Remember The Maine (Senator)!

Following up on Betty’s post below…

Pursuing the Maine chance, Susan Collins is all over a small part of the map on the Senate tax-theft/heath-care-wrecking/federal-overreach/America-gutting  bill.

She voted in favor of the motion to proceed, but she’s now signaling that she isn’t yet a solid “yes” on final passage:

Republican U.S. Senator Susan Collins said on Thursday she was not committed to voting for the Senate tax bill, citing concerns over healthcare and a deduction for state and local taxes.

Collins told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast it would be “very difficult for me to support the bill if I do not prevail on those two issues” but she was encouraged by her discussions with leadership.

Hedge, dodge, waver and waffle:  the net is that she’s still susceptible to pressure.  I think she’s beginning to feel the heat on at least two talking points:  that the bill raises taxes on many, probably most of her constituents, which is a bad place for a New England Republican to be; and that the health care measures she’s been pursuing are fig leaves that will gut her loudly proclaimed commitment to preserving access for all those who have it now.

I called her DC office and left a message and then spoke to a weary staffer in one of her state offices.  I encourage you all to do the same — especially when you can leave a recording that doesn’t necessarily mark you as a non-Mainer.

Contact info for all her offices here.

Image: Alexander Coosemans, Still life with fruit and lobster before 1689.

75 replies
  1. 1

    They already did the motion to proceed?

  2. 2
  3. 3
    Ocotillo says:

    OK, she may be a no, maybe. Keep up the work. Three are needed to stop this though. Who else is a no or potential no?

  4. 4
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    every single democrat voted against the tax bill, proving that they’re neoliberal sellouts.

  5. 5
  6. 6
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    @Ocotillo: Mccain and Flake are potential no.

    Mccain voted against the bush tax cuts in 2001 citing the deficit and the current crap bill is way worse than that one.

  7. 7
    JMG says:

    McCain’s a yes. Hard to see a path to a no vote. Not impossible, but…

  8. 8
    redwing says:

    Republicans raising taxes! Where is Grover Norquist when we need him?

  9. 9
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Ocotillo: McCain, Flake, Corker, Heller, Moore and Murkowski are the other ones being called soft votes. Looks to me like Murkowski’s been bought off by oil lust, but her name is on the lists

    ETA @JMG: Yup, cross McCain off the list.

  10. 10
    Percysowner says:

    Well McConnell pinky swore that he won’t cut Medicare, so she’s probably a yes. Collins: McConnell Promised Me Medicare Cuts Won’t Happen

  11. 11
    SenyorDave says:

    Question – why didn’t the Democrats ever push forward their own version of a tas bill? They could have had a modest tax cut for the middle class, corporate tax cuts while eliminating some loopholes, leave the inheritance taxes as is, and leave the upper income rates as is. They probably could have had a cost lower than GOP bill, and then push it as a populist tax bill that will help the middle class and keep the US competitive in the world market.

    I just think the Democrats aren’t aggressive enough. And for good measure, I would like to see the Democrats in Congress release an official statement saying the president should apologize for his anti-Muslim retreat, or at least some narrative from top Democrats.

  12. 12
    JMG says:

    @SenyorDave: The second happened. More than one Democratic Senator issued a condemnation. The first is impossible. The minority can’t bring bills to the floor for a vote. It can introduce amendments and will once the vote process starts, but that’s it. I’m sure there’s a tax position paper on Dem websites, but that’s about all they can do.

  13. 13
    TriassicSands says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch:

    McCain has apparently come out in support of the tax bill. A man of principle.

  14. 14
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch: scratch that. Mccain just announced he’ll doesn’t care about deficits anymore.

  15. 15
    lurker dean says:

    fuck – mccain just said he’s a yes. fuck him.

  16. 16
    marcopolo says:

    I suppose those folks who are calling Senators outside their state might also consider hitting up the offices of McCain (602-952-2410 Phoenix office), Corker (901-683-1910 Memphis office), and Flake (602-840-1891 Phoenix office). I think the possibility of opening ANWR has persuaded Murkowski to vote yes (and when you consider the dire economic status of the state of Alaska you can almost understand).

    I have called my senator (Blunt) for the third time this week but he’s unreachable on anything unless you are a large corp or gave his campaign lots of cash.

    I am single and don’t have any children but among the worst aspects of this bill is how it makes having a child, raising that child, and educating that child to become a productive member of our society more expensive just when “skill-biased technological change means the number of years a child remains a cost center are steadily expanding even as the average age at which parents are gainfully employed rises.” Always nice when a tax bill might have an “unintentional” result of lowering the birth rate. All the economists I read regarding this say it is really bad for the long term economic future of the country.

