Thursday, November 14, 2019
The White House / Flickr trump at podium with pence and ryan clapping...

Republicans have a solution to finding the votes they need for their healthcare bill—massive...

The bad news? The evaluation of the new Senate Republican health care bill by the Congressional Budget Office shows that 22 million people will lose their health care over the next decade, most of those in the next year.  But there’s good news....
CNN / YouTube Did Hillary Clinton lie to Congress...

A Tale Of Two Bills

This is my favorite time of the year. After spending three years basically sitting around, using their thumbs to conduct self colonoscopies, members of both chambers of congress, the House and the Senate, remove the aforementioned thumbs, wipe them off, and desperately try to get something, anything done, so that they have at least one positive accomplishment to show the voters when they scurry back home net year to beg for another round of suckling at the public teat. It’s official. Both the US House and the US Senate are working separately on drug pricing bills, with Trump keeping an eagle eye on the process from the White House. Yeah, right. I think we all pretty well know by now that the only thing that His Lowness keeps an eagle eye on is the driveway of the White House, waiting for the Grubhub truck to pull up. But this is important. It’s important not only because of the actual subject of the bill, and its importance to millions of Americans, but even more so, it is critically important because of the process that is being used to craft this particular piece of legislation. And as with all things in Washington DC, the devil is in the details. Normally, legislation originates in the House. They write the bill, whine about it, tack all kinds of unnecessary shit onto it, whine about it some more, and then vote to pass it. If it passes, it moves on to the Senate, where, if things are working properly (ha, ha), the Majority leader calls it to the floor for debate and a vote. If it passes, it goes to the President’s desk for his signature. If the Senate tinkers with it and passes it, it goes back to the House for another vote on the amended bill. It’s all a very dignified, slow motion waltz, with all of the attendant pomp and circumstance. But this time is different, because this time, each chamber is working on a separate bill on the same issue. Even the rocket rangers in congress realize that it’s stupid and self defeating to sit there and pass two different bills on the same subject back and forth to each other to vote on, so there’s a completely separate process for handling this kind of congressional kerfuffle. And that process is called reconciliation. Here’s how it works. Each chamber will craft, debate, and pass its own version of the bill. Once both bills are passed in their respective chambers, the majority and minority leaders in both chambers will appoint a team of crack negotiators, usually the ones with the cleanest thumbs, who will then sit down in a conference room, and hammer out a final bill made up of a dogs breakfast of the two original bills. Once the unified bill is completed, it goes to each chamber for debate and an up or down, vote, with no changes allowed by either chamber. Here’s why the process is so critical. Normally, when the House passes a bill, McConnell just wipes his ass with it and sends it to a committee to die, it never comes up for a vote. And f he does call it up for a “show” vote, that requires a “cloture” vote to end debate and have a final vote, which requires 60 votes. This is where a party can filibuster a vote, […]
Office of the President-elect / GreatAgain tom price...

Tom Price admits older people would pay a lot more under Trumpcare, says ‘somebody’s...

The words "somebody’s going to pay" are rarely comforting ones, and when they're coming from the Health and Human Services Secretary, and he's talking about whether health care is going to be affordable for older people under the plan...
House Committee on Education and the Workforce Democrats / Flickr nancy pelosi...

Healthcare. Healthcare. Healthcare.

OK Democrats, in another two months it’s going to be time to put up or shut up. We got the House over the finish line, and we did it the old fashioned way, we worked our collective ass off for it. We won like any political party does, by making promises. But this time is different, because voters believed those promises for the simple reason that a lot of the people making them weren’t lying politicians for a change. We ran on healthcare. This was a dream issue to run on, for several reasons. For one thing, once you give people stuff, they tend to like it. It was always known that the ACA would be a slow developing program, 4 years to implement completely, with the real meat and potatoes coming in the last two years. Republicans could run against it only until it started working as intended. Once it did, people in states that had it wanted to keep it, and people in states that didn’t have it wanted it. And the GOP came off looking like schmucks. Healthcare was the overriding political issue of 2018, no matter how badly Trump wanted it to be about barefoot brown people going us all leprosy. But you know what? 2020 is going to be all about healthcare too. And the Democrats, specifically the Democrats in the House, have the chance to hone that issue, and jam it up the Republicans ass with a telephone poll. This doesn’t have to be like 2009 all over again. The Democrats don’t have to create some massive, intricate overhaul of the system. We already did that in 2009. The beauty of the ACA was that when it was implemented, it became an interwoven part of the healthcare system. This is why the GOP couldn’t just repeal the ACA, even the health insurance companies knew that if they did, the old system would collapse,  because the structure of the system had been fundamentally changed. Hence, the GOP tinkering with the individual mandate, support payments, and junk policies only destabilized the system, making it a ripe issue for Democrats. The Democrats don’t need to try to do everything at once, in fact that would be a mistake. The more complicated something is, the harder it is to explain, and the easier it is for the GOP to misrepresent it, we found that out the hard way in 2009, with all of that “granny death panel” nonsense. There are several things that the Democrats can do immediately, but do them one at a time. First of all, small simple things are easier to explain, and their benefits ore apparent. Second, a steady stream of bill passages on healthcare will show that the Democrats are making good on their word. And third, every parent knows that if you hide the strained peas, you can con the kid into thinking that every spoonful is the last one, making it easier to get it into their mouth. First things first. Pass a bill that restores the original pre-existing conditions language of the ACA. The GOP will have a hard time fighting that, since so many of them swore fealty to covering those in their own campaigns. And since they’ll have a hard time fighting it, add in language that restores the original individual mandate, and […]
PBS NewsHour / YouTube Shutdown expected to last into new 1546010612.jpg...

‘Shameful’: As Shutdown Continues, Trump Administration Suggests Unpaid Federal Workers Do Odd Jobs for...

With the partial government shutdown expected to extend into January with no funding agreement in sight, the Trump administration suggested on Thursday that the hundreds of thousands of unpaid federal workers who have been...
RT / YouTube Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses UNGA...

Tough guy Trump decides to heighten tensions with Iran over Twitter because… distraction

So the guy who was so submissive standing right next to Putin wants to start a war with a tweet….because ALL CAPS always lets your followers know you mean business, and makes your enemies laugh. Presto! we’ve all instantly forgotten about Putin and...
justinstarr / Flickr Jared Kushner...

Open thread for night owls. Jared Kushner: A political obituary for Trump’s son-in-law

Nomi Prins at TomDispatch writes—A Political Obituary for the President’s Son-in-Law: [...] In a remarkably short space of time, President Trump has already achieved a record 43% turnover rate for top-level staff members, some of whom may be...
thierry ehrmann / Flickr comey painted...

Comey was fired immediately after asking for money to expand Russia investigation

Why was Comey fired? Days before he was fired, James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, asked the Justice Department for a significant increase in money and personnel for the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential...
The White House / Flickr mar a lago meeting...

Trump plans a fundraising gala at Mar-a-Lago for this weekend—as the government shuts down

While Trump’s team of greedy idiots try to trick people into believing they aren’t involved in whether or not the government works, the Republican-controlled Congress continues to perform their flaming shitshow of legislative incompetence while trying...
Lynn Bismar / Flickr President Trump and President Putin...

Trump told Comey he didn’t spend the night in Moscow. Trump was lying.

Donald Trump has repeatedly said that he didn’t spend a night in Moscow on his 2013 trip to the Miss Universe contest, so the Night of the Golden Shower as described in the Steele Dossier is not possible. Trump has not only said this publicly, it’s...

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