House Republicans pass sham Children’s Health bill, put 9 million kids in jeopardy

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The House Republicans, along with a handful of not-very-bright Democrats, passed their poisoned Children’s Health Insurance Program funding bill Friday, 242-174. This is not a children’s health bill. This is an Obamacare and Medicare sabotage bill. It jeopardizes the CHIP program even more than if it hadn’t passed because this bill is too poisoned to pass the Senate, which means it will create further delays as the Senate and House have to figure out a compromise. And at this point, 34 days after the funding authorization for the program has expired, every day that passes makes it harder for states to keep the program going and plan for its future. Every day that passes puts more kids in jeopardy of losing their coverage.

The bill contains several poison pills, including making Medicare premiums more expensive for some higher-income beneficiaries. Because it wouldn’t be a Republican “health” bill if

Continue reading “House Republicans pass sham Children’s Health bill, put 9 million kids in jeopardy”

House Republicans pass sham Children’s Health bill, put 9 million kids in jeopardy

Campaign Action

The House Republicans, along with a handful of not-very-bright Democrats, passed their poisoned Children’s Health Insurance Program funding bill Friday, 242-174. This is not a children’s health bill. This is an Obamacare and Medicare sabotage bill. It jeopardizes the CHIP program even more than if it hadn’t passed because this bill is too poisoned to pass the Senate, which means it will create further delays as the Senate and House have to figure out a compromise. And at this point, 34 days after the funding authorization for the program has expired, every day that passes makes it harder for states to keep the program going and plan for its future. Every day that passes puts more kids in jeopardy of losing their coverage.

The bill contains several poison pills, including making Medicare premiums more expensive for some higher-income beneficiaries. Because it wouldn’t be a Republican “health” bill if

Continue reading “House Republicans pass sham Children’s Health bill, put 9 million kids in jeopardy”

It’s not just tax cuts for the super-rich day, it’s day 33 without Children’s Health funding

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Somebody’s hair really needs to be on fire on Capitol Hill. Preferably, everybody’s. House Speaker Paul Ryan and team introduced what should be called the “Tax Cuts for Donald Trump and Cronies” bill with big fanfare and a press conference today. No one in the traditional media bothered to remind them of the fact that they aren’t even competent enough to fund a program that has massive bipartisan support and is providing health care to 9 million children.

It is a fundamental failure in governing and morality on the part of the Republican Congress. While they don’t seem to give a damn, the people who are charged with taking care of children are on full alert.

The children most at risk of losing CHIP coverage soon are likely those who reside in states running out of funds quickly with separate CHIP programs. At least six states—Arizona, California, the District of Columbia,

Continue reading “It’s not just tax cuts for the super-rich day, it’s day 33 without Children’s Health funding”

McConnell so toxic, almost two dozen GOP Senate candidates decline to back him as leader

This is absolutely stunning reporting from The Hill:

The Hill asked nearly two dozen Senate candidates this week if they would support McConnell as leader if elected. Not one campaign said outright that they would support him, although two candidates appear to have expressed support in the past.

Several candidates declared their opposition to McConnell and attacked their GOP primary opponents for not taking a stance on the question. Other candidates deflected, or spoke on background about the bind they’re in over the question of McConnell’s leadership. Most candidates were eager to avoid the question entirely, and ignored multiple requests for comment.

Well, that gives us a sense of who’s winning the McConnell vs. Steve Bannon “war” in which everyone is staking out a position. Republican hopefuls won’t touch McConnell with a 10-foot pole, even as the guy who essentially helped create the GOP’s ruling class, Karl Rove, tagged Bannon

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Dean Heller gets something out of bad Trumpcare vote—money from McConnell PAC

Taking really, really horrible votes after weeks of waffling and seeing his popularity tank has at least one reward for Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV). Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may have put him in a horrible political position, but at least his Super PAC is paying up.

“We were Senator Heller’s biggest independent supporter in 2012 and we expect to be in 2018,” said Steven Law, McConnell’s former chief of staff who now oversees the Senate Leadership Fund. “In general, senators casting tough votes have to be concerned about downstream political consequences. We will have their backs.”
Law insisted he was not necessarily talking about the health care vote(s). But Heller’s variety of positions during the votes last week have made him vulnerable in both a primary and a general election, with one Democratic polling firm placing his approval rating at either 22 percent or 29 percent. Even though those

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Freedom Caucus rears its ugly head, as usual, on debt ceiling and, as usual, heats up GOP civil war

Remember how on Thursday everyone in Republican leadership had decided there had to be a “clean” debt ceiling hike this fall, including former House Freedom Caucus guy and current OMB Director Mick Mulvaney?

