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10 Worst Things About Rick Perry

As he retires from office, he will leave behind a record of right-wing extremism that few could match.

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6. He backed nullification of federal laws and even raised the prospect of secession. Perry rose to national prominence in 2009 when he  threatened to have Texas secede from the United States. “If Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that,” Perry told reporters after a Tea Party event. He also signed  nullification legislation — a state law that portends to undo federal law, despite the Constitution’s clear guarantee of federal supremacy — as governor, the likes of which were used by secessionists in the 19th Century.

7. He refused to let the federal government provide healthcare for low-income Texans, despite the highest rate of uninsured residents in the country. Health care in Texas is abysmal. More than  25 percentof Texans —  6,234,900 people and growing — lack health coverage, the highest of any state in the country. However, when Obamacare was passed and offered millions of dollars in federal money to expand Medicaid and cover poor Texans, Perry  rejected the offer even though it wouldn’t cost Texas a dime for at least three years. Despite his state’s awful track record on covering low-income residents, Perry claimed that Texas has the “best health care in the country.”

8. He vetoed bipartisan Equal Pay legislation to protect Texas women. Though women, on average, continue to earn  77 cents for every dollar men make, Perry  vetoed legislation that would have helped women fight discrimination. The bill,  HB 950, which passed the Republican-held Texas legislature, would have built on the federal Lilly Ledbetter Act. Perry, worrying that the bill would lead to regulations, vetoed the measure.

9. He called for repeal of the 16th and 17th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, to end popular election of Senators and the federal income tax. In his book Fed Up!, Perry said that both the 16th and 17th Amendments were “mistaken” and should be repealed. The 16th Amendment allows the federal government to collect income taxes and accounts for  45 percent of all revenue, while the 17th Amendment allows voters, rather than state legislatures, to choose their U.S. senators. Perry opposed both amendments, saying they were merely passed in “a fit of populist rage.”

In his  announcement, Perry noted, “Our responsibility remains to the next generation of Texans, who will inherit a state of our making. We alone are responsible for the kind of Texas that will greet them.”

JOSH ISRAEL is a senior investigative reporter for ThinkProgress.org at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Scott Keyes is a researcher for the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
 
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