It also goes against a campaign promise that Donald Trump made in 2016, when he told a Colorado news station the state should be allowed to keep observing its marijuana laws. “I think it’s up to the states, yeah. I’m a states person,” Trump said at the time. “I think it should be up to the states, absolutely.”
On the Senate floor Thursday, the usually mild-mannered Gardner was outraged, calling the decision “a trampling of Colorado’s rights, its voters.” He vowed to put a hold on every Justice Department nominee until Sessions reverses course.
He also said the decision by Sessions broke a personal pledge the former Alabama senator had made to Gardner before his confirmation last year: “I would like to know from the attorney general: What changed?”
Gardner spoke briefly with Sessions by phone afterward and the two men plan to meet soon, according to a Gardner aide.
It was the second time in recent months that the senator has very publicly gone against members of his party.
But Gardner, who hails from a state with a libertarian streak, is still a largely reliable vote for Republicans. He holds a leadership position in the caucus as chief of the Senate GOP campaign arm. Despite landing in the headlines recently for challenging those in his own party, it’s unlikely he’ll join the small chorus of Republicans who’ve become outspoken critics of President Trump, a la Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee.
Still, it was just months ago that Gardner led the risky charge to expel a potential Republican colleague.
As chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, he released a bombshell of a statement in November shortly after The Washington Post reported allegations of sexual abuse against Roy Moore, the Republican nominee in the Alabama US Senate special election.
Gardner said if Moore “refuses to withdraw and wins, the Senate should vote to expel him.” While many Republicans in the Senate urged Moore to drop out of the race, none of them had publicly gone as far as Gardner in saying Moore should be expelled if he were elected.
Even when the Republican National Committee decided to resume its support for Moore’s campaign, despite cutting ties just weeks earlier, Gardner and the NRSC held fast. “Roy Moore will never have the support of the senatorial committee,” Gardner told The Weekly Standard. “I won’t let that happen. Nothing will change. I stand by my previous statement.”
When Moore was defeated days later in an upset win by Democrat Doug Jones, Gardner didn’t need to follow through with his call to expel Moore: “Tonight’s results are clear — the people of Alabama deemed Roy Moore unfit to serve in the US Senate.”
Gardner has also joined Flake and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina in working heavily with Democrats to pursue a deal on immigration — and has stood apart from his party leadership in supporting Graham and Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin’s legislation that would make the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program permanent.
Elected to the Senate in 2014, Gardner, 43, was previously a two-term US congressman and a member of the Colorado House of Representatives. He served as a congressional staffer early in his career.
In the Senate, he’s sought to build up his foreign policy credentials as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, with a focus on North Korea. He is also a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and the Budget Committee.
CNN’s Laura Jarrett and Tal Kopan contributed to this report.
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(CNN)Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch announced Tuesday that he won’t seek re-election this year, clearing the way for Mitt Romney to return to the national stage by running for his seat.
He said in a social media message, “after much prayer and discussion with family and friends I’ve decided to retire at the end of this term.”
Hatch, the Senate’s longest serving Republican, has wrestled with the decision for months, emboldened by the entreaties of President Donald Trump to seek an eighth term.
During an event last month at the Utah Capitol where Trump celebrated the administration’s decision to shrink the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, Trump called Hatch “a true fighter” and said he hoped the Republican would continue to serve “in the Senate for a very long time to come.”
The 83-year-old Hatch set off retirement rumors early last year when he said in an interview that he hoped to see Romney one day take his place. But he reversed course and repeatedly insisted to reporters that he “intended” to seek re-election. Last month, Hatch reveled in the spotlight as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee while shepherding a massive tax bill through the Senate — attention, friends and colleagues said, that made him lean toward running again.
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“I’ve always been a fighter. I was an amateur boxer in my youth, and I brought that fighting spirit with me to Washington,” Hatch said in a video statement. “But every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves.”
If Hatch had opted to stay in the Senate, he could have faced a formidable challenge from a crop of ambitious Utah Republicans. Boyd Matheson, the former chief of staff to Sen. Mike Lee, seriously considered a bid last fall — going so far as to meet with former Trump strategists Steve Bannon and David Bossie.
But as it became clear that Romney would likely run if Hatch bowed out, Matheson withdrew from contention — an acknowledgment that the 2012 Republican presidential nominee is wildly popular in Utah and would have little trouble securing the seat.
Romney did not have an immediate public reaction to Hatch’s announcement.
Criticism at home
While Hatch is revered for his long service to Utahns and easily won re-election last cycle after spending $10 million, voters are clearly restive. Three-quarters of Utahans said it was time for someone else to serve in the Senate, according to a poll late last year by the Hinckley Institute at the University of Utah.
In December, The Salt Lake Tribune published a scathing editorial calling on Hatch to step down — as the paper named him as “The Tribune’s Utahn of the Year,” noting that he has never wielded more clout.
The editorial criticized Hatch for “his utter lack of integrity that rises from his unquenchable thirst for power.” The editorial board noted that Hatch promised that 2012 would be his last race: “Clearly it was a lie.”
“It would be good for Utah if Hatch, having finally caught the Great White Whale of tax reform, were to call it a career,” the editorial board wrote. “If he doesn’t, the voters should end it for him.”
The newspaper pointed out that Hatch, who has referred to himself as “a tough old bird,” has faced questions about his age and his health — acknowledging that his decision on whether to run again would likely hinge on his own health and the health of his wife.
