Senate Parliamentarian Rules Against Healthcare Provisions

The Senate Parliamentarian gives rulings on all bills before they are voted on. Because the healthcare bill is being passed under reconciliation rules to make it possible to ram it through with 50 votes plus a Pence tiebreaker, it is subject to what are called “Byrd Rules.”

The Parliamentarian has found several points in the bill that she judges not subject to reconciliation rules and therefore would need 60 votes to pass. The Parliamentarian’s findings are subject to Senate approval, so this all might seem like a waste of time, but her findings can be used by the Democrats as delaying tactics and might be the subject of lawsuits further down the line.

The questionable topics are

  • Restrictions on abortion coverage
  • A provision defunding Planned Parenthood
  • A newly permissive state waiver process
  • Changes to rules governing insurance pricing by age
  • Funding for cost-sharing reductions
  • Elimination of the medical-loss ratio rule
  • The Cruz Amendment

These are pretty significant pieces of the bill. The New York Times has an explainer and the judgement of a panel of experts as to how likely each provision is to be struck. They also have an article on the politics of it, as does New York Magazine. There are a couple of others, but those seemed best to me. Here’s an explanation from the Senate Budget Committee’s Minority [Democratic] staff. Maybe David will have more to say.

196 replies
  1. 1
    germy says:

    The Cruz Amendment

    Thanks to Ted. This should look good on his resumé.

  2. 2
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    So, McConnell fires the Parliamentarian and goes ahead with it. Who is going to stop him? If the GOP has no problem with traitors in the WH, as Speaker, or as Senate majority leader, who is going to stop them?

    Reinhard Heydrich said pretty much the same thing. “We are the police! Who is going to stop us?”

  3. 3
    Quit now says:

    Well he’s out of a job now. What will be the excuse I wonder. I’m better on “parlemntairian?” THIS IS MURIKA!!’

  4. 4
    Baud says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The Senate can overturn these findings. If he doesn’t have the votes to do that, he probably wouldn’t have the support from his caucus needed to get away with firing the parliamentarian.

  5. 5
    germy says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The Hill‏Verified account

    Putin: I may stay as Russia’s president for life

    Joy Reid‏Verified account

    Still cool with him, GOP?

  6. 6
    over_educated says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: The problem is that is basically sets a precedent where the filibuster is effectively repealed for all budget bills because then the majority party can just say “oh we don’t think it falls under the Byrd rule” McConnell is going to be loathe to do that when he may not even have 50 votes to pass anything.

  7. 7
    dr. bloor says:

    @Quit now:

    Well he’s out of a job now.

    Not to be That Guy, but “he” is a she.

  8. 8
    Quit now says:

    @dr. bloor: really? Then it will be all that much easier for them.

  9. 9
    MattF says:

    IMO, McConnell will give passing a healthcare bill a last try, but he’s not looking to blow up all the rules to do so, since there’s only a very slim chance of success in any case. In addition, the parliamentarian’s ruling gives Cruz a hard kick in the teeth, and who will object to that? So, my guess is that McConnell will fuss a bit, to show who’s the boss, and then let it go. But we shall see.

  10. 10
    SFAW says:

    @dr. bloor:

    Not to be That Guy, but “he” is a she.

    And as it turns out, her name is Holly, and she’s from Miami, F-L-A?

    @Quit now:

    really? Then it will be all that much easier for them.

    Because of HER E-MAILS!!!!

  11. 11

    @MattF: I’m starting to get the impression that he wants a dead bill’s corpse to point at and say “can we move on?”, but if the bill happens to pass his forced vote, well, that’s an unexpected plus.

  12. 12
    Baud says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Move on to what. Don’t they still need the Medicaid money to pay for their tax cuts. Or I suppose they could do what Bush did and have them expire.

  13. 13
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    Thank you for this explainer and the links. I never thought before now that knowing about Senate procedural rules/technicalities would be – if not exactly interesting – nonetheless important.

  14. 14
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @germy: So, he wants to be Tsar Vladimir?

  15. 15
    dr. bloor says:


    And as it turns out, her name is Holly, and she’s from Miami, F-L-A?

    Elizabeth from DC, actually.

    Should be fun. Not the first time she’s planted her parliamentarian knee in Cruz’s legislative junk. He doesn’t much like her.

  16. 16
    MomSense says:


    I’m moving sloooowly this morning but still got that reference. Hey babe take a walk on the wild side. Do we think Mc Mitch has a wild side? Scratch that. Do not think about Mitch’s wild side. Gross.

  17. 17
    Mike J says:

    Please don’t call it defunding Planned Parenthood. The point is to prevent women from choosing their own doctor.

  18. 18

    @Baud: Thanks to the magic of dynamic scoring, tax cuts pay for themselves, and while they’re caught up in this mess they apparently can’t talk about tax reform, which is probably also actually more important to them.

  19. 19

    @dr. bloor: Surely this has earned her widespread bipartisan respect. Wasn’t it Lindsey Graham who said you could get acquitted for murdering Ted Cruz if the trial was in the Senate?

  20. 20
    Elizabelle says:

    Good to see an adult in the room.

    McConnell is pulling these healthcare tricks to appease the moneybucks behind the GOP.

    But amazing to me how much their interests, and that of hospitals, providers, and patients diverge. Appalling that McConnell thinks he faces more danger and pushback from the oligarchs.

  21. 21
    Another Scott says:

    @MattF: That’s my impression as well. He could have blown up the filbuster/cloture system in January, but he didn’t.

    The White Whale for them is gutting the tax code, including (IMHO but I’ve not actually seen anything about this) gutting the AMT (as Donnie hates it so much since he can’t get around it the way he can the rest of the tax code). If McConnell has a sword over Elizabeth’s head that he can threaten to use later, he probably thinks it’s worthwhile having that in reserve.

    Kudos for Liz for telling it like it is.