Yeah, well about that.

x

They can point to this for back up (proving yet again there’s an old Trump tweet for every occasion).

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— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 23, 2013

As of now, Mulvaney insists “There’s no infighting within the administration about the debt ceiling.” Give it a week or two, and Mulvaney’s old buddies in the Freedom Caucus putting pressure on him.

Just another

Continue reading “Freedom Caucus rears its ugly head, as usual, on debt ceiling and, as usual, heats up GOP civil war”

Freedom Caucus rears its ugly head, as usual, on debt ceiling and, as usual, heats up GOP civil war

Remember how on Thursday everyone in Republican leadership had decided there had to be a “clean” debt ceiling hike this fall, including former House Freedom Caucus guy and current OMB Director Mick Mulvaney?

Yeah, well about that.

x

They can point to this for back up (proving yet again there’s an old Trump tweet for every occasion).

x

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 23, 2013

As of now, Mulvaney insists “There’s no infighting within the administration about the debt ceiling.” Give it a week or two, and Mulvaney’s old buddies in the Freedom Caucus putting pressure on him.

Just another

Continue reading “Freedom Caucus rears its ugly head, as usual, on debt ceiling and, as usual, heats up GOP civil war”

Paul Ryan: When we lose in 2018 it will be the Republican Senate’s fault

Fun times. While Senate Republicans are trying to contain Trump, and pretend like everything happening in America, 2017 is perfectly normal, House Speaker Paul Ryan is taking a big dump on Senate Republicans.

“If we don’t do our job we will depress turnout,” Ryan told the Wisconsin State Journal. “I am frustrated as well.”

Ryan blamed inaction on the Senate, which recently failed to pass a bill to repeal Obamacare.

“We’re pretty frustrated with the slow pace of things (in the Senate), but in the House, we’ve actually done most of our agenda except for welfare reform and tax reform,” he said. …

“The problem isn’t having President Trump sign bills into law and it isn’t getting bills out of the House—the problem is getting these bills through the Senate,” he said.

Sure, he says, there are “distractions” out there (not mentioning the distraction in chief’s name) “whether

Continue reading “Paul Ryan: When we lose in 2018 it will be the Republican Senate’s fault”

Paul Ryan: When we lose in 2018 it will be the Republican Senate’s fault

Fun times. While Senate Republicans are trying to contain Trump, and pretend like everything happening in America, 2017 is perfectly normal, House Speaker Paul Ryan is taking a big dump on Senate Republicans.

“If we don’t do our job we will depress turnout,” Ryan told the Wisconsin State Journal. “I am frustrated as well.”

Ryan blamed inaction on the Senate, which recently failed to pass a bill to repeal Obamacare.

“We’re pretty frustrated with the slow pace of things (in the Senate), but in the House, we’ve actually done most of our agenda except for welfare reform and tax reform,” he said. …

“The problem isn’t having President Trump sign bills into law and it isn’t getting bills out of the House—the problem is getting these bills through the Senate,” he said.

Sure, he says, there are “distractions” out there (not mentioning the distraction in chief’s name) “whether

Continue reading “Paul Ryan: When we lose in 2018 it will be the Republican Senate’s fault”

Paul Ryan: When we lose in 2018 it will be the Republican Senate’s fault

Fun times. While Senate Republicans are trying to contain Trump, and pretend like everything happening in America, 2017 is perfectly normal, House Speaker Paul Ryan is taking a big dump on Senate Republicans.

“If we don’t do our job we will depress turnout,” Ryan told the Wisconsin State Journal. “I am frustrated as well.”

Ryan blamed inaction on the Senate, which recently failed to pass a bill to repeal Obamacare.

“We’re pretty frustrated with the slow pace of things (in the Senate), but in the House, we’ve actually done most of our agenda except for welfare reform and tax reform,” he said. …

“The problem isn’t having President Trump sign bills into law and it isn’t getting bills out of the House—the problem is getting these bills through the Senate,” he said.

