Category Archives: Activism

Action Alert: budget to be debated in the Arizona legislature today

Over at the madhouse on Washington Street, i.e., the Arizona legislature, they have been teasing the possibility of a budget deal all week.

Their problem is that the budget is tied to Governor Doug Ducey’s unpopular bonding plan for the state universities to avoid having to rise taxes as the Arizona Constitution requires.  And that plan is in trouble. Lawmakers, governor move closer to a budget deal, including university bonding:

[T]he earliest budget bills could clear the Legislature and be sent to the governor’s desk for a signature is now Thursday. According to the Arizona Constitution, budget bills must be read in three calendar days. Budget proposal to be debated Thursday.

Budget documents used to brief GOP lawmakers, obtained by the Arizona Capitol Times, reveal a tentative deal that gives Ducey much of what he asked for, including a host of new initiatives to boost K-12 funding, new school construction and maintenance dollars, and money for a two percent teacher pay raise over two years.

It also appears that a deal struck that governor’s university bonding proposal, a sticking point, has ended the stalemate at the Capitol.

The university bonding plan was pitched by the Arizona Board of Regents as a mechanism that would allow universities to keep the sales taxes they would ordinarily pay to the state, which they would then use to borrow up to $1 billion. In Fiscal Year 2018, the sales tax was estimated to be $30.3 million from the state’s share, and nearly $7 million from the cities and counties’ share. Critics of the plan, who included several GOP lawmakers, questioned how much the pot of sales tax money would grow each year, and worried about its impact on cities and counties.

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Action Alert: Zombie ‘Trumpcare’ vote on Thursday – call your member of Congress now

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin and Ayn Rand fanboy, had House members vote for ‘martial law’ waiver on one-day wait rule in hopes of speedy ACA repeal on Tuesday. “We don’t need to read no stinkin’ bill!

There is also no Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score for the Zombie “Trumpcare” bill with the MacArthur Amendment and the eleventh-hour Upton Amendment. Congress does not know how this bill will affect health care coverage and cost for Americans, but most stakeholder medical organizations have warned that this bill is worse than “Trumpcare 2.0.”

UPDATE: In lieu of a CBO score, an overview of the expected effects of the GOP health-care bill.

To paraphrase the GOP attack line on Nancy Pelosi, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it,” only this time this criticism is actually true.

House GOP leaders just announced the House to vote Thursday on ObamaCare repeal:

The announcement sets up a high-stakes vote that is expected to come down to the wire.

The move comes after the bill gained new momentum on Wednesday, after GOP Reps. Fred Upton (Mich.) and Billy Long (Mo.) said they would support the bill after a new amendment from Upton.

Still, no lawmakers other than those two have publicly given their support since the announcement of the new amendment.

“We will be voting on the healthcare bill tomorrow. We have enough votes. It will pass. It’s a good bill,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said after leaving a leadership meeting Wednesday night.

Asked by a reporter about whether the bill would have to be pulled from the floor again for lack of support, McCarthy replied: “Would you have confidence? We’re going to pass it. We’re going to pass it. Let’s be optimistic about life.”

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Time is running out on the Zombie ‘Trumpcare’ bill

The Zombie “Trumpcare” bill is still not entirely dead, and may even come up for a vote in the House this week where it could conceivably pass, possibly by the minimum 216 votes needed to pass (due to vacancies in the House).

In that case, Democrats could run ads against every GOP member of the House saying that “he/she was the decisive vote in the House to take health care away from 24 million Americans.” Lookin’ at you, Rep. Martha McSally.

We have a pathological liar for a president who is comfortable lying about what is in the the Zombie “Trumpcare” bill — all indications are that he does not know nor does he care about the details — and this has caused problems for  the House GOP leadership.

In the span of two days, President Trump has given two interviews about a health care bill that does not seem to exist. Trump keeps giving interviews about a health bill that doesn’t exist:

Trump told both CBS and Bloomberg about his desire to pass a bill that protects Americans with preexisting conditions.

“I want it to be good for sick people,” he told Bloomberg. “It is not in its final form right now. It will be every bit as good on pre-existing conditions as Obamacare.”

I don’t know what bill he’s talking about, but it is certainly not the current Republican health care bill. As I wrote yesterday, the Republicans just revised the American Health Care Act last week to weaken protections for those with preexisting conditions. In order to win Freedom Caucus support, they added a provision that would give states a waiver from the requirement that sick people be charged the same premiums as healthy people.