“He has been a senator from Utah longer than three-fifths of the state’s population has been alive,” the editorial board wrote.
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See, McConnell proposed his tax reform bill that was designed to get at some of the money that is being stashed away at liberal universities like Yale and Harvard.
When he learned that the bill would also ensnare Berea, which educates poor mountain students for free, he tried to exempt the college located in Madison County, leaving all other private colleges with large endowments to pay the freight.
Trouble is, the Senate parliamentarian ruled that his effort to carve out Berea violated the rules.
So, surely, McConnell stopped the process and vowed to get it right. Right?
To paraphrase ol’ Addison Mitchell McConnell: He had appeared to violate the rule, He was warned. He was given an explanation. Nevertheless, he persisted.
Yep, he steamed right ahead, despite the fact that he knew his tax bill would mean that Berea will have to cut the number of scholarships it gives to poor students and cut the number of poor students educated, just so McConnell and his millionaire and billionaire buddies get a big tax break.
Oh, you’ll get one too.
It will be smaller. Much smaller.
And there will be tax breaks available to the extremely wealthy that aren’t available to you. And the federal deficit will rise, requiring Congress to slash programs that mean a heck of a lot more to you and your families than to the extremely wealthy.
No biggie. Right?
Instead of deciding that the Senate would stop the process, rewrite the bill, fix it, do it right, vote on it early next year, McConnell forged ahead.
Part of that was to give President Donald Trump a victory in his first year as president but part of it was likely to get around the problem of a smaller GOP majority in the Senate when Democrat Doug Jones, of Alabama, is sworn in to replace Republican Luther Strange.
And McConnell is nothing if not consistent when it comes to making sure important legislation is acted upon quickly before there is a midterm change in Senate makeup.
You remember back in 2010, when he demanded that the Senate deal with Obamacare legislation before Republican Scott Brown was seated to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, don’t you?
Oh, yeah. That didn’t happen.
Sorry about that.
OK, so let’s get this straight.
Tax bill hurts Kentucky College. McConnell’s attempted fix violates Senate procedures. He pushes it through anyway because, well, politics.
Now, what to do?
That’s right. And in this case, a Democratic Socialist. Bernie Sanders.
Sure, he’s got a Republican majority in the Senate. Sure, he’s the most powerful man in the Senate. Sure, he’s got a Republican as vice president who would break a tie in the Senate in the case that he lost a couple of votes.
Sure, he used a parliamentary move called “reconciliation” that allowed him to pass legislation without threat of a filibuster – something that he screamed long and loud about when Democrats used it to pass the Affordable Care Act.
Sure, he voted for it, as did Rep. Andy Barr, the Republican from Lexington who has Berea College in the district. Sure, not a single Democrat in the Senate voted for his tax bill.
But it’s the Democrats’ fault that McConnell’s tax bill is poised to cost Berea College a million dollars a year and force it to cut services to bright kids from the mountains who otherwise won’t have a chance to attend college?
The fact is that McConnell is to blame. He had appeared to violate the rule. He was warned. He was given an explanation. Nevertheless, he persisted.
Alabama Republican Senate Candidate Roy Moore co-authored a study course, published in 2011 and recently obtained by ThinkProgress, that instructs students that women should not be permitted to run for elected office. If women do run for office, the course argues, people have a moral obligation not to vote for them. The course is also critical of the women’s suffrage movement, which in 1920 secured some American women the right to vote.
The course, called “Law and Government: An Introductory Study Course,” includes 28 hours of audio and visual lectures given by Moore and others, as well as a study guide. The course is available for purchase on Amazon, where “Chief Justice Roy Moore” is listed as a co-author alongside Doug Phillips, Dr. Joseph C. Morecraft, and Dr. Paul Jehle.
On the back of the packaging containing all the study course materials, Moore’s name and photo are listed under the words “Featured Speakers.”
The study guide also recommends Moore’s 2009 book “So Help Me God: The Ten Commandments, Judicial Tyranny, and the Battle for Religious Freedom.”
The curriculum was a product of Vision Forum, a now-defunct Texas-based evangelical organization headed by Doug Phillips, which taught “Biblical patriarchy”, a theology that prescribes strict, unequal gender roles for men and women. According a statement on the Vision Forum’s website, “Egalitarian feminism is a false ideology that has bred false doctrine in the church and seduced many believers.”
For at least a decade, dating back to 1999, Moore served on the “faculty” of Vision Forum’s so-called “Witherspoon School of Law and Public Policy.” Not a school at all, Witherspoon was instead a series of four-day crash courses that taught men — and only men — that the Bible is the source of “law and liberty and the only sure foundation for addressing the challenging ethical questions of the twenty-first century.”
Praising a “best of” album of the school’s lectures, Moore said, “I came to share what I have learned and instead received a blessing. All who attend the Witherspoon School of Law and Public Policy have an opportunity to share in the restoration of our Nation — One Nation Under God.”
Moore’s lecture, which is included in the “Law and Government” curriculum, was recorded in 2008 at one such “school”, and hosted and facilitated by Phillips himself. In the speech, Moore recounts his fight over the Ten Commandments monument and bemoans the arrival of marriage equality, which the California Supreme Court had approved two weeks prior.
