Republicans try to sneak fetal personhood language into tax plan

Republicans never stop trying to ban abortion—even, apparently, when drawing up plans on how to tax college savings. In the section on 529 college savings accounts, Republicans added a provision on “treatment of unborn children,” defined specifically as “a child in utero,” which “means a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.” Emily Peck reports that:

Pro-abortion rights advocates were quick to call out the language. “This is a back-door attempt to establish personhood from the moment of conception,” Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, said in a statement. “The tax code is no place to define what constitutes an ‘unborn child.’ What’s next, giving a Social Security number to a zygote?” […]

Abortion foes believe that if fetuses were legally considered people, then abortion would

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Republican tax plan could slam graduate students earning less than $30,000

The Republican tax plan is designed to be confusing. They don’t want us to know everything that’s in it ahead of time, because we’d notice how bad it is for us. So little bits of information trickle out, like this in the Chronicle of Higher Education, and they don’t necessarily get the attention they deserve:

The plan would also tax the tuition waivers that many graduate students receive when they work as teaching assistants or researchers.

Claus Wilke, an integrative biology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, explained on Twitter what this could mean to STEM education:

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The result? “At that point, a PhD would not be a viable choice anymore, except for the

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The Republican ‘tax plan’ is getting bad reviews from the public—and from Republican allies

The public is not buying the Republican spin on their new would-be “tax plan.” They’re not buying the spin at all.

But nearly 60 percent of people believe corporations won’t “use that money to create jobs,” according to the CBS poll. […]
The plurality of respondents — 39 percent — say they don’t have an opinion about whether the tax plan is good or bad, according to NBC/WSJ. Just over one-third said it’s a bad idea, and 25 percent said it’s a good idea. […]

CBS found that 58 percent of Americans believe taxes on the wealthy should be higher.

This is polling that took place before the details of the bill were even revealed. Now that Republicans have presented it, however, it’s not just voter opinion that Republicans will need to reckon with; the virulently anti-tax Club for Growth is furious it didn’t go far enough

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The Republican ‘tax plan’ is getting bad reviews from the public—and from Republican allies

The public is not buying the Republican spin on their new would-be “tax plan.” They’re not buying the spin at all.

But nearly 60 percent of people believe corporations won’t “use that money to create jobs,” according to the CBS poll. […]
The plurality of respondents — 39 percent — say they don’t have an opinion about whether the tax plan is good or bad, according to NBC/WSJ. Just over one-third said it’s a bad idea, and 25 percent said it’s a good idea. […]

CBS found that 58 percent of Americans believe taxes on the wealthy should be higher.

This is polling that took place before the details of the bill were even revealed. Now that Republicans have presented it, however, it’s not just voter opinion that Republicans will need to reckon with; the virulently anti-tax Club for Growth is furious it didn’t go far enough

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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

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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”

Three House Republicans try to oust Mueller over laughable uranium deal conspiracy theory

On the very week that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe started producing evidence of problematic Russian contacts by the Trump campaign, three House Republicans suddenly want to kneecap Mueller. Who could have guessed it? The Washington Post writes:

Three conservative House Republicans are expected to file a resolution Friday calling on special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to recuse himself from his probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, accusing him of conflicts of interest.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who wrote the resolution, accuses Mueller of having a conflict of interest because he was serving as FBI chief when the Obama administration approved a deal allowing a Russian company to purchase a Canada-based mining group with uranium operations in the United States, according to a draft obtained by The Washington Post.

Now keep this in mind: While there is zero evidence that Hillary Clinton was involved

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Three House Republicans try to oust Mueller over laughable uranium deal conspiracy theory

On the very week that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe started producing evidence of problematic Russian contacts by the Trump campaign, three House Republicans suddenly want to kneecap Mueller. Who could have guessed it? The Washington Post writes:

Three conservative House Republicans are expected to file a resolution Friday calling on special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to recuse himself from his probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, accusing him of conflicts of interest.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who wrote the resolution, accuses Mueller of having a conflict of interest because he was serving as FBI chief when the Obama administration approved a deal allowing a Russian company to purchase a Canada-based mining group with uranium operations in the United States, according to a draft obtained by The Washington Post.

