Category Archives: McCain

The #Flakesonaplane saga continues

You may have missed this story last week. On flight to Phoenix, man with ALS pleads with Sen. Jeff Flake to vote no on tax bill:

A 33-year-old father battling ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, was flying home last week after traveling to Washington, D.C., to protest the tax bill when he came face-to-face with one of the lawmakers he most hoped to influence.

Ady Barkan and others had spent a week trying to get lawmakers’ attention and giving speeches outside their offices.

So when he heard Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake was on his American Airlines flight to Phoenix, he saw his moment.

“He is the single most important swing vote in this tax bill, and I need to tell him my story to vote against it,” he recalled in an interview with the Arizona Republic on Friday.

‘I wanted him to hear my story’

Barkan said he was a “healthy person” just a year ago. Now he lives with ALS, an incurable disease that destroys nerve cells in the body.

“I walk with a cane. I have trouble breathing, and I can’t pick my baby up,” he said in one of the videos, which were recorded and posted by Liz Jaff, a passenger he met while boarding the plane.

“I wanted him to hear my story and answer some questions and hopefully persuade him to vote against it,” Barkan told The Republic.

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GOP tax bill: the devil is in the details to derailing this terrible bill

The House and Senate conference committee will be meeting this week to hash out the differences between the House and Senate GOP tax bills to come up with a conformed bill that still must be passed by both chambers to become law.

There is a scenario or two in which this terrible tax bill falls apart. Jim Newell writes at Slate, How the Tax Deal Could Fall Apart:

The biggest development this week was that negotiators, for the first time in the process, seriously looked at reinstating some version of the state and local income tax deduction. There appear to be two reasons for this. The first would be the sizable, and mercurial, California GOP delegation in the House. Eleven out of 14 of these members voted for the original House bill—an odd move, since one of the bill’s ambitions is to redistribute Californian wealth elsewhere. Rather than flex their leverage in the original fight, though, they put their faith in Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to ensure it’s fixed in conference. The second reason—and the one that explains why Californians might prevail—is that they appear to have an even greater ally in this fight than McCarthy: President Trump. The Washington Post reported this week that Trump’s rich friends in New York have been bitching to him about the SALT elimination. That goes a long way.

Even a modest retention would be costly. Eliminating the deductibility of state and local income taxes is a major revenue-raiser in both the House and Senate bills. Other pay-fors that were included in both the House and Senate bills might not last in the joint negotiations as well. There is a flat-out error in the Senate bill regarding the corporate alternative minimum tax, and the Senate’s last-minute decision to keep the individual AMT is meeting resistance as well. The House bill, which more aggressively pursued deductions for graduate students and those with major medical expenses, is also expected to be tamed.

What all this means is that conference negotiators are under pressure to find some hundreds of billions of dollars in new revenue to keep the bill’s net cost within $1.5 trillion over the next decade.

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Senate passes GOP tax bill for the Oligarchy

While you were sleeping, the Senate passed the Senate GOP tax bill in the wee hours of Saturday morning on a party line vote of 51-49, with only Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), who is retiring, having the courage of his convictions to vote no. Senate passes tax overhaul, securing major GOP victory:

Vice President Pence presided over the final passage vote. GOP senators, who stayed on the Senate floor until the vote closed after midnight, broke out into applause after Pence announced the bill had passed.

“This is a great day for the country,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said during a 2 a.m. press conference after the vote.

The headline from The Hill above is typical of the headlines appearing in other media today: a “major GOP victory.” The media makes it appear as if this bill has been enacted and awaits president Trump’s signature. This is reminiscent of president Trump and House Tea-Publicans kegger party at the White House after the House voted to repeal “Obamacare,” only to see it defeated in the Senate.

The Senate GOP tax bill could be voted upon by the House without any amendments, but that is highly unlikely because it contains provisions which are opposed by the radical GOP House Freedom Caucus. This bill is headed to a conference committee where the Senate and House versions of the bill will be reconciled into a conformed bill which both chambers must pass. There is still a chance that this terrible tax bill can be defeated in the next round.

And I would point out to the media that this was a “major victory” for millionaire and billionaire GOP campaign donors, because they are the ones who demanded this terrible tax bill in exchange for their campaign donations and they are the only ones who will ultimately benefit from the GOP tax bill in the end. The U.S. government does not represent the interests of the majority of the country’s citizens, but is instead ruled by those of the rich and powerful. Major Study Finds The US Is An Oligarchy. And the lickspittle GOP servants of corporations and plutocrats who voted for this bill? Millionaires’ Club: For First Time, Most Lawmakers are Worth $1 Million-Plus. They voted to benefit themselves as well, the American people who elected them be damned.

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Update on the Senate GOP tax bill clusterfuck (updated)

The  tragedy of the  political career of John McCain is that he is a man who frequently espouses high morals and principles and assails others for not having them, McCain: Trump doesn’t have any ‘principles and beliefs’, but he has regularly failed to live up to the very principles which he espouses. He is ultimately a “say anything” politician who plays to his fawning base, the beltway media and Arizona media, who treat him as if he is a senior statesman. McCain is and has always been nothing but a deeply flawed hypocrite.

