Helena, Mont. – As folks from across Big Sky Country prepare to watch Speaker Gingrich’s appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno this evening, Montana Democrats are noting the similarities between the failed presidential candidate and Congressman Rick Hill. In fact, the two are so close that when Speaker Gingrich left his post in 1998, Congressman Hill said: “it’s sad to see a friend step down (1).”
Montana Democrats Executive Director Ted Dick noted that both Speaker Gingrich and Congressman Hill have a long history of supporting policies that hardworking Montanans can’t afford.
“Montanans can’t afford the policies of Speaker Gingrich and Congressman Hill,” said Dick. “As Montanans view the Tonight Show with Jay Leno this evening, I urge them to keep in mind that both Speaker Gingrich and Congressman Hill favor the implementation of a sales tax, cuts to Social Security and Medicare, and allowing insurance companies to discriminate against women.”
Top 5 Similarities Between Speaker Gingrich and Congressman Hill:
1. Favor Implementation of a Sales Tax: Speaker Gingrich and Congressman Hill have a history of supporting a sales tax. In 1993, Rick Hill led the charge for a $400 million sales tax in Montana that would have raised prices on hardworking Montanans when purchasing groceries, trucks, guns, and homes (2). Speaker Gingrich, while speaking on the House floor in 1987, spoke in favor of a sales tax (3).
2. Oppose Increasing Minimum Wage: Speaker Gingrich and Congressman Hill have fought against increasing the minimum wage for hardworking Montanans. In 2000, Congressman Hill voted against increasing the minimum wage by $1 per hour – from $5.15 to $6.15 per hour – as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (4). During his failed presidential run, former Speaker Gingrich criticized his opponent for wanting to raise the minimum wage, and asserted that he would not be in favor of raising the minimum wage (5).
3. Support Cutting Social Security and Medicare Funds: Speaker Gingrich and Congressman Hill have a history of backing cuts in Social Security and Medicare. In 1997, both Speaker Gingrich and Congressman Hill supported the FY 1998 budget that included a $115 billion dollar reduction in Medicare (6). In addition, Speaker Gingrich and Congressman Rick Hill both support privatizing social security (7) – in fact, Congressman Hill said that "entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare are crippling America (8)."
4. Voted Together More Than 90 Percent of the Time: Speaker Gingrich and Congressman Hill supported the same policies nearly all the time. In the 105th Congress, Speaker Gingrich and Congressman Hill voted together more than 90 percent of the time (9).
5. Proponents of Allowing Insurance Companies to Discriminate Based on Gender: Speaker Gingrich and Congressman Hill both support letting insurance companies discriminate against women. At a debate in April, Hill asserted that he would like to give insurance companies the right to discriminate based on gender (10). And, during his failed Presidential campaign former Speaker Gingrich supported allowing insurance companies to discriminate based on gender (11).
“It’s clear that both Speaker Gingrich and Congressman Hill have the wrong priorities for hardworking Montanans,” said Dick. “I urge voters to keep this in mind as they watch the Tonight Show this evening.”
1. Associated Press. “Republicans Praise, Mourn Gingrich Decision.” November 6, 1998. Hyperlink: http://www.montanademocrats.org/node/373
2. Associated Press. “Hill Supports Re-election of Gingrich as Speaker of the House.” January 7, 1997. Hyperlink: www.montanademocrats.org/node/374
3. House Floor Speech. “Newt Gingrich Supported a National Sales Tax.” January 1987. Hyperlink: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0qSFruA14i4
4. Associated Press. “House Candidates in Spotlight on Barren Election Stage.” October 26, 1998. Hyperlink: http://www.montanademocrats.org/node/375
5. Forbes. “Romney vs. Gingrich on the Minimum Wage.” February 1, 2012. Hyperlink: http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2012/02/01/romney-vs-gingrich-on-the-minimum-wage/
6. HR 2015. Roll Call 241. June 25, 1997. Hyperlink: N/A
7. Associated Press. “Money Matters Dominate Final House Debate.” October 28, 1998. Hyperlink: http://www.montanademocrats.org/node/376
8. Associated Press. “Hill Touts Social Security Rescue Plan.” April 7, 1998. Hyperlink: http://www.montanademocrats.org/node/377
9. Helena Independent Record. October 15, 1996. Hyperlink: N/A
10. KXLH. “GOP candidates for MT Governor debate insurance issues.” April 19, 2012. Hyperlink: http://www.kxlh.com/news/gop-candidates-for-mt-governor-debate-insurance-issues/.
11. Huffington Post. “DNC Says GOP Candidates Would Let Health Companies Discriminate Against Women.” March 19, 2012. Hyperlink: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/19/dnc-gop-health-care-womens-health_n_1365381.html.