He also openly praises both Phillips and Vision Forum, saying, “As I think about what’s going on here at Vision Forum and what Doug’s doing and has done, I’m a little envious because I admire Doug and the fact he can round up these young men that are going to make a difference in our nation.”
Vision Forum closed in 2013 after Phillips resigned, having admitted to a “lengthy” and “inappropriately romantic and affectionate” relationship with a woman who was not his wife. Shortly thereafter, that woman, Lourdes Torres-Manteufel, sued Phillips and Vision Forum, detailing an emotionally, psychologically, and sexually abusive relationship that started when she was just 15 years old.
The suit, which was settled and dismissed in 2016, has clear parallels to the many sexual abuse accusations against Moore, which allegedly took place when his accusers were teenagers and he was in his 30s. (Moore has claimed that the allegations against him are “absolutely false.”) Moore’s attorney has stated that, “whether they were 25, 35, or whether he doesn’t know their age”, Moore would always make sure to ask a girl’s parents for permission to date them before beginning any courtship.
That tradition is consistent with the “Biblical patriarchy” tenets outlined by Vision Forum.
“Since daughters are ‘given in marriage’ by their fathers, an obedient daughter will desire her father to guide the process of finding a husband, although the final approval of a husband belongs to her,” the tenets state.
One lecture in the Vision Forum study course on which Moore worked is given by William O. Einwechter, a teaching elder at Immanuel Free Reformed Church. The lecture is titled “What the Bible Says About Female Magistrates.” The lesson argues that the Bible forbids women from holding elected office.
An unidentified man introduces Einwechter’s lesson and criticizes the women’s suffrage movement.
“By and large, the issue of the female magistrate ruling in authority in America would not have been anywhere near as controversial,” the man says. “The controversy was beginning to brew with the women’s suffrage movement.”
The man references the Biblical passage Isaiah 3 as justification for this claim. However, his argument — that it equates to a blanket prohibition of women in leadership positions — is not widely held among Christians.
Many, including acclaimed 17th century Bible commentarian Matthew Henry, instead interpret the passage as metaphorical. Others note earlier translations of the passage (in the Greek Septuagint) do not even include the word “women,” but instead “creditors” — a word with identical consonants in Hebrew, but different vowel points — which also fits with the overall context of the passage.
Regardless, when Einwechter begins his lecture, he asks, “Why even consider a question like this?” The answer, he says, is because of the “heresy of feminism.”
“One of the most destructive ideologies of the last 50, hundred years have been the doctrines of feminism, which have transformed our culture and have paved the way for abortion on demand, the homosexual agenda, undermined our church, and subverted the doctrines of the biblical family,” Einwechter says.
He goes on to call feminism a “radical agenda” and says “nothing enrages feminists more than the Biblical doctrine of male headship.”
“Feminism and those who have been influenced by it advocate instead for what we’re going to call an egalitarian approach,” Einwechter says, “where men and women are touted as being equal in all respects, except maybe the most obvious physical differences, and that they’re equally fit to serve in any occupation or serve in any office or position of leadership in any sphere of life.”
The lesson uses what Einwechter argues are Biblical truths about the roles and design of men and women, arguing that husband, children, and home “summarize God’s definition of the woman.”
“She’s not a warrior. She’s not a judge. She’s a woman. Created by God. Glorious in her place and in her conduct and in her role,” Einwechter says. “Nothing is said in scripture that supports the notion that she is qualified or called to be a civil magistrate.”
This, Einwechter says, is proof that women should not work outside the home, run for office, or take on any role that gives women “dominance” over men, calling women “the weaker vessel.” Women, the lesson teaches, are only fit to be homemakers and should dedicate their lives to their husbands and children, never to work or outside pursuits.
“Sometimes we may have a hard time discerning the faith, the character, and the views of a particular candidate. But we can usually discern if the candidate is a man or a woman. And so there is no excuse on that one,” Einwechter says as he concludes the lecture. “In conclusion, we’ve argued that scripture teaches us that it is not God’s revealed will for a woman to serve as a civil magistrate and thus to rule over men in the civil sphere.”
Einwechter says this is proof that, if Christians aim to follow the teachings of the Bible, they must never vote for women running for office, no matter their politics.
His lecture, Einwechter says, is an “objective study.” In closing, he quotes pastor J. H. Vincent, saying, “The world is in such pressing need for mothers — motherly women — that none can be spared for public life.”
The teaching stands in stark contrast to various Christian groups that hold sharply divergent views. Entire denominations, such as the United Methodist Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church U.S.A., and the Episcopal Church, ordain women and do not object to female political leadership, as do others. Many evangelical Christians hold similar views: the Republican Party includes passionate female evangelical leaders such as Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin, and one of Donald Trump’s closest spiritual advisers is Paula White, a female prosperity gospel preacher.
ThinkProgress could not find any record of Moore endorsing any women for office. The only candidate Moore appears to have effectively endorsed is Michael Peroutka, the Constitution party candidate for president in 2004, according a Montgomery Advertiser article from July 2004. Notably, the Constitution party was founded by Howard Phillips, Vision Forum head Doug Phillips’ father.
Spokespersons for Judge Moore’s Senate campaign did not immediately respond to ThinkProgress’ requests for comment.
Special thanks to independent researcher Bruce Wilson.