    McConnell doesn’t like to lose, but he knows that the political press has a short attention span and he can change the subject without much effort.

    We’ll see how it turns out….

    Eyes on the prize!


  22. 22
    West of the Rockies (been a while) says:


    Our McDonald’s is hiring… I know a guy. I could put in a word.

  23. 23
    Ken says:

    @dr. bloor: Clearly it’s because the parliamentarian is biased against Cruz, and not because he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

  24. 24
    Citizen_X says:


    Do not think about Mitch’s wild side. Gross.

    I’m pretty sure it just involves sunning himself on a log and munching on leaves.

  25. 25
    Elizabelle says:

    Introducing this particular adult in the room: our stalwart parliamentarian (warning, Politico link):

    [Elizabeth] MacDonough started out as a Senate library clerk, moved up to become the “assistant morning business editor to the Congressional Record” and then, after law school, spent much of her working life in the nonpartisan parliamentarian office. She was named parliamentarian three years ago, the first woman to hold the position.

    The parliamentarian is typically a little-known person — at most, MacDonough can sometimes be spotted on C-SPAN quietly advising the Senate’s presiding officer. But when the post has become controversial in the past, it’s often been over the thorny decisions around reconciliation.

    Politico: Obamacare’s little secret
    Meet the most important person you don’t know.

  26. 26

    During the vote on the ACA reconciliation package, at the last moment the parliamentarian noticed some things (about the attached student loan bill I think) that violated the Byrd Rule and they had to send it back to the House. This was unexpected, because they’d written the bill carefully.

    Here, these things (especially things like the Cruz amendment) really obviously violate the Byrd Rule. Like, really obviously. It’s weird, not sure what Mitch’s game is here, unless his reputation as a canny actor is undeserved and stops at his ability to come up with new and exciting ways to say ‘no’.

  27. 27

    OT: Just got my new passport.

  28. 28

    @schrodingers_cat: Woohoo! So many little firsts and moments worth celebrating :)

  29. 29

    @Major Major Major Major: I don’t see how McConnell’s reputation as a savvy political actor survives this Congress. It turns out that actually governing is much harder than just saying “no” to everything. Hoocoodanode.

  30. 30
    scav says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Could they possibly be just flailing madly hoping to either come up (at rnadom) with a semi-acceptible reason to have failed so abjectly or at least appear to be giving it their best shot on camera one?

  31. 31
  32. 32
  33. 33

    @schrodingers_cat: I still wanna see pictures of the ceremony though.

    @scav: like i said, kind of starting to get that impression.

  34. 34

    @Major Major Major Major: Should I blog about it or send Alain the pics?

    ETA: I have a rough draft, been really busy this July I need to work on it a bit.

  35. 35
    Elizabelle says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Proud to have you as a fellow American citizen. Congratulations!

    Now: time to travel a bit and show that passport off.

  36. 36
    Elizabelle says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Both. Blog about it and pictures to Alain.

  37. 37
    Laura says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Wow, your citizenship’s in overdrive.
    At this rate, you’ll be running for a local elected office.
    Also, thanks again for making a commitment to this Country. Hopefully it won’t always be in this current sorry state, especially with people like you pitching in.

  38. 38

    @Baud: Thanks, the very first page has this quote from Lincoln

    And that government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth

  39. 39
    MattF says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Good for you. I got a new one a few years ago– the little surprise was how much the ID question was in the hands of the guy in the Post Office who handled my application. He asked me a question about the Higgs particle, and when I gave a plausible answer he figured I was who I was claiming to be.

  40. 40

    @schrodingers_cat: Oh cool! Congrats. Get some stamps in that thing.

  41. 41
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Donald is doing his damnedest to prove Lincoln wrong.

  42. 42
    scav says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Ah, I guess my baseline explanation is still lower in the reptilian-brain, with legislative motions and amendments etc rather being the equivalent of gas-smiles.

  43. 43

    @MattF: I had to send them the original Naturalization certificate, which I got back in a separate envelope along with the passport. The postal clerk welcomed me as a new citizen and every one in the post office applauded.
    One women even said that I should not listen to what T says that she was glad to have me here. I was overwhelmed, by the response from perfect strangers. We are not T. There is a lot that is good about these United States, and it is worth fighting for.

  44. 44

    @scav: Ahha, on closer reading I see what you mean now :) it’s too early in the morning!

    That could be too. Who knows? The fact that Mitch is still pointing to the pretender in the stolen seat, aka Justice Gorsuch, as an accomplishment might indicate how low his bar for congressional ‘accomplishments’ is.

  45. 45

    @Elizabelle: Your wish is my command.
    @Laura: I am good friends with the town selectman. I am going to ask him how I can get involved in some town activities. Our town voted 70% for HRC, T got less than 21% here.
    @Iowa Old Lady: Thanks!
    ETA: Is you a physics kitteh?

  46. 46
    StringOnAStick says:

    In last night’s Silverman post Yarrow put up a link to a story about the Mercers and the huge tax bill owed by his hedge fund over a shady profit hiding maneuver. Very interesting that Mercer’s business owes $7 billion and now MM runs the government that includes the IRS, and that one of the reporters just died in a rather freak accident. I’d link but I’m on a Kindle and just typing is a pain. I had no idea that the Mercers outpace the Koch’s in pure venality and mucking with our democracy. I read a rumor elsewhere that they have Russian connections because of course they do.

  47. 47

    @Villago Delenda Est: We have to justify Lincoln’s faith. It is up to us now.

  48. 48
    MattF says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Yes. Used to be solid-state + quantum scattering, now mostly solving Prof. Maxwell’s equations.

  49. 49
    StringOnAStick says:

    Hopefully Yarrow will post that link again.

  50. 50

    @MattF: So you have solved all the problems in Jackson, then?

  51. 51

    @schrodingers_cat: Are you asking me about the physics? The last time I had a single thought about physics was in high school, and even then, I spent most of the class with a novel open on my lap under the desk. I am deeply ignorant.

