Category Archives: Legislation

Suffer the Children: Congress jeopardizes CHIP funding

It has been almost two months now since Congress allowed the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to expire at the end of September.

As Joan McCarter at Daily Kos recently noted:

This is unprecedented. It’s obscene and unconscionable. Never before has Congress allowed funding for children’s health and community health center expire—even when they were playing games with debt ceilings and government shutdowns, Republicans funded health care for kids and for the underserved. Not this year, not when they have tax cuts for rich people and corporations to focus on.

When last we visited this controversy, Tea-Publicans in Congress were holding CHIP funding hostage as leverage in their never-ending sabotage of “Obamacare.”

Earlier this month, House Passes Children’s Health Insurance Bill, But Kids Are No Closer To Health Insurance:

The House passed a bill Friday reauthorizing the lapsed Children’s Health Insurance Program. But instead of a bipartisan affair that Democrats and Republicans could pat themselves on the back for, the bill became a partisan fight over offsets that ultimately moves Congress further away from renewing CHIP.

The bill that passed Friday 242-174 ― with 227 Republicans and 15 Democrats voting yes, and 171 Democrats and 3 Republicans voting no ― almost certainly won’t become law. Instead, Congress will likely wait for an end-of-the-year spending bill to reauthorize the program, which covers roughly 9 million low-income children and pregnant women.

According to Democrats, the problem with the bill, which would extend CHIP for five years and reauthorize community health centers and other public health programs for two years, is that it would pay for children’s health insurance by taking money from a preventive care fund. The GOP bill would also use new Medicare means-testing to partially pay for CHIP.

Continue reading

Government shutdown looms in December over DACA

Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner and turkey leftovers, because we may be two weeks away from a government shutdown. Politico reports, Congress speeds toward shutdown over Dreamers:

Concern is growing in both parties that a clash over the fate of Dreamers will trigger a government shutdown this December.

House conservatives have warned Speaker Paul Ryan against lumping a fix for undocumented immigrants who came to the country as minors into a year-end spending deal. They want him to keep the two issues separate and delay immigration negotiations into 2018 to increase their leverage — which both Ryan and the White House consider reasonable.

But many liberal Democrats have already vowed to withhold votes from the spending bill should it not address Dreamers, putting Democratic leaders Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California and Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York in an awkward spot if they don’t go along.

Democrats know Republicans need their votes to fund the government past the current Dec. 8 deadline, and many want Pelosi and Schumer to stand firm against the must-pass bill until leaders save the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“We want a clean DREAM Act,” said Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), referring to legislation that provides a pathway to citizenship for the young adults. “That is what it’s going to take for me and others to sign on.”

Ryan (R-Wis.), Pelosi, Schumerand Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are already discussing a short-term government-funding extension to buy themselves more time to negotiate, likely culminating in a Christmastime collision.

Continue reading

BfAZ Readers: Please Sign on to My Petition to Senator Flake

Readers:

I’ve started a petition addressed to Senator Flake regarding the Senate Tax Plan.

I’ll start with the first few paragraphs here, followed by a link to read the rest and sign.

Dear Senator Flake:

Your political beliefs do not line up with those of all your constituents. Many of us disagree with your votes far more often than we agree.

But we all respect you. We’ve always felt your votes, and your words, reflected your principles, not the dictate of some donor or a cynical political calculation.

So we’re not surprised to read that you are taking a hard look at the Senate tax bill and have concerns about its fiscal impact. We salute you for doing so.

As you consider your vote, we urge you to consider what the real cost of this tax plan will be. The sticker price, $1.5 trillion, is huge, but undoubtedly is a gross understatement. Here are a few of the areas you might want to explore on that front:

Read Remainder of Letter and Sign at Change.org

If you agree with me on this, please post a link to your Facebook page or Twitter feed. Thanks, Bob

GOP resorts to lying about its tax bill (part two)

Economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman hascbeen on fire the past couple of weeks exposing the lies of the GOP tax bills. Last week he wrote, Everybody Hates the Trump Tax Plan and blogged Days of Greed and Desperation (excerpt):

The House tax bill is wildly regressive; the Senate bill actually raises taxes on most families, while including a special tax break for private planes. In effect, the GOP is giving middle-class Americans a giant middle finger. What’s going on?

A large part of the answer, I’d suggest, is that many Republicans now see themselves and/or their party in such dire straits that they’re no longer even trying to improve their future electoral position; instead, it’s all about grabbing as much for their big donors while they still can. Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose; in the GOP’s case, that means the freedom to be the party of, by, and for oligarchs they always wanted to be.

* * *

So their incentive is to stuff everything the donors want, no matter how outrageous — tax hikes on most of the population, tax breaks on private planes — through the sausage grinder right now.

I have to admit, I didn’t see this coming. And there’s a pretty good chance that this desperate grab will fail — remember, it only takes three Republican Senators with a shred of principle. But that’s where we are.

Continue reading

GOP resorts to lying about its tax bill (part one)

Rep. Martha McSally had a GOP talking points cookie-cutter op-ed in The Arizona Republic over the weekend to which she simply signed her name. McSally: Why I voted for the House’s tax reform bill.

Note: The House tax bill is merely a placeholder. The Senate is writing its own bill, and it will be a conference committee bill yet to be determined that is the actual bill that will matter.

Rep. McSally’s rumored replacement to run for her CD 2 congressional seat when she announces for the senate, Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Lea Márquez Peterson, similarly had a GOP talking points cookie-cutter op-ed in the Arizona Daily Star to which she simply signed her name. Lea Márquez Peterson: Tax reform will help small businesses in Arizona.

Both opinions make assertions that are simply false and/or misleading.

Is lying to us the best that we can expect from Tea-Publicans?

Matthew Yglesias asks, If the GOP tax plan is so good, why do they lie so much about it?

In politics pretty much everyone shades the truth and engages in some convenient spin now and again. But if you saw a candidate standing on a dais pointing at his pet dog and telling you it was a cat, you’d think something pretty odd was going on.

By the same token, both citizens watching the tax reform debate in Washington and reporters covering it ought to ask themselves: Why, if this plan is so good, do its authors keep lying about what the bill does?

Continue reading

200 Stories: Healthcare Forum Attendees Reject Repeal of ACA

healthcare forum

Approximately 75 people attended the open mice healthcare forum.

For months, the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress have been trying every trick in the book to eliminate the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”). Multiple repeal and replace bills died during the summer of 2017, thanks to public outcry against kicking millions of Americans off of health insurance while giving tax breaks and sweetheart deals to insurance companies and others. Overwhelmingly, Americans said: We want a health insurance system that is fair, affordable, and wide-ranging in its coverage.

Fast forward to November 2017, and the Republicans are at in again. Rather than hiding tax cuts for the rich in health insurance bills (as they tried last summer), they are hiding an ACA poison pill in the middle of a tax cut bill for the uber-rich.

Do the American people want to go back to market-driven health insurance with high costs and limited access to care and drugs? Do they want millions of adults to lose their insurance altogether– with the fight to rollback Medicaid expansion? Do they want poor children to lose their insurance– with the pending sunset of KidsCare? No! Citizen backlash on social media and in the streets has been strong and swift. In Southern Arizona, protesters have dogged CD2 Congresswomen Martha McSally, who voted for Republican plans to eliminate the ACA, kick millions of Americans off of health insurance, cut taxes for big corporations and the uber-rich, and raise taxes on the rest of us. Do Tucsonans agree with McSally and the Republican Party?

Continue reading