Bud Crisafulli has taken $132,466 in federal farm subsidies over the past two decades. Bud Crisafulli is the father and business partner of Steve Crisafulli (R-Cut-And-Run), the man currently impersonating Florida's House Speaker.
Crisafulli junior abruptly ended this year's legislative session three days early without passing a budget as required by the Constitution, and leaving scads of pending legislation to die. He did this over what amounts to a temper tantrum because he's against expanding Medicaid for Florida's working poor. In other words, he's denying these taxpayers federal funds that would give them access to health care they currently can't afford, and desperately need.
Apparently the Crisafulli family feels their livestock and citrus trees are worthy of federal funding, but those taxpayers who work hard at jobs that don't pay enough of a living wage (thanks to Florida GOP policies) to afford health care are not worthy of federal funds merely for access to health insurance.
If this hypocrisy sounds familiar, please rewind to a similar scenario last year, when the House Speaker was Will Weatherford. His family thought Medicaid was fantastic when they got assistance for Weatherford's sick brother, yet Weatherford not only denied Floridians Medicaid expansion last year, he cheered on the GOP to keep blocking it this year.
The ACA (Or, in GOP-Koch-speak, evil Obamacare) is working well as planned, and people like it. Even Republicans. Florida had one of the highest uninsured rates in the country, and now is one of its biggest success stories, even in spite of all the opposition from the GOP, Rick Scott, and Pam Bondi. States that have expanded Medicaid under the ACA are saving lives and money. Even other Republican governors woke up to this fact and they chose to reluctantly expand. Their constituents are reaping the benefits.
But Florida? Nope.
For three years now, the GOP has turned away $51 billion in federal funds for subsidized health care under the ACA. Six Floridians die every day without health care. Even the Florida Senate woke up a little with their own budget proposal that included $2.8 billion in Medicaid expansion money that would have extended coverage to 800,000 low-income Floridians.
But over in the House, the spoiled and unruly children stuck to their own fictional version of reality, pointed fingers at the Senate, had a temper tantrum and went home in a huff three days early. On his way out the door, Crisafulli said he vowed he would never ask the House "to vote for something I wouldn't vote for myself." Conflicting reports from other members said that there were those in the House who actually would have voted for the expansion, so perhaps that's the real reason he shut everything down.
So the House left Floridians hanging with no Medicaid, and numerous bills dead, among them, those that would have helped disabled children, those who are mentally ill, terminally ill, legislation that would have reformed the disastrous and deadly Florida prison system, and of course, any actions on Amendment 1 that voters overwhelmingly wanted. (Big Sugar says thank you!)
And no budget, as required by the Constitution.
All this, just because Republicans in the legislature and Rick Scott, who supports the House shutdown, simply do not want Florida's hard working low-income taxpayers to have affordable health care. It simply doesn't get much lower than that, though I'm sure the GOP are up to the challenge to sink further. At some point they will have to come back and continue the damage.
Hard working families in Florida, some forced to have more than one job just to make ends meet, don't quit when the going gets tough. They keep working to provide for their families. Yet the GOP insist on stacking the deck against them with policies that help create income inequality. If they walked off the job because they couldn't get their way, they would lose their jobs. Yet Crisafulli and his colleagues still have their jobs as lawmakers, still get a paycheck (while they're not working), still get free meals and lodging courtesy of taxpayers, and, yes, still have that nice deal on taxpayer funded health care at lower rates that no average Floridian could ever hope to get. These low-income Floridans are denied federal funds for Medicaid by the same people their tax dollars provide insurance and an income for. As an added "bonus" they'll also foot the bill for the latest lawsuit Rick Scott has filed, essentially against them.
Because the Florida GOP love to be fiscally conservative, except when they're not.
They also love the Constitution, except when they don't.
And the petulant child of a House Speaker, Crisafulli, will still deny hard working Floridians who are barely scraping by the chance at the same healthy life he enjoys on them.
And he will continue to get federal subsidies for his family livestock while shutting down the government in an effort to deny federal subsidies for health care for the poorest Floridians.
And those Floridians will still keep on dying as he does.