    (edit: apparently McCain came out in favor while I was typing so fuckim.)

  17. 17
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    @marcopolo: you can’t open ANWAR or any change any regulation or non budget item under reconciliation rules. it’s just PR cover for her.

  18. 18
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Looks like Tillerson’s going to face a big tax bill if Il Donaldo ousts him as is being reported.

  19. 19
    gene108 says:

    Does it make a difference for out of state people to call Republican Senators?

    I went to Bar Harbor once, during a long weekend. That’s my only connection to Maine.

  20. 20
    raven says:

    (CNN)Sen. John McCain said Thursday he will support Senate Republicans’ tax plan, a major sign of progress for GOP leaders as the party barrels toward a vote on their overhaul of the US tax system by the end of the week.

    McCain, who had remained a wild card and had kept his position on the tax bill unclear even from leadership, said that he came to support the legislation because he believed it had gone through committee and would improve the economic outcome of Americans.

  21. 21
    gene108 says:

    would improve the economic outcome of Americans.

    And when it doesn’t improve the economic outcomes of Americans and triggers a recession, then what asshole? Will you and yours admit you were wrong?

    Sigh…

  22. 22
    marcopolo says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch: Whelp, this article from the Anchorage Daily News seems to contradict you.

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate passed a budget resolution Thursday that could provide Alaska’s congressional delegation its best shot in four decades to open part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling.

    The Senate voted 51-49 to pass the budget resolution, along party lines. Republicans defeated a Democratic amendment to strip the ANWR-allowing provision from the budget resolution, by a vote of 52-48.

    It’s not a slam-dunk yet. But Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski has been granted the opportunity to attach an ANWR drilling provision to a tax reform bill that is considered “must-pass” legislation if Republicans want to retain their control of Congress in 2018. That bill — known as “budget reconciliation” — will only require a simple 51-senator majority vote. House and Senate leaders have said they hope to pass tax legislation before the end of this year, though that may be an overly optimistic timeline.

  23. 23
    zhena gogolia says:

    @gene108:

    He’ll be dead.

  24. 24

    I hate this. I might just have to check out until it either passes or dies.

  25. 25
    Brachiator says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch:

    every single democrat voted against the tax bill, proving that they’re neoliberal sellouts.

    Susan Sarandon must be very disappointed.

    @SenyorDave:

    Question – why didn’t the Democrats ever push forward their own version of a tas bill? They could have had a modest tax cut for the middle class, corporate tax cuts while eliminating some loopholes, leave the inheritance taxes as is, and leave the upper income rates as is.

    The Democrats could have a plan, but as the minority, they cannot offer a bill. Or they could try, but the Republicans would obviously stop it.

  26. 26
    Yarrow says:

    @marcopolo:
    From the article you quoted:

    a tax reform bill that is considered “must-pass” legislation if Republicans want to retain their control of Congress in 2018

    What the hell sort of crap is that? It’s historically unpopular. Voters detest it. They may get their donations from rich people but voters are pissed off.

  27. 27
    The Moar You Know says:

    McCain, who had remained a wild card and had kept his position on the tax bill unclear even from leadership, said that he came to support the legislation because he believed it had gone through committee and would improve the economic outcome of Americans.

    @raven: I was wondering why they’d thrown the beer tax reduction in there. I should have connected the dots on that one sooner, but just realized why. They were buying off McCain.

    ACA repeal couldn’t put money in a senator’s pocket. This bill will put money in every senator’s pocket, and even more in Trump’s.

  28. 28
    Keith G says:

    Policy matters. Or, at least it should. The passage of this horrific piece of legislation and it’s signing by the president will at least give Democrats an affirmative and easy to understand argument to run on.

    In somewhat related news, Katy tur is reporting that Nancy Pelosi is calling for the resignation of John Conyers.

  29. 29
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I often tell myself I should step back and take a break from politics. I can never manage it.

  30. 30

  31. 31
    MoxieM says:

    Fuck these fuck nuggets. Ayuh. fuckem. Bastids every one.

    I’ll call but I have a dreaded Masshole area code. Does that even matter any more?

  32. 32
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: it’s a cut-Medicare and Social Security bill

    I think this is the part Dems have to hammer. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, not just for 2018 and beyond, but because it will keep wobbly Dems from folding.

