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Destiny

United States Congress of Fail (Part 3)

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Destiny

Continued from here:

 

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fraurosena

Ugh. McTurtle is taking up the presidunce's suggestion. Repeal now, replace later.

Kick 32 million off healthcare instead of 23 million. Yep. That's going to go down well.

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fraurosena
Posted (edited)

I just can't even...

Tom Price says repeal no biggie, insurers can dust off what they had before Obamacare.

Spoiler

Tom Price, who serves as Secretary of Healthcare and Human Services under President Donald Trump, admitted Sunday that he has no problem with the mass suffering that existed prior to the passing of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

When asked by Jonathan Karl of ABC's 'The Week', about the widespread opposition to the Trump administration's healthcare plan, Price said that "it's really perplexing, especially from the insurance companies, because all they have to do is dust off how they did business before Obamacare."

Price added, "A single risk pool, which is what they're objecting to, is exactly the kind of process that was- that has been utilised for decades."

When Karl asked Price about the fact that many doctors are opposed to the current bill, Price responded, "The challenge that we have is that the bill itself isn't the entire plan. It is an important and significant and integral part of The plan, but it's not the entire plan."

 

No, the entire plan is to sell out to the Russians in order to give tax breaks to the extremely rich.

Edited by fraurosena
Riffles

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formergothardite

They have no plans to replace. They have been wanting to repeal and just let poor people die. Decrease the excess population and all that shit. The democrats really need to get it together to take back the house next year, but I'm afraid that they will leave room for the GOP to keep control and continue ruining the country. 

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GreyhoundFan

While McTurtle is trying to screw the American public out of healthcare, Lyan has been busy: "House GOP unveils budget plan that attaches major spending cuts to coming tax overhaul bill"

Spoiler

House Republicans unveiled a 2018 budget plan Tuesday that would pave the way for ambitious tax reform legislation — but only alongside a package of politically sensitive spending cuts that threaten to derail the tax rewrite before it begins.

GOP infighting over spending, health care and other matters continues to cast doubt on whether the budget blueprint can survive a House vote. Failing to pass a budget could complicate leaders’ plans to move on to their next governing priority as hopes of a health-care overhaul appeared to collapse late Monday in the Senate.

The House Budget Committee blueprint, which is set for a Thursday committee vote, sets out special procedures that could ultimately allow Republicans to pass legislation over the objections of Senate Democrats who can normally block bills they oppose. GOP leaders in the House, as well as top Trump administration officials, hope to use those procedures — known as reconciliation — to pass a tax overhaul later this year.

The instructions in the draft budget, however, go well beyond tax policy and set the stage for a potential $203 billion rollback of financial industry regulations, federal employee benefits, welfare spending and more. Those are policy areas where Republicans have, in many cases, already passed legislation in the House but have seen Democrats block action in the Senate.

House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black (R-Tenn.) said the spending proposal is “not just a vision for our country, but a plan for action.”

“In past years, our proposals had little chance of becoming a reality because we faced a Democratic White House,” she said in a statement Tuesday. “But now with a Republican Congress and a Republican administration, now is the time to put forward a governing document with real solutions to address our biggest challenges.”

Like the spending blueprint released this year by President Trump, the House plan envisions major cuts to federal spending over the coming decade, bringing the budget into balance by relying on accelerated economic growth to boost revenue. Under the House plan, defense spending would steadily increase over 10 years while nondefense discretionary spending would decline to $424 billion — 23 percent below the $554 billion the federal government is spending in that category this year.

Unlike Trump’s budget, the House proposal cuts into Medicare and Social Security — entitlement programs that the president has pledged to preserve. The House plan also makes a less-rosy economic growth assumption of 2.6 percent versus the 3 percent eyed by the Trump administration. Both, however, exceed the 1.9 percent figure used by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office in its most recent economic estimates.

The House blueprint won a strong endorsement from White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, who served on the House Budget Committee before joining the Trump administration.

“It is a bold effort that follows the leadership of President Trump in Making America Great Again,” he said in a statement. “Critically, this budget lays a pathway for Congress to pass, and President Trump to sign pro-growth tax reform into law.”

But under congressional budget rules, a tax bill drafted to comply with the House budget proposal would have to include much more than tax provisions.

The Ways and Means Committee, which is drafting the tax bill, would be instructed to find $52 billion in deficit savings over the coming decade. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and the panel’s chairman, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.), have said they intend to pursue a deficit-neutral reform bill, meaning the savings would have to be found in other programs under the committee’s jurisdiction — such as Medicare, disability aid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and unemployment compensation.

The Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has explored cuts to the federal workforce and to federal employee benefits, would be required to find $32 billion in deficit savings.

The Financial Services Committee would be ordered to produce $14 billion in savings — a figure that could allow Republicans to repeal large parts of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. The Congressional Budget Office found earlier this year that the Financial Choice Act, a Dodd-Frank repeal bill passed by the House last month, would produce about $24 billion in deficit reduction over the next 10 years.

And the Judiciary Committee would be responsible for $45 billion in deficit reduction, which is roughly the amount of savings produced under the Protecting Access to Care Act, a medical malpractice reform bill that also passed the House last month.

Both bills have little support among Democrats and would likely be blocked in the Senate under typical procedure. Reconciliation rules could allow Republicans to avoid that barrier.

The more profound barrier could be Republican divisions over the budget proposal itself. The effort to write a budget has been stalled for months as defense hawks, deficit watchdogs and appropriators have sparred over where to set spending levels. And while there appears to be a working accord on the House Budget Committee, it remains unclear whether the blueprint can survive a floor vote.

Members of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus have been pushing for more aggressive long-term spending cuts in reconciliation. The group’s leader, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), told reporters last week that the numbers in the draft budget could not pass the House, calling the proposed $203 billion in mandatory spending cuts over the coming decade a relative pittance in a federal budget that already approaches $4 trillion in yearly spending.

Conservatives are also pushing House GOP leaders for more specificity on the tax reform bill — in particular, an assurance that a proposal to tax imported goods known as border adjustment will not be included.

Moderates, meanwhile, are staging a revolt of their own. Twenty members of the centrist Tuesday Group signed a letter last month objecting to even $200 billion in mandatory spending cuts, arguing they are “not practical” and would “make enacting tax reform even more difficult than it already will be.”

They are also pushing for budget talks with Democrats, who maintain significant leverage in federal spending: Republicans are proposing to exceed defense spending caps enacted under the 2011 Budget Control Act each year until the measure expires in 2021. Adjusting those caps will require a bipartisan agreement to pass the Senate.

Senate Republicans have yet to draw up a budget blueprint of their own.

House Republican leaders have whistled past questions about the practicality of the spending levels they are proposing and instead have made the case to rank-and-file House members that passing the budget resolution — because of the reconciliation instructions — represents the only way to ensure a successful tax bill.

“We can move forward with an optimistic vision for the future, and this budget is the first step in that process,” Black said. “This is the moment to get real results for the American people. The time for talking is over, now is the time for action.”

"Optimistic vision for the future"? You have got to be kidding me. The only people who should be optimistic are billionaires.

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GrumpyGran
18 minutes ago, GreyhoundFan said:

While McTurtle is trying to screw the American public out of healthcare, Lyan has been busy: "House GOP unveils budget plan that attaches major spending cuts to coming tax overhaul bill"

  Reveal hidden contents

House Republicans unveiled a 2018 budget plan Tuesday that would pave the way for ambitious tax reform legislation — but only alongside a package of politically sensitive spending cuts that threaten to derail the tax rewrite before it begins.

GOP infighting over spending, health care and other matters continues to cast doubt on whether the budget blueprint can survive a House vote. Failing to pass a budget could complicate leaders’ plans to move on to their next governing priority as hopes of a health-care overhaul appeared to collapse late Monday in the Senate.

The House Budget Committee blueprint, which is set for a Thursday committee vote, sets out special procedures that could ultimately allow Republicans to pass legislation over the objections of Senate Democrats who can normally block bills they oppose. GOP leaders in the House, as well as top Trump administration officials, hope to use those procedures — known as reconciliation — to pass a tax overhaul later this year.

The instructions in the draft budget, however, go well beyond tax policy and set the stage for a potential $203 billion rollback of financial industry regulations, federal employee benefits, welfare spending and more. Those are policy areas where Republicans have, in many cases, already passed legislation in the House but have seen Democrats block action in the Senate.

House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black (R-Tenn.) said the spending proposal is “not just a vision for our country, but a plan for action.”

“In past years, our proposals had little chance of becoming a reality because we faced a Democratic White House,” she said in a statement Tuesday. “But now with a Republican Congress and a Republican administration, now is the time to put forward a governing document with real solutions to address our biggest challenges.”

Like the spending blueprint released this year by President Trump, the House plan envisions major cuts to federal spending over the coming decade, bringing the budget into balance by relying on accelerated economic growth to boost revenue. Under the House plan, defense spending would steadily increase over 10 years while nondefense discretionary spending would decline to $424 billion — 23 percent below the $554 billion the federal government is spending in that category this year.

Unlike Trump’s budget, the House proposal cuts into Medicare and Social Security — entitlement programs that the president has pledged to preserve. The House plan also makes a less-rosy economic growth assumption of 2.6 percent versus the 3 percent eyed by the Trump administration. Both, however, exceed the 1.9 percent figure used by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office in its most recent economic estimates.

