Archive for the ‘Congress’ Category

Jeff Sessions Stonewalls the Senate

June 15, 2017

Jeff Sessions Stonewalls the Senate

On Tuesday, Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III appeared in front of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and defended his sacred honor by testifying to nothing. He did not exactly invoke executive privilege; he invoked the president’s right to invoke executive privilege at some unspecified later date. Mr. Sessions did this on the authority of the “historic policies of the Department of Justice” for which he could not cite written records, saying unnamed Justice Department career employees had told him there were such traditions. To be fair, during his long career Mr. Sessions has consistently championed historic policies, notably segregation.

For some reason, Democratic members of the Intelligence Committee were not keen on having a sworn witness in a congressional proceeding who refused to testify on unnamed grounds.

More:

“Sessions to Wyden in testy exchange: ‘I am not stonewalling,’” Devlin Barrett, Washington Post

“Sen. Kamala Harris leaves Sessions ‘nervous’ in interrogation over his refusal to disclose conversations with Trump,” Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times

“Dem Senator to Sessions: You’re ‘Impeding the Investigation,’” Daily Beast

“Explaining Executive Privilege and Sessions’s Refusal to Answer Questions,” Charlie Savage, New York Times

“Did Sessions and Trump conspire to obstruct justice?” Clark D. Cunningham, The Conversation

“Sessions could earn a ticket to the grand jury,” Mike Allen, Axios

 

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Comey Testifies

June 8, 2017

Comey Testifies
Former FBI director James Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee  at 10:00 AM Eastern Time today, Thursday, June 8th. The Intelligence Committee is investigating links between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign. Mr. Trump told Lester Holt of NBC News that he fired Mr. Comey to end the FBI’s criminal investigation of the same matter

Yesterday the committee released Mr. Comey’s prepared introductory remarks (highlights here). Today’s Q & A will be streamed live on PBS and many other platforms.

More:

“The Back Story on the 15 Senators Questioning Comey,” David Hawkings, Roll Call

“West Wing aides fearful of directly attacking Comey,”  Matthew Nussbaum, Josh Dawsey, Darren Samuelsohn, and Tara Palmeri, Politico

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Comey to Testify on June 8th

June 1, 2017

Comey to Testify on June 8th

The Senate Intelligence Committee has scheduled public testimony by recently terminated FBI director James Comey for 10:00 AM Eastern Time on Thursday, June 8th. The session will be streamed live on PBS.

The Intelligence Committee is investigating links between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign. Mr. Trump told Lester Holt of NBC News that he fired Mr. Comey to end the FBI’s criminal investigation of the same matter.

More:

“Comey to testify publicly next week,” Morgan Chalfant, The Hill

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House Health Care Bill Leaves 23 Million Americans Uninsured

May 24, 2017

House Health Care Bill Leaves 23 Million Americans Uninsured
The “American Health Care Act” was passed by the Republican-dominated House of Representatives before the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office could determine how much it would cost and who would be covered. The CBO has finished the analysis, and the AHCA score is, basically GOP +1, Americans less than zero. 14 million Americans would be without health insurance next year, 23 million within a decade. In states that seek waivers from providing essential health coverage mandates, a feature of the bill, insurance would be priced out of reach for many people with preexisting conditions. There would be a new tier of plans at lower cost that don’t actually cover major medical risks, so the CBO doesn’t count the projected buyers as insured.

The cynical, life-threatening measure might reduce the federal budget by $119 billion over a decade, less than the $150 billion in savings projected by Paul Ryan, who wants to use any health care savings to give the wealthy a tax break. For the GOP, there’s no problem that can’t be solved by tax cuts for the rich.

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James Comey to Testify Before the Senate Intelligence Committee

May 19, 2017

James Comey to Testify Before the Senate Intelligence Committee

Recently terminated FBI director James Comey, the career law enforcement official who keeps meticulous records of all his meetings, has agreed to publicly testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee in a few weeks. The announcement will probably be dismissed as “more showboating” by America’s Showboater-in-Chief, Donald Trump.