    Roy Blunt, who strikes me as neither terribly bright nor well-connected, says he think some House Dems could vote yes. The House is huge so i don’t know, but I can’t think who he might be thinking of. I suppose that crackpot troll Tulsi Gabbard could do it.

  33. 33
    marcopolo says:

    @Yarrow: Honestly that is the line the Rethuglicans are using. The argument is if they don’t get anything passed then their base will be demoralized and have less reason to turn out in 2018. I guess they are hoping on voter disenfranchisement and gerrymandering to limit the damage caused by energizing the opposition. And keep in mind, the really crappy aspects of this tax bill don’t start hitting until after the 2018 elections. Thus, it really does fall on us to register the HELL out of folks who will vote D and get them out to the polls next year.

  34. 34
    bystander says:

    In all fairness, McCain does have to look out for his estate passing without tax consequences.

  35. 35
    Yarrow says:

    @Keith G:

    Policy matters. Or, at least it should. The passage of this horrific piece of legislation and it’s signing by the president will at least give Democrats an affirmative and easy to understand argument to run on.

    Yes, it does. That’s no consolation but it’s something.

  36. 36
    JPL says:

    @Yarrow: Donor money will buy the seats.

  37. 37
    rikyrah says:

    Ok, I’m not for harrassment, but gotta call foul on some of this.

    Reading one of the ‘ instances’ of Conyers and went WHAT THE PHUCK?!

    I’m still back at the description of the harrassment….
    HIM IN HER BEDROOM AND SHE HAS ON A NIGHTGOWN.

    I’ll ask again…

    WHO out here has had their BOSS in their BEDROOM – and it’s NOT a HOUSEWARMING TOUR?

    Shyt don’t make no sense.

  38. 38
    MomSense says:

    The fax didn’t go through so I sent an email and will call this afternoon.

    Just to put this in perspective, in 2011 LePage and the Republican legislature passed big tax cuts (which were geared for the wealthy) and changed the school funding formula. School districts were hit with huge funding decreases so they let go of a lot of teachers and people and behavioral resources. Even still, towns and cities have been increasing property taxes to fill the gap. So losing the property tax deduction is a BFD here. As it is we have a lot of seniors who are struggling to pay their real estate taxes.

    We are the oldest state in the country. Rural hospitals depend on Medicare and Medicaid for survival. The distances people must travel for services are already an obstacle so we really can’t afford to lose any rural providers. Another thing to keep in mind is that we just voted overwhelmingly to expand Medicaid. Her constituents are really on the vote no side of this tax bill.

  39. 39
    Ohio Mom says:

    @MoxieM: Probably not, because of cells — my husband, the early adopter in our family, has an area code we haven’t lived in for sixteen years.

  40. 40
    Chyron HR says:

    It’s been a long hard fight, bros, but the light is at the end of the tunnel. We are so close to Bernie or Bust (specifically, bust) that I can taste it!

  41. 41
    marcopolo says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: No D house member is going to vote for a bill that gets rid of the Individual Mandate. My Republican senator, Roy Blunt, is an a$$hole who almost lost his re-election in 2016 (won by 3% while Trump carried the state by 20%) whose entire family (wife & children) make their living as paid lobbyists. Take any comments he makes with a salt mine.

  42. 42
    Yarrow says:

    @marcopolo: Yeah, I know. it’s just crazy to see it in print like it’s fact. At least they should write, “Republicans believe…” or something.

    Yes, we need to be registering Dems and getting them to the polls. I’d like to see a thread here on voter registration organizations and efforts around the country. Maybe cover a different state’s efforts every few days for a new thread. It could be an ongoing series. Comments might generate some input from people in those states and help others find ways to get involved.

  43. 43
    Skepticat says:

    Normally my messages to my reps are fairly short and positive (Please support thus-and-such, please do not vote for), as I expect staff just to put me in a yea or a nay column, but I sent Collins a somewhat longer and very … pointed … message. I’m about to Skype her office to ask them to tell her she’s changing me from a constituent to a victim and I. Am. Not. Pleased. However, I’m not certain it’s even worth the effort; I’m discouraged to the point of pain.

  44. 44
    Yarrow says:

    @JPL:

    Donor money will buy the seats.

    Are you predicting the future with that “will”? It may buy the seats. It may not. Dem turnout just has to be a bit higher in a lot of places to flip a lot of seats. Dems are angry and energized.

  45. 45
    catclub says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch:

    you can’t open ANWAR or any change any regulation or non budget item under reconciliation rules.

    That was my understanding also, but there it is. I guess they will just dare the Parliamentarian to nix the bill for those inclusions.