Now keep this in mind: While there is zero evidence that Hillary Clinton was involved

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Republicans are selling their tax plan on a platform of lies

There are a few places where we can already see the gap between what Republicans are claiming their tax plan will do for you and what it will really do that should tell us all we need to know: if they need to lie and misdirect that much to sell the plan, voters definitely shouldn’t be buying. Take the claim that the plan would “lower the tax rate ‘for low– and middle-income Americans’ from 39.6 percent to 35 percent so ‘people can keep more of the money they earn’” … where the “low- and middle-income Americans” in question are earning $450,000 a year. Or take the $1,182 per year tax cut for a family making the median income of $59,000 a year. The reality behind that one gets complicated fast:

Under the current law, parents may claim personal exemptions on their tax forms for themselves, their spouses and their children. The

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Republicans refuse to believe polls showing most Americans don’t want corporate tax cuts

It’s not just Trump supporters who believe what they want to believe and everything else is “fake news,” it’s Republican lawmakers too. Three polls in the last couple months have come out showing most Americans and even many Republican aren’t all that jazzed about cutting the corporate tax rate—a central pillar of the GOP’s tax plan. Here’s the news from two separate September and October Politico/Morning Consult polls:

The GOP response? Vox writes:

“Who cares?” Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) said before I had a chance to say what the polls showed.

Others said they didn’t believe the numbers.

“I don’t believe that poll,” Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) said. “I don’t believe it. It’s in all of our best interest to have these tax

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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,

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Faced with Flake’s rally cry to save America, most Republicans say tax cuts are just too important

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Sure, GOP Sens. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker made some good points Tuesday about how Donald Trump is “debasing” our political discourse and the entire country in the process, but they’re retiring from the Senate. Ask any Republican who plans on indefinitely clinging to his or her Senate seat, and they’ll tell you Flake and Corker are totally off track because giving tax cuts to America’s wealthiest is just too important to get sidetracked by the legal, ethical, moral, and existential questions surrounding Trump’s presidency. Take Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, for one.

”I’m focused on getting stuff done,” Portman said in response to a question about the Flake/Corker rally cry. “This week it’s about opioids, tomorrow it’s opioids. Today it’s tax reform. That’s my job.”

How about protecting the American people from a maniac—is that in your job description?

Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, fighting for his political future

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Republicans either don’t know yet or are covering up what’s in their big tax plan

Republicans are planning a big package of tax cuts, they keep telling us. But what’s going to be in it? Possibly changes to your 401(k) retirement plan, despite Donald Trump’s promise to leave those untouched. And, uh, well, beyond that, it’s kind of a mystery. Here’s the Washington Post on what House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady is saying—or what he isn’t saying:

For example, he said he hasn’t decided what income levels would merit certain tax rates.

He said he hasn’t decided how many tax deductions to eliminate to partially offset the lower rates.

He said he hasn’t decided whether to impose a top tax rate for the wealthiest Americans.

He said he hasn’t decided whether the tax cuts would be retroactive to income earned in 2017.

He wouldn’t say how the tax bill would impact the type of taxes paid by hedge fund managers, even though

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CBO: Bipartisan Obamacare fix would reduce deficit

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Oh, hey. A healthcare bill has gotten a good report from the Congressional Budget Office—quite a novelty here in 2017. And look, it’s the bipartisan effort to stabilize the Obamacare markets!

A bipartisan deal to shore up ObamaCare’s insurance markets would reduce the deficit by nearly $4 billion by 2027, according to a score released Wednesday by Congress’s nonpartisan scorekeeper.

The bill, sponsored by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), would fund key ObamaCare insurer subsidies and give states more flexibility to change their ObamaCare programs.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said in its report Wednesday that the bill would not substantially impact the number of people with health insurance.

Saving nearly $4 billion over 10 years is not a huge amount by government standards, but it sounds pretty damn good when you consider that Donald Trump’s alternative, not funding

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Republicans again face defections on a top priority. This time, tax cuts.

Republicans are once again struggling to get the votes they need to pass one of their own top priorities—in this case, tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. The House needs to pass the Senate’s budget resolution to allow Senate Republicans to use reconciliation to pass the tax cuts with 51 rather than 60 votes. But there’s a sticking point in the House: Republicans from higher-taxed states are worried about the elimination of a provision that currently allows people to deduct their state and local taxes from their federal taxes.