  52. 52

    @Iowa Old Lady: No, I was asking MattF, because he referred to the Higgs particle. You write books, that people buy, so I am in awe. That is what I want to do too!

    ETA: I added the addendum to the wrong comment. My bad.

  53. 53
    Cain says:

    yes, because they share the same goals.

  54. 54
    MattF says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Once upon a time. But, you know, the problems cover the material in the chapter, so you just have to read the damned thing.

  55. 55
    Fair Economist says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    So, McConnell fires the Parliamentarian and goes ahead with it. Who is going to stop him?

    If it were just the Parliamentarian, nothing. But in this case a number of Republican Senators don’t want a vote, probably around a dozen. Supporting the Parliamentarian’s rulings gives them a way to oppose the bill without officially opposing it, which is perfect for them.

  56. 56

    @MattF: That was the hardest class I took. Our professor was terrible too. Reading Jackson is a perfect cure for insomnia. Although solving those problems did give me many a sleepless night.

  57. 57
    Yutsano says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I just got mine renewed! Wanna go to Canada?

  58. 58
    Thoughtful David says:

    @schrodingers_cat: It’s really hard to remember that that guy was a Republican.

    (“I mean, so few people know that he was a Republican.”

  59. 59

    @Yutsano: Sure. I have been to Quebec city, Niagara, and Saint John. Let’s go to Montreal.

  60. 60

    @Major Major Major Major: Yes, I don’t know why but the new passport has me smiling from ear to ear. I am actually surprised at my own reaction.

  61. 61
    Cain says:


    Congrats! A friend of mine just got her American citizenship, and she asked me to host a party which I consented to do. She almost didn’t get it due to some problem with a former marriage that made them suspect marriage fraud which was preposterous since she is in a marriage for 7 years and has a child and has a job etc.

    Also might have a lead on a job at Comcast in the corporate office for open source compliance stuff. That is going to be a rough place because of Comcast’s position on Net Neutrality.. I’ve applied and I’m hoping the hiring manager is doing the research on me and will get impressed. Still shaking my head htat I’ve been unemployed over a year. I remember when Yutsano was looking for a job and how long it took him…

    In any case, tomorrow flying out to Manchester, UK and then to Edinburgh. :) Going for a few days and then hitting a confernce in Manchester for the weekend, should be loads of fun! :)

  62. 62

    @Thoughtful David: How the Rs have fallen. Sad.

  63. 63
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    @schrodingers_cat: You two should come to Kingston! It’s three hours east of Montreal, where Lake Ontario empties into the St. Lawrence River. I don’t have a car, but you don’t really need one, and I’d be happy to show you folks about… lots of cool things to do here.

  64. 64
    Fair Economist says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))): @Major Major Major Major: I think McConnell is a savvy political operator. What’s sinking the Republican health deform attempts is that they are incredibly bad policy. Repealing Obamacare kicks 25 million off insurance, will cause the death of at least 10,000 per year, and will cause at least 500,000 additional personal bankruptcies. It would be by far the the bill most destructive and harmful to citizens passed since the abolition of slavery.

  65. 65
    MattF says:

    @schrodingers_cat: In-real-life, of course, people solve integral versions of ME. It’s now all about solving large sets of linear equations, where ‘large’ is currently around 10^5 to 10^6. On the user side, it’s all about pressing the right buttons.

  66. 66
    Cain says:

    @Fair Economist: Those sick people just needs to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. No more handouts.

  67. 67

    @Cain: Thanks! I hope you have a great trip.

  68. 68
    Thoughtful David says:

    @Yutsano: I just got back from there. They refused my request for asylum :(

  69. 69

    @schrodingers_cat: I thought that might be the case. And all I can say about selling books is it’s a good thing I’m not relying on royalties to put dinner on the table.

  70. 70

    @polyorchnid octopunch: That sounds great! I have some relatives in Toronto too.

  71. 71
  72. 72
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @schrodingers_cat: send me pics, id love to run them

  73. 73

    @Thoughtful David: And may things never get to a point where they don’t.

    @Fair Economist: Then why did he let such BS provisions in the bill? Unless he doesn’t want it to pass and doesn’t want it to look like anybody’s fault.

  74. 74
    ArchTeryx says:

    @Citizen_X: More like munching on the bodies of the poor. If he’s a turtle, he’s a goddamned snapping turtle.

  75. 75
    Immanentize says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I think that McConnel really does NOT want to vote this piece of garbage through. He is smart enough to see the eternal damage it will do to the party and to him personally The Parlimentarian is doing McConnel a favor, maybe even at McConnel’s request. #kabuki

  76. 76
    Immanentize says:

    @Baud: doesn’t it take a supermajority to overturn a ruling of the Parlimentarian? 60 or 67 votes? Not sure….

  77. 77
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @p.a.: Quoting the shrill one:

    Then the Congress will become the only failsafe in the way to extra-constitutional rule.

    If Congress fails, all the rules go out the window.

    The implications of this are staggering. It opens up a Pandora’s Box that should never have been taken off the shelf in the first place.

  78. 78
    Baud says:

    @Immanentize: I don’t know.

  79. 79
    Brachiator says:


    . OT: Just got my new passport


  80. 80
    TriassicSands says:


    Apparently, it is up to the President of the Senate — Pence — to make the final ruling. Since he’s a highly intelligent, non-partisan kind of guy…

  81. 81
    scav says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Because if enough low-information spectators (or, just the exemplar of the breed resident in the white house) lose the plotline in the chaos, it won’t be his personal mismanagement, but maybe attached to whoever this Byrd person is, jumping in and bolluxing things (aided by evil demoncrats most likely) or the Cruz amendment will velcro in their little minds so it’s a shared responsibility of blah blah blah. The whole things now written in Squid Ink, emitted to confuse the issues and baffle the persuers. Maybe.