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In this article today I am going to write it as a proverbial ‘Devils Advocate’. What I mean by this is that this is not something that I want to happen yet I am making the argument to you that it is very much a possible reality as the human race continues to degenerate.
When it comes to politics I am an ‘Independent’, neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I believe that both of those major parties are about as crooked at the top levels as they can find a way to be. When you are a person like Hillary or Bill Clinton or a Trump or a Bush I believe that they have proven themselves to be the type of people who will do anything to win or to enrich themselves. In the past day or so thousands of documents dubbed the ‘Paradise Papers’ have surfaced showing how the super wealthy cheat their country and their people out of tax revenues. Last year the same type thing happened with the ‘Panama Papers.’ These documents show that not only are many of the ‘super wealthy’ cheating on their taxes, they also show how intertwined they are with world leaders, government officials, and the super huge global companies as they all seek to scratch each other’s backs in their efforts to get even richer.
Back in the mid-1970’s you used to hear people talking on the radio and TV how with the ‘new technologies’ how people were only going to be only having to work 4 day weeks because the machines will allow us to get as much done in 4 days as was currently being done in the 5 day work week. How foolish these ‘talking heads’ were. If you are the employer why would you give up the chance to make an extra 20% each week by giving your employees an extra day off? Especially if your company is on the Stock Exchange, your stockholders would quickly replace you. The business world, especially those on the Stock Exchange are only concerned about one thing, higher profits. If you have ever paid any attention at all to the stock market, you should have noticed how little these people think of the people who are actually making the products. When two companies merge the value of the stock goes up. Why, because the next thing that will happen is the new Board of Directors will be getting rid of many ‘unneeded’ employees. Doing this means that the company will take those wages as pure profit, increasing the value of its stock. When a company decides to get rid of employees, the stock value goes up. When a company breaks a Union, the stock value goes up. During these events, you should also have seen that the Board of Directors salaries and bonuses go up. When a company moves their production factories to a ‘third world’ country where they can fire all of their American workers and get child slave labor to do all the production, stock values, and executive compensation goes up.
The world as you know has a population growth that is unsustainable yet at this same time machines and robots (AI) are taking more and more jobs away from workers. From a business standpoint, having machines replace human workers is a very wise thing to do, and it increases your stock value and the bosses salaries and compensation. If they invest in machines they can get rid of the overhead cost of having human employees. Think about it, no more salaries to pay, no benefit packages to pay like Workers Comp, vacation pay, health insurance, retirement benefits, paid sick days, you can’t be sued by a computer, no OSHA regulations to adhere to. Folks, the list goes on and on.
Our planet has about seven billion people on it right now, look at the slave labor around the world right now, from Africa to Asia to the Middle-East and yes, here in the U.S. also. Is slave labor legal in a lot of these countries? No, but it still goes on. You may say why, why does it still go on but the answer is simple, pay as little for the labor as possible to increase the profits at the top and to the stockholders. You may say now wait a moment, slaves don’t cost anything but this is not totally true. Slaves still have to get some food and some water or they will die or become too weak to do the work. The more slaves you have in the ‘waiting room’ the less you have to supply to each one each day. Why, because it is in your financial best interest if all of the ‘extras’ die. If the ‘extras’ aren’t dying fast enough on their own, you assist them.
If the Earth has seven billion people but can only sustain six billion people because there is no way to produce enough food, what happens to the extra billion people? Who do you think are going to be the ones that are starved to death? Hint, it is not going to be the super rich who basically own everything, it will be the poorest of the poor who will be eliminated. During the early Republican Primaries last year a former ‘Speaker of the House’ Newt Gingrich spelled out the perfect Republican ‘wish list.’ As you probably know the majority of the Republicans in the Congress and the Senate, and this President wants to cut the national deficit by cutting programs like food stamps to the poor and cutting way back on Medicare, Medicaid, meals on wheels, school lunch programs and Social Security. Folks, who need these programs the most? Mr. Gingrich in a TV program last year went even further. Mr. Gingrich consider all of these programs to be ‘welfare’, yet he went further, he called military retirement pay, VA disability compensation and the VA itself ‘welfare’ programs and he said that all of these ‘Welfare’ programs need to be eliminated. There was one thing that he did not include in his list of welfare programs, that was Congressional, Senate, and Presidential retirement pay and benefits, go figure. He has been receiving taxpayer-paid benefits for decades, but I guess that doesn’t count.
Back in the 1950’s the top end national tax rate was 90%, during that time the U.S. was able to build city infrastructures, a National Highway program unequaled in the whole world as well as thousands of new bridges and dams. Now, our roads, bridges, dams, and cities are falling apart, why is this? Now the top end tax rate has been 35% and the President is pushing a top end tax rate of 20%. This is at the same time that corporations are swimming in cash and as they say, with nowhere to spend it. About six months ago, I think it was on CNN, that they reported that U.S. companies have about 13 Trillion Dollars sitting in offshore accounts. So, what do these Republican lawmakers want to do, take even more money out of the economy and give it to these same folks who are destroying our country from the inside? It is also these same benefactors who are filling the pockets of these same evil politicians.
Back in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s in China Chairman Mao put a starvation policy in place against the citizens of China. The reason was simple, 500 million people are easier to control than one billion people. Folks, these are just things that I have seen, heard, and read throughout my 60+ years. You don’t have to agree with anything that I have written in this article today, but I hope that I have been able to at least get you to think about these issues.