Sure, he says, there are “distractions” out there (not mentioning the distraction in chief’s name) “whether

Continue reading “Paul Ryan: When we lose in 2018 it will be the Republican Senate’s fault”

Paul Ryan: When we lose in 2018 it will be the Republican Senate’s fault

Fun times. While Senate Republicans are trying to contain Trump, and pretend like everything happening in America, 2017 is perfectly normal, House Speaker Paul Ryan is taking a big dump on Senate Republicans.

“If we don’t do our job we will depress turnout,” Ryan told the Wisconsin State Journal. “I am frustrated as well.”

Ryan blamed inaction on the Senate, which recently failed to pass a bill to repeal Obamacare.

“We’re pretty frustrated with the slow pace of things (in the Senate), but in the House, we’ve actually done most of our agenda except for welfare reform and tax reform,” he said. …

“The problem isn’t having President Trump sign bills into law and it isn’t getting bills out of the House—the problem is getting these bills through the Senate,” he said.

Sure, he says, there are “distractions” out there (not mentioning the distraction in chief’s name) “whether

Continue reading “Paul Ryan: When we lose in 2018 it will be the Republican Senate’s fault”

Republicans in disarray insist that fighting Trump is ‘healthy’

The first six months of the Trump presidency will go down as the least productive, most tumultuous ever for a unified government. The Republican House, Senate, and White House should be a juggernaut of dystopian productivity. Instead, we’re heading into the August recess with the Senate two weeks earlier than planned, having taken taken precautions to make sure Trump can’t make recess appointments while they’re away. What Republicans have managed to achieve in the past few months has been done without any help from the administration or to actually isolate and hamper Trump.

Among its more notable successes this year, and against Mr. Trump’s objections, Congress passed a tough Russia sanctions bill with a veto-proof majority, which the president begrudgingly signed this week. Congress also approved a law to help veterans get health care—a bipartisan, bicameral, messy but ultimately successful effort that came together with zero involvement from the administration.

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Republicans get ready for next internal war: The debt ceiling

It’s a laugh riot being a Republican congressional leader, and they deserve every headache it brings them. The next big headache, provided they can stave off popular vote loser Donald Trump’s insistence that they bring back Obamacare repeal, is a very serious one: the debt ceiling. Leadership has decided they want a “clean” hike, with no spending cuts attached. You know what that means.

Republican congressional leaders are quietly preparing to pass a “clean” debt ceiling increase, according to multiple senior GOP sources — setting the stage for a high-risk showdown with rank-and-file Republicans this fall. […]
GOP lawmakers in both chambers of Congress are calling for any debt ceiling hike to be accompanied by spending cuts or fiscal reforms — the same demand they made repeatedly during Barack Obama’s two terms.

That means McConnell (R-Ky.) and Ryan (R-Wis.) will have to rely on Democrats and enough moderate

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Trump’s Twitter rants don’t scare Republican senators enough to force another healthcare vote. Yet.

As Donald Trump has made clear in typically mature fashion—calling them “total quitters”—he wants Senate Republicans to keep banging their head against repealing Obamacare until they have passed some bill, any bill at all, so that he can call it a win. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn’t seem eager to lose publicly again, and many Republican senators find the idea of taking another unpopular vote on a bill they don’t have an obvious way to pass even less fun than the idea of being insulted on Twitter by Donald Trump.

“Do I think we should stay on health care until we get it done? I think it’s time to move on to something else. Come back to health care when we’ve had more time to get beyond the moment we’re in and see if we can’t put some wins on the board,” said Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member

Continue reading “Trump’s Twitter rants don’t scare Republican senators enough to force another healthcare vote. Yet.”

What we’re talking about when we talk about Trump sabotaging Obamacare

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Popular vote loser Donald Trump has had one remarkably consistent idea when it comes to Obamacare: his ability to destroy it from within, or try to anyway, by withholding critical payments from the federal government to insurers who are essentially subsidizing the out-of-pocket expenses for lower-income people buying insurance on the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges. Basically, the payments compensate insurance companies who are making low-deductible plans available to lower-income people. Those enrollees, by the way, make up about 58 percent, or about 7 million, of all the Obamacare customers.

