Category Archives: Congress

Latest on the Trump-Putin campaign investigation

You’re shocked, I’m sure. America’s liar-in-chief Donald Trump: “I did not make recordings of Comey,” after teasing the possibility he did for weeks. What a drama queen. So Trump’s good with a charge of witness intimidation then. Good to know.

There’s also more evidence for the obstruction of justice charge. Intel chiefs tell investigators Trump suggested they refute collusion with Russians:

Two of the nation’s top intelligence officials told Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team and Senate investigators, in separate meetings last week, that President Donald Trump suggested they say publicly there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russians, according to multiple sources.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers described their interactions with the President about the Russia investigation as odd and uncomfortable, but said they did not believe the President gave them orders to interfere, according to multiple sources familiar with their accounts.

Their “beliefs” or “feelings” are irrelevant. They confirmed the attempt to obstruct was made.

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WaPo: ‘discussion draft’ of GOP bill

After weeks of secret negotiations, evil GOP bastard Mitch McConnell is ready to release the GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare to rank and file GOP senators today, and is expected to release the bill publicly ahead of the vote next week. Senate GOP leaders set to unveil health-care bill.

The Washington Post purportedly has a leaked copy of the “discussion draft” for rank and file GOP senators this morning. Senate health-care draft repeals Obamacare taxes, provides bigger subsidies for low-income Americans than House bill:

A discussion draft circulating Wednesday afternoon among aides and lobbyists would roll back the Affordable Care Act’s taxes, phase down its Medicaid expansion, rejigger its subsidies, give states wider latitude in opting out of its regulations and eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

The bill largely mirrors the House measure that narrowly passed last month but with some significant changes aimed at pleasing moderates. While the House legislation tied federal insurance subsidies to age, the Senate bill would link them to income, as the ACA does. The Senate proposal cuts off Medicaid expansion more gradually than the House bill, but would enact deeper long-term cuts to the health-care program for low-income Americans. It also removes language restricting federally subsidized health plans from covering abortions, which may have run afoul of complex budget rules.

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GOP saboteurs will proceed with an ‘Obamacare’ repeal vote in the Senate next week

Health insurers are scrambling to decide whether to stay or go by Wednesday’s deadline to file plans for the federal marketplace. As we’ve reported here for months, GOP sabotage of “Obamacare” and uncertainty in the health insurance marketplace has caused some insurers to leave the federal marketplace, and others will dramatically increase their premiums or deductibles trying to anticipate the damage that the GOP  health care bill will do to their bottom line. With Health Law in Flux, Insurers Scramble to Meet Filing Deadline:

Even as Senate Republicans hurry to finish their plan to overhaul the law, insurers must meet a series of state and federal filing deadlines. While the Wednesday deadline does not represent a final commitment by the insurer, “it will be a good indicator of the health of these markets,” said Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at Georgetown University.

If an insurer misses the Wednesday deadline, regulators could still choose to accept a last-minute application, as they did last year in Arizona, to make sure residents had access to a policy through the state marketplace. “State officials and governors are going to be very pragmatic to make sure people have coverage,” Ms. Corlette said.

Some insurers are betting against the GOP saboteurs.

[S]ome insurers say they plan to stay — and a few are even expanding into more states.

Oscar Health, the New York insurance start-up, said Wednesday that it expected to offer policies in three additional states for 2018: Ohio, New Jersey and Tennessee. The company, which covers about 105,000 people, also plans to expand in California and Texas while remaining in New York. Oscar had sold policies in New Jersey but left the state this year.

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“We’re confident that when the dust settles, the market for health insurance will stabilize in time for 2018,” Mario Schlosser, the company’s chief executive, wrote in a blog post. “For all of the political noise, there are simply too many lives at stake for representatives in Washington, D.C., not to do what’s right for the people.

Wow, is this guy politically naive.

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One miscalculation or mistake away from war

Wars often begin with a miscalculation or mistake after prolonged periods of posturing and saber rattling. We will be told that we have to save face or appear weak, especially by people like Sen. John McCain. So we will stumble into war.

Two events in recent days — the shooting down by a US F-18 of a Syrian Su-22 and the use of ballistic missiles by Iran against ISIS targets — are evidence of a scramble in eastern Syria that’s been gathering pace since the beginning of the year.