The House blueprint won a strong endorsement from White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, who served on the House Budget Committee before joining the Trump administration.

“It is a bold effort that follows the leadership of President Trump in Making America Great Again,” he said in a statement. “Critically, this budget lays a pathway for Congress to pass, and President Trump to sign pro-growth tax reform into law.”

But under congressional budget rules, a tax bill drafted to comply with the House budget proposal would have to include much more than tax provisions.

The Ways and Means Committee, which is drafting the tax bill, would be instructed to find $52 billion in deficit savings over the coming decade. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and the panel’s chairman, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.), have said they intend to pursue a deficit-neutral reform bill, meaning the savings would have to be found in other programs under the committee’s jurisdiction — such as Medicare, disability aid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and unemployment compensation.

The Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has explored cuts to the federal workforce and to federal employee benefits, would be required to find $32 billion in deficit savings.

The Financial Services Committee would be ordered to produce $14 billion in savings — a figure that could allow Republicans to repeal large parts of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. The Congressional Budget Office found earlier this year that the Financial Choice Act, a Dodd-Frank repeal bill passed by the House last month, would produce about $24 billion in deficit reduction over the next 10 years.

And the Judiciary Committee would be responsible for $45 billion in deficit reduction, which is roughly the amount of savings produced under the Protecting Access to Care Act, a medical malpractice reform bill that also passed the House last month.

Both bills have little support among Democrats and would likely be blocked in the Senate under typical procedure. Reconciliation rules could allow Republicans to avoid that barrier.

The more profound barrier could be Republican divisions over the budget proposal itself. The effort to write a budget has been stalled for months as defense hawks, deficit watchdogs and appropriators have sparred over where to set spending levels. And while there appears to be a working accord on the House Budget Committee, it remains unclear whether the blueprint can survive a floor vote.

Members of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus have been pushing for more aggressive long-term spending cuts in reconciliation. The group’s leader, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), told reporters last week that the numbers in the draft budget could not pass the House, calling the proposed $203 billion in mandatory spending cuts over the coming decade a relative pittance in a federal budget that already approaches $4 trillion in yearly spending.

Conservatives are also pushing House GOP leaders for more specificity on the tax reform bill — in particular, an assurance that a proposal to tax imported goods known as border adjustment will not be included.

Moderates, meanwhile, are staging a revolt of their own. Twenty members of the centrist Tuesday Group signed a letter last month objecting to even $200 billion in mandatory spending cuts, arguing they are “not practical” and would “make enacting tax reform even more difficult than it already will be.”

They are also pushing for budget talks with Democrats, who maintain significant leverage in federal spending: Republicans are proposing to exceed defense spending caps enacted under the 2011 Budget Control Act each year until the measure expires in 2021. Adjusting those caps will require a bipartisan agreement to pass the Senate.

Senate Republicans have yet to draw up a budget blueprint of their own.

House Republican leaders have whistled past questions about the practicality of the spending levels they are proposing and instead have made the case to rank-and-file House members that passing the budget resolution — because of the reconciliation instructions — represents the only way to ensure a successful tax bill.

“We can move forward with an optimistic vision for the future, and this budget is the first step in that process,” Black said. “This is the moment to get real results for the American people. The time for talking is over, now is the time for action.”

"Optimistic vision for the future"? You have got to be kidding me. The only people who should be optimistic are billionaires.

Yeah, let's slash funds for everybody, give the rich tax breaks and spend more on the military. This makes me so angry. It would be one think if that money for the military went to the actual people who are in the military. Or the veterans who come back from the endless Bush wars with permanent disabilities. Or to the families who lose a bread winner to war. But no, it's for contracts for overpriced weaponry, quite a bit of which we sell to other countries, who somehow end up using it against us.

It's so easy to see whose pockets these shits are deep into. Pocket Pets, all of them.

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GreyhoundFan

"Why is Mitch McConnell still calling for a health-care vote?"

Spoiler

Monday night brought one of the most embarrassing blows Mitch McConnell has endured in his 2 ½ years as Senate majority leader.

Two more Republican senators came out against McConnell’s bill to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, effectively dooming the latest version. That forced the Kentucky Republican to confront a difficult question with no good answers: What now?

That didn’t stop McConnell from crafting a 90-word written statement that took some of the Hill’s most seasoned veterans hours to decipher. For this move, McConnell appeared to be issuing a dare.

The effort to “repeal and immediately replace” Obamacare “will not be successful,” McConnell admitted. In its place in the coming days, he would call for a vote to open debate on the House-passed bill — unpopular among most senators — with the aim of amending that bill with the straight-up repeal bill that his more conservative members desire.

He was giving the conservatives the chance to vote on a straight-up repeal. But first they would have to record their vote for a House bill they loathe. There would be no guarantee that the amendment to repeal would pass — and no guarantee that other, less welcoming amendments would fail.

If hard-right conservative senators vote no to starting debate and the effort quickly collapses, McConnell can come back at them and blame them. He is likely to try shifting the blame onto others, and he has given himself a new talking point to counter the “clean repeal” crowd — including President Trump.

If they vote yes — and enough moderates join them to start the debate — then suddenly they’re back on track, at the table debating legislation that has at least some chance of passing in some form.

But don’t count on the latter scenario ever happening.

Even if the Senate got to a clean repeal vote, it wouldn’t be likely to pass. Moderates are petrified of voting for repeal-only legislation. Even some conservatives suggested Monday that the better idea is to completely start over again with a new effort led by the committees. So why would the conservatives go out on a limb for something that isn’t expected to actually become law? And if they do, why would the moderates join them in voting to proceed to debate on something they don’t like?

Sure, pure repeal passed back in 2015. But the stakes were lower back then. Barack Obama was president, and he wasn’t ever going to sign a bill that undid his signature law. So Republicans were free to vote for it with little on the line.

Now, there’s a lot on the line — which is why moderate Republicans have openly worried that the current Senate bill goes too far in attacking Obamacare. How are they supposed to support an even more aggressive repeal? And if indeed they don’t, they could get some blame for the collapse of the repeal effort.

What’s less clear at this point is McConnell’s longer game. If this doesn’t work out, will he move on to other matters? Follow through on his threats to work with Democrats on narrower reforms, which were seen as ways to try to pressure conservatives not to let this fail? We’ll find out soon.

There are no longer any good outcomes for McConnell — politically speaking. There are bad ones and less bad ones. And putting the onus on other senators means there will be more blame to go around when all of it comes to an end.

I think he is playing the game to ensure he can shift the blame.

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GrumpyGran
8 minutes ago, GreyhoundFan said:

"Why is Mitch McConnell still calling for a health-care vote?"

  Hide contents

Monday night brought one of the most embarrassing blows Mitch McConnell has endured in his 2 ½ years as Senate majority leader.

Two more Republican senators came out against McConnell’s bill to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, effectively dooming the latest version. That forced the Kentucky Republican to confront a difficult question with no good answers: What now?

That didn’t stop McConnell from crafting a 90-word written statement that took some of the Hill’s most seasoned veterans hours to decipher. For this move, McConnell appeared to be issuing a dare.

The effort to “repeal and immediately replace” Obamacare “will not be successful,” McConnell admitted. In its place in the coming days, he would call for a vote to open debate on the House-passed bill — unpopular among most senators — with the aim of amending that bill with the straight-up repeal bill that his more conservative members desire.

He was giving the conservatives the chance to vote on a straight-up repeal. But first they would have to record their vote for a House bill they loathe. There would be no guarantee that the amendment to repeal would pass — and no guarantee that other, less welcoming amendments would fail.

If hard-right conservative senators vote no to starting debate and the effort quickly collapses, McConnell can come back at them and blame them. He is likely to try shifting the blame onto others, and he has given himself a new talking point to counter the “clean repeal” crowd — including President Trump.

If they vote yes — and enough moderates join them to start the debate — then suddenly they’re back on track, at the table debating legislation that has at least some chance of passing in some form.

But don’t count on the latter scenario ever happening.

Even if the Senate got to a clean repeal vote, it wouldn’t be likely to pass. Moderates are petrified of voting for repeal-only legislation. Even some conservatives suggested Monday that the better idea is to completely start over again with a new effort led by the committees. So why would the conservatives go out on a limb for something that isn’t expected to actually become law? And if they do, why would the moderates join them in voting to proceed to debate on something they don’t like?

Sure, pure repeal passed back in 2015. But the stakes were lower back then. Barack Obama was president, and he wasn’t ever going to sign a bill that undid his signature law. So Republicans were free to vote for it with little on the line.

Now, there’s a lot on the line — which is why moderate Republicans have openly worried that the current Senate bill goes too far in attacking Obamacare. How are they supposed to support an even more aggressive repeal? And if indeed they don’t, they could get some blame for the collapse of the repeal effort.

What’s less clear at this point is McConnell’s longer game. If this doesn’t work out, will he move on to other matters? Follow through on his threats to work with Democrats on narrower reforms, which were seen as ways to try to pressure conservatives not to let this fail? We’ll find out soon.

There are no longer any good outcomes for McConnell — politically speaking. There are bad ones and less bad ones. And putting the onus on other senators means there will be more blame to go around when all of it comes to an end.