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A man holds up a joint during a rally to support the legalization of marijuana on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, April 24, 2017. Smoking pot in public remains illegal everywhere in Washington.Alex Brandon/AP
64% Americans support marijuana legalization
It’s a record high since the question was first polled in 1969
A majority of Republicans support legalization for the first time
Support for legalizing marijuana just reached a record high, with the vast majority of Americans favoring legalizing the drug, according to a new Gallup poll released Wednesday.
64% of Americans support legalizing marijuana for both recreational and medicinal use, the highest support since Gallup first asked the question in 1969. To put that in perspective, only 12% of Americans supported legalization that year.
The poll also marks another milestone: It’s the first time the majority of Republicans support marijuana legalization, with 51% indicating that they’d like to see the end of federal prohibition. When the question was polled last year, only 43% of Republicans indicated they were in favor of legalization.
As for Democrats, 72% support legalization, up from 67% when Gallup polled the question last year, and 67% of independents support legalization as well.
However, support for legalization among independents actually fell by three percentage points since last year, when 70% indicated they were in favor of legalization.
Legal marijuana now has equal support to gay marriage among Americans, Gallup notes.
“The trajectory of Americans’ views on marijuana is similar to that of their views on same-sex marriage over the past couple of decades. On both issues, about a quarter supported legalization in the late 1990s, and today 64% favor each,” Gallup writes in its analysis of the poll.
Gay marriage had vast public support before any action was taken on the federal level. The Supreme Court ruled to legalize gay marriage nationwide in 2014.
Activists from within the marijuana-legalization community celebrated the poll results.
“Marijuana legalization is far more popular than Jeff Sessions or Donald Trump and will survive them both,” Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement.
“Instead of wasting limited law enforcement resources trying to stop successful state-level legalization initiatives, US officials should listen to the clear, bipartisan message the public is sending them, and support federal marijuana reform as well,” she added.
Marijuana plants are seen in an indoor marijuana plantation.REUTERS/Andres Stapff
Tom Angell, founder of Marijuana Majority, a cannabis advocacy group, told Business Insider in a statement that it would be “politically disastrous,” for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to initiate a crackdown on state-legal marijuana businesses.
“Despite threatening rhetoric from some Trump administration officials, Americans’ support for regulating marijuana like alcohol only continues to rise year over year,” Angell added.
Morgan Fox, the director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement Americans are “tired” of wasting resources arresting individuals for using marijuana.
“In the five years since the first states made marijuana legal for adults, it has become increasingly clear that — unlike prohibition — regulation works,” he added.
Sen. Cory Booker, the New Jersey Democrat, introduced the Marijuana Justice Act in August to end federal marijuana prohibition.
Sessions, an outspoken opponent of legal marijuana, said during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that he thinks there should be “healthy competition,” among growers of medicinal-grade marijuana for research, though he has hinted at cracking down on state-legal marijuana enterprises.
Marijuana, both medicinal and recreational, is considered an illegal Schedule 1 drug by the federal government. 29 states, however, have legalized some form of medical marijuana and allow doctors to prescribe the drug to patients.
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions could find himself out of step with his own party if the current trends continue,” Gallup noted.
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This afternoon some of the biggest news coming out of Washington D.C. is that the Republicans in the Senate have decided not to call a vote on their version of a Health Care Bill. The reason is that no Democratic Senator will vote for what they are trying to push through onto the American people, and several of the Republican Senators refuse to vote for it either. If there is such a thing as a moderate Republican Senator it has been no surprise to me that they can not muster up a Health Care Bill that the so-called ‘conservative base, meaning the ultra right Tea Party folks’ will vote for. These folks like Senator Ted Cruz are the kind of folks that insist that everything be 100% their way, or it is no way. Remember during the recent Presidential debates he looked straight into the camera and fanatically stated that “if I become President I will not negotiate with the Democrats?” We the people have been telling Washington for several decades now that we are sick and tired of the total gridlock in Washington. The reason for the gridlock folks is because neither Party is willing to negotiate policies with the other. The other side of this “Republican coin” is that when these politicians took their huge summer break and held ‘town hall’ meetings with the voters they got told in no uncertain terms to leave the ACA alone, or make it ‘more’ inclusive, not less. These Republican Congressmen/Women and Senators got the message from the voters that if they vote for what the Republicans are calling a Health Care Bill, they will be voted out of Office at the next election they run in. In other words, we the people are going to fire them. So, now you have a group of so-called ‘Liberal’ Republican Senators who see the light and for the sake of their own jobs are saying no to the Republican Leadership on their Bill they are trying to push down the throats of the American people.