  82. 82

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    His senators might stop him. Probably would, although it’s not certain. If they liked this bill, it would have passed already. And they extra don’t like changing the rules, which are designed to make every senator a king.

    @Fair Economist:
    It’s an interesting point. What does it say about McConnell’s political skill if he feels compelled to pass a wildly unpopular bill that his caucus sees as a death sentence for their careers? I don’t know what to think.

    I’ve considered the possibility McConnell wants a sunk bill. I gave it 50/50 at first. He could not have run this process better if he wanted it to fail. I’m finding it less and less likely because of the damage this is doing to McConnell’s pride and power base.

  83. 83
    Baud says:

    @TriassicSands: I haven’t read anything yet indicating that they are planning to go that route.

  84. 84
    SFAW says:


    Yes, I don’t know why but the new passport has me smiling from ear to ear.

    Well, in that case, you need to change your nom/nym to “Cheshire cat.”

  85. 85
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @polyorchnid octopunch: Agreed about Kingston – nice little city, especially in the summer when most of the students aren’t there (I did a masters degree at Queens) – we’ll be going through there in a couple of weeks on our way to Montreal for a soccer tournament

  86. 86
    Another Scott says:

    @TriassicSands: There may be other bits of intrigue going on, also too. TheHill from March:

    Fortunately, there is another way.

    The House Rules Committee, which is taking up AHCA, should adopt an amendment to the existing bill to broaden the repeal to be true and full repeal of ObamaCare, along with all the transition assistance already there. There have been numerous recent analyses showing that the assumptions in 2015 about what had budget impact were too narrow, and CBO’s own footnotes about its assumptions about the regulations show that the entire bill has budgetary impact and should pass the Byrd test.

    That allows GOP members to both tell their constituents they voted for full repeal, and that they also ensured that the protections were in place to prevent any more harm from this law while setting us on a path to a better functioning approach to health insurance and care.

    Once that passes the House, there will certainly be a challenge that the bill is too broad — that question will go to Vice President Pence, as president of the Senate.

    Pence, drawing on the compelling arguments that have been made, can rule that this legislation indeed passes the “Byrd bath.” That will be challenged.

    But what most people don’t understand is that it takes 60 votes to overrule the chair, and only 41 to sustain.

    Overturning Pence’s ruling would require 12 GOP Senators to vote against Pence. They would have to make the argument to their constituents that they prevented full repeal because they didn’t believe the regulations had budgetary impact. Yah right.

    VP Pence will be a populist hero, and full repeal, along with the necessary steps to transition to a new and better way, can get to President Trump’s desk with just 51 votes.


    Wishful thinking? Who knows…


  87. 87


    whoever this Byrd person is, jumping in and bolluxing things (aided by evil demoncrats most likely)

    I heard he was in the KKK! Suck on that, libtards!

    @Another Scott: Doing it in that manner would destroy the legislative filibuster. Mitch has shown no inclination in that direction.

  88. 88
    TriassicSands says:


    Nor have I. I was simply responding to the question of how does the Senate overturn the parliamentarian.

    On the other hand, does anyone think Republicans care about norms or how it would look if they overruled the parliamentarian?

    The current parliamentarian has been praised by senators in both parties as being smart, fair, and highly competent.

  89. 89
    Immanentize says:

    @Baud: @TriassicSands:
    Ok. I looked it up — The Parlimentarian advises the person who is the presiding officer of the Senate when the issue comes up. Normally, that person would be McConnel as majority leader. However, it could be Pence as Vice President he has the authority to act as the presiding officer of the Senate.

    It the presiding officer decided to not take the advice of the Parlimentarian, THAT decision requires a super-duper (60 votes) to overrule the decision of the presiding officer….

    In such a circumstance, I bet McConnel himself might rule against the decision of Pence who deposed him. Classic legislative versus executive show down.

  90. 90
    trollhattan says:

    Learned from the radio this a.m. that Jeff Flake is now insufficiently conservative and Trumphilic, and will be challenged from the right when his senate seat comes up in ’18.

    These people are mental.

  91. 91
    Baud says:

    @Another Scott:

    It still takes 50 votes + Pence to actually pass the bill even if they play that game.

  92. 92
    TriassicSands says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    He wasn’t just “in” the KKK, he created the KKK in his basement almost sixty years before he was born — a precocious lad!

    Truth. What is it good for? UNHH! Absolutely nuffum!

  93. 93
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Cool! I figure the best way to get a hold of me is to mail partial dot to dot music at gmail. Ping me a week or so ahead of time so we can figure out timing.

    @Just One More Canuck: Yeah, it’s a nice little town, all things considered. When were you doing your masters here? What did you study? We may have crossed paths… way more likely if you ever tippled at the Toucan ;)

    ETA: note the addy above, if you’re thinking on stopping in on the way by for a quick visit.

    @Yutsano: Hey, just dropping this in to make sure you know about the invite.

  94. 94
    Immanentize says:

    @trollhattan: I am hoping Shumer is trying every second to peel a couple senators from the R column to the D.

  95. 95
    Immanentize says:

    @Baud: I know. That is why I don’t think that game will be played. It would piss off some Senators for extraneous reasons and they cannot afford to lose even one vote.

  96. 96
    Brachiator says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    RE:. Then the Congress will become the only failsafe in the way to extra-constitutional rule.

    If Congress fails, all the rules go out the window.

    Trump is slowly chipping at the rules. And a good chunk of the citizenry see tradition, laws and the Constitution as silly and unnecessary little rules preventing Trump from helping the “little guy” and making America great again.

    Trump has done what he can to demonize the press. He may go after Congress next if they continue to fail to give him what he wants.

  97. 97
    TriassicSands says:


    It only takes 60 votes if the senate rules say it does, right? The Republicans control that decision, don’t they?