I think he is playing the game to ensure he can shift the blame.

Well, their Republican constituents certainly have them running scared. This is what happens when you think you can please all the people all the time. I think they mis-read the crowd this time. Of course the crowd is a bit hard to read: Repeal Obamacare! Don't take my healthcare away! Get rid of illegals! Wait, you can't deport my maid and gardener!

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formergothardite

It is really hard to vote to take stuff away from people. Despite all the grouching, people have gotten used to the benefits of the ACA and will be SEVERELY pissed off if the GOP votes to remove them. 

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GreyhoundFan

Jennifer Rubin's take on the Senate healthcare situation: "Is Trumpcare finally dead?"

Spoiler

Perhaps the two “no” votes from Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) would have been enough to sink the GOP health-care effort. Senate Republicans and virtually all political watchers have been cultivating a sense of suspense — who would be the third “no” vote? — when in fact there are likely, according to Collins, many more “no” votes (eight to 10, she said in TV interviews Sunday). Then a very public and simple barrier to passage emerged — Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) undetermined recuperation time. With two “no” votes already clinched, Senate GOP leaders could not even pretend to have sufficient support without McCain (who actually might be a “no” vote in the end). Now comes perhaps the death knell for Trumpcare: Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) both announced their opposition Monday night.

To be clear, the Better Care Reconciliation Act was already at death’s door before McCain took ill and before Lee and Moran’s announcements. A handful of moderates continue to refuse to stomach huge Medicaid cuts. In an act of exceptional duplicity, McConnell reportedly told moderates not to worry about Medicaid cuts (presumably because Congress will never have the nerve to go through with them), which understandably angered conservatives.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson told a Wisconsin paper, “I am concerned about Leader McConnell’s comments to apparently some of my Republican colleagues — ‘Don’t worry about some of the Medicaid reforms, those are scheduled so far in the future they’ll never take effect.’ I’ve got to confirm those comments. … I think those comments are going to really put the motion to proceed in jeopardy, whether it’s on my part or others.” He continued: “Many of us, one of the main reasons we are willing to support a bill that doesn’t even come close to repealing Obamacare … was because at least we were devolving the management back to the states, and putting some level of sustainability into an unsustainable entitlement program. If our leader is basically saying don’t worry about it, we’ve designed it so that those reforms will never take effect, first of all, that’s a pretty significant breach of trust, and why support the bill then?”

Additional time has never been an asset for the administration. The more time that passes, the more anger Team Trump seems to induce in wavering members. CNN reported:

[Vice President] Pence and top Medicare and Medicaid administrator Seema Verma were deployed to Rhode Island over the weekend to meet with skeptical governors at the National Governors Association’s summer meeting. In private meetings, Pence and Verma tried to convince governors that the GOP’s health care bill would give them greater flexibility to design Medicaid programs that were better tailored to their needs.

But the weekend didn’t go especially well for the administration. After a speech in which Pence claimed 60,000 disabled Ohioans were waiting to get care, a spokesman for Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich dismissed the claim as false on Twitter.

[Connecticut Democratic Gov. Dan] Malloy described Pence’s private meeting with the governors Saturday as “pretty atrocious” as Pence encouraged governors to dismiss an unfavorable score from the Congressional Budget Office that showed 15 million Americans would lose Medicaid coverage over the next decade.

And of course the Congressional Budget Office’s scoring on the newest version of the bill has yet to come out. Each time the CBO has produced a score, decried as fake by the White House, a spasm of concern has gripped the Republican caucus. Republicans get cold(er) feet with each reminder of how many people will lose insurance, be cut off from Medicaid and/or have to pay more for coverage. On the floor of the Senate, Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) needled Republicans, imploring them to use the time to secure a CBO score and to hold hearings on the bill. (He told Republicans they should “use this extra week, or extra weeks, to do what Republicans should have done a long time ago: hold public hearings. Allow the stakeholders to come in and express their concerns.” That idea likely sends shivers down the spines of most Republicans as they contemplate the parade of doctors, patients, insurers, advocates for the elderly and other witnesses who would come forward.)

In sum, given the choice between holding up the Senate until McCain returns and changing at least two of the declared “no” votes, or moving on so as to avoid the agony of extended dismal coverage and the humiliation of a losing vote on the floor, wouldn’t Republicans rather proceed to the debt limit, the budget and tax reform? Let’s be candid: McConnell knows that forcing some of his members (especially Dean Heller of Nevada) to vote in support of a grossly unpopular bill would be a political death sentence. He cannot in his heart of hearts be thrilled with the prospect of a vote, especially one he will now almost certainly lose; all he need to do is show he tried everything possible.

Initially, McConnell may have figured a ridiculously early deadline for a vote in July could have cleared the decks (win or lose), but now he has a ready-made excuse for ditching the whole exercise. Sure, they can come back to the bill — sometime. Gosh, if only McCain hadn’t gotten ill. Well, now we’ve got four “no” votes. Let a hundred excuses bloom.

UPDATE: McCain has now chimed in with what amounts to a 5th “no” vote. In a written statement he declares, “One of the major problems with Obamacare was that it was written on a strict party-line basis and driven through Congress without a single Republican vote. As this law continues to crumble in Arizona and states across the country, we must not repeat the original mistakes that led to Obamacare’s failure.” He urges Congress to “return to regular order, hold hearings, receive input from members of both parties, and heed the recommendations of our nation’s governors so that we can produce a bill that finally provides Americans with access to quality and affordable health care.”

Yes, they are full of excuses. I just worry that their games will end up destabilizing the healthcare market even more.

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GreyhoundFan

This is from yesterday, but wow: "Break-in, ‘threatening note’ at office of GOP senator considered swing vote in health-care bill"

Spoiler

Police said a “threatening note” was found over the weekend after a break-in at the Las Vegas office of Sen. Dean Heller, a Republican who could be a critical swing vote on the GOP health-care bill.

Las Vegas police said officers responded to a call about a burglary alarm Saturday morning at Heller’s office in southwest Las Vegas. There, they discovered what they described in a statement as a “threatening note” addressed to Heller (R-Nev.) near the door to his office.

The Nevada Independent’s Jon Ralston reported that the note was related to the Senate’s upcoming vote on the GOP’s health-care bill:

A note taped to Sen. Dean Heller’s campaign office was from someone asserting that he would lose his health care if the key senator voted for the repeal bill and that he would die if that happened and would take Heller with him, a law enforcement source said.

Police said Monday that they would not disclose the contents of the note, citing an ongoing investigation. Megan Taylor, a spokeswoman for Heller, confirmed the break-in but said that she could not comment, because of the investigation.

Heller has been under pressure from the left and the right over his vote on the health-care bill. Republican lawmakers have been steadfast for years in their promise to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health-care measure — a pledge Donald Trump frequently invoked on the campaign trail.

However, as The Washington Post’s David Weigel pointed out, Heller is the only Senate Republican facing reelection in 2018 in a state won by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton last year. His unique position has made him the focus of several advertising campaigns trying to lobby for his vote.

Last month, Heller came out against an earlier iteration of the GOP’s health-care bill, becoming the fifth Republican senator to do so at the time. At a June 23 news conference, Heller said he was particularly concerned about potential cuts to Medicaid, as well as the impending loss of insurance for those struggling with mental-health and substance-abuse issues.

“I’m telling you right now, I cannot support a piece of legislation that takes away insurance from tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Nevadans,” Heller said then.

Three weeks later, Heller is in no less a precarious spot when it comes to voting on the GOP’s new proposal to remake the ACA, unveiled by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) last week.

Two Republican senators — Susan Collins (Maine) and Rand Paul (Ky.) — have publicly said they continue to oppose the GOP’s health-care bill. Just one more no vote from a Republican senator would mean the bill would not have the 50 votes it needs to pass.

When Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) announced over the weekend that he needed to recover from surgery and would be absent from a vote, McConnell said the Senate would postpone it.

The incident at Heller’s office follows similar incidents involving other GOP senators in recent weeks. Over the July Fourth recess, a protester was arrested outside the Tucson office of Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) after allegedly asking a staffer: “You know how liberals are going to solve the Republican problem? They are going to get better aim.” And an Omaha man was arrested this month after walking into an Iowa motorcycle shop and allegedly saying that he “could kill” Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who was scheduled to visit the shop the next day.

The break-in also came just three days after the Federal Election Commission ruled that House and Senate lawmakers may now use campaign funds to pay for security upgrades at their personal homes — a change from previous rulings that required lawmakers to petition the panel on a case-by-case basis. But after warnings from House and Senate security officials in the wake of the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), the FEC said that security upgrades now qualify as “ordinary and necessary expenses” lawmakers incur as part of official duties.

Security upgrades at congressional district offices are handled with taxpayer funding, and Congress is preparing to spend tens of millions more dollars to protect lawmakers and their staffs. All 435 House lawmakers are receiving $25,000 in emergency funding added to their annual office allowances to be used for any security purpose — a nearly $10.9 million expense that can be used to add bulletproof windows at district offices or to hire a private security guard for public events back home. And at least $5 million is earmarked for the House sergeant at arms to pay for security upgrades at House district offices that face threats or are considered vulnerable.