What happens if they go away, as early as today, as rumors suggest? The individual markets would be drastically disrupted and could potentially collapse completely. And who gets really hit? The middle class and lower-income people.

Insurers would have to decide whether to increase premiums for everyone in order to lower co-pays for people who get the

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Senate leader Mitch McConnell goes to war—against fellow Republicans

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell didn’t fire the first shot in his war with hardline Alabama conservatives, but he’s going to make damn sure he gives ten times as much pain as he receives. McConnell has tasked himself with defending newly appointed Alabama Sen. Luther Strange, who may or may not be crooked, against Strange’s even harder-right Republican primary opponents, Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks and the Talibanesque yet-again-former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore. If that means emptying his super PAC’s coffers against the pair and sabotaging whatever existing base of power they have, so be it.

[I]n a highly unusual step, one of McConnell’s top political lieutenants has begun quietly advising a long-shot Republican primary candidate running for Brooks’ House seat. The move is designed to get in the congressman’s head and dissuade him from emptying his campaign war chest in the race for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’

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No rest for the so-far victorious: Republicans trying to revive the Zombie of Zombie Trumpcare

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We’ve had a weekend to celebrate, to rub popular vote loser Trump’s nose in the defeat of Trumpcare, but the party’s over. The fight continues because Republicans are assholes and won’t stop until only the people who can afford to pay directly for medical care can get it. Obamacare repeal can, and very well might, still come back.

Despite a reddit post to the contrary that’s been getting an awful lot of attention, the repeal bill is still on the Senate calendar with the threat of once again crawling out of its coffin. That doesn’t mean Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is ready to bring it back—his last words on the issue were “It’s time to move on” directly following last week’s dramatic failure. That failure was on the Better Care Reconciliation Act which was just an amendment to the actual bill on the floor—the House-passed American Health Care

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Lies, damn lies, and fake news

In his 2007 book The Assault on Reason, former Vice President Al Gore warned about what he saw as a dire threat to American democracy. “The ‘well-informed citizenry,’” Gore fretted, ”is in danger of becoming the ‘well-amused audience.’” In a presentation on Super Tuesday 2008 (“That’s Entertainment: Politics as Theater in Campaign ‘08”), I elaborated on Gore’s alert.

When politics is entertainment, the first thing that suffers is the truth.

More than nine years later, the American people have a professional entertainer in the Oval Office. And as recent headlines have shown, the truth is suffering indeed. Despite the unified assessment of the U.S. intelligence community that Vladimir Putin’s Russia interfered in the 2016 election, only one-third of Republicans polled believe it. Other surveys found that 72 percent of Trump voters said stories about Russia are “fake news,” with 32 percent even rejecting the claim that Donald

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Trumpcare voting process in Senate should make Americans sick. Passing Trumpcare definitely would’ve

Thanks to three Republican heroes—and 48 Democratic ones—the health of the American people is a lot more secure than it looked like at a few minutes after midnight on Friday morning. Nevertheless, the past week has demonstrated something very important, albeit something not especially surprising. On health care, both in terms of the process they followed, and the outcome for which they aimed, most of the Republican Senate caucus should be ashamed of itself. They aren’t, but they should be.

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Republicans spent years railing about the way Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act in 2009-10. The reality is that the year-long legislative path to Obamacare passage included multiple public hearings; a bill brought up through appropriate committees and through regular order; serious, if ultimately fruitless negotiations with members of the minority party—who, with hindsight, appear unlikely to have been willing to vote yes no matter what Democrats gave

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Senate Democrats stepped up, and they saved Obamacare

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Sure, the trio of Republican defectors in the Senate—Collins, McCain, and Murkowski—are getting lots of plaudits for standing up to leadership to kill Trumpcare. But what absolutely has to be recognized and applauded is the unity of Senate Democrats throughout.

Start with the five Democrats who are all up for re-election in 2018 in states Trump won by more than 20 points: Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and Jon Tester of Montana. Five more are also in states that Trump won but by smaller margins: Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, Sherrod Brown in Ohio, Bob Casey in Pennsylvania, Bill Nelson in Florida, and Debbie Stabenow in Michigan. Not one of them gave an inch in working with McConnell to undermine Obamacare. Not one of their votes—even in procedural motions—were in question throughout the process.

Thank Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Patty Murray of

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