  46. 46
    MomSense says:

    @Skepticat:

    Do it anyway. Let them hear how you feel

  47. 47

    @catclub: happens all the time; they just fast-track the replacement with those excised. Happened with the second part of Obamacare.

  48. 48
    Barbara says:

    I sent the information to my sister in law and her husband, who do live in Maine for most of the year. I don’t actually know where they vote because they maintain a residence in another state as well. They spend more time in Maine than elsewhere. They are very liberal but not politically active. Really, they should be more active because they are totally retired and have lots of time.

  49. 49
    Yarrow says:

    Not sure what this means.

    House Freedom Caucus pretty unanimously rejecting Alexander-Murray, debt trigger, phased in corporate rate cut that are all conditions of passage of tax reform in Senate.— Colin Wilhelm (@colinwilhelm) November 30, 2017

  50. 50
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    @Yarrow: Since this is Corker’s condition for voting for it, he will either oppose the bill or prove that he’s a spineless fraud and vote for it even though he said he wouldn’t vote for bill without triggers.

  51. 51
    WaterGirl says:

    @Skepticat: Do it anyway. Please. If she’s even pretending to be uncertain it’s worth it.

  52. 52
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: they all voted against it already and the senate bill is way, way worse. Plus if you flip-flop you will get primaried back to the stone age. Lastly, Nancy SMASH doesn’t like being crossed.

  53. 53
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @gene108: “We didn’t cut taxes hard enough!”

  54. 54
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Yarrow: It’s worth remembering that for all his vaunted wealth, Trump actually won on the cheap by modern standards, especially in the primary. Clinton’s campaign had more and spent far more. So it actually isn’t always possible to just buy election results by ponying up the most cash (you can often still buy the politicians that way, though). What’s sauce for the goose…

  55. 55
    TenguPhule says:

    Not seeing three flips here. All of the fucking Republicans are falling in line.

  56. 56
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    @marcopolo: Under budget reconciliation rules you can only pass budget and tax items. items that relate to regulations may pass a bill but are stricken..

    A Senator opposed to the inclusion of extraneous matter in reconciliation legislation may offer an amendment (or a motion to recommit the measure with instructions) that strikes such provisions from the legislation, or, under the Byrd rule, a Senator may raise a point of order against such matter. In general, a point of order authorized under the Byrd rule may be raised in order to strike extraneous matter already in the bill as reported or discharged (or in the conference report), or to prevent the incorporation of extraneous matter through the adoption of amendments or motions. A motion to waive the Byrd rule, or to sustain an appeal of the ruling of the chair on a point of order raised under the Byrd rule, requires the affirmative vote of three-fifths of the membership (60 Senators if no seats are vacant).

  57. 57
    burnspbesq says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch:

    you can’t open ANWAR or any change any regulation or non budget item under reconciliation rules. it’s just PR cover for her.

    You don’t think McConnell will disappear the Byrd rule if it becomes an inconvenience?

  58. 58
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    @TenguPhule: Don’t worry, Bernie is holding rallies this weekend in Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennysvania. I’m sure that will force McConnell, Portman, and Toomey to cave.

  59. 59
    TenguPhule says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch: I’m going to go with option B.

  60. 60
    kindness says:

    With all due respect Collins isn’t a moderate. She is far from it. She just wants to be portrayed as a moderate and our awful MSM is all too happy to oblige.

    What I really wonder is why the good people of Maine, who aren’t idiots, keep electing Republicans. I mean, the Democrats that run are moderates, not fire breathers. But Maine continues to swirl down the drain. Fuck them. They deserve what we are all about to get but we don’t. Collins sucks and will rot in hell one day (I don’t believe in hell actually but it’s a good expression of disgust).

  61. 61
    Skepticat says:

    @MomSense: @WaterGirl: Yes, nevertheless, I am indeed persisting (and rallying everyone I know). Still discouraged though.

  62. 62
    catclub says:

    @Major Major Major Major: so if opening ANWR gets kicked off the bill, will Murkowski’s vote change?

  63. 63
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    @burnspbesq: Where is he going to get the 60 votes. It’s an actual law, passed by both houses and signed by the president. Unlike the filibuster which is an internal chamber only rule.

  64. 64
    catclub says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch: In principle it means that the HOUSE will reject this Senate bill, if you combine the votes of the Democrats and the Freedom caucus against it. But I suspect they will cave and pass it in the House.

    I hold out (very faint) hope for Collins, Flake and Corker to vote against, if McCain is voting for.

  65. 65
    Duane says:

    Where’s your damned tax returns, Trump? How long does an audit take? What are you hiding? Fucking low- life con man.