On the same day McCain criticized our Twitter-troll-in-chief for not having any principles and beliefs, McCain demonstrated that he does not follow his own principles and beliefs, recently expressed in his August op-ed John McCain: It’s time Congress returns to regular order and his dramatic floor speech in the Senate chastising his colleagues prior to the vote on the “skinny repeal” of Obamacare.

Mr. “regular order” gave his consent to the Senate GOP tax bill which at this very moment is still being drafted with provisions no one has seen or read, a tax bill which Senate GOP leadership drafted in secret without Democratic input, committee hearings, stakeholder or public testimony or input (both stakeholders and the public are opposed to this terrible bill), and was just introduced last week, with only a markup before the Senate Finance Committee which reported out the bill on a party-line vote, so that it could be rushed to a vote by the end of this week before anyone could discover what is in it.

As Laurie Roberts of The Republic laments, John McCain’s support of tax reform bill is another ‘danged fence’ moment. Even when confronting his own mortality and having to answer before his God, John McCain simply would not do the right thing for the American people.

Other key developments in the GOP tax bill on Thursday: the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), employing magic asterisk dynamic scoring sprinkled with “trickle down” fairy dust, nevertheless says the Senate tax bill will add $1T to deficits, even with growth:

The Senate GOP tax bill won’t produce enough economic growth to fully pay for its tax cuts, the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) said in an analysis released Thursday.

The bill’s macroeconomic effects would reduce the deficit by $408 billion over 10 years, but the bill overall would still cost about $1 trillion, the JCT said.

The JCT had earlier estimated that the bill would lose $1.4 trillion in federal revenue before accounting for economic growth.

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The final countdown on the Senate GOP tax bill has begun: call your senators now

The Senate voted 52-48 along party lines Wednesday to begin debate on the Senate GOP tax bill. Several Republicans who have not committed to voting for the final bill, including Sens. Collins, McCain, Corker and Flake, voted in favor of moving forward to debate. But final passage could be another story.

Currently there is no firm agreement on the trigger provision Sen. Corker wants, no pay-for to partially keep the state and local tax deductions Sen. Collins wants, and no language on the pass-through changes for small businesses sought by Sens. Johnson and Daines. Senate Republicans are about to overhaul the tax code, and they don’t know what’s in their bill yet;

Senate Republicans are in such a rush to pass a tax overhaul in the next few days that they voted to start debate on a bill that could still undergo a bevy of last-minute changes they haven’t seen in writing — changes that could dramatically affect the US economy over the next decade.

But most Republicans aren’t letting some last-minute deal cutting that could mean billions of dollars in tax increases, tax cuts, or federal spending cuts get in the way of moving the bill along.

Even Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who’s one of the senators most skeptical of the bill and is pushing for the major addition of automatic tax hikes if the federal deficit grows too quickly, voted to start debate on the bill. He had told reporters earlier that he couldn’t describe the changes “until we get it in writing.” Corker later told reporters they could “throw away” anything they’d heard about the deal because it is “still evolving.”

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The Senate GOP tax bill is also an assault on health care

I explained the other day how the mythical moderate from Maine, Senator Susan Collins, is being played by the Trump White House on her wholly insufficient “Obamacare” reinsurance fund bill in order to gain her vote on the Senate GOP tax bill. In major policy reversal, Trump now backs bipartisan fixes to ‘Obamacare’ to get Sen. Susan Collin’s vote on GOP tax bill.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has now scored the bill negotiated by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) to stabilize the “Obamacare” market, and it also comes up woefully short. The CBO just released a report that should worry Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski:

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office dealt what should be a crushing blow to the tax bill: The deal that was crafted to win key senators who objected to the bill’s provision that would leave millions uninsured won’t actually stanch the loss in coverage.

With moderates expressing concern over a provision that would repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate — leaving an estimated 13 million more uninsured by 2027 — Republican leadership hatched a plan to simultaneously pass a bill to stabilize the Obamacare marketplaces, a proposal negotiated by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA).

But this proposal hit a major snag Wednesday when a new CBO report found passing the Alexander-Murray proposal — the centerpiece of which is funding Obamacare’s cost-sharing reduction subsidies that Trump has threatened to pull — would not in fact help mitigate the coverage losses and premium hikes triggered by repealing the individual mandate.

Previous estimates from the CBO found that repealing the individual mandate, the Obamacare policy that penalizes people who opt out of buying health insurance, would leave 13 million fewer insured by 2027 and increase premiums by an average of 10 percent over the next decade.

“If legislation were enacted that incorporated both the provisions of the Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act and a repeal of the individual mandate … the effects on the premiums and the number of people with health insurance coverage would be similar,” Keith Hall, the CBO’s director, wrote in a letter to Murray.

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