For seven years the Republicans have gripped about the ACA (Obama Care) and talked and talked about how when they got control of the power in Washington that the first thing they were going to do on day one was to get rid of it, replace it. For seven years they flapped their lips yet it became obvious that during that seven years not a single one of them actually came up with any plan to replace it with. This, to me falls straight in the laps of the Republican Leadership in both the House and the Senate. The Leader of the Senate is Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, the other Senator is Republican (he is actually Libertarian) Rand Paul. Rand Paul is one of the Republican Senators that refuses to vote for the Republican Bill unless it is much more restrictive which is something that he is in lockstep with Ted Cruz on. For seven years the Republicans blamed the Democrats for pretty much everything they seen in the world as being wrong. When it actually surprised them last November to gain full control of all three branches of the Federal Government they no longer were able to hide their hate filled agenda’s from the American people. Here in the U.S. there is only one main issue that turned the Christian voters into the Republican camp and that is when the Democratic Party adopted abortion as a founding block of their Party Agenda. The Christian folks that I know mostly either don’t vote or they vote Republican and the abortion issue is exactly why. Many who vote for the Republicans aren’t fans of the Republican Party, they are voting as anti-Abortion. If you really look at the Republican agenda, except for the abortion issue, there is very little that conforms with the teachings of Jesus Christ in the New Testament or in the teachings of the Old Testament. In reality the teachings of the Bible go directly against the teachings and policies of the Republican Part’s actions. There are other issues that people of faith have against the Democratic Platform also, it is just that the Abortion issue is by far the single biggest issue. I wrote an article a few months ago that I am going to try to locate where the title was something along the line of “The Republican And The Democratic Parties Are Both Anti-Christ Parties.” If I can find that article I will re-post it this evening for you to consider.
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Washington (CNN)The Senate will not vote on the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal Obamacare, Republican leaders announced Tuesday.
The decision is another blow to President Donald Trump’s attempts to repeal Obamacare, a long-time Republican campaign promise and a centerpiece of his legislative agenda. Trump is now also floating the idea of working with Democrats on changes to the health care law, repeating his budget deal he reached earlier this month.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell met with lawmakers Tuesday to take stock of where his members are on the proposal and make the call once and for all if Graham-Cassidy, the latest bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, will get a vote in the Senate. The decision was that the votes simply weren’t there.
On Monday, Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, finally came out against the bill, a position she’d been teetering toward for days. Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Rand Paul of Kentucky also opposed to the measure.
The calculations for health care are agonizing for McConnell. Putting a controversial bill on the floor without the votes exposes members to political fallout and attack ads. Many Republicans hadn’t even taken a public position on Graham-Cassidy, a bill that the Congressional Budget Office said Monday would drastically cut Medicaid and lead to millions of people not having health insurance compared to the status quo.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a bill sponsor, publicly thanked McConnell. “Thank you, it’s complicated, it’s difficult politics,” Graham told reporters.
McConnell “didn’t try to explain the decision” during the lunch, Sen. Tim Scott said. “It’s obvious — we don’t have the votes right now, you don’t vote until you have them.”
Can it stay alive via tax bill?
While the repeal effort has risen from the dead before — several times — most in the chamber were resigned that this time would be was unlikely to get a hold of phoenix-like properties before the September 30 deadline to move the bill with 50 votes to beat a Democratic filibuster.
Regardless of what happens to Graham-Cassidy, there are signs that plenty of Republicans in Washington — both in the White House and Capitol Hill — are simply not ready to give up.
President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he was “disappointed” in several senators, in an apparent reference to McCain, Paul and Collins.
“At some point there will be a repeal and replace but we’ll see whether or not that point is now or whether it will be shortly thereafter,” Trump said. “But we are disappointed in certain so-called Republicans.”
On Capitol Hill, there are rumblings among lawmakers about ways to keep trying on repeal if this week ends with defeat (the current legislative vehicle that Republicans are using to move a health care bill without any Democratic support expires after Saturday).
One idea — which hardly enjoys widespread support at the moment — is to tie both health care and tax reform to the 2018 budget.
Graham and Sen. Ron Johnson, who both sit on the budget committee, have advocated for this idea. It has raised concerns among Republican lawmakers and staff alike who know just how messy that could potentially be.
One GOP aide bluntly described that scenario as “a nightmare.”
Working with Democrats?
At a White House meeting with both Democratic and GOP lawmakers, the President warned Republicans in bipartisan meeting he’d work with Democrats on health care if they fail to act.
Trump mentioned how much he liked the deal he negotiated recently with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Pelosi, according to a source familiar with the discussion and with Democratic lawmakers.
Democratic Rep. Linda Sanchez told reporters that Trump told the group he was “disappointed” in those Republican senators who came out against the Senate bill. She said he “chided” the GOP members there that he could end up working with Democrats on health care legislation
Rep. Richard Neal, D-Massachusetts, ranking member on the Ways and Means Committee said “Clearly,” he said when asked if the President made the threat.
“He made that clear that if he didn’t get what he wanted, he was going to work with Democrats on a plan,” Neal told reporters.
This story has been updated.
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As Nevada Sen. Dean Heller was trying to convince his colleagues to back the most recent GOP effort to undo the Affordable Care Act, his state’s Republican governor, Brian Sandoval, was thwarting it, signing his name to a bipartisan letter from governors opposing the bill and putting the legislation in peril. Meanwhile, in New York, as President Donald Trump fielded criticism for a United Nations speech many saw as isolating and combative, California Gov. Jerry Brown was doing his own version of diplomacy, meeting with world leaders, including the U.N. Secretary-General, to talk about climate change and adherence to the Paris agreement Trump has lambasted. The previous week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that a bipartisan coalition of 14 states and Puerto Rico were already on track to meet or exceed the Paris standards for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Congress may be unable or unwilling to pass major legislation. Trump might be threatening to pull out of international agreements on trade, the environment and nuclear security, shrinking America’s footprint on the world stage. But governors and states, lauded as laboratories of democracy at best and recalcitrant junior players at worst, are stepping up to fill the power void. And less than a year into Trump’s presidency, one the commander-in-chief pledged would mark a major upending of policy and politics, it is the governors and state attorneys general who are wielding the influence.