  98. 98
  99. 99
    Tom says:

    @trollhattan: Good! Improves the chances that we can flip his seat. I’d love to depose Mitch as Majority Leader in 2019. Then we can invoke the “McConnell Rule” and refuse to act on a single one of Trumps judicial nominees until the 2020 election, because “Will of the people, etc, etc…)

  100. 100
    Immanentize says:

    @TriassicSands: not really. It takes 60 votes to change the rules at any time except at the beginning of the legislative session.

    ETA I mean the regular order rules, not traditional behavior rules like the fillibusters which is a “gentleman’s agreement” not a rule. To keep people from dying when one actually fillibusters an action by holding the floor without a break. I think this is right — more research follows….

  101. 101
    BBA says:

    Let me remind you – the Terri Schiavo law “passed” the Senate in an emergency session with three Senators present, none of whom raised the issue of the lack of a quorum.

    Where there’s a Mitch, there’s a way.

  102. 102
    MattF says:

    @p.a.: Marshall sees us at the ‘Which side are you on?’ moment. I don’t disagree.

  103. 103
    TriassicSands says:


    …a good chunk of the citizenry see tradition, laws and the Constitution as silly and unnecessary little rules preventing Trump from helping the “little guy” and making America great again.

    A good chunk of the citizenry would like Trump to be able to rule* by decree.

    *Trump is incapable of governing. That requires intelligence and considerable knowledge. Neither of which Trump has.

  104. 104
    tobie says:

    Have there been any recent polls out? I’m in the Berkshires (Mass) right now and just saw two hand-painted signs in front of a dilapidated house. One read: “Support Trump. Bikers for Trump.” The other said something like, “Stop the mainstream media. FAKE NEWS.” Frankly the signs struck me as desperation. His loyal supporters see him (and by extension them) going down. The only question for me is how much of the Republican base they represent. That will determine whether the GOP continues to support Trump even if he fires Mueller or not.

  105. 105

    @TriassicSands: if they all agree to change the rules, yes. Sort of. I think parts of the reconciliation process are statuatory.

  106. 106
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Brachiator: Donald himself has said that the Constitution is “antiquated” and getting in the way of MAGA.

    There are some people who take their oaths of office very seriously. Donald should keep this in mind.

  107. 107

    @Villago Delenda Est: When did he say that? Whatever happened to the originalist interpretation.

  108. 108
    MattF says:

    @tobie: Trump’s approval in the polls has held steady at a little under 40% for a few months now. I guess that 40% is pretty solid, but we shall see… and soon, IMO.

  109. 109
    TriassicSands says:


    You’re right, there is a difference between norms and actual rules.

  110. 110
    PhoenixRising says:


    OT: Just got my new passport.

    That’s exciting. Thanks for jumping onto deck and dumping buckets of water on to the fire! We appreciate you!

    Day before we left on this journey my kid’s Certificate of Citizenship was finally delivered. The mail carrier, who recalls when she was coming to the door dressed only in a diaper because he interrupted her nap by making her doggie bark, was so happy he shed a tear.

    She’s been entitled to one since 2000, but we didn’t file the doc request until November. (Guess why.) My BIL, also an immigrant, filed for his last summer and is looking for a ceremony date soon. I like to tell myself that he did it only because I told him that if you can’t vote, we don’t have to listen to you bitch… But there may have been other reasons.

    If this is an open thread, I am in parts unknown supporting the kid in her pursuit of doing impossible things well. If you’d like to support us, you are welcome to a tee or hoodie designed by…me. That’s how desperate these kids are for funding. The 2020 Tokyo Games are a long way away.

  111. 111
    TriassicSands says:


    Nice design! I wish I could…

  112. 112
    p.a. says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    There are some people who take their oaths of office very seriously. Donald should keep this in mind.

    Question is, are there enough?

  113. 113
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @polyorchnid octopunch: I don’t remember the Toucan – probably after my time (late 80’s MBA) – did most of my drinking at the Grad Club, with the most warped pool tables ever

    if we actually leave on time (unlikely) we will probably stop in Kingston for lunch (it will be Aug 4) – put your address in my phone so will contact you then

  114. 114
    p.a. says:

    tRump is competent at only 2 things, the things all fascists need to be good at: instilling fear and assigning blame.

  115. 115
    Another Scott says:

    @PhoenixRising: Neat design. I ordered a couple of things. Good luck to you and your youngster!


  116. 116
    StringOnAStick says:

    I read a think piece recently about how these kinds of political craziness happen when the economy goes very bad and not enough is done to help the regular person on the street. FDR and Eisenhower recognized this and did their best to use the government funding spigot to keep unrest tamped down; obviously post-WWI Germany is the example of what happens when this doesn’t occur, and sadly post 2008 meltdown is another (Greece is still in process). President Obama tried to dump as much money as he could at the problem but we know how the rethugs cut that down to not enough (just like Krugman said it wouldn’t be enough). Thus we arrive to where we are now, thanks to a bunch of nihilistic voters who decided that burning it all down is their hail Mary play even though they as a group are higher paid on average than Democratic voters; it’s all about feelings you see, and they feel dissed. Rupert, the Kochs and the Mercers have a damned lot to answer for.

  117. 117
    raven says:

    Ugh, last night the perfect time for our AC to go down. I replaced the start capacitor twice in the last 10 days so it’s obvious it’s above my pay grade. It’s the hottest day of the year and I may have to put the pups upstairs where we have a separate unit. Now I get to wait to see which of the three repair services I contacted get here first! Whoo hoo, Saturday service call!!!

  118. 118
    raven says:

    @StringOnAStick: The GI Bill is the perfect example of that. LBJ didn’t want to sign the Vietnam bill but, when he did, he called it the “greatest economic flywheel” in history.

  119. 119
    Kelly says:

    @raven: replace the start capacitor with a flux capacitor then head back to one of the ice ages until the weather cools down at home

  120. 120
    Another Scott says:

    @raven: Friendly tip – have them check the condensate drain, also too. Last night I discovered ours is clogged after finding about 1/4″ of water in part of our basement. :-(

    Good luck!