“I need to know what the endgame is going to look like if I’m going to vote on it,” said Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., a leader of the bloc of concerned Republicans. MacArthur attended a White House meeting on the issue Tuesday where he said he “didn’t make the progress I had hoped for.” […]

Three

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Donald Trump is not ‘untrustworthy’ or ‘inconsistent.’ Donald Trump is a liar, and incompetent

The efforts to tiptoe around the plain evidence that Donald Trump is a racist, lying, possibly dementia-riddled sack of shit continue.

President Trump campaigned as one of the world’s greatest dealmakers, but after nine months of struggling to broker agreements, lawmakers in both parties increasingly consider him an untrustworthy, chronically inconsistent and easily distracted negotiator.

Because he is. He just is—there is no consider involved here. He is transparently unaware of the details of even his own would-be priorities. He lies extensively and about everything. He contradicts his own prior statements with such regularity that he genuinely appears to have no ability to distinguish between reality and fiction. There was a point at which we could charitably have considered him a mere incompetent; that point has long past.

The president’s propensity to create diversions and follow tangents has kept him from focusing on his legislative agenda and forced lawmakers who might

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24 days after Congress let CHIP lapse, Pennsylvania Republican is targeting transgender kids

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Republicans in Congress let funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program expire, and now, 24 days later, a state lawmaker in Pennsylvania is targeting transgender kids as a condition of renewing the program in that state. State Sen. Donald White is attaching an amendment to CHIP reauthorization that would ban “reimbursement for gender or sex reassignment surgery or gender or sex transition services, including, but not limited to, physician’s services, inpatient and outpatient hospital services, prescribed drugs or counseling services related to such surgery or services.”

White seemed to indicate that his amendment was meant to address surgeries. “It is completely inappropriate to use state funds to pay for sex change operations for children,” he said in a statement. “This program provides vital health care services for Pennsylvania’s children. It is irresponsible to allow its limited resources to be used for sex change procedures.”

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Can Trump quit hurling insults long enough to unite Republicans around tax cuts for the rich?

The White House is gearing up to make an all-out push for that package of tax cuts for rich people that is Republicans’ last chance to end 2017 looking like they have a clue what they’re doing. The problem is, Donald Trump is once again getting in his own way. With Trump about to head to Capitol Hill for lunch with Senate Republicans, he’s feuding with Sen. Bob Corker—again. Corker went on the Today show Tuesday morning and ever so politely told Trump to butt out of the tax bill-writing process, saying:

“What I hope is going to happen is the president will leave this effort, if you will, to the tax-writing committees, let them do their work and not begin taking things off the table that ought to be debated in these committees at the proper time.”

That was in response to Trump promising no changes to 401(k) accounts.

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Trump administration bars government scientists from speaking at climate change conference

Under Donald Blowhard Trump, Republican thought leaders continue implementing their lifelong dream of kicking objective reality in the shins because reasons.

The Environmental Protection Agency has canceled the speaking appearance of three agency scientists who were scheduled to discuss climate change at a conference on Monday in Rhode Island, according to the agency and several people involved.
John Konkus, an E.P.A. spokesman and a former Trump campaign operative in Florida, confirmed that agency scientists would not speak at the State of the Narragansett Bay and Watershed program in Providence. He provided no further explanation.

The “former Trump campaign operative” is of course sufficient explanation on its own. As for what the scientists are being barred from discussing:

Scientists there will unveil the report on the state of [Narragansett Bay], which E.P.A. scientists helped research and write. Among the findings will be that climate change is affecting air

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Georgia legislator says she was trying to be ‘provocative’ with HIV ‘quarantine’ comments

Ah, the old “I was just trying to be edgy” defense.

Betty Price, the wife of former HHS Secretary Tom Price, is defending her comment about quarantining people with HIV as an attempt to be provocative about a public health crisis. […]
“I made a provocative and rhetorical comment as part of a free-flowing conversation which has been taken completely out of context.” she said in a statement to the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Saturday.

In that aforementioned free-flowing conversation, Price had mentioned “quarantine” and noted how Americans with HIV are not dying as “readily” as they once did.

“It seems to me it’s almost frightening the number of people who are living that are potentially carriers, well not carriers, with the potential to spread, whereas in the past they died more readily and at that point they are not posing a risk. So we’ve got a huge

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