“Governors tend to be more pragmatic than members of Congress,” so while they may have ideological agendas, they are focused on problem-solving and keeping within mandated budget limits, says John Kincaid, a Lafayette College government and public service professor who teaches a course in federalism. And while governors are more empowered to stop federal policies or legislation than to force their enactment, the state players can have a great deal of influence over how the whole nation – and not just their constituencies – live, experts say.
Governors have long pushed back against the policies and mandates of administrations in the other party, notes Robert Mikos, a law professor at Vanderbilt University and an expert of state-federal relations. But the trend may be exacerbated because of Trump’s presidency and Democrats’ minority status in the nation’s capital, he says.
“In part, it reflects the change in administration and having a single party in control of Washington that makes people turn more to the states. It may be accentuated now, given this administration. There may be more hostility to it than there was with prior administrations,” Mikos adds. But while Democratic governors have aggressively pushed back on predictable issues – such as mandating birth control coverage by health insurers, as Oregon has done, or becoming a “sanctuary state” to protect undocumented immigrants, as California is doing – governors are setting the agenda on a bipartisan basis as well.
But there is a great deal of bipartisan efforts by governors as well of late. Most recently, 10 governors (five Democrats, four Republicans and a conservative independent) sent a letter to congressional leaders opposing the Graham-Cassidy bill to undo key elements of Obamacare. The measure would give more authority to the states in implementing details of the law, which is typically appealing to governors. But it also block-grants Medicaid, raising fears that a pot of federal cash many states rely on to pay for constituents’ health care would be cut. Some governors also have already built assumptions of federal Medicaid payments into their budgets – and unlike the federal government, all states except for Vermont are legally required to have balanced budgets.
The letter – which called for a bipartisan approach and “regular order,” meaning congressional hearings and consideration of Congressional Budget Office estimates – is notable because it includes the signature of Alaska Gov. Bill Walker and Sandoval. Alaska’s senior senator, Lisa Murkowski, is a swing vote on the measure, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) plans to put up for a vote next week. Sandoval, the chair of the National Governors Association, openly rejected a bill co-sponsored by Heller, who is considered the most vulnerable GOP incumbent senator next year.
Anyone who thinks the governors’ views will get lost in a cacophony of special-interest dissent need only look at Arizona, says John Dinan, a politics and international affairs professor at Wake Forest University. “In casting the deciding vote to kill the earlier repeal effort this summer, Sen. McCain said he was voting no in part because of the concerns of his own state’s governor,” Dinan notes but given Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s support for Graham-Cassidy, the governor also “could therefore be decisive in enabling Sen. McCain to vote for the current repeal bill and therefore lead to its passage.”
Meanwhile, as Congress fiddles with legislation to repeal Obamacare, a bipartisan team of governors, Colorado Democrat John Hickenlooper and Ohio Republican John Kasich, are working on their own offer, a plan that would tinker with Obamacare around the edges without undoing its basic tenets, such as the individual mandate.
“The ACA stuff is interesting because it involves bipartisanship among governors in a way Congress has been unable to do,” Mikos says. While Congress is under no obligation to consider a legislative approach proposed by governors, the state chief executives can put pressure on the feds or go their own way in the absence of action from Washington.
Even on matters normally reserved for the nation’s chief executive, governors are taking the lead, ignoring – and arguably underscoring – Trump’s responses. The president, for example, has been criticized for placing blame on both the white supremacist marching in Charlottesville as well as the protesters who opposed them. The NGA, meanwhile, issued an unequivocal statement on the deadly conflict, saying, “The nation’s governors strongly condemn the violent attack perpetrated by white supremacists in Charlottesville.”
On climate change, too, governors in both parties are implementing environmental policies Trump has rejected as too onerous on business. At the U.N., Brown announced that 14 states and Puerto Rico were on schedule to meet the environmental protection standards of the Paris accords, despite Trump’s announcement he intends to withdraw from the pact.
Individual state efforts can go a long way in making de facto national policy, experts note. If states and localities indeed continue their commitments despite new federal policy, the nation will end up meeting half its Paris commitments by 2025 anyway, according to a recent report by NewClimate Institute and The Climate Group.
And while federalism” and “states rights” have historically been connected to anti-civil rights positions, the concepts can also be used to advance minority rights, Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken points out in a piece on “the new progressive federalism” in the journal Democracy. For example, Gerken notes, the momentum for same-sex marriage built after Massachusetts and San Francisco just went ahead and did it, accelerating an effort that had been limited to editorial pages and public marches. And, advocates have noted, the domino-like approval of same-sex marriage by states made it hard for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule against it.
The sheer size and economic influence of states can push national policy and trends as well. Texas, with its big buying power in school textbooks, has an outsized influence on details such as questioning evolution in science textbooks. And while California’s greenhouse emissions standard might not be much liked by industry, which one would refuse to do business with the Golden State, which has the sixth-biggest economy in the world? And when states can’t stop Washington from passing policies, they can slow-walk their implementation or scream so loudly Washington is forced to regroup. When states complained it was impossible to meet the standards of No Child Left Behind, for example, the Obama administration offered them waivers (and Congress later tweaked the law).