The Senate, which has fewer district offices to protect, has not yet allotted such money. Responsibility for securing Senate district offices, which are usually found in federal buildings or courthouses, depends on the location. If it shares space with a federal agency that also has a law enforcement responsibility, that agency probably provides protection. If the office is in a courthouse, U.S. marshals probably provide security. But if the office is in a private building, a senator’s staff has probably made arrangements with local police or the building’s private security officers to keep an eye on the location.

I am a vocal opponent of most of the Repug agenda, but I can't imagine actually threatening someone over it. I'm much more the type to keep outlining my points to wear the other person down.

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fraurosena
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, GreyhoundFan said:

This is from yesterday, but wow: "Break-in, ‘threatening note’ at office of GOP senator considered swing vote in health-care bill"

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Police said a “threatening note” was found over the weekend after a break-in at the Las Vegas office of Sen. Dean Heller, a Republican who could be a critical swing vote on the GOP health-care bill.

Las Vegas police said officers responded to a call about a burglary alarm Saturday morning at Heller’s office in southwest Las Vegas. There, they discovered what they described in a statement as a “threatening note” addressed to Heller (R-Nev.) near the door to his office.

The Nevada Independent’s Jon Ralston reported that the note was related to the Senate’s upcoming vote on the GOP’s health-care bill:

A note taped to Sen. Dean Heller’s campaign office was from someone asserting that he would lose his health care if the key senator voted for the repeal bill and that he would die if that happened and would take Heller with him, a law enforcement source said.

Police said Monday that they would not disclose the contents of the note, citing an ongoing investigation. Megan Taylor, a spokeswoman for Heller, confirmed the break-in but said that she could not comment, because of the investigation.

Heller has been under pressure from the left and the right over his vote on the health-care bill. Republican lawmakers have been steadfast for years in their promise to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health-care measure — a pledge Donald Trump frequently invoked on the campaign trail.

However, as The Washington Post’s David Weigel pointed out, Heller is the only Senate Republican facing reelection in 2018 in a state won by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton last year. His unique position has made him the focus of several advertising campaigns trying to lobby for his vote.

Last month, Heller came out against an earlier iteration of the GOP’s health-care bill, becoming the fifth Republican senator to do so at the time. At a June 23 news conference, Heller said he was particularly concerned about potential cuts to Medicaid, as well as the impending loss of insurance for those struggling with mental-health and substance-abuse issues.

“I’m telling you right now, I cannot support a piece of legislation that takes away insurance from tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Nevadans,” Heller said then.

Three weeks later, Heller is in no less a precarious spot when it comes to voting on the GOP’s new proposal to remake the ACA, unveiled by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) last week.

Two Republican senators — Susan Collins (Maine) and Rand Paul (Ky.) — have publicly said they continue to oppose the GOP’s health-care bill. Just one more no vote from a Republican senator would mean the bill would not have the 50 votes it needs to pass.

When Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) announced over the weekend that he needed to recover from surgery and would be absent from a vote, McConnell said the Senate would postpone it.

The incident at Heller’s office follows similar incidents involving other GOP senators in recent weeks. Over the July Fourth recess, a protester was arrested outside the Tucson office of Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) after allegedly asking a staffer: “You know how liberals are going to solve the Republican problem? They are going to get better aim.” And an Omaha man was arrested this month after walking into an Iowa motorcycle shop and allegedly saying that he “could kill” Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who was scheduled to visit the shop the next day.

The break-in also came just three days after the Federal Election Commission ruled that House and Senate lawmakers may now use campaign funds to pay for security upgrades at their personal homes — a change from previous rulings that required lawmakers to petition the panel on a case-by-case basis. But after warnings from House and Senate security officials in the wake of the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), the FEC said that security upgrades now qualify as “ordinary and necessary expenses” lawmakers incur as part of official duties.

Security upgrades at congressional district offices are handled with taxpayer funding, and Congress is preparing to spend tens of millions more dollars to protect lawmakers and their staffs. All 435 House lawmakers are receiving $25,000 in emergency funding added to their annual office allowances to be used for any security purpose — a nearly $10.9 million expense that can be used to add bulletproof windows at district offices or to hire a private security guard for public events back home. And at least $5 million is earmarked for the House sergeant at arms to pay for security upgrades at House district offices that face threats or are considered vulnerable.

The Senate, which has fewer district offices to protect, has not yet allotted such money. Responsibility for securing Senate district offices, which are usually found in federal buildings or courthouses, depends on the location. If it shares space with a federal agency that also has a law enforcement responsibility, that agency probably provides protection. If the office is in a courthouse, U.S. marshals probably provide security. But if the office is in a private building, a senator’s staff has probably made arrangements with local police or the building’s private security officers to keep an eye on the location.

I am a vocal opponent of most of the Repug agenda, but I can't imagine actually threatening someone over it. I'm much more the type to keep outlining my points to wear the other person down.

3

Yeah, so am I @GreyhoundFan. The pen is mightier than the sword and such.

That said, I do understand- not condone, but understand- that when someone is incredibly scared, or feels threatened, they respond with counter-threats and (Rufus forbid) even violence, if one feels backed into a corner enough. 

If you keep kicking someone, at some point that person may punch you in the face. I think most people would find this entirely understandable.

It's a sorry state of affairs the repugliklans have created. :pb_sad:

 

---- merged post separation ----

 

Awww. Those Repugliklans just can't get a break repealing or replacing. How SAD.

‘Plan C’ on Obamacare, Repeal Now, Replace Later, Has Collapsed

Spoiler

With their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in tatters, Senate leaders on Tuesday pushed to vote on a different measure that would repeal major parts of President Barack Obama’s health law without a replacement — but that plan appeared also to collapse.

Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska immediately declared they could not vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement — enough to doom the effort before it could get any momentum.

“I did not come to Washington to hurt people,” Ms. Capito said in a statement. “I cannot vote to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan that addresses my concerns and the needs of West Virginians.”

Senator Rob Portman of Ohio hinted strongly that he too would oppose it.

The collapse of the Senate Republican health bill — and the failing struggle to find yet another alternative —highlighted a harsh reality for Senate Republicans: While Republican senators freely assailed the health law while Mr. Obama occupied the White House, they have so far not been able to come up with a workable plan to unwind it that would keep both moderate Republicans and conservatives on board.

“It’s a much tougher process than people thought it was,” said Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah and the chairman of the Finance Committee.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, gamely pressed forward on Tuesday even as the ground was giving way beneath him.

“I regret that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failures of Obamacare will not be successful,” Mr. McConnell said on the Senate floor on Tuesday morning. “That doesn’t mean we should give up. We will now try a different way to bring the American people relief from Obamacare. I think we owe them at least that much.”

McTurtle will never concede defeat, no matter how many times he gets knocked back. He's nothing if not persistent. Delusional, but persistent.

Edited by fraurosena
artificial break between merged posts

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GreyhoundFan

"Trump suggests Republicans will let ACA market collapse, then rewrite health law"

Spoiler

As divisions between the two main ideological camps within the GOP widened Tuesday, Republicans were scrambling to contain the political fallout from the collapse of a months-long effort to rewrite Barack Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment.

President Trump predicted Tuesday morning that Republicans may wait for the federal insurance market to collapse and then work to broker a deal to rewrite the nation’s landmark health-care law, while Senate leaders pressed ahead with a plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act with no immediate replacement.

But it became quickly apparent that GOP leaders, who were caught off guard by defections of their members Monday night, lacked the votes to abolish parts of the 2010 law outright. Three centrist Republican senators — Susan Collins (Maine), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) — all said they would oppose any vote to proceed with an immediate repeal of the law.

“I did not come to Washington to hurt people,” Capito said on Twitter. She added, “I will only vote to proceed to repeal legislation if I am confident there is a replacement plan that addresses my concerns.”

Collins said in a statement that she had urged Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) to hold hearings in an attempt to fashion a new legislative fix for the ACA, while leaving it in place in the meantime.

“We can’t just hope that we will pass a replacement within the next two years,” she said. “Repealing without a replacement would create great uncertainty for individuals who rely on the ACA and cause further turmoil in the insurance markets.”

Trump, for his part, blamed the demise of a plan to rewrite the ACA on Democrats “and a few Republicans,” but he suggested that the drive to overhaul the law was not completely over.

Speaking to reporters in the Roosevelt Room on Tuesday afternoon, Trump said he was “disappointed” in the demise of the Senate bill. Now his plan is “to let Obamacare fail; it will be a lot easier,” he said. “And I think we’re probably in that position where we’ll let Obamacare fail.”

“We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it,” the president said. “I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it. We’ll let Obamacare fail, and then the Democrats are going to come to us.”

Trump’s latest comments intensified the current political uncertainty on Capitol Hill, where GOP leaders were debating what to do next, and they raised anxiety among insurers that must commit to staying on the federal health exchange within a matter of weeks.

Republicans are reeling after two more GOP senators declared their opposition Monday to the party’s plan to overhaul the nation’s health-care system, likely ending their quest to make good on a GOP promise that has defined the party for nearly a decade and has been one of Trump’s top priorities.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) opened the Senate on Tuesday morning touting his latest plan — to vote on a pure repeal, with a two-year delay, by taking up the House’s health-care bill. .

But Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Tex.) didn’t even try to project confidence that the pure repeal vote would succeed, a further sign that it is little more than an exercise to dare members and demonstrate publicly that there is little appetite for such a move.

