Yakety Yak…Don’t Talk Back

Hurricane Harvey is headed inland…..not in my region but it will effect us nonetheless….if worse comes to worse I will get knocked off the internet…..but buck up I will return as soon as possible.

Our fearless leader is not making friends and influencing people during his first 7 months as the center of power.

He has picked fights with just about everyone from his AG to the FBI to Dems and now he is on the case of the Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell….

President Trump and Mitch McConnell have taken potshots at each other in public of late, but that’s nothing compared to what’s going on in private, reports the New York Times. A lengthy story describes their relations as of the “Cold War” variety, and it says the two men haven’t spoken since a phone call on Aug. 9 that devolved into a shouting match. CNN confirms the volatile nature of that call, with one of its sources saying that the president swore at the Senate majority leader. Both stories say Trump is not only peeved at the Senate’s inability to repeal ObamaCare, but at McConnell’s refusal to help shield the president from the Russia investigation. McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, is Trump’s transportation secretary, and earlier this month she navigated the rift as best she could publicly: “I stand by my man—both of them.”

The Times story runs through in great detail the sources of friction, including that McConnell “expressed horror” to aides about the president’s reaction to the Charlottesville violence. Maybe the most damning line of all: “McConnell has privately expressed uncertainty that Mr. Trump will be able to salvage his administration after a series of summer crises.” A White House official, however, downplays the feud to CNN and says it won’t interfere with looming action on tax reform and government funding. But Ed Kilgore at New York isn’t so sure. “If nothing else, the ‘cold war’ between Trump and McConnell could lead both men to a decision to go it alone at times when cooperation is essential to GOP goals.”

This is NOT how the conservative agenda gets pushed through Congress.

If Trump has an agenda (I am not sure that he does) he will need the Majority leader to help him accomplish something positive….so far he is on a course of being the only lame duck president in his first year in office.

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Today’s The Big Day

The GOP is up to their typical stuff…..total confusion and butt scratching stupidity.

Today there will be a vote of the whole “Repeal and Replace” debacle…the Senate will vote…..the problem is so far NO one seems to know just which version of what health bill that they will be voting on…..

The Senate will move forward with a key vote this week on a Republican health bill—but it’s not yet known whether the legislation will seek to replace ObamaCare or simply repeal it, the third-highest ranking Republican senator said Sunday. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will make a decision soon on which bill to bring up for a vote, depending on ongoing discussions with GOP senators, the AP reports. Thune sought to cast this week’s initial vote as important but mostly procedural, allowing senators to begin debate and propose amendments. But he acknowledged that senators should be able to know beforehand what bill they will be considering.

President Trump has said he wants Congress to repeal and replace ObamaCare, but would accept a straight-repeal of the law if senators couldn’t reach agreement. In a sign of the high stakes involved, Trump exhorted senators anew Sunday night to pass health legislation. “If Republicans don’t Repeal and Replace the disastrous ObamaCare, the repercussions will be far greater than any of them understand!” Trump tweeted. At least two Republican senators, Susan Collins and Rand Paul, Sunday appeared to reaffirm their intention to vote against the procedural motion if it involved the latest version of the GOP’s repeal-and-replace bill. “We don’t know whether we’re going to be voting on the House bill, the first version of the Senate bill, the second version of the Senate bill, a new version of the Senate bill, or a 2015 bill that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act,” Collins said. “I don’t think that’s a good approach to replacing legislation that affects millions of people.”

There is more on this vote if you would like to know……

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Monday said Republican senators have no idea what Obamacare repeal bill they’ll be voting on Tuesday at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) request.

“Senator, what is up for a vote tomorrow? Could you update me?” Fox News’ Neil Cavuto asked.

“I thought you were going to tell me,” Paul replied. “I thought I was coming on air for you to tell me.”

Paul said Republican senators are completely in the dark about what measure they’ll cast on-record votes for or against on Tuesday.

Source: Paul: GOPers ‘Have No Earthly Idea’ Of Repeal Bill They’ll Vote On Tomorrow – Talking Points Memo

Personally I love this confusion…for after 7 years of chanting the same tiring slogan…over and over….and then they have their chance and they have NO plan, never had a plan, to replace the law…..ain’t it great?

Health Care: Will Another Bill Fail?

Yes health care has been in the news a lot….the old “repeal and replace” thing and that promise has not been going very well…..there was a disastrous House bill and then the Senate took a whack at it and theirs was even worse than the House offering…..

They all went back to the back rooms and hammered out yet another incarnation of a health bill…..and now it has been released to us mere mortals for our knowledge….