  121. 121
    Brachiator says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    .There are some people who take their oaths of office very seriously.

    True, but political tribalism is powerful. And the oligarchs, foreign and domestic, behind Trump will do whatever it takes to bribe or neutralize Congress.

    Donald should keep this in mind.

    The one thing we have clearly seen is that the only thing that Trump keeps in mind is Trump himself. He gets enraged when he doesn’t get his way, and increasingly he seems to need to surround himself with people who profess their love and loyalty over duty. This is neither healthy nor good for the country.


  122. 122
    WaterGirl says:

    @raven: They ALWAYS go out on the hottest day of the year! That happened to me about 5 years ago. Conventional wisdom I have heard is that if your unit is 10 or more years old, it’s better to replace than repair. So I did my research on how to pick a new unit before they even arrived to determine whether it was fixable.

    You are infinitely handier than I am, so you probably won’t need to do the research. And who knows, maybe yours will be fixable! Good luck. It gets really f-ing hot without AC when it’s this brutal outside.

  123. 123
    WaterGirl says:

    @Another Scott: Between you and raven, you guys are taking me on a trip down memory lane. I have to say, it wasn’t all that much fun the first time. :-)

  124. 124
    WaterGirl says:

    @Brachiator: Everybody has a line, but it’s hard to predict where someone else’s line will be.

  125. 125
    Immanentize says:

    @StringOnAStick: There is a famous FDR quote about this very issue. He said, “If I fail, I will not be the worst US President, but the last.”

  126. 126
    Another Scott says:

    @Immanentize: It’s always nice when people can keep things in perspective.


  127. 127
    Immanentize says:

    @raven: We had to cut down a number of big trees in our back yard which were providing shade for our house. That ended putting too much pressure on our upstairs unit and it just puttered out. We ended up replacing both units (a two ton and a three ton) because it seems our old units were 28 years old. The HVAC guy was impressed that they had lasted as long as they did and said we had “won the lottery.” Air conditioning problems suck and the solutions are costly.

  128. 128
    germy says:

    Is Dr. Jill Stein getting nervous?

    The Judiciary Committee wants any record of interactions before and after last year’s meeting with Russians. It also goes far broader, seeking records relating to dozens of other people including Russian President Vladimir Putin, numerous other Russians, and even Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

    The requests show that the panel is embarking on a broad investigation that could go deep into Trump’s campaign and the White House, joining the already well-established Senate Intelligence investigation and an independent probe by special counsel Robert Mueller.

  129. 129
    Immanentize says:


    They ALWAYS go out on the hottest day of the year!

    This kinda cracked me up — they certainly never go out on the coldest! It reminds me of one of my father’s sayings (he had a million) “You always find things in the last place you look.”

  130. 130
    germy says:


    They ALWAYS go out on the hottest day of the year!

    And the furnace always dies on the coldest night of the year. On a weekend.

    I think it has something to do with the law stating buttered toast, dropped on the floor, always lands buttered side down.

    There is an antic malice governing our universe. Trump is just the latest and most extreme manifestation.

  131. 131
    bemused says:


    I assume attacks on Flake due to him simply saying be nice to his female, Muslim opponent. If it’s not a mental illness when showing even an ounce of human decency to someone results in vicious, vile threats, maybe it should be.

    These awful people never seem to think anything they do might come back to bite them hard. They think they have special immunity to the hate they incite and none of it will ever affect their lives negatively. Idiots as well as unhinged.

  132. 132
    Immanentize says:

    @germy: I actually called the Boston Globe newsline about this when I caught it on Wednesday. Shouldn’t the Globe have some reporters all over this story? She lives in the area….

  133. 133
    germy says:

    Dr. Jill Stein🌻 ✔ @DrJillStein

    Unlike the Dems, I didn’t sabotage Bernie Sanders in the primaries, then try to cover my tracks with ludicrous Russia conspiracy theories.

    Tweet from yesterday. July 21, 2017

  134. 134
    Immanentize says:

    @germy: What date is that from?

    ETA Sneaky edit!
    ETA2 She is really fucked up.

  135. 135
    germy says:


    Shouldn’t the Globe have some reporters all over this story? She lives in the area….

    Something tells me she won’t show grace under pressure. Her comments will turn uglier and uglier as the screws turn.

  136. 136
  137. 137
    Baud says:

    @germy: Sounds like a Donald Trump tweet.

  138. 138
    WaterGirl says:

    @Immanentize: Okay, that’s funny! One of my favorite statistics is that something like 77% of people have eaten ketchup less than a week before they died.

    But in this instance, it’s not fair. :-) When it’s extra hot and humid, that puts more stress on the unit, making it more likely for the unit to break than when it’s not as stressed.

  139. 139

    @WaterGirl: And then there’s ‘most accidents occur within n miles of home’. (Most driving does too…)

  140. 140
    WaterGirl says:

    @germy: oh, yeah, she’s on our side alright.

    Well I’ll say one thing, the times we are in are certainly illuminating when it comes to seeing who people really are and what they believe.

  141. 141
    germy says:

    In the woods of the Far West there once lived a brown bear who could take it or let it alone. He would go into a bar where they sold mead, a fermented drink made of honey, and he would have just two drinks. Then he would put some money on the bar and say, “See what the bears in the back room will have,” and he would go home. But finally he took to drinking by himself most of the day.

    He would reel home at night, kick over the umbrella stand, knock down the bridge lamps, and ram his elbows through the windows. Then he would collapse on the floor and lie there until he went to sleep. His wife was greatly distressed and his children were very frightened.