“We will find out,” he said Tuesday morning when asked if leaders had the votes for it to work.

And in a sign of the extent to which Senate leaders have lost control of the process, Cornyn, whose job is to count votes, said he had “no idea” that Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) was suddenly going to join Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) in defecting Monday night.

Cornyn learned about it that night “a little after 8 o’clock,” he said, after he and six other GOP senators dined with Trump at the White House.

As Republicans tried to regroup, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) renewed his calls for the majority to work with Democrats to shore up the health insurance system.

“It should be crystal clear to everyone on the other side of the aisle that the core of the bill is unworkable. It’s time to move on. It’s time to start over,” he said. “Rather than repeating this same, failed partisan process again, Republicans should work with Democrats on a bill that lowers premiums, provides long-term stability to the insurance markets and improves our health-care system.”

“Now that their one-party effort has largely failed, we hope they will change their tune,” he said, noting that some Republicans have been calling for bipartisan talks.

Schumer quoted Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who said Monday night that “Congress must return to regular order” and rewrite the health-care legislation with input from both parties.

“The door to bipartisanship is open now. Republicans only need to walk through it,” Schumer said.

As Schumer spoke on the Senate floor, Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), one of the few in the chamber who has tried to be a bipartisan broker, was placing calls to fellow senators who, like him, are former governors — a total of 11 senators including Alexander, John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Angus King (I-Maine), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.). Aides said Manchin was presenting nothing specific yet to his colleagues, just a plea to “sit down and start bipartisan talking.”

Still, the White House and congressional leaders tried to press ahead Tuesday with a single-party solution.

Vice President Pence, speaking at the National Retail Federation’s annual Retail Advocates Summit, challenged Congress to “step up” and repeal the current law “so that lawmakers can “work on a new health-care plan that will start with a clean slate.”

And McConnell declared on the Senate floor, “This doesn’t have to be the end of the story.”

McConnell said the Senate would next take up “a repeal of Obamacare combined with a stable two-year transition period.” He said that President Barack Obama had vetoed such legislation before but that “President Trump will sign it now.”

While he noted that the measure had overwhelming support among Republican senators in 2015, the Senate leader also acknowledged that his party has suffered a political setback.

“I regret that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failures of Obamacare will not be successful,” he said. “We will now try a different way to bring the American people relief from Obamacare.”

The sudden breaks by Lee, a staunch conservative, and Moran, a McConnell ally, rocked the GOP leadership and effectively closed what already had been an increasingly narrow path to passage for the bill.

They joined Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Collins, who also oppose the latest health-care bill. With just 52 seats, Republicans can afford to lose only two votes to pass their proposed rewrite of the ACA. All 46 Democrats and two independents are expected to vote against it.

Lee supports the idea of moving ahead with a straight repeal of the existing law, and his spokesman, Conn Carroll, said Tuesday he would back a motion to proceed on a bill that would achieve that aim. But many centrist Republican senators have said they oppose dismantling key aspects of the ACA without an immediate replacement, given that roughly 20 million Americans have gained coverage under the law.

The confusion over next steps highlights the predicament now faced by Republicans, who have made rallying cries against Obama’s 2010 health-care law a pillar of the party’s identity. They may be forced to grapple with the law’s shift from a perennial GOP target to an accepted, even popular, provider of services and funding in many states, which could make further repeal revivals difficult.

Meanwhile, Trump and other Republicans will confront a Republican base that, despite fervent support for the president, still seeks a smaller federal government and fewer regulations.

All of these forces remained vexing factors Monday as senators bailed on the bill. And no evident solution was offered by the White House — which has been limited in its sale of the GOP plan — or from McConnell, for how to bring together a party in which moderates and conservatives are still deeply divided over the scope of federal health-care funding and regulations.

In many ways, the leadership plan did not go far enough for those on the right, but was too radical for GOP centrists. It scaled back some key ACA requirements and made deep cuts over time in Medicaid, but preserved popular provisions of the law such as a ban on denying coverage to consumers with costly medical conditions.

But the fact that it would reduce federal Medicaid funding and phase out the program’s expansion in 31 states and the District of Columbia rankled several key GOP governors and senators, who feared that their states would be saddled with the unpalatable choice of either cutting off constituents’ health coverage or facing a massive new financial burden.

The opposing pressures have left McConnell in a tough position as he has struggled to find a solution, which is why he has now thrown out the idea of moving to an immediate repeal.

Abolishing several of Obamacare’s central pillars — including the mandate that taxpayers buy coverage, federal subsidies for many consumers’ premiums and Medicaid coverage for roughly 11 million Americans — could wreak havoc in the insurance market. A Congressional Budget Office analysis in January estimated that premiums in the individual insurance market would rise between 20 and 25 percent next year and would roughly double by 2026.

At the same time, according to the CBO, the number of uninsured would spike by 18 million next year and rise to 32 million by 2026.

“For insurers, the worst possible outcome in this debate has always been a partial repeal with no replacement, which is exactly what Congress is about to take up,” said Larry Levitt, senior vice president for special initiatives at the Kaiser Family Foundation, in an email. “Insurance companies would be on the hook for covering people with preexisting conditions, but with no individual mandate or premium subsidies to get healthy people to sign up as well.”

While pursuing an immediate repeal would please conservatives, the fact that it lacks sufficient support leaves McConnell and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) with few good options.

Another move, which McConnell threatened recently, would be to work with Democrats to prop up the insurance exchange markets that have been imploding in some states — which probably would win passage but would infuriate the conservative base that has been calling for the end of the Affordable Care Act.

But Ryan showed little interest Tuesday in making common cause with Democrats, telling reporters that House leaders “would like to see the Senate move on something” to keep the repeal-and-replace process alive.

In a closed-door conference meeting, according to several members present, Ryan told colleagues that the ball remains in the Senate’s court and announced no plans for further action on health care in the House. He also urged House members to be patient and not to openly vent frustration with the Senate, the members said.

Publicly, he emphasized that the Senate had “a razor-thin majority” and that passing legislation is “a hard process.”

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said senators’ willingness to deny Trump one of his top priorities has less to do with the president’s political standing and more with home state pressures, “whether it’s their governors, or the way health care is structured in their individual states.”

“This is the Senate. Leadership sets the agenda, but senators vote in the interests of their states,” Rubio added. “Republics are certainly interesting systems of government. But certainly better than dictatorship.”

I can only imagine how much shouting, finger-pointing, and hair-pulling are going on at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

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GreyhoundFan

This is an excellent analysis: "How the GOP Became the Party of Putin: Republicans have sold their souls to Russia. And Trump isn’t the only reason why."

Spoiler

“Would somebody please help me out here: I’m confused,” read the email to me from a conservative Republican activist and donor. “The Russians are alleged to have interfered in the 2016 election by hacking into Dem party servers that were inadequately protected, some being kept in Hillary’s basement and finding emails that were actually written by members of the Clinton campaign and releasing those emails so that they could be read by the American people who what, didn’t have the right to read these emails? And this is bad? Shouldn’t we be thanking the Russians for making the election more transparent?”

Put aside the factual inaccuracies in this missive (it was not Hillary Clinton’s controversial private server the Russians are alleged to have hacked, despite Donald Trump’s explicit pleading with them to do so, but rather those of the Democratic National Committee and her campaign chairman, John Podesta). Here, laid bare, are the impulses of a large swathe of today’s Republican Party. In any other era, our political leaders would be aghast at the rank opportunism, moral flippancy and borderline treasonous instincts on display.

Instead, we get this from the president of the United States, explaining away his son’s encounter with Russian operatives who were advertised as working on behalf of the Kremlin: “Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent. That’s politics!” And from elected Republicans, we get mostly silence—or embarrassing excuses.

Never mind that Trump Jr. initially said the meeting was about adoption, not a Russian offer of “ultra sensitive” dirt on Hillary Clinton. We’ve gone from the Trump team saying they never even met with Russians to the president himself now essentially saying: So what if we did?

None of this should surprise anyone who paid attention during last year’s campaign. Trump Sr., after all, explicitly implored Russia to hack Clinton’s private email server. He ran as the most pro-Russian candidate for president since Henry Wallace helmed the Soviet fellow-traveling Progressive Party ticket in 1948, extolling Vladimir Putin’s manly virtues at every opportunity while bringing Kremlin-style moral relativism to the campaign trail. Worst of all, GOP voters never punished him for it. This is what they voted for.

Nor was Trump Jr. the only Republican to seek Russian assistance against Clinton. In May, the Wall Street Journal reported that a Florida Republican operative sought and received hacked Democratic Party voter-turnout analyses from “Guccifer 2.0,” a hacker the U.S. government has said is working for Russia’s intelligence services. The Journal has also reported that Republican operative Peter W. Smith, who is now deceased, “mounted an independent campaign to obtain emails he believed were stolen from Hillary Clinton’s private server, likely by Russian hackers.”

Amid a raft of congressional and law enforcement probes into Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential election, it’s still unclear whether members of Trump’s campaign actively colluded with Moscow. But we now know that they had no problem accepting the Kremlin’s help—in fact, Trump Jr. professes disappointment that his Russian interlocutors didn’t deliver the goods. Forty-eight percent of Republicans, meanwhile, think Don Jr. was right to take the meeting. During the campaign, as operatives linked to Russian intelligence dumped hacked emails onto the internet, few Republicans stood on principle, like Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and condemned their provenance. “I will not discuss any issue that has become public solely on the basis of WikiLeaks,” Rubio said at the time. And he issued a stark warning to members of his party who were looking to take advantage of Clinton’s misfortune: “Today it is the Democrats. Tomorrow it could be us.”

