Archive for the ‘Congress’ Category

U.S. Senate Will Extend Its Hours

October 20, 2017

U.S. Senate Will Extend Its Hours

For a paltry $174,000 per annum, U.S. senators slave through a grueling 3-day work week, sometimes for almost 140 days a year. Now cruel Kentucky Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants senators to work Fridays and weekends, and even during the first 2 weeks of August, the optimal time for inspecting those critical NATO bases on the French Riviera. Is no one concerned about our nation’s defense?

This country is going straight to hell.

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Sessions Stonewalls Senate. Again.

October 19, 2017

Sessions Stonewalls Senate

In an encore to his empty Intelligence Committee testimony back in June, Attorney General Jeff Sessions refused to answer questions put to him by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Clearly, Mr. Sessions believes he is Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, not the U.S. Attorney General.

More:

“What Jeff Sessions wouldn’t say was more revealing than what he did,” James Hohmann, Washington Post

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Exhausted By Epic Inaction, Congress Takes a Vacation

August 8, 2017

Exhausted By Epic Inaction, Congress Takes a Vacation
The U.S. Congress is on vacation until after Labor Day, but given its lack of accomplishments, it could have been in recess for the preceding year. Of course, Congress typically spends three days a week in DC even when it’s in session, spending the other four back home collecting campaign funds for the next election, a practice euphemistically called “meeting with constituents.”

But summer recess isn’t all stump speeches and visits to examine vital NATO defenses on the Riviera. Congress will still be hard at work tweeting about the highlights of rubber chicken luncheons at the Rotary Club. We hope our legislators don’t over-exert their Twitter fingers this month. They’ll have just a few days in September to decide on the nation budget, the debt limit, and tax reform, and to keep the White House from crashing the health care system or stumbling into trade war or a military crisis.

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Senate Health Bill in Medically Induced Coma

June 29, 2017

Senate Health Bill in Medically Induced Coma

In an emergency procedure, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put his Republican health care bill in a medically induced coma until after the July 4th congressional recess. The GOP geniuses who created this monster, a bill that would take health care away from 22 million Americans in order to give massive tax cuts to the rich, will commit more meatball surgery on the languishing legislation until Friday, June 30th. What could possibly go wrong?

More:

“Shifting Dollars From Poor to Rich Is a Key Part of the Senate Health Bill,” Margot Sanger-Katz, New York Times

“Cost Estimate: Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017,” CBO

Update:

“CBO projects 35-percent drop in Medicaid spending by 2036 under Senate GOP health bill,” Adam Kelsey and Arlette Saenz, ABC News

“Longer-Term Effects of the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 on Medicaid Spending,’ CBO
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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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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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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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