack voted for HR 8, (Bush tax cuts) that gives the top 2 percent an average tax cut of $150,000 per year but raises taxes on approximately 25 million middle and low income households by ending  the refundable tax credit for college tuition, and both the 2009 expansion of the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit. Only one Republican broke with his party to vote with organized labor. It was not Chip Cravaack. The legislation passed by a vote of 256-171.

Pretty dismal record for one who claims to be an ally of working people. And remember, this covers legislation only through Aug 2. Cravaack's final report card is likely to be much worse.  Unfortunately, some have fallen for Cravaack's guise, including one very misguided union that shockingly rewarded this false friend with an endorsement.

A working person - or union - supporting Tea Party Chip Cravaack is more than wrong. It's just plain stupid.

Cross posted from Iron Country Free Press

Please help get rid of this union buster by sending a contribution to his DFL/Labor/Kos endorsed challenger, former Congressman Rick Nolan, a true champion of organized labor.

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