Unfortunately, the vast majority of Rubio’s GOP colleagues completely ignored his counsel. Suddenly, Republican leaders and conservative media figures who not long ago were demanding prison time (or worse) for Julian Assange were praising the Australian anarchist to the skies. Every morsel in the DNC and Podesta emails, no matter how innocuous, was pored over and exaggerated to maximum effect. Republican politicians and their allies in the conservative media behaved exactly as the Kremlin intended. The derivation of the emails (stolen by Russian hackers) and the purpose of their dissemination (to sow dissension among the American body politic) have either been ignored, or, in the case of my conservative interlocutor, ludicrously held up as an example of Russian altruism meant to save American democracy from the perfidious Clinton clan.

Contrast Rubio’s principled stand with that of current CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who, while now appropriately calling WikiLeaks a “hostile intelligence service” that “overwhelmingly focuses on the United States while seeking support from antidemocratic countries,” was more than happy to retail its ill-gotten gains during the campaign. Today, just one-third of Republican voters even believe the intelligence community findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, no doubt influenced by the president’s equivocations on the matter.

I was no fan of Barack Obama’s foreign policy. I criticized his Russian “reset,” his Iran nuclear deal, his opening to Cuba, even his handling of political conflict in Honduras. For the past four years, I worked at a think tank, the Foreign Policy Initiative, that was bankrolled by Republican donors and regularly criticized the Obama administration. Anyone who’s followed my writing knows I’ve infuriated liberals and Democrats plenty over the years, and I have the metaphorical scars to prove it.

What I never expected was that the Republican Party—which once stood for a muscular, moralistic approach to the world, and which helped bring down the Soviet Union—would become a willing accomplice of what the previous Republican presidential nominee rightly called our No. 1 geopolitical foe: Vladimir Putin’s Russia. My message for today’s GOP is to paraphrase Barack Obama when he mocked Romney for saying precisely that: 2012 called—it wants its foreign policy back.

***

I should not have been surprised. I’ve been following Russia’s cultivation of the American right for years, long before it became a popular subject, and I have been amazed at just how deep and effective the campaign to shift conservative views on Russia has been. Four years ago, I began writing a series of articles about the growing sympathy for Russia among some American conservatives. Back then, the Putin fan club was limited to seemingly fringe figures like Pat Buchanan (“Is Vladimir Putin a paleoconservative?” he asked, answering in the affirmative), a bunch of cranks organized around the Ron Paul Institute and some anti-gay marriage bitter-enders so resentful at their domestic political loss they would ally themselves with an authoritarian regime that not so long ago they would have condemned for exporting “godless communism.”

Today, these figures are no longer on the fringe of GOP politics. According to a Morning Consult-Politico poll from May, an astonishing 49 percent of Republicans consider Russia an ally. Favorable views of Putin – a career KGB officer who hates America – have nearly tripled among Republicans in the past two years, with 32 percent expressing a positive opinion.

It would be a mistake to attribute this shift solely to Trump and his odd solicitousness toward Moscow. Russia has been targeting the American right since at least 2013, the year Putin enacted a law targeting pro-gay rights organizing and delivered a state-of-the-nation address extolling Russia’s “traditional values” and assailing the West’s “genderless and infertile” liberalism. That same year, a Kremlin-connected think tank released a report entitled, “Putin: World Conservativism’s New Leader.” In 2015, Russia hosted a delegation from the National Rifle Association, one of America’s most influential conservative lobby groups, which included David Keene, then-president of the NRA and now editor of the Washington Times editorial page, which regularly features voices calling for a friendlier relationship with Moscow. (It should be noted here that Russia, a country run by its security services where the leader recently created a 400,000-strong praetorian guard, doesn’t exactly embrace the individual right to bear arms.) A recent investigation by Politico Magazine, meanwhile, revealed how Russian intelligence services have been using the internet and social networks to target another redoubt of American conservativism: the military community.

Today, it’s hard to judge this Russian effort as anything other than a smashing success. Turn on Fox News and you will come across the network’s most popular star, Sean Hannity, citing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as a reliable source of information or retailing Russian disinformation such as the conspiracy theory that murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich—who police say was killed during a robbery attempt—was the source of last summer’s leaks, not Russian hackers. Fox’s rising star Tucker Carlson regularly uses his time slot to ridicule the entire Russian meddling scandal and portray Putin critics as bloodthirsty warmongers. On Monday night, he went so far as to give a platform to fringe leftist Max Blumenthal — author of a book comparing Israel to the Third Reich and a vocal supporter of the Assad regime in Syria — to assail the “bootlicking press” for reporting on Trump’s Russia ties. (When Blumenthal alleged that the entire Russia scandal was really just a militarist pretext for NATO enlargement, Carlson flippantly raised the prospect of his son having to fight a war against Russia, as he did in a contentious exchange earlier this year with Russian dissident Garry Kasparov. At the time, I asked Carlson if his son serves in the military. He didn’t respond).

Meanwhile the Heritage Foundation, one of Washington’s most influential conservative think tanks and a former bastion of Cold War hawkishness, has enlisted itself in the campaign against George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist whose work promoting democracy and good governance in the former Soviet space has made him one of the Kremlin’s main whipping boys.

And it’s not just conservative political operatives and media hacks who have come around on Russia. Pro-Putin feelings are now being elucidated by some conservative intellectuals as well. Echoing Kremlin complaints that Russia is a country which has been “frequently humiliated, robbed, and misled” – a self-pitying justification for Russian aggression throughout history – Weekly Standard senior editor Christopher Caldwell extolls Putin as “the pre-eminent statesman of our time.”

How did the party of Ronald Reagan’s moral clarity morph into that of Donald Trump’s moral vacuity? Russia’s intelligence operatives are among the world’s best. I believe they made a keen study of the American political scene and realized that, during the Obama years, the conservative movement had become ripe for manipulation. Long gone was its principled opposition to the “evil empire.” What was left was an intellectually and morally desiccated carcass populated by con artists, opportunists, entertainers and grifters operating massively profitable book publishers, radio empires, websites, and a TV network whose stock-in-trade are not ideas but resentments. If a political officer at the Russian Embassy in Washington visited the zoo that is the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, they’d see a “movement” that embraces a ludicrous performance artist like Milo Yiannopoulos as some sort of intellectual heavyweight. When conservative bloggers are willing to accept hundreds of thousands of dollars from Malaysia’s authoritarian government to launch a smear campaign against a democratic opposition leader they know nothing about, how much of a jump is it to line up and defend what at the very least was attempted collusion on the part of a brain-dead dauphin like Donald Trump Jr.?

Surveying this lamentable scene, why wouldn't Russia try to “turn” the American right, whose ethical rot necessarily precedes its rank unscrupulousness? It is this ethical rot that allows Dennis Prager, one of the right’s more unctuous professional moralists, to opine with a straight face that “The news media in the West pose a far greater danger to Western civilization than Russia does.” Why wouldn’t a “religious right” that embraced a boastfully immoral charlatan like Donald Trump not turn a blind eye toward—or, in the case of Franklin Graham, embrace—an oppressive regime like that ruling Russia? American conservatism is no better encapsulated today than by the self-satisfied, smirking mug of Carlson, the living embodiment of what Lionel Trilling meant when he wrote that the “conservative impulse” is defined by “irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas.”

***

The entire Trump-Russia saga strikes at a deeper issue which most Republicans have shown little care in examining: What is it about Donald Trump that attracted the Kremlin so?

Such an effort would be like staging an intervention for a drunk and abusive family member: painful but necessary. One would have thought a U.S. intelligence community assessment concluding that the Russians preferred their party’s nominee over Hillary Clinton would have introduced a bit of introspection on the right. Moments for such soul-searching had arrived much earlier, however, like when Trump hired a former advisor to the corrupt, pro-Russian president of Ukraine as his campaign manager last summer. Or when he praised Putin on “Morning Joe” in December of 2015. Republicans ought to have considered how an “America First” foreign policy, despite its promises to build up the military and “bomb the shit out of” ISIS, might actually be more attractive to Moscow than the warts-and-all liberal internationalism of the Democratic nominee, who, whatever her faults, has never called into question the very existence of institutions like the European Union and NATO, pillars of the transatlantic democratic alliance. Now that he’s president, Trump’s fitful behavior, alienating close allies like Britain and Germany, ought give Republicans pause about how closely the president’s actions accord with Russian objectives.

But alas there has been no such reckoning within the party of Reagan. Instead, the Russia scandal has incurred a wrathful defensiveness among conservatives, who are reaching for anything – paranoid attacks on the so-called American “deep state,” allegations of conspiracy among Obama administration holdovers – to distract attention from the very grave reality of Russian active measures. To be sure, the Republican Congress, at least on paper, remains hawkish on the Kremlin, as evidenced by the recent 98-2 Senate vote to increase sanctions against Russia for its election meddling and other offenses. But in no way can they be said anymore to represent the GOP party base, which has been led to believe by the president and his allies in the pro-Trump media that “the Russia story” is a giant hoax. It wasn’t long ago that the GOP used to mock Democratic presidential candidates for supposedly winning “endorsements” from foreign adversaries, like when a Hamas official said he “liked” Barack Obama in 2008. Today, most Republicans evince no shame in the fact that their candidate was the clearly expressed preference of a murderous thug like Vladimir Putin.