    At length the bear saw the error of his ways and began to reform. In the end he became a famous teetotaler and a persistent temperance lecturer. He would tell everybody that came to his house about the awful effects of drink, and he would boast about how strong and well he had become since he gave up touching the stuff. To demonstrate this, he would stand on his head and on his hands and he would turn cartwheels in the house, kicking over the umbrella stand, knocking down the bridge lamps, and ramming his elbows through the windows.

    Then he would lie down on the floor, tired by his healthful exercise, and go to sleep. His wife was greatly distressed and his children were very frightened.

    Moral: You might as well fall flat on your face as lean over too far backward.

    (James Thurber)

  142. 142
    PhoenixRising says:

    @Another Scott: thank you! We are very proud of how hard she has worked to become competitive at a discipline that takes a lifetime to master. The process is rewarding.

  143. 143
    trollhattan says:

    After one year in our new-to-us A/C-less circa 1928 house we said “screw it” and installed central A/C and heat, replacing the gravity-feed asbestos-clad furnace. That was in 1991 and the unit soldiers on, although the control computer has been replaced twice. Reflecting on the fact it’s hit 107 four times already this summer it seems like money well spent.

    Amana is just a brand name today but back then they made a good product.

  144. 144
    smintheus says:

    Does anyone have a link to a report saying the parliamentiarian ruled against the Cruz amendment? Last night all the reports said that she had not yet considered the Cruz amendment.

    Meanwhile, the list of important parts of her ruling should include her rejection of the Republicans’ “not a personal mandate” work-around, the 6 month waiting period to buy insurance if you allow it to lapse. Without a mandate of long waiting period, it’s hard to see how TrumpCare could avoid imploding within months.

  145. 145
    trollhattan says:

    There’s a theory if you strap face-up buttered toast to the back of a cat and drop it, it becomes a perpetual-motion machine.

  146. 146
    WaterGirl says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Say, how’s the conference going today? The end is in sight!

  147. 147

    @germy: How much money is Vladdie giving her. I never want to hear from the Russian asset or her supporters ever again.

  148. 148
    WaterGirl says:

    @germy: I used to love James Thurber! Haven’t read him in decades, I might have to remedy that.

  149. 149
    germy says:

    @trollhattan: I’ll need a government grant to run those experiments.

    Off topic, but after seeing Cole’s sleep apnea thread a few days ago, I wonder if people snore when they’re sleeping on the International Space Station. If a person is floating in zero G, do the airways not collapse during deep sleep?

  150. 150

    @smintheus: See the links in the top post.

  151. 151
    Another Scott says:

    @trollhattan: One of the homes we looked at (and bid on) before we finally bought this place had a natural gas powered air conditioner. I see they still make them, but this one must have been 20 years old at the time. Must have been had an equivalent of about a 5 SEER rating, but it was still working.

    We replaced the electric one here with what should have been a 14 SEER unit (the most efficient single-compressor unit I could find at the time) about 11 years ago. (I subsequently found out that to get that rating, the installer should have installed a variable orifice evaporator. Grrr.) . It’s been pretty good, but I’m hoping for even more efficiency when we have to replace it again (with luck not anytime soon!).


  152. 152
    germy says:


    How much money is Vladdie giving her.

    She’s sounding more and more like Trump in her tweets. Soon she’ll be shrieking about “fake news” as the investigation gets closer to her own russian activities.

  153. 153
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @WaterGirl: Thurber lived in Newtown, CT, for a while and, while he was there he doodled some cartoons on the walls. They got covered up for a while and were later rediscovered. Those sections of plaster were cut out of the walls and the Thurber cartoons were put on display in the local library.

  154. 154
    WaterGirl says:

    Someone linked to this article at Political Animal earlier today. Yikes, scary times.

  155. 155
  156. 156
    germy says:


    I used to love James Thurber!

    He was one of my favorites when I was in high school. I read every book.

    Looking back now, after 40 years, I see there were some problematic things about his viewpoint, concerning women and minorities. He was a flawed man, and some of his writing was flawed. But his humor was a weapon and a shield. His writing during the McCarthy era is still valuable.

  157. 157
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    OT I have a ticket to see Valerian… in about an hour. In 3-D. No idea of what to expect.

  158. 158
    Percysowner says:

    Well apparently Congress CAN work together when they really have to.Dems Announce Bipartisan Agreement On ‘Strong’ Russia Sanctions Bill. I’m slightly impressed that Republicans admit that Russia interfering in the election was a BAD thing.

    Also too Buried 19-year-old memo indicates special counsel Mueller might have authority to indict Trump

  159. 159
    trollhattan says:

    @Another Scott:
    Keeping half an eye on the various developments because our string of “one more” years will eventually end, and I want it on my terms, not at the mercy of the installer with a hole in their schedule.

    Opted for the then-new scroll compressor (SEER of 12 or so I think) and 90+% efficient furnace, which were far more efficient than the competing units that were bid. Amazing to ponder how many times the extra money spent back then has paid for itself since, not to mention being more comfortable.

  160. 160
    WaterGirl says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Oh my gosh, who paints over James Thurber cartoons on their wall?!?!?!!!!! That’s way worse than carpeting over beautiful hardwood floors that are in great shape.

    Cool ending to the story, though. I wonder if they have been reproduced in a book or on-line somewhere?

  161. 161
    germy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Peter Jackson called it “the most magically enchanting movie I’ve seen in many years. It’s an unforgettable big screen experience.”

  162. 162
    SFAW says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    OT I have a ticket to see Valerian… in about an hour. In 3-D. No idea of what to expect.

    I saw one blurb saying it was already a contender for Worst Movie of 2017. Let us know whether you agree.

  163. 163

    @Villago Delenda Est: remember when justice Ginsberg noted that there were more modern constitutions than ours that a new country might look at for inspiration, and the wingnuts used it as proof that she hates America and should be whatever it is you do to a judge?

  164. 164
    trollhattan says:

    I’m meh on Wilmer overall and back some of his stances, but I absolutely loath Stein and everything she pretends to stand for. She’s like a literate Palin-Bachmann love child.