The failure of the White House and Congress to agree on a number of issues, then, may just create the vacuum for governors to step in – and step up, analysts and individual governors say. “America is not run by Donald Trump,” California Gov. Brown said in New York during the U.N.’s annual meeting. “We are a nation of diverse power centers.” And they are already flexing their collective muscles.
House Speaker Paul Ryan does not hold traditional town-hall meetings. The Wisconsin Republican is so frightened by his constituents that he now opts for restricted events where the questioners and the questions are screened. But the frustration with Ryan has grown so great that the restrictions are no longer sufficient to shield this political careerist from scrutiny.
When Ryan participated in a “CNN Town Hall” last week, the questioners from Racine and other communities in his district asked tough questions, as did moderator Jake Tapper.
One line of questioning was particularly devastating—as it revealed Ryan’s startling ignorance regarding not just poverty but the antipoverty programs he seeks to diminish and dismantle.
Good evening, Mr. Speaker. I know that you’re Catholic, as am I, and it seems to me that most of the Republicans in the Congress are not willing to stand with the poor and working class as evidenced in the recent debates about health care and the anticipated tax reform. So I’d like to ask you how you see yourself upholding the church’s social teaching that has the idea that God is always on the side of the poor and dispossessed, as should we be.
Ryan answered with a spew of right-wing talking points about how historic antipoverty programs have supposedly failed.
The status quo isn’t working, Sister, and what I think we need to do is change our approach on fighting poverty instead of measuring success based on how much money we spend or how many programs we create or how many people are on those programs, you know, measuring on inputs. Let’s measure success in poverty on outcomes. Is it working? Are people getting out of poverty?
To bolster his claim, Ryan announced that “we’re in the 32nd year of the war on poverty. Trillions spent, and guess what? Our poverty rates are about the same as they were when we started this war on poverty 32 years ago.”
No one except Paul Ryan thinks the war on poverty started 32 years ago. 2017 minus 32 is 1985. That’s the middle of Ronald Reagan’s presidency.
The war on poverty had its roots in the administration of President John Kennedy, when he and his aides took an interest in Michael Harrington’s groundbreaking 1962 book, The Other America. In that book, the prominent democratic socialist explained that it was practically and morally wrong for a nation as wealthy as the United States to look the other way while close to a quarter of its population lived in poverty. Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon Johnson, used his January 8, 1964, State of the Union address to announce a war-on-poverty legislative agenda that proposed a variety of education, health-care and community-action programs to address economic inequality and injustice. “Our aim,” announced Johnson, “is not only to relieve the symptom of poverty, but to cure it and, above all, to prevent it.”
So Ryan got the most basic math wrong—more than two decades wrong. In so doing, he displayed startling ignorance of issues that he should know well. Ryan’s is a dangerous ignorance. The proof of that came in his repetition of the lie that says the antipoverty programs that were launched in the 1960s did not work. In fact, according to the Center for Poverty Research at the University of California-Davis,
Historically, the official poverty rate in the United States had ranged from a high of 22.4 percent when it was first estimated for 1959 to a low of 11.1 percent in 1973. Since its initial rapid decline after 1964 with the launch of major War on Poverty programs, the poverty rate has fluctuated between around 11 and 15 percent.
The official poverty rate is currently in the middle of that range, around 13.5 percent. So, in addition to getting the timeline wrong, Ryan got the measures of results wrong.
Poverty dropped dramatically when antipoverty programs were initiated in the mid-1960s and it has not returned to the levels that existed before the launch of the war on poverty. Should poverty rates be lower? Absolutely. But it is not war-on-poverty programs that keep the rates from dropping. It is the failure to maintain the commitment to “curing” and preventing poverty that LBJ and the Democratic congresses of the late 1960s evidenced.
Republican presidents from Richard Nixon to Ronald Reagan to the Bushes dialed down the fight against poverty—and the Democratic presidents who followed LBJ were too cautious about dialing it up.
Paul Ryan, with his proposals to gut the Affordable Care Act, and with his long history of looking for ways to undermine Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and nutrition programs, has got the calculus exactly wrong. Despite the evidence that federal, state, and local action to address poverty works, he wants to weaken those programs.
Ryan missteps were noted by the crowd in Racine. They booed him frequently as he attempted to answer the sister’s questions with economic fantasies.
For her part, Sister Erica Jordan was unimpressed by the speaker.
“I think he is really naive,” she said. “Trickle-down economics has never worked. The budget is cutting programs in a way that hurts the poor. I wonder how often he talks to poor people. I don’t think he has much opportunity to really talk to people who are struggling.”
The nun was having none of Paul Ryan’s preachments.
“It’s unconscionable that our elected officials feel free to do what they’re doing right now taking away health care, threatening Social Security and Medicare,” the sister explained to Commonweal magazine in a thoughtful conversation with John Gehring, the author of The Francis Effect: A Radical Pope’s Challenge to the American Catholic Church (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015).
It is just wrong. Speaker Ryan is a leader and he seems to be totally complicit in this way of thinking. I want him to really think about my question. I’ve been so distressed by this Congress and going through what we did during the health-care debate. There is such a disregard for the common good and the poor. It makes me angry. I do believe he is a man of faith, but I think he is misguided.
“Misguided” is a very polite word for Paul Ryan. But the sister can be polite. She won her debate with the Speaker of the House—on moral and factual grounds.
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