If Republicans put country before party, they would want to know what the Russians did, why they did it and how to prevent it from happening again. But that, of course, would raise questions implicating Donald Trump and all those who have enabled him, questions that most Republicans prefer to remain unanswered.

 

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onekidanddone
47 minutes ago, GreyhoundFan said:

“We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it,” the president said. “I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it. We’ll let Obamacare fail, and then the Democrats are going to come to us.”

Yea that orange shit stain won't own anything. It is always somebody else's fault. Isn't it time for TT, Ryan and McTurtle to go spend more time with their families?

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GreyhoundFan

A good one from Jennifer Rubin: "Don’t blame the moderates for the health-care debacle"

Spoiler

With the announcement from Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) that she would not vote for repeal (at least as defined by the 2015 reconciliation bill that would leave 32 million more Americans uninsured) with no replacement, the whole dreary episode of Republican hypocrisy on Obamacare can come to an end. Capito’s statement said plainly:

As I have said before, I did not come to Washington to hurt people. For months, I have expressed reservations about the direction of the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. I have serious concerns about how we continue to provide affordable care to those who have benefited from West Virginia’s decision to expand Medicaid, especially in light of the growing opioid crisis. All of the Senate health care discussion drafts have failed to address these concerns adequately.

My position on this issue is driven by its impact on West Virginians. With that in mind, I cannot vote to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan that addresses my concerns and the needs of West Virginians.

Those on the right who argue that she is being disingenuous because she voted for the 2015 act knowing it would be vetoed are themselves being disingenuous. There was nothing wrong with casting a protest vote then and now acknowledging that since the GOP has not a clue how to replace Obamacare, it would be cruel and unwise to pull the plug on the Affordable Care Act. Capito and fellow moderate Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) had the nerve to come out unequivocally, as their male colleagues hemmed and hawed (“serious concerns!” “very troubled!”), to put an end to a legislative charade.

It’s not the moderates who have been disingenuous here. They actually took seriously the position that a better health-care bill could be devised. They were not the ones who insisted on making this a tax cut for the super-rich by removing the funding mechanism for health-care reform or by throwing Medicaid cuts into the hopper. They wanted to solve the problem Republicans had identified originally — health-care exchanges in the individual market that did not provide affordable (enough) health care and that suffered from an acute case of adverse selection despite the individual mandate.

On the disingenuous scale, no one beats President Trump, who never had a health-care plan, never understood what was in any bill and never explained how he’d come up with a miraculous bill that would cover everyone without breaking the bank.

Next, consider the right-wingers who opposed the Better Care Reconciliation Act — and the House bill and every other variation — but were willing to vote for repeal with the promise of a replacement in two years. Where in the world do they think is the replacement bill that the GOP could arrive at in two — or 20 — years? If they simply want to go back to pre-Obamacare days, they should have said so; instead, their current position in favor of the 2015 reconciliation act is surely the worst of all options. (Regulations remain, costs soar, tens of millions lose health care.) Sorry, but Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), etc., are no heroes.

Then take a look at Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who reportedly told moderates that the Medicaid cuts were phony, threatened his own members with a repeal vote that he knew would be unpalatable and never let on that the GOP promises (more coverage, fewer out-of-pocket costs, big tax cuts) were impossible. He seemed willing to sacrifice his most vulnerable members (e.g. Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada) rather than tell the White House that the jig was up. So much for his reputation as a legislative genius.

But the award for the most disingenuous man in the GOP goes to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Without the benefit of a Congressional Budget Office score, he rammed through a measure that had no chance of passing in the Senate, did not expand coverage or lower costs for the most vulnerable, falsely advertised its protections for those with preexisting conditions (the meager support for high-risk pools would cover a fraction of the cost for hard-to-insure people in states that opted out of minimum benefit requirements) and catered to his right-wing members in safe seats at the expense of moderates who will be vulnerable in 2018.

There’s plenty of blame to go around, but let’s not blame the moderates in the GOP who refused to be bullied and stood up, however belatedly, for the most vulnerable Americans.

 

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GrumpyGran
1 hour ago, GreyhoundFan said:

A good one from Jennifer Rubin: "Don’t blame the moderates for the health-care debacle"

  Hide contents

With the announcement from Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) that she would not vote for repeal (at least as defined by the 2015 reconciliation bill that would leave 32 million more Americans uninsured) with no replacement, the whole dreary episode of Republican hypocrisy on Obamacare can come to an end. Capito’s statement said plainly:

As I have said before, I did not come to Washington to hurt people. For months, I have expressed reservations about the direction of the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. I have serious concerns about how we continue to provide affordable care to those who have benefited from West Virginia’s decision to expand Medicaid, especially in light of the growing opioid crisis. All of the Senate health care discussion drafts have failed to address these concerns adequately.

My position on this issue is driven by its impact on West Virginians. With that in mind, I cannot vote to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan that addresses my concerns and the needs of West Virginians.

Those on the right who argue that she is being disingenuous because she voted for the 2015 act knowing it would be vetoed are themselves being disingenuous. There was nothing wrong with casting a protest vote then and now acknowledging that since the GOP has not a clue how to replace Obamacare, it would be cruel and unwise to pull the plug on the Affordable Care Act. Capito and fellow moderate Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) had the nerve to come out unequivocally, as their male colleagues hemmed and hawed (“serious concerns!” “very troubled!”), to put an end to a legislative charade.

It’s not the moderates who have been disingenuous here. They actually took seriously the position that a better health-care bill could be devised. They were not the ones who insisted on making this a tax cut for the super-rich by removing the funding mechanism for health-care reform or by throwing Medicaid cuts into the hopper. They wanted to solve the problem Republicans had identified originally — health-care exchanges in the individual market that did not provide affordable (enough) health care and that suffered from an acute case of adverse selection despite the individual mandate.

On the disingenuous scale, no one beats President Trump, who never had a health-care plan, never understood what was in any bill and never explained how he’d come up with a miraculous bill that would cover everyone without breaking the bank.

Next, consider the right-wingers who opposed the Better Care Reconciliation Act — and the House bill and every other variation — but were willing to vote for repeal with the promise of a replacement in two years. Where in the world do they think is the replacement bill that the GOP could arrive at in two — or 20 — years? If they simply want to go back to pre-Obamacare days, they should have said so; instead, their current position in favor of the 2015 reconciliation act is surely the worst of all options. (Regulations remain, costs soar, tens of millions lose health care.) Sorry, but Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), etc., are no heroes.

Then take a look at Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who reportedly told moderates that the Medicaid cuts were phony, threatened his own members with a repeal vote that he knew would be unpalatable and never let on that the GOP promises (more coverage, fewer out-of-pocket costs, big tax cuts) were impossible. He seemed willing to sacrifice his most vulnerable members (e.g. Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada) rather than tell the White House that the jig was up. So much for his reputation as a legislative genius.

But the award for the most disingenuous man in the GOP goes to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Without the benefit of a Congressional Budget Office score, he rammed through a measure that had no chance of passing in the Senate, did not expand coverage or lower costs for the most vulnerable, falsely advertised its protections for those with preexisting conditions (the meager support for high-risk pools would cover a fraction of the cost for hard-to-insure people in states that opted out of minimum benefit requirements) and catered to his right-wing members in safe seats at the expense of moderates who will be vulnerable in 2018.

There’s plenty of blame to go around, but let’s not blame the moderates in the GOP who refused to be bullied and stood up, however belatedly, for the most vulnerable Americans.

 

They are certainly in a pickle now. Finding out that one indeed can not serve two masters.We know which ones they love and which ones they hate, which ones they hold to and which ones they despise. Just strange that the republican voters can't see which of these two they are. Seems obvious to me. Matt. 6:24, cause I feel like cramming the Bible down their throats.

Will they commit hari-kiri? They know that's not covered, right?

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fraurosena

Wow. Rebellion in the Republican Ranks!

Senate Republicans Defy Trump And Announce Hearings To Stabilize Obamacare Markets

Spoiler

Instead of letting Obamacare die as Trump suggested, Senate Republicans have defied Trump and announced that they would be holding hearings on how to stabilize the insurance marketplace.

Here is the statement from HELP committee chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN):

alexander-statement.thumb.jpg.002c373bc209b65a53f75c8ab918a954.jpg

What you are seeing is Senate Republicans beginning to lay the groundwork for the bipartisan legislation that will make Obamacare stronger.

Sen. Alexander’s announcement is interesting because it came hours after Trump said, “I’ve been saying that — Mike, I think you’ll agree — for a long time. Let Obamacare fail. It will be a lot easier. And I think we’re probably in that position where we’ll just let Obamacare fail.”

Obama told Democrats not to bail out Republicans on health care as he was leaving office, and Democrats take his advice. Trump tells Republicans to let Obamacare die, so they schedule hearings to work on policies to strengthen the marketplace.

