Posts Tagged ‘Republicans’

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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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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The Senate’s Secret Medicine

June 13, 2017

Last month the House of Representatives sent a critically-ill healthcare bill to the Senate emergency room, where the men of the Senate GOP Group Medical Practice are still performing secret surgery on it. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is cautiously optimistic about the bill’s condition. If you want to know details about the senate version of the American Health Care Act, you’ll have to wait until it comes up for a vote on Senate floor.

Wait. Won’t senators be able to examine the proposed legislation and offer amendments during hearings?

We don’t need no stinkin’ hearings, says Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R – UT), That way the bill can pass the Senate with a simple majority, not the usual two-thirds vote.

In the video above, Senator Claire McCaskill (D- MO) responds to the GOP’s diagnosis with a second opinion.

More:

“The Senate’s three tools on health care: Sabotage, speed and secrecy,” Andy Slavitt, Washington Post

Update:

“Conservatives near revolt on Senate health care negotiations,” Burgess Everett, Politico

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Climate Change: Trump Golf Expands Water Hazard

June 1, 2017

Climate Change: Trump Golf Expands Water Hazard
President Donald J. Trump has announced that the United States is withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord — not to protect American jobs (it won’t) or to help U.S. industry (it won’t) but because he can. Actually, it will take 4 years for the U.S. to fully withdraw from the agreement, unless Mr. Trump ignores its terms and makes the USA seem even more unreliable to other nations.

Mr. Trump’s determination to ignore climate change will come at personal sacrifice, since the resulting sea level rise will engulf his golf courses in Florida and Ireland. Hey, maybe Eric, Don Jr., and Jared can promote water polo. Ivanka can make the bathing suits!

More:

“5 claims Trump used to justify pulling the US out of the Paris agreement — and the reality,” Dana Varinsky, Dave Mosher and Ariel Schwartz, Business Insider

“Paris Climate Deal’s Demise Means Bannon Wins—And The Planet Loses,” Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng, Daily Beast

“Bill Nye hits Trump: ‘You can’t build a border wall against CO2 emissions,'” Brandon Carter, The Hill

“The entire Trump presidency, in 1 mind-blowingly stupid announcement,” Paul Waldman, The Week

“Donald Trump has now pissed off the damn Weather Channel,” Clayton Purdom, A.V. Club

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Montana Wrestles With the First Amendment

May 25, 2017

Montana Wrestles With the First Amendment
In Montana on Wednesday, a reporter attacked Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte with dangerous questions about the deadly House healthcare bill, so the candidate responded by body-slamming the journalist to the ground and punching him. Knowing Montana, that should get the GOP hopeful a victory in today’s special election as well as a Gallatin County misdemeanor conviction.

After all, Montana voters already elected a dangerously impulsive rich guy who hates the media and press freedom to the White House, so adding another one to Congress should be a snap.

More:

“Fox News crew ‘watched in disbelief’ as Montana’s Greg Gianforte ‘slammed’ and ‘began punching’ reporter,” Fred Barbash, Washington Post

“Three Montana newspapers rescind Gianforte endorsements after alleged body-slamming incident,” Louis Nelson, Politico
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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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The Trump Campaign Contacted Russia at Least 18 Times

May 18, 2017

The Trump Campaign Contacted Russia at Least 18 Times

“Michael Flynn and other advisers to Donald Trump’s campaign were in contact with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the 2016 presidential race, current and former U.S. officials familiar with the exchanges told Reuters.

The previously undisclosed interactions form part of the record now being reviewed by FBI and congressional investigators probing Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election and contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Six of the previously undisclosed contacts described to Reuters were phone calls between Sergei Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, and Trump advisers, including Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, three current and former officials said.

Conversations between Flynn and Kislyak accelerated after the Nov. 8 vote as the two discussed establishing a back channel for communication between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin that could bypass the U.S. national security bureaucracy, which both sides considered hostile to improved relations, four current U.S. officials said.”

— “Trump campaign had at least 18 undisclosed contacts with Russians: sources,” Ned Parker, Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel, Reuters

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Goodbye Palm Beach; Hello Bedminster

May 5, 2017

Goodbye Palm Beach; Hello Bedminster

In May, as Florida heats up, flocks of migrating golf bums head north. This weekend our Golf-Bum-in-Chief has landed in New Jersey‘s Trump National Bedminster Golf Club. You can join him for a mere $350,000 initiation fee and thousands a year in dues, food, drinks, and facilities charges. Not to mention golf bets and tips for caddies, waiters, and parking valets.

While the stop-gap federal spending bill will reimburse Bedminster Township police overtime for round-the-clock security, it does nothing to mitigate Somerset County resident headaches due to the road closures, traffic congestion, and inevitable protests attendant on the Garden State presidential golf excursions.

We hope all this doesn’t scare the goats. Mr. Trump keeps about 4 of them on the luxury property to pretend it’s a farm, which lowers his taxes from about $80,000 to less than $1,000 a year. Does this mean there’s fresh chèvre and cabrito on the club’s menu?

More:

“6 Things to Know About Bedminster, NJ, Trump’s Summer Getaway,” James Ramsay, WNYC

Updates:

“Trump reportedly hits the links in NJ,” Brandon Carter, The Hill

“Could Trump golf course get slapped with a tax to cover cost of his N.J. visits?” Claude Brodesser-Akner, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

“Anti-Trump protesters take to Bedminster, gear up for summer rallies,” Nick Muscavage, Courier News and Home Tribune

“‘Spend Your Free Time In A Red State’: A motorcade of protesters rolls by Trump’s N.J. property,” John Wagner, Washington Post

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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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Net Neutrality Neutered?

May 3, 2017

Net Neutrality Neutered?

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wants to roll back government oversight of high-speed internet providers and pretend internet service is not a public utility. His plan would end “net neutrality” and enable broadband providers like AT&T and Comcast to give special treatment to their own streaming videos and news sites, throttling competing content to slower upload speeds unless those content providers pay a premium to enter the “fast lane.”

Of course, as 73-year-old Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI, 5) says,  “Nobody’s got to use the Internet,” right? Right?

More:

“F.C.C. Chairman Pushes Sweeping Changes to Net Neutrality Rules,”Cecilia Kang, New York Times

“The Worst Lies From Yesterday’s Anti-Net Neutrality Speech,” Libby Watson, Gizmodo

“Here’s What Comes Next in the Fight to Save Net Neutrality,” Klint Finley, Wired

“Why the FCC’s Plans to Gut Net Neutrality Just Might Fail,” Klint Finley, Wired

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