  165. 165
    debbie says:


    What is it he thinks she can do for him?

  166. 166
    Baud says:

    @debbie: What she already did.

    @trollhattan: Yeah, that’s not even a comparison.

  167. 167
    trollhattan says:

    Could always hate-watch it, but it’s hard to hate-watch without pondering the twelve bucks missing from your wallet.

  168. 168
    Immanentize says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    Please report back!
    For my birthday I am taking my son to see Dunkirk tomorrow in 70mm IMAX. What better present could there be than hanging out with your sullen youth teenage kid, even if it is in the dark and there will be no talking?😎

  169. 169
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @WaterGirl: It appears that they were eventually sent to the Thurber collection at Ohio State. I lived in Newtown when I was in middle school not long after they were rediscovered. The library display must have been a temporary thing that I was lucky enough to witness. Source.

  170. 170
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I’m going later this afternoon. I’ve been informed by several sources on the Internet that it is “a hot mess”.

    We shall see.

  171. 171
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Immanentize: I’ll probably go to Dunkirk tomorrow as well. An early happy b-day to you.

  172. 172
    Kristine says:

    @Cain: Good luck with the job–hope you get it!

  173. 173
    WaterGirl says:

    @germy: I don’t really hold it against people who hold certain views in times where no one knew any better. But it is jarring to read someone you loved — or see an old movie you loved, or read an old book that you loved — and realize how different views are today than they were. Or realize what a different person you are now than you were then.

    For years, Five Smooth Stones was one of my favorite books. I have no idea how that would hold up, I don’t even really anything about the book. In my twenties, I read Rules for Radicals and loved The Autobiography of Malcom X and The Color Purple and authors like Ayn Rand and Kurt Vonnegut. Some of those things are not like the others.

  174. 174
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: It should be visually stunning at least.

  175. 175
    germy says:

    They’ve gone and made a 9/11 movie starring Charlie Sheen and Whoopi Goldberg.

  176. 176

    @debbie: Spread disinformation, sow dissension in Dem ranks.

  177. 177
    WaterGirl says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Lucky you to get to see that!

    As for the movie, I know nothing about it, but I am amused by the feedback: “best movie ever!” and “contender for worst move of 2017”.

  178. 178
    WaterGirl says:

    @Immanentize: I had been wondering how old your son was, and now I know.

    Happy birthday!

  179. 179
    trollhattan says:

    Somebody thought this was a good idea?

  180. 180
    germy says:


    Somebody thought this was a good idea?

    all the great projects languishing in “development hell” and this gets the green light?

  181. 181
    Another Scott says:

    @Major Major Major Major: It’s kinda funny that [al]most every country that we occupied/helped toward democracy have a parliamentary system rather than one like ours, isn’t it? E.g. NationalInterest from August. (I don’t think he makes a good case, myself, but it seems clear that the system isn’t working too well when at least one Branch is dysfunctional.)


  182. 182
  183. 183
    debbie says:


    Other than her own small band of loyalists, were many people really even listening to her? Maybe on the coasts, but not here. I can’t imagine Putin got his money’s worth.

  184. 184
    Cain says:


    Thank you. :) If you come to Portland, look me up! :)

  185. 185
    BBA says:

    @Another Scott: The fact that we could spend 6 years (three election cycles) with a Democratic President and a Republican House unable to agree on a “Happy 4th of July” resolution reveals the obvious flaw in a presidential system.

    Obviously, parliamentary systems aren’t perfect, witness Theresa May’s near-dictatorial powers despite having support of a minority of the populace, but on some level I prefer a system that’s capable of acting instead of endless deadlock and stasis even as the heavens fall.

  186. 186
  187. 187
    Ruckus says:

    I think that they wanted the bill, any bill as long as their paymasters are happy. What I think happened is that turtle saw a limited window to get any bill to pass. That this bill is particularly bad makes it more difficult. The calls have helped, IMHO, because that and the polling show this to be extremely unpopular with more than enough voters to sink a lot of careers. There isn’t a lot of time to get a lot more gerrymandering in place so what you see now is pretty much what you get, if you want to be reelected, at least for most congress members. And I’d bet that more than a few who declined to met with constituents or discuss their vote will not be reelected. Especially if they vote yes in the end.
    If we all can get more people registered and get out the vote……….

  188. 188
    Ruckus says:

    I must be a freak of nature.
    I had toast fall buttered side up.
    Still, the law of the universe was broken and I’ve lived with that cloak of shame ever since.

  189. 189

    @rikyrah: Thanks! @Cain: I have never been to PNW but I may just take you up on that invite, when I visit.

  190. 190
    rikyrah says:

    That sounds great.

  191. 191
    J R in WV says:


    Ooh, ooh, congratulations. How’s the picture? We both look like Republicans criminals on the run, but I think that’s pretty typical. If you look angelic you’d better have a nun/monk suit to wear.

  192. 192

    @J R in WV: Thanks. The photo is actually pretty good. I was pleasantly surprised myself.

  193. 193
    smintheus says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: The first link says nothing about the Cruz amendment, and the second link indicates that the Cruz amendment was not in fact addressed by the parliamentarian.

  194. 194
    kindness says:

    It’s my understanding McConnell doesn’t have to fire the Parlimentarian, he has to schedule & pass a vote to ignore her & the Byrd Rule. The the Senate would be able to pass the whole thing with 51 votes and I don’t think a court would take the inevitable challenge. I wouldn’t put it past McConnell to schedule that vote but I hope to FSM that McConnell loses. If he wins it’s the end of the filibuster.

    We need 3 brave Republican Senators to say no. We shall see, eh?

  195. 195
    No One You Know says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Congratulations!

  196. 196
    No One You Know says:

    @Cain: Good luck! Here’s hoping the job comes through and politics doesn’t get in the way. We all have to make a living.

Comments are closed.