President Trump said he’d be “very angry” if senators fail to repeal ObamaCare as promised, and GOP leaders have just taken a step in their quest to quell that anger. The second draft of the Better Care Reconciliation Act was released on Thursday with revisions aimed at getting 50 of the Senate’s 52 GOP votes. The Congressional Budget Office should score the bill early next week, and next week should also see a vote. The Hill’s take: “Overall, [Mitch] McConnell appears to have shifted the revised bill toward the conservatives, without giving the moderates much of what they want.” The AP sees “only modest departures” from the original. Indeed, Medicaid cuts are mostly unchanged, to the likely displeasure of moderates. This means the funding that 31 states have used to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare ends in 2024, and further cuts follow the next year. Five things that were changed:

  1. Ted Cruz’s amendment appears, sort of. He, along with Sen. Mike Lee, proposed allowing insurers to offer bare-bones plans as long as those insurers also sell at least one policy that conforms to ObamaCare requirements. What’s included is based on their version, though the AP notes it appears in brackets, meaning the language hasn’t been finalized.
  2. The “stability fund” grows from $112 billion to $182 billion. This is the money states could dole out to help tamp down premiums and other costs.
  3. Opioids get more funding, to the tune of $45 billion, up from the $2 billion in version one.
  • Two ObamaCare taxes on the wealthy are back. Currently, families earning more than $250,000 a year see a 3.8% increase in their investment income tax and a 0.9% bump in their payroll tax. The taxes had been removed in version one.
  • Premiums could be paid for using money from pre-tax health savings accounts, an approach conservatives favor.

Sorry but that offering is as bad if not worse than their first effort….and sadly it is going to the same place as it predecessor….the trash can.

Medicaid still takes a deep hit…..but now people can buy “no frills” health insurance….someone with half a brain explain that to the country.

Unless Mitch can pull a vote out of his butt this will also fail….do not count him out just yet…..he will use party loyalty as a weapon to get the votes he needs…..and we will see where these GOPers loyalty really lies…..my guess is the people will lose out yet again under the GOP boot.

This is NOT as hard as they are making it….but when you have to make your masters with the money happy it becomes a disaster…..and so far that is exactly what we are getting from Congress…disaster after disaster…..

The country waits……

Did Health Care Find A Fix?

Well Obamacare has been in the news a lot since January….House has it version of the “repeal/replace” thing….as does the Senate….neither of which has been found to be anything resembling good.

The “Mouth of the Senate”, Ted Cruz, may have hit upon a fix for the stand-off…..that’s right is said the Tea Party darling, Ted Cruz, may have hit upon a solution to the problem…..

Ted Cruz could be the one to push an ObamaCare repeal and replacement through the House and Senate, the Hill reports. A GOP aide says the Congressional Budget Office is looking at two versions of the Better Care Reconciliation Act—one of which contains an amendment by Cruz that is getting support from moderate and conservative Republicans in the House and Senate. The Cruz amendment would allow insurance providers to sell any kind of policies they wanted—as long as they also sold at least one policy that complies with ACA requirements. Those requirements include covering maternity care and mental healthcare and not charging sick people more for insurance.

Under the Cruz amendment, Americans without health risks could buy cheaper, non-comprehensive plans, while Americans with health problems could buy the more expensive, ACA-compliant plans, the New York Times reports. Government subsidies for those ACA-compliant plans would be available to people making less than $42,000 or so per year. Conservative Republicans like the plan because “it gives everybody some options,” while moderates like that it semi-preserves protections for pre-existing conditions. But experts warn such segmenting leads to expensive and volatile insurance markets. Meanwhile, as his amendment is being considered, Cruz was nearly shouted down during a Fourth of July speech by protesters upset with his healthcare efforts, the Texas Tribune reports.

What are the chances that this person has found the key to a possible compromise?

The CBO scoring may be the answer to my question.
Thoughts?

Yes! We Finally Have a Plan!

For a couple of weeks we have had this story about the secrecy that is surrounding the Senate’s health plan…of course we have also had those that tried to divert the attention by saying all sorts of stuff about when Obama was working on the ACA….that is a moot point…it is law and the Senate is trying to change that…..

After lots of angry diatribes about the secret bill we finally have word about what this new bill will contain……

Senate Republicans on Thursday finally unveiled their answer to the House bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and Vox has an explainer of what’s in it. Some major sticking points: The Better Care Reconciliation Act will ask poor and middle-class Americans to pay more for less coverage, and Medicaid would be cut after expansions are rolled back. Medicaid patients would be unable to get treatment at Planned Parenthood, which would be defunded for a year. The bill also includes a tax break for the wealthy. Here’s what else you need to know:

  • First, Politico has the full text of the 142-page document Republicans are calling a “discussion draft.”
  • Three Republican senators can defeat the bill by joining Democrats to vote against it. FiveThirtyEight reports the most likely candidates are Rand Paul and Mike Lee (who don’t believe it goes far enough; Paul recently said he doesn’t want “ObamaCare lite”) and Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski (who want more protections for Medicaid and pre-existing conditions).
  • ABC News reports four Republican senators have already said they won’t vote for the bill without more information and negotiation: Paul, Lee, Ron Johnson, and Ted Cruz. They released a joint statement saying the bill doesn’t do enough to repeal ObamaCare.
  • The bill’s writing was cloaked in such secrecy that the Week reports as of Thursday morning quite a few Republican senators still had not seen it; Murkowski, for example, told a reporter, “I am not a reporter, and I am not a lobbyist, so I’ve seen nothing.”
  • President Trump had called the House bill “mean” and in need of “more heart.” So Scientific American takes a look to see if the Senate version fulfills that requirement.
  • When asked by a reporter if the Senate bill had enough heart, Trump called it “very good” but in need of “a little negotiation,” CNN reports.
  • According to People, police dragged protesters—some of them in wheelchairs or wearing medical devices—away from Mitch McConnell’s office and arrested them. The protesters, members of a national disability rights group, say people with disabilities are threatened by the bill.
  • Finally, USA Today reports Senate Democrats plan to fight the bill through procedural requests to slow down the process. They called for any changes to the House’s bill to be made public for at least 72 hours and be subject to CBO analysis.

