Open Thread: Quick Takes from the Thousand Thug March

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More Byrd droppings

Following on on Betty’s post this morning, keep on calling.

Senator Sanders in his role as the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee has had his staff arguing hard to the parliamentarian over the past few weeks. They are arguing over every point in the Senate bill(s) that are still be scrawled on napkins in the Senate dining room on whether or not provisions are directly budget related and therefore only need a 50 vote threshold or are primarily policy and need a 60 vote threshold. They’ve won some big fights. It looks like they won an even bigger one this morning.

What that means is the waiver provisions need 60 votes. This is important from a policy perspective as the current waiver system in the ACA allows states to experiment if they can insure as many people, at the same or better actuarial value while protecting the most vulnerable and costing the federal government no more money. The provision that is now subject to a 60 vote threshold would allow the state to do whatever it wanted just as long as it cost the federal government no more money.

Politically this is important because the Senate leadership, Secretary of Health and Human Services Price and CMS Administrator Verma have been promising Republican senators that they’ll issue magical waivers that will give enough flexibility to states to keep everyone or at least enough people whole despite pulling out $750 billion dollars in Medicaid funding and several hundred billion net dollars from the individual market. That is a fantasy of the least interesting tripe but it waivers of unimaginable power are being pushed behind the scene. Those waivers can’t be part of the bill.

And if they are part of the bill, that means the legislative filibuster is dead which should help when we have to clean up this mess.



Open Thread: VULGAR! (As in, ‘of the common people’)

To the fainting couches, gentlemen!…


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Clutching-pearls and elbow patches at the ready!


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Because TONE is more important than FACTS!


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(The facts, after all, are almost never on the side of the Republicans.)



Call the Senate

Call the Senate. Tell them that the AHCA is horrendous policy that actively and aggressively harms people and that you expect them to vote No.

Be polite but be clear and firm as to what you want your Senator to do.

If you live in a state with two good votes on the AHCA, call them as well. They like to hear that they have support back home. It makes it easier.

The Senate was always going to be where the greatest chance of stopping a policy and moral disaster so let’s get to work.



Time to call the Senate

We know the AHCA is horrendous policy.

We know the AHCA is extraordinarily unpopular.  We know that it is unpopular even among Republican voters.  We know that the Senate is far thinner margins than the House and we almost won there.  So the goal this week is to let your Senators know that this is a very bad bill with very real consequences for their constituents.



Visual Comparison Open Thread: Walk Left / Run Right



Open Thread: The Noble Professor Is SHRILL!

(Mike Luckovich via GoComics.com)
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Credit where due: The NYTimes is where most of us who aren’t econ majors first heard about Paul Krugman. “Judas, Tax Cuts and the Great Betrayal”:

The denarius, ancient Rome’s silver coin, was supposedly the daily wage of a manual worker. If so, the tax cuts that the richest 1 percent of Americans will receive if the Affordable Care Act is repealed — tax cuts that are, obviously, the real reason for repeal — would amount to the equivalent of around 500 pieces of silver each year.

What inspired this calculation? The spectacle of Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, and Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, defending Donald Trump’s firing of James Comey.

Everyone understands that Mr. Comey was fired not because of his misdeeds during the campaign — misdeeds that helped put Trump in the White House — but because his probe of Russian connections with the Trump campaign was accelerating and, presumably, getting too close to home. So this looks very much like the use of presidential power to cover up possible foreign subversion of the U.S. government.

And the two leading Republicans in Congress are apparently O.K. with that cover-up, because the Trump ascendancy is giving them the chance to do what they always wanted, namely, take health insurance away from millions of Americans while slashing taxes on the wealthy.

So you can see why I find myself thinking of Judas.

For generations, Republicans have impugned their opponents’ patriotism. During the Cold War, they claimed that Democrats were soft on Communism; after 9/11, that they were soft on terrorism.

But now we have what may be the real thing: circumstantial evidence that a hostile foreign power may have colluded with a U.S. presidential campaign, and may retain undue influence at the highest levels of our government. And all those self-proclaimed patriots have gone silent, or worse…