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S-CHIP Robocall

My wife was kind enough to save this message on our answering machine:

Hello, this is an urgent message from American Family Voices at telephone number 202-393-4352.   Congressman Randy Kuhl and President Bush want another $46 billion to fund the war in Iraq, while here at home Congressman Kuhl voted once again to support Bush's veto of the State Health Insurance Act, which will provided health coverage for 10 million needy children.  The S-CHIP program costs about what we now spend for 40 days in the Iraq War.   Call Congressman Kuhl at 607-776-9142 and ask him why he wants $46 billion more for the War in Iraq and nothing for American Children.

S-CHIP Non-Compromise

A slightly altered version of the S-CHIP passed the House this afternoon with exactly the same number of yes votes as the original S-CHIP legislation.  Randy Kuhl voted against the bill. 

I haven't studied the changes in the bill closely, but they don't sound like the product of a compromise, judging from this National Journal article.   A recent Kuhl blog post echoes the complaints of his leadership:  the vote was held without enough advance notice, and without California members who were back in their districts because of the recent fires.

It sounds like the House Democrats are taking some advice from Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican who supported S-CHIP in the House:

Grassley has suggested that, were he a Democrat, he would send the SCHIP measure to Bush repeatedly until the president agreed to sign it.
From the media reports, it sounds like both sides in this debate have wedged themselves into intractable positions.  Republicans like Kuhl have taken a big hit for their opposition to S-CHIP, and they've responded with a lot of red-hot rhetoric about the bill.  They need some tangible changes in the bill to justify changing their votes.  Democrats see how well S-CHIP polls, and are under fire from their constituents for their failure to end the war in Iraq.  With 43 Republicans on their side, they've chosen S-CHIP as a bi-partisan effort to get a few more Republicans accustomed to voting against their party.   This is a recipe for stalemate, and it looks like we're going there sooner, rather than later.

And, by the way, both MoveOn and AFSCME are launching still more ads in the district to publicize Kuhl's  vote.

Anti-Iran War Robo-Call

Itchy over at Rochesterturning got robo-called by American Family Voices.  The subject of the call was the possibility of war with Iran, and the text is included in his post.  

DCCC Continues Ad Campaign

Politico reports that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will launch another set of radio ads criticizing Randy Kuhl for his S-CHIP vote.  The first round of ads and robo-calls ran earlier this month.

More Detail on the SEIU Campaign

Buffalo public radio station WBFO reports that the SEIU S-CHIP ad campaign against Randy Kuhl and Tom Reynolds will cost "six figures".  And SEIU has posted the personalized versions of their ads in a recent press release.  The Kuhl ad is here [3 MB quicktime].


I received a robo-call yesterday morning.  Here's the text:

Good afternoon, this is Nora, a Western New York grandmother with five grandchildren, who all depend on crucial healthcare funding that President Bush just vetoed with the support of our Congressman, Randy Kuhl.  Bush and Kuhl are denying healthcare coverage to millions of American children.  This, while asking for billions more for the war in Iraq.  I'm tired of elected officials who make decisions without ever having to walk in the shoes of someone who is affected by them.  It's time to take a stand against Kuhl's misplaced priorities and call Congressman Kuhl at 607-766-9142. 

Paid for and authorized by 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.

Kuhl, Spitzer Talk

This morning's New York Times' S-CHIP story leads with Randy Kuhl saying he's unlikely to change his position, despite a phone call from Eliot Spitzer urging him to "come over to the dark side."  The Times also puts a price tag on the Americans United ad campaign, which will spend $1 million on a combined national (generic) and local (targeted) ad campaign.

Americans United Ad Campaign

The Albany Project reports that a coalition of unions, under the auspices of America United for Change, have announced that they will sponsor a targeted ad campaign. Though the details of the ad buy are not clear, it appears that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) will both sponsor targeted ads in the 29th.

I've included a sample ad after the break, though this is a generic ad and it's not clear what, exactly, will air in local media markets.

Kuhl on CNN

Reader Rich sends a CNN video report which includes Randy Kuhl's view of the S-CHIP dust-up (at about 1:15). The CNN reporter says: "Kuhl calls the ads 'crass politics' and says his constituents won't buy it." Then Kuhl says:

It's not affecting me now, and I don't think it will. I believe in basic things, and one of them is a private health care plan where people have a choice. That is one thing this bill will not do.

DCCC Ads, Cigarettes and a Speech

The DCCC has begun running radio ads and robo-calls to publicize Randy Kuhl's vote against S-CHIP. Here's the audio [wmv] of the ad. The DCCC press release says the ads will run for a week, but it doesn't include the size of the ad buy.

The ad says that S-CHIP is "funded by a 61 cent increase in the tobacco tax." It should say partially funded, because that tax increase isn't enough to pay for the entire expansion. Kuhl seems to think that this increase is a negative: one of his blog postings links to an AP article titled "Poor Smokers Would Pay for Health Bill".

Finally, Kuhl's office also posted a short video of Randy's one-minute floor speech last Wednesday. The topic is New York State drivers licenses for illegal immigrants (a topic I covered here). Kuhl made this speech during the "one minute speech" portion of the House's daily calendar. Video after the break:

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