Category Archives: Congress

Action Alert: you have until September 30 to kill this zombie ‘Trumpcare’ bill

The Senate parliamentarian told senators that Tea-Publicans’ ability to pass an Obamacare replacement with just 51 votes expires at the end of September. Repealing Obamacare Just Got Even More Complicated. It was not entirely clear to me whether the Continuing Resolution (CR) that Congress passed a couple of weeks ago would extend this deadline, but everything I have read since indicates that the September 30 deadline remains in effect.

OK, zombie hunters. Last week Tea-Publicans introduced their desperation zombie “Trumpcare” bill. You know what you have to do.

Steve Benen explains, The final fight of the Republican health care crusade has arrived:

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) formally unveiled the only remaining Republican plan to overhaul the nation’s health care system.

NBC News obtained an advanced draft of the proposal, which has been percolating for a couple of months.

The 23-page summary draft and an explanation of funding, which Graham’s office confirmed is authentic, attempts to achieve parity in federal funding between states that expanded Medicaid and those that did not by 2026. That division was one that helped to kill the Senate’s efforts because senators from expansion states tended to oppose the legislation in its previous versions due to the roll-back of the Medicaid expansion.

The bill also provides federal money to states to implement their own health care plan as opposed to one system for all 50 states that exists under Obamacare.

We’ve discussed many of the profound flaws in this plan before, and we can go into more detail once the legislation is available for scrutiny. For now, however, let’s consider whether the Graham-Cassidy plan has a credible chance at success.

Note: There are at least 46 Tea-Publicans who would vote for a blank piece of paper, sight unseen, if they are told it repeals Obamacare,  consequences to Americans, the health care system, and the economy be damned.

Continue reading

How Would You Answer Nancy Pelosi’s Letter?

“In light of all we have to lose under the Trump-Ryan agenda, success is our only option. But for that to happen, we need your ideas as well as your support.”

As a regular small-amount donor to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), I regularly get form letters from Nancy Pelosi. The latest one included the Official Democratic Unity Survey.

For me, the top priority issue is opposing the plan by the Trump Administration and Paul Ryan to privatize Social Security and Medicare. I have worked for 50 years and contributed my share, so I’ve earned these benefits. There are 98 million people in the US over age 65 who likely feel the same way.

But I wonder which of the 10 identified issues YOU think Democratic House candidates should focus on to win the 24 seats needed to take the majority back in the House. What would you add?

You can answer in the comments or go to www.dccc.org/unite2018.

▢ Access to health care for all Americans.
▢ Keeping America’s promise to our seniors.
▢ Wall Street reforms and fighting corporate greed.
▢ Challenge Trump policies that threaten the human and civil rights of refugees and immigrants.
▢ Climate change and protecting our planet.
▢ Defending a woman’s right to choose.
▢ Protect and defend the rights of the LGBTQ community.
▢ Exposing and blocking attacks on voting rights.
▢ Increasing the minimum wage and reviving the American Dream.
▢ Investigating the Trump Administration.

Frankly, I was disappointed to see that the economy was not spelled out as an issue. It’s the one issue that will win elections. Remember Bill Clinton saying, “It’s the economy, stupid“?

Raising the minimum wage is part of that. You can disagree with me, but I think the Democrats need to spend less time on hot-button social issues, and more on economic development.

Ducey v. Brnovich on ABOR tuition lawsuit

Doug Ducey, the ice cream man hired by Koch Industries to run their Southwest subsidiary formerly know as the state of Arizona, is an ex officio member of the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR), recently sued by Attorney General Mark Brnovich in a publicity stunt over high tuition rates at the state universities.

Governor Ducey says his AG Mark Brnovich is full-o-crap. Ducey stands by ABOR, says tuition rates are constitutional:

Arizona’s three universities are in compliance with constitutional requirements to keep instruction “as nearly free as possible,” Gov. Doug Ducey said Thursday, despite what Attorney General Mark Brnovich contends.

* * *

More to the point, the governor said he believes the regents, in setting tuition — and even in imposing sharp increases during the past 15 years — are keeping the cost of instruction within what the constitution requires.

Continue reading

Congress takes Trump to task over his Charlottesville comments

A truly remarkable event occured this week. Who could have imagined that this would even be necessary?

The House and Senate unanimously passed a joint resolution urging President Trump to denounce racist and anti-Semitic hate groups, sending a blunt message of dissatisfaction with the president’s initial, equivocal response to the white nationalist violence in Charlottesville, Va., last month. Congress Passes Measure Challenging Trump to Denounce Hate Groups:

The resolution passed the Senate without dissent on Monday and was approved without objection by the entire House on Tuesday night.

The nonbinding measure specifically singles out for condemnation “White nationalists, White supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and other hate groups.”

* * *

The House version of the resolution, introduced by Republican and Democratic House members from Virginia, asks Mr. Trump to “use all resources available to the President and the President’s Cabinet to address the growing prevalence of those hate groups in the United States.”

* * *

The text does not include any reference to counterprotesters.

It also calls on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “investigate thoroughly all acts of violence, intimidation, and domestic terrorism by White supremacists, White nationalists, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and associated groups” and to “improve the reporting of hate crimes” to the F.B.I.

“What happened in Charlottesville was an act of domestic terrorism perpetrated by a white supremacist, one that tragically cut short the life of a young woman, Heather Heyer, who was speaking out against hatred and bigotry,” Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia and a co-sponsor of the measure, said in a statement.

Continue reading

A DACA deal with ‘Amnesty Don’? Don’t believe it until it actually happens

The first thing you always have to keep in mind is that you literally cannot believe anything Donald Trump says. He is a pathological liar who will tell whomever he is speaking to whatever they want to hear, and minutes later deny he ever said it. He frequently contradicts himself, sometimes even in the same sentence. You really cannot negotiate with someone like this because his word is not his bond and there is no morality or sense of honor to hold him to a commitment he has given.

So this happened last night. Pelosi and Schumer Say They Have Deal With Trump to Replace DACA:

Democratic leaders on Wednesday night declared that they had a deal with President Trump to quickly extend protections for young undocumented immigrants and to finalize a border security package that does not include the president’s proposed wall.

The Democrats, Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi, said in a joint statement that they had a “very productive” dinner meeting with the president at the White House that focused on the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. “We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides,” they said.

Less than 20 minuts later, White House spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted this after the internet began reporting the news:

Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 1.46.55 PM

Mr. Schumer’s communications director, Matt House, fired back on Twitter: “The President made clear he would continue pushing the wall, just not as part of this agreement.”

Continue reading

Alternative paths to universal health care coverage

The Hill reports that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to unveil ‘Medicare for all’ bill on Wednesday:

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will unveil his “Medicare for all” bill on Wednesday[.]

The advisory from his office says that Sanders will be joined by Senate co-sponsors, though does not list who they are. He will also be joined by “medical professionals, business leaders, and patients.”

The issue has emerged as a key test for 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls.

In fact, the Washington Post reports today that The dam is breaking on Democrats’ embrace of single-payer:

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) became the fourth co-sponsor of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) “Medicare for all” health-care bill Monday. In doing so, he joined Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.).

What do those four senators have in common? Well, they just happen to constitute four of the eight most likely 2020 Democratic presidential nominees, according to the handy list I put out Friday. And another senator in my top 8, Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), last month came out in favor of the idea of “Medicare for all” — though not this specific bill (yet).

This is about as far from a coincidence as you can get. And it suggests the dam is breaking when it comes to the Democratic Party embracing government-run health care, also known as single-payer.

Continue reading