Barack Obama was a president who had real influence with his congressional caucuses. Donald Trump has no sway with Republicans. In fact, they are ignoring what he says and are doing the opposite.

Republicans are planning for the stand alone repeal bill to fail and to begin work on bipartisan legislation. After falling flat on their faces, Republicans will do what they always should have done, and work with Democrats on healthcare.

 

If this first rebellious move is successful, it might even lead to full blown revolt. 

:evil-laugh:

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47of74

I see Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Douche) is upset now because some mean judge wants to treat him like the common criminal he is.

Spoiler

Rep. Greg Gianforte, the Montana Republican who pleaded guilty to assaulting a reporter the day before his election, does not want to be treated like a common criminal ― for more than a month, he has been quietly fighting a court order requiring him to get fingerprinted and photographed at a local jail.

The lawmaker was charged with misdemeanor assault for “body-slamming” The Guardian’s Ben Jacobs after the reporter asked a routine policy question. Gianforte was not arrested for the May 24 assault ― law enforcement officials cited him for it a few hours later. Montanans the next day elected the wealthy tech entrepreneur to the House seat Republican Ryan Zinke had vacated to become President Donald Trump’s Interior Department secretary.

Gianforte entered his guilty plea on June 12 and was fined $300 and ordered to pay $85 in court costs. He also was given a 6-month deferred sentence and ordered to perform community service, attend anger management counseling and appear at the Gallatin County Detention Center to be photographed and fingerprinted.

 

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Ali

I think the moderate Republicans should meet with the Democrats and come up with a plan to fix the Affordable Care Act.  It would unfortunately need to be veto proof though and I am not sure if that is possible.

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nvmbr02

Sen. John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer

John McCain, Republican senator from Arizona, diagnosed with brain tumor

Quote

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, his office said Wednesday.

The Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix said tests revealed “a primary brain tumor known as a glioblastoma” associated with a blood clot above his left eye that was removed last week.

“The Senator and his family are reviewing further treatment options with his Mayo Clinic care team,” said the hospital in a statement. “Treatment options may include a combination of chemotherapy and radiation.”

McCain, 80, was treated for the blood clot last week. His office announced last Saturday that he would be away from the Senate all of this week.

“The Senator’s doctors say he is recovering from his surgery ‘amazingly well’ and his underlying health is excellent,” the hospital said in its statement.

I find it a bit ironic that his cancer was found in the middle of the health care debate. One of the reasons I was a big supporter of the ACA is that it did away with the lifetime limits that used to exist in health insurance policies. I first became aware of the limits when my friend's son reached the limit at the age of 3, about 16 months after being diagnosed with a rare brain cancer. 

I also wonder if this brain tumor explains some of his erratic questioning. I have always been somewhat mixed on Sen. McCain. A lot of the times I agree with what he says but he doesn't have a lot of follow through and tends to vote party lines, even when it goes against what he says. I do wish him a speedy recovery. 

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candygirl200413

Hoping this might open his mind and make him realize what everyday americans are going through. He is extremely lucky with his tax-payer insurance providing his care.

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apple1
10 hours ago, nvmbr02 said:

Sen. John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer

John McCain, Republican senator from Arizona, diagnosed with brain tumor

... I also wonder if this brain tumor explains some of his erratic questioning. I have always been somewhat mixed on Sen. McCain. A lot of the times I agree with what he says but he doesn't have a lot of follow through and tends to vote party lines, even when it goes against what he says. I do wish him a speedy recovery. 

I have not agreed with McCain on everything. I thought at the time that his comments seemed erratic that something was wrong, and I think I commented on FJ that his family should remove him from the public eye. That kind of erraticism has not been characteristic of him. He is usually a man of thought and willingness to speak his mind and to buck the system, where he believes it should be bucked. His stand on Guantanamo and torture comes to mind.

He has had more than his share of personal battles to fight and I hope he is able to come through this one.

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AuntK

I haven't agreed with McCain on many things, and he did launch Sarah Palin on the American scene, but I have to admire his military service, his courage in captivity, (yes, I admire him even though he was captured, unlike some), and the way he answered that horrible woman during the campaign in 2008, who accused Obama of being an "Arab." Whereupon, he was promptly booed. I used to think that he was one of the few in Congress who loved his country more than self; however, after the recent appointment of his wife to a plum position in the Trump administration, I have my doubts.  That said, I am sorry for his diagnosis; I'm not a doctor, but I had a friend who had the same diagnosis and she lived 6 months.

I'm gonna say it, everyone is thinking it, there are a number of people in DC who I would rather see get hit with this diagnosis, and you can guess who is at the top of the list.  That may make me evil, but at least I'll ask for forgiveness. . .not today, though.

 

 

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GreyhoundFan

It figures that the picture accompanying this article shows the slimy Ken Cuccinelli: "The Health 202: Conservatives furious and plotting revenge for health-care fail"

Spoiler

Conservatives are furious – furious – that Senate Republicans got close to repealing big parts of Obamacare and are now on the verge of walking away from the effort altogether, possibly leaving President Obama’s health-care law on the books for the foreseeable future.

No issue motivated conservative activists more over the past seven years than repealing Obamacare, with groups on the right expending huge dollars and resources to get Republicans elected across two branches of government so they could finally pass a repeal bill.

Their path seemed clear. First, the GOP took the House in 2010. Four years later, Republicans seized the Senate majority. And then in November, when President Trump unexpectedly won, conservatives thought victory was theirs. Just about every Republican who won a national election since the ACA was passed had promised to repeal it as part of their platform.

“You add together all the tweets and social media posts, you add all the interviews and news conferences -- my guess is that Republicans in Congress have pledged to repeal Obamacare well over a million times,” Media Research Center President Brent Bozell told reporters yesterday.

The tea party movement, which helped mobilize voters to give Republicans big victories several elections in a row, largely grew out of opposition to the Affordable Care Act, Tea Party Patriots founder Jenny Beth Martin noted on a call with the press.

“If there is a single unifying issue in the tea party movement, it is the desire to repeal Obamacare,” Martin said.

Now, nothing is turning out as they’d hoped. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) intends to hold a vote early next week to start debate on a repeal bill. But unless senators can hash out an agreement on how to treat Medicaid spending -- as they tried to do in a meeting last night in Sen. John Barrasso’s (R-Wyo.) office -- it will likely fail. It's also unclear when -- or if -- Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will return to Washington after announcing last night that he was diagnosed with brain cancer.

At least four centrist Republicans -- Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Rob Portman of Ohio – have said they’ll vote against even starting debate on the measure without a better ACA replacement ready to go. That’s got conservatives seething, and plotting their revenge.

FreedomWorks is prepping a “Freedom Traitor Award” along with a bust of Benedict Arnold to deliver to the offices of any Republicans who help block the repeal effort next week. Spokesman Jason Pye told me the group is “aggressively targeting” Portman and Capito’s offices with phone calls and emails pressuring them to support it.

...

Tea Party Patriots and Club for Growth launched a website called "Obamacare Repeal Traitors" featuring photos of Murkowski, Capito and Portman, listing multiple previous quotes where they'd slammed the ACA and promised to repeal it and providing the phone numbers to their offices.

"They campaigned on REPEAL, they got to Washington on that promise...and now they are betraying their constituents by joining with Democrats to defeat Obamacare Repeal efforts!" the website says.

Former Hillary Clinton spokesman Jesse Ferguson recoiled at how the groups are using the word "traitor:"

...

Ken Cuccinelli, president of the Senate Conservatives Fund, warned reporters of political repercussions. He said “the solution is good, conservative candidates in primaries with these folks” -- although that might be a ways off, since neither Murkowski, Capito or Portman are up for reelection next year, as Dave Weigel noted:

...

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, also said his group will go after Republicans who don’t follow through on their Obamacare repeal promises.

“If Republicans cannot repeal Obamacare now, they’re going to call hospice because their majority is not long for this world,” Perkins said.

The political right has persistently used Obamacare as political fodder in elections. In the 2014 midterm elections, for example, Republicans used ACA messaging in 84 percent of their political ad spots, compared to just 15 percent of ads run by Democrats, according to an analysis by Kantar Media. That year, more than 1.3 million health insurance and political ads aired, half of them referencing the ACA.

Conservative groups had criticized the first version of the Senate health-care bill, saying it didn’t go far enough in repealing the ACA’s insurer regulations. But the Heritage Foundation, FreedomWorks, Club for Growth and others had mostly come around with the addition of an amendment from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) expanding the opt-out for insurers.

In the end, it was two conservatives – Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas – who became the third and fourth senators to come out against the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act. Yet conservatives are still placing the blame on moderate senators, who were uncomfortable with how the bill would have phased out Medicaid expansion and enacted deeper underlying cuts to the program.

More moderates were unwilling, at the end of the day, to repeal Obamacare’s health-coverage expansions than conservatives had bargained for, Heritage Action spokesman Dan Holler said.

“There was just no sense in the Senate negotiations that the more moderate or liberal Republicans had a desire to get to yes,” Holler said.

If the Obamacare repeal effort goes down in flames – and that’s looking like the most likely outcome at this point, despite a confusing lunch at the White House yesterday where Trump made his own electoral threats to at least one naysayer  – it will be a dark day for conservatives.

“There’s a lot of frustration, and in some quarters, anger,” Holler said.

...

So many toddlers having tantrums.

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