The Intelligence Committee is investigating links between Russia and the Trump campaign. Mr. Trump told Lester Holt of NBC News that he fired Mr. Comey to end the FBI’s criminal investigation of the same matter.

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GOP Congress Passes Health Care Plan, Now Must Read It

May 4, 2017

GOP Congress Passes Health Care Plan, Now Must Read It
Before leaving DC for yet another recess, Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) and replace it with something they haven’t read, something the Congressional Budget Office hasn’t scored. That means no one in Congress knows how much this so-called “American Health Care Act” will cost taxpayers, how much insurance will cost, and who won’t be covered. In other words, the GOP just bought a pig in a poke.

More:

American Medical Association condemns House healthcare bill passage,” Max Greenwood, The Hill

“House GOP Just Voted to Slash Medicaid — Which Pays for 60 Percent of People in Nursing Homes,” Jon Schwarz, The Intercept

“House Sends Health Care Hot Potato to Senate,” Lindsey McPherson and Erin Mershon, Roll Call

“Analysis: 5 issues that could derail the GOP health care bill in the Senate,” Julie Rovner, Kaiser Health News via PBS Newshour

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Under the GOP Plan, 24 Million People Will Lose Health Coverage

March 14, 2017

Under the GOP Plan, 24 Million People Will Lose Health Coverage

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has scored Paul Ryan’s 53-page American Health Care Act, and found it would save $337 billion over 10 years by denying health insurance to 24 million Americans. 14 million would lose coverage in the first year and insurance rates would rise 15-20% in 2018-2019. The AHCA celebrates all this by giving billions in tax breaks to the rich.

The biggest losers with the GOP health care bill? Americans who voted for Trump.

More:

“Health Bill Would Add 24 Million Uninsured but Save $337 Billion, Report Says,” Thomas Kaplan and Robert Pear, New York Times.

“The CBO’s nonpartisan report on the Republican ACA replacement plan, explained in 6 charts: It’s an attack on the poor.” Alvin Chang, Vox

Update:

Turns out that White House analysts are even more pessimistic than the CBO, and think 26 million people would lose coverage.

“White House analysis of Obamacare repeal sees even deeper insurance losses than CBO,” Paul Demko, Politico

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Paul Ryan’s ObamaCare Replacement Plan

June 17, 2016

Paul Ryan’s ObamaCare Replacement Plan

You know the GOP healthcare plan House Speaker Paul Ryan promised would be a better replacement for the Affordable Care Act (“ObamaCare”)? Turns out it’s not a plan, it’s a white paper — you know, kind of like a plan, but without all those nerdy numbers and pesky details. Expect the white paper snow job next week.

More:

“Paul Ryan’s Promised Obamacare Replacement Plan Shockingly Turns Out Not to Exist Again,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

Related:

“Trump’s healthcare plans trouble GOP,”Peter Sullivan, The Hill

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Congress Versus Mars!

February 11, 2016

Congress Versus Mars!

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology thinks NASA’s Journey to Mars initiative is lost in Space. “This is a misguided mission without a mission, without a launch date and without ties to exploration goals. It’s just a time-wasting distraction,” said committee chair Rep. Lamar Smith (R, TX-21) in hearings last week.

More:

“Congressional committee says NASA’s Mars mission is in critical need of a plan,” Loren Grush, The Verge

“Congress Scolds NASA, Underscoring How Far We Are From Mars,” Dianna Wray, Houston Press

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GOP Healthcare Plan

January 10, 2016

GOP Healthcare Plan

Before leaving DC for their usual four-day weekend, the Republican-dominated Congress voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) and replace it with … nothing. Don’t panic, you still have health insurance; the president quickly vetoed the GOP bill.

While this is the first time the Senate passed such a bill, the GOP-dominated House has voted to repeal the ACA sixty-two times.

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