CNN reports, Syrian conflict moves into new and dangerous territory:

It’s the first time the United States has shot down a Syrian military aircraft, and at least the fifth occasion it has targeted regime and pro-regime forces since the Trump administration took office.

On Tuesday, a US fighter jet shot down a pro-Syrian regime drone in the country’s southeast, US officials told CNN.

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A lot of forces with competing aims are at close quarters in eastern Syria. The United States is aggressively backing a Syrian rebel alliance — the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) — as they fight their way into Raqqa, ISIS’ administrative capital for the past three years. Hundreds of US military advisors are close to the front-lines, supported by intense coalition airstrikes.

The Syrian army and its allies (largely Iranian, Iraqi and Lebanese Shia militia), however, are also closing in on Raqqa. Last week the Syrian military reached areas controlled by the SDF. It was almost inevitable that at some point these opposing alliances would butt heads. So when the Syrian air force bombed SDF positions Sunday, the US came to the aid of its partners on the ground — and the Syrians have one fewer Su-22.

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SCOTUS to review partisan gerrymandering in Whitford v. Gill

I gave you the background on this case earlier this year. Whitford v. Gill: Partisan gerrymandering case before SCOTUS.

On Monday, the Supreme Court granted review of this case in its next term, while also staying the lower court’s order requiring new maps be put on hold until they can resolve the state’s appeal.

This case has the potential to be a landmark opinion, for good or for bad, depending upon how the court rules.

We currently have a system in which the voters do not choose their elected representatives; elected representatives choose their voters through partisan gerrymandering, which can be done with mathematical precision to ensure “safe” districts. This destroys any notion of competitive elections in a democratic society. It is the way in which elections truly are “rigged.”

Amy Howe at SCOTUS blog explains, Today’s orders: Court to tackle partisan gerrymandering:

The Supreme Court will once again wade into the world of partisan gerrymandering – that is, the practice of purposely drawing district lines to favor one party and put another at a disadvantage. The justices announced today that they will review Wisconsin’s appeal of the decision by a three-judge district court striking down, as the product of partisan gerrymandering, the redistricting map that the Republican-controlled legislature created after the 2010 census. The lower court also ordered the state to create a new redistricting plan by the fall, but a deeply divided Supreme Court today put that order on hold. The Supreme Court’s ruling in the case, which is likely to come next year, will almost certainly be a major one that could affect redistricting efforts for decades to come.

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Democrats resist Tea-Publican tyranny to destroy America’s health care system

Democrats on Monday intensified their resistance to the un-American and anti-democratic efforts of tyrannical Tea-Publicans to destroy America’s health care system just to give huge tax cuts to their Plutocratic masters.

Evil GOP bastard Mitch McConnell is sticking to his artificial July 4th congressional break deadline of June 30 to hold a vote in the Senate. There is currently no final bill that is in writing. In order to have enough time to get the requisite Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scoring of the bill ahead of McConnell’s June 30 deadline, a final bill would have to be sent to the CBO by this Friday.

There will be no committee hearings, no public input from stakeholders, no Democratic amendments allowed to be offered, and only limited debate for this bill created in secret by a Star Chamber of 13 old white Tea-Publican men.

This secret bill will be released only hours before a vote. Senators will not have time to read the bill and to to digest it.  This is not the American democratic legislative process. This is authoritarian Tea-Publican tyranny writ large, all in service to giving huge tax cuts to their Plutocratic masters.

On Monday, Dems step up attacks on GOP ObamaCare bill:

Senate Democrats are stepping up their attacks on the GOP’s push to repeal and replace ObamaCare as the legislative battle enters a critical two-week stretch.

Democrats can’t block a healthcare bill on their own, but are threatening to shut down the Senate in retaliation for Republicans negotiating their legislation in a string of closed-door GOP-only meetings.

The move, they hope, will put Republicans on the defense as they look to force a vote as soon as next week, when lawmakers will leave for the July 4th recess.

“This radical departure from normal procedure on a bill of such consequence leaves the Senate minority little choice but to depart from normal procedure as well,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said from the Senate floor. “If the Republicans won’t debate their healthcare in the open for the American people to see, they shouldn’t expect business as usual.”

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