Not looking good for a quick pass of this in the Senate……but then all the opposition could just be political games…..

All this could be avoided and set into law quickly…..a single payer system (someone half brain will call it socialism…the problem with that is it is not free people pay into the program)….

I have even seen a conservative case for single payer…….

The GOP’s latest health-care push is a magic show featuring the same malnourished rabbit being pulled from the same shabby top hat Republicans have been reaching their fingers into for years before pronouncing their now-familiar incantations.

Abracadabra! they always say. Allowing companies to sell insurance across state lines! Alakazam! Block-granting — is there an uglier formulation in the English language? — Medicare to the states! Presto-chango! Medical malpractice reform! Hocus-pocus! Health savings accounts! And for my last trick, keeping the expansion of Medicaid but not paying for it!

Source: A conservative case for single-payer health care

This is a simple fix that could go into effect almost immediately and the Congress could move on to something else and get on to the business of the nation.

Why is simple so difficult for politicians?

Closing Thought–15Jun17

What’s Going On In Congress?

The “good old boys” seem to be making news these days…..their thoughts that women should be seen but not heard……male senators cannot move past their out of date sexism…..

First, during the Senate intel committee hearings make senators tried to silence a female senator…..

Senators were accused of sexism and possible racism Tuesday after the only minority woman on the Senate Intelligence Committee was shut down by male colleagues during the questioning of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sen. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat, was reprimanded by GOP Sens. John McCain and Richard Burr for interrupting Sessions’ answers while she was questioning him, NBC reports. Critics accused senators of having a double standard, noting that male senators before and after Harris interrupted Sessions without being told off for doing so. Less than a week ago, the same scene played out with McCain and Burr interrupting Harris’s questioning of deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, CNN reports.

Harris, the second black woman ever to serve in the Senate, is a former prosecutor who uses what the New York Times calls “a rapid-fire questioning pace more commonly seen in courtrooms.” During Tuesday’s questioning, Sessions complained that she was making him nervous. “I’m not able to be rushed this fast,” he said. When Harris asked what policy allowed him to refuse to discuss his conversations with President Trump, she interrupted him when he started describing the principle instead of the policy—and was cut off by McCain. After the hearing, Harris tweeted: “It was a simple question. Can Sessions point to the policy, in writing, that allows him to not answer a whole host of our questions today.” She added: “The women of the United States Senate will not be silenced when seeking the truth.”

During a senate committee hearing on health Sen. Murray was interrupted by her male counterpart…….

In a meeting of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) tried to demand a public hearing on the Senate health care repeal bill. She was summarily denied by Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN):

Alexander then proceeded to spend the next two minutes scolding Murray for supposedly going off topic, claiming he had no interest in a bipartisan hearing on Obamacare repeal because he already held one several months ago — before passage of the House bill — and Democrats “did very poorly” at that hearing.

Notably, Alexander did not at any point make an attempt to justify why nobody has a right to see the Republican health care bill. Nor did he address Murray’s point that the Democrats who passed Obamacare held months of bipartisan public meetings and let Republicans amend the bill. He simply silenced her and plowed on.

Then “good old boys” cannot stand the fact that they must treat the female Senators as equals……at least learn some simple respect…..advice for these tools…..”to get respect you must give respect”.

Time to replace this antiquated thinking and remove the Senate into the 21st century.

Time to smile and take a nap…..see you guys later….chuq

Tulsi Gabbard Finds An Ally

I have been a fan of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard since she came out in support of Bernie during the primary season last.  Then I was behind her trip to Syria.  I am in full support of her antiwar legislation and I am pleased to find that she has an ally in the Senate…

This week, U.S. Senator Rand Paul introduced the Stop Arming Terrorists Act (S. 532) to prevent American taxpayers’ money from being used to directly or indirectly support armed militants who are allied with or often working under the command of al-Qaeda, ISIS, or other terrorist groups. The legislation serves as a companion bill to H.R. 608, which Representative Tulsi Gabbard (HI-2) reintroduced in January.

“One of the unintended consequences of nation-building and open-ended intervention is American funds and weapons benefiting those who hate us,” said Dr. Paul. “This legislation will strengthen our foreign policy, enhance our national security, and safeguard our resources.”

Source: Dr. Rand Paul Introduces Tulsi Gabbard’s “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” In Senate – Ron Paul Liberty Report

Although I am not a strong supporter of Paul I will admit that some of his Libertarian views about war and nation building are along those of my feelings….I am pleased to see that Ms Gabbard has a Senatorial ally….we normal Americans need to give her and her bill all the support we can muster.

She is showing a spine something too many Dems and most Repubs to seem to have lost somewhere along the donor line.

She has my support and she deserves yours.