  66. 66
    H.E.Wolf says:

    @Yarrow:

    Called my Senators – yes, it’s discouraging right now; and yes, I persist.

    Yarrow, your suggestions sounds great:

    Yes, we need to be registering Dems and getting them to the polls. I’d like to see a thread here on voter registration organizations and efforts around the country. Maybe cover a different state’s efforts every few days for a new thread. It could be an ongoing series. Comments might generate some input from people in those states and help others find ways to get involved.

    I’m volunteering for the State Dems in my locale, connecting new volunteers with the field coordinator for their in-state legislative district.

    There are hundreds of new volunteers signing up. They range from teenagers to retirees, and they reside all across the state.

    This is going to sound like a line from a Capra film, but if we transform our anger and despair into action… we won’t be out there by ourselves. There are a lot of folks already there to meet us.

    (When I feel like giving up, I think of Rep. John Lewis’s journey, and renew my resolve.)

  67. 67
    WaterGirl says:

    @Skepticat: @MomSense: We are right there with you on the discouragement factor.

  68. 68
    Tom DeVries says:

    Keep in mind, when a politician ‘wavers,’ they are often simply raising money from both sides.

  69. 69
    Yarrow says:

    @H.E.Wolf: Thanks for your reply. I’m glad to hear your state is seeing a lot of new volunteers.

    I have seen several people ask for posts about voter registration and what’s happening to combat voter suppression. I really would like to see a series. I think it will help energize people. One state for every post. Maybe a review off a previous covered state if something exciting happens. Get people involved. Action combats despair.

  70. 70
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @WaterGirl:

    We are right there with you on the discouragement factor.

    I get discouraged too. But then I remember and take inspiration from my (late) Tante Marianne, who lost everything and rebuilt her life at least three times: first during World War I, then during the hyperinflation of the 20’s, and finally fleeing the Russians and enduring aerial bombing during WWII, with the added trial of post-war starvation while caring for 6 nieces and nephews whose parents had collapsed into despair.

    Tante Marianne was indomitable. She exemplified persistence, resourcefulness, courage, and humor even though she barely reached 4′ 11″. She nearly made it to 100. I don’t want her trials (and neither did she), but I take heart from the memory of her strength and energy. If that little woman could persist and rebuild, so can we.

    Reposted from below.

  71. 71
    H.E.Wolf says:

    @Yarrow:
    You’re welcome! Your voice is among those here — and there are quite a few of them: thank you all! — that lifts my spirits. “Action combats despair” says it so well.

    Every one of your “tick tock” comments makes me smile, too.

  72. 72
    TenguPhule says:

    @kindness:

    What I really wonder is why the good people of Maine, who aren’t idiots, keep electing Republicans.

    Obviously because they’re very stupid or very gulliable.

  73. 73
    Yutsano says:

    @TenguPhule: It’s a bit more stupidity than anything. Maine has a nasty habit of having three way races for governor. That’s the ONLY reason LePage has won both times.

    Man there need to be a lot more myocardial infarctions out there.

  74. 74
    Ruckus says:

    @bystander:
    Fucking bullshit.
    Why should someone get rich, pay a lower tax rate than most, and get to pass it on to their lazy fucking heirs without any tax? The exemption is what 5 million now and almost no one is taxed.
    Fuck the wealthy. Really good and hard. They have been fucking regular people for ever. It’s their turn in the box.

  75. 75
    Aleta says:

    @Skepticat: I understand the feeling. I honestly believe it’s worth it.

    For one reason, and this is not to excuse her or forgive her (o lord please don’t let me be misunderstood), the few times she does vote against the GOP, she goes to a lot of trouble to make a public show of her reasons. (Starting way in advance.) And depends heavily on her communications director to get them into the media.* I don’t believe that work is for us, but is used as her defense when going against the GOP machines that are pressuring her.

    For me, it’s worth another call, no matter what happens.
    1. If she is to vote against, the number of opposition callers is one bit of press food her staff will use to defend her (and in effect Maine) against T’s machine;
    (“True to her promise, she works for the people of Maine”)
    or
    2. If she votes for, at least the number will continue to stand as a reminder for her upcoming votes on judgeships, immigration, public lands, environmental protection, federal mining law, … .
    3. The amount of opposition that is registered against T matters to the country.

    * She’s had an expert publicity operation from the start (when she inherited almost her whole organization from Wm Cohen). Much bigger use than Snowe ever bothered with. It’s highly dislikable to me, but key to how she operates, IMO.

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