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Boat Parade 4 Teachers on Tuesday at the Capitol

Last week House Majority Leader John Allen (R-Scottsdale) opened his mouth and inserted his foot by insulting teachers. Teachers get second jobs to buy boats, enjoy finer things in life:

Teachers in Arizona are getting second jobs not because they’re struggling to survive on their low pay, but because they want to enjoy the finer things in life, like boats, according to House Majority Leader John Allen.

“They’re making it out as if anybody who has a second job is struggling. That’s not why many people take a second job,” Allen said. “They want to increase their lifestyles. They want to improve themselves. They want to pay for a boat. They want a bigger house. They work hard to provide themselves with a better lifestyle. Not everyone who takes a second job does it because they’re borderline poverty.”

Allen, a Scottsdale Republican, made the remark as an explanation for the controversial comments he made during a vote Tuesday on a bill to allow more people without formal teacher training to teach at K-12 schools. The bill, SB1042, passed the House and is awaiting Gov. Doug Ducey’s signature.

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Two National Day of Action Events on May Day

Carolyn Classen covered the People’s Climate March coming up on Saturday, so I will cover two events scheduled for Monday, May 1, or  “May Day.”

The lesser publicized event is the “Beyond the Moment March.” Activist groups are uniting under a broader coalition they’ve dubbed “The Majority,” more than 50 partners representing black, Latino, the indigenous, LGBTQ, refugees, immigrants, laborers and the poor will collaborate from April 4 through May 1, International Worker’s Day, when they’ll launch massive protests across the country.

The idea for the Beyond the Moment March was derived from the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech, in which he spoke out against racism, materialism and militarism — all broader and more-inclusive themes than his earlier anti-Jim Crow campaigns. The coalition said it chose April 4 as the kickoff for political education because that is date that King delivered the speech in 1967 and the date on which he was assassinated a year later.

The action will “go beyond moments of outrage, beyond narrow concepts of sanctuary, and beyond barriers between communities that have much at stake and so much in common,” The Majority states on its BeyondtheMoment.org website. The “Beyond the Moment” initiative kicked off on April 4 with “serious political education with our bases,” according to the website. In the weeks leading up to the mass mobilizations on May 1, they will hold public teach-ins and workshops nationwide. The desired outcome is a “broad intersectional, cross-sectoral” and influential unity on the left, activists said. We will strike, rally and resist,” said the coalition.

For more information see Mic.com, Protest groups to unite as “The Majority” for massive actions across the country on May 1, and Alternet. Diverse Protest Groups Unite As ‘The Majority,’ Aiming for Large-Scale Demonstrations on May 1st.

The second more publicized event is the Rise Up! National Day of Action, which recalls the 2006 United States immigration reform protests that reached a climax on May 1, 2006, and were nicknamed “A day without Immigrants” after the film A Day Without a Mexican.

Thomas Kennedy writes at the Huffington Post (excerpt):

On May 1 in cities, towns, and communities across the country, hundreds of thousands of people will rise up in resistance to demonstrate the power, resilience, and strength of immigrant communities and progressives in America.

Keeping families together is an American value that must be defended with all the urgency and passion we can muster.

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Shutdown Watch: Kick the can down the road for one week

You can keep your plans for this weekend. House will not vote on Affordable Care Act rewrite, smoothing way for government to stay open:

Despite pressure from the White House, House GOP leaders determined Thursday night that they didn’t have the votes to pass a rewrite of the Affordable Care Act and would not seek to put their proposal on the floor on Friday.

A late push to act on health care had threatened the bipartisan deal to keep the government open for one week while lawmakers crafted a longer-term spending deal. Now, members are likely to approve the short-term spending bill when it comes to the floor and keep the government open past midnight on Friday.

And there it is. House passes spending deal to keep the federal government open another week:

A short-term spending agreement to keep the federal government open for another week passed the House of Representatives on Friday.

The Senate is expected to pass the short-term deal later Friday and House and Senate negotiators are set to work through the weekend to finalize a longer-term deal that would fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September.

Top staff and leaders on the appropriations committees worked late into the night on Thursday to reach an agreement but were unable to resolve differences on several unrelated policy measures that have plagued the process since the beginning, according to several congressional aides familiar with the talks.

“We’re willing to extend things for a little bit more time in hopes that the same sort of progress can be made,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Friday morning.

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