Trump is setting the stage for a brutal government shutdown fight

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Are we headed for a Hanukkah government shutdown? If Congress doesn’t pass a spending bill—requiring eight Democratic votes in the Senate—by midnight on December 15, the federal government will shut down. Thanks to Donald Trump, though, the list of legislative priorities that must be resolved just keeps growing: 

Once Obamacare repeal failed, the only major item on Republicans’ agenda for the rest of the year was supposed to be tax reform. But then Trump announced his administration planned to sunset the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, putting upward of 600,000 unauthorized immigrants in limbo; and that it would end the Affordable Care Act’s subsidy payments, a move that will increase premiums for Americans and dig a deeper hole in the national deficit. Trump is forcing Congress’s hand to act, but he hasn’t given a clear or realistic policy directive on immigration or health care.

Congress also keeps putting

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23 days after CHIP expired, Virginia preparing to tell families their kids will lose health coverage

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Nearly 9 million children across the country are in the Children’s Health Insurance Program, with 65,000 of them (along with 1,100 pregnant women) in Virginia. Thanks to Republicans in Congress letting the CHIP program expire, Virginia now faces a December 1 deadline to let families know that their children’s coverage will end on January 31. That could mean disaster for children and their families:

The result would look would like this: a child with asthma who loses health insurance will have nothing to prevent future asthmatic episodes and will almost certainly end up in the emergency room, said Dr. Richard Bennett, a pediatrician at the Bon Secours Richmond Community Hospital.

“The coverage that would have cost a few dollars to hundreds of dollars will now cost a family thousands to tens of thousands of dollars,” Bennett said.

The ripples would expand from there. The child would likely miss

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Democrats’ early fundraising eclipsing that of GOP incumbents

Republicans are stunned at both the sheer number of Democratic candidates throwing their hats in the ring for 2018 and the cash they are amassing in these early fundraising days. Politico writes:

Animated by opposition to President Donald Trump and the Republican congressional majorities, at least 162 Democratic candidates in 82 GOP-held districts have raised over $100,000 so far this year, according to a POLITICO analysis of the latest FEC data. That’s about four times as many candidates as House Democrats had at this point before the 2016 or 2014 elections, and it’s more than twice as many as Republicans had running at this point eight years ago, on the eve of capturing the House in the 2010 wave election.

Nearly three dozen Republican incumbents were outraised by Democratic challengers in the third quarter of this year – a stunning figure. Nine GOP incumbents already trail a Democratic opponent

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Jeff Sessions may want a new war against marijuana, but lawmakers have other ideas

Lawmakers knew exactly who Jeff Sessions was when they confirmed him to be the nation’s attorney general, so to say that they are now “heading for a confrontation” with Sessions over marijuana policy, as this Bloomberg piece suggests, seems an overstatement.

It’s doubtful that this Congress will be “confronting” anybody, but the House and Senate are likely going to keep pushing for moderation in the nation’s pointlessly regressive marijuana laws no matter what Sessions thinks, and if those efforts happen to tie Jeff Sessions’ hands, in his brief remaining time between now and when Trump decides to send him to a farm upstate to run and play with all the other ex-Trump officials, well, nobody will be crying about that.

Measures have been attached to must-pass bills in the Senate that would allow Veterans Affairs doctors to counsel patients on the use of medical marijuana, and to continue blocking the

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Trump emerging as one of weakest executives in history as Republicans, cabinet heads openly defy him

Donald Trump is fast becoming one of the weakest presidents the nation has ever seen after going to war with a federal government that is defying him at every turn. Despite the fact that he has lashed out repeatedly at congressional Republicans, for instance, they are brazenly ignoring him. The same goes for Trump’s cabinet heads, who are clearly going about their business as if Trump were nothing more than pesky a flea on their behind. Annoying? Sure. But essentially toothless.

First, let’s just appreciate how desperately Trump wants Republican lawmakers to take the wrap for his failure in leadership. He blamed them today for our souring relationship with Russia, adding, “the same people can’t even give us HCare!” He declared his superiority over them yesterday in a statement on the Russia sanctions bill, asserting that he could make “far better deals with foreign countries than Congress.” And last week after

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As time runs out, Republicans still have no debt ceiling plan in place

Another day, another missed opportunity on Capitol Hill. That was the story of Tuesday’s debt-ceiling meeting between White House officials and top Senate lawmakers of both the Republican and Democratic variety. The GOP-led Congress has only about a dozen joint working days left before the Sept. 29 deadline when the U.S. Treasury will no longer be able to afford the government’s bills unless lawmakers raise the debt ceiling.

Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin has been sounding the alarm bells for months to get Republican lawmakers to act, but they were too busy getting things done on health care. The Washington Post‘s Damian Paletta writes:

Mnuchin met Tuesday morning with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), searching for ways to raise the debt ceiling, but the gathering ended without any progress — or even a clear sense of what the lawmakers

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As time runs out, Republicans still have no debt ceiling plan in place

Another day, another missed opportunity on Capitol Hill. That was the story of Tuesday’s debt-ceiling meeting between White House officials and top Senate lawmakers of both the Republican and Democratic variety. The GOP-led Congress has only about a dozen joint working days left before the Sept. 29 deadline when the U.S. Treasury will no longer be able to afford the government’s bills unless lawmakers raise the debt ceiling.

Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin has been sounding the alarm bells for months to get Republican lawmakers to act, but they were too busy getting things done on health care. The Washington Post‘s Damian Paletta writes:

Mnuchin met Tuesday morning with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), searching for ways to raise the debt ceiling, but the gathering ended without any progress — or even a clear sense of what the lawmakers

Continue reading “As time runs out, Republicans still have no debt ceiling plan in place”