Do members of Congress pay for 100 percent of their health insurance?

The following article by Michelle Ye Hee Lee was posted on the Washington Post website April 17, 2017:

Question: “Who pays your salary?”
Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.): “I am self-employed, I’ve been self-employed, and I pay more taxes inside my own company personally than I’ll ever receive from being in Congress. I pay my own, and I pay my own insurance. … So don’t mislead and think that you’re paying mine. I do. Also, every member of Congress, they pay for their own insurance, too. We are put into the exchange. We’re not a federal employee. We go into the D.C. exchange and we personally have to pay for 100 percent of it. Not a percentage, all of it.”
— Exchange during a town hall, April 10, 2017

Question: “Where do you get your insurance?”
Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.): “I will say, just because there’s a lot of misinformation on it: I am on Obamacare. So that’s what Congress does.”
— Exchange during a town hall, April 10, 2017 (more…)

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Trump’s pledge to allow churches to support candidates may be part of tax bill

The following article by John Wagner was posted on the Washington Post website April 14, 2017:

As Republicans struggle to craft a sweeping tax package — a process already rife with political land mines — they are preparing to add another volatile element to the mix: a provision that would end a six-decade-old ban on churches and other tax-exempt organizations supporting political candidates.

The repeal of the “Johnson amendment” is being written into tax legislation developed in the House of Representatives, according to aides. President Trump has vowed to “totally destroy” the provision at the behest of evangelical Christians who helped elect him. (more…)

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‘One word says it all. Asian’: Airbnb host reportedly leaves guest stranded because of her race

The following article by Amy B. Wang was posted on the Washington Post website April 7, 2017:

An Airbnb host in California has been banned after an Asian American guest claimed her reservation was canceled at the last minute because of her race.

Airbnb spokesman Nick Papas told The Washington Post in an email that the host’s behavior was “abhorrent and unacceptable.” The company has in recent years faced growing complaints of racial discrimination by its hosts. (more…)

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Mitch McConnell, the man who broke America

The following column by Dana Milbank was posted on the Washington Post website April 7, 2017:

“No majority leader wants written on his tombstone that he presided over the end of the Senate,” the minority leader said.

He continued: “Breaking the rules to change the rules is un-American. I just hope the majority leader thinks about his legacy, the future of his party, and, most importantly, the future of our country before he acts.” (more…)

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Possible cuts to Meals on Wheels could impact 50,000 Minnesotans

The following article by John Reinan was posted on the Star Tribune website April 6, 2017:

Citing a responsibility to taxpayers, the Trump administration recently proposed a federal budget that calls for drastically reducing ­— or eliminating — programs that pay for Meals on Wheels and other nutrition services.

ANTHONY SOUFFLE – STAR TRIBUNE
Mary Hennessy, 97, ate her Meals on Wheels lunch Wednesday.

– At 97, you make some concessions. Mary Hennessy gave up line dancing a few years ago.

But she’s not ready to give up the home she shares with her husband, Bernie, in this Winona County city of 1,600 people where she’s lived her whole life.

That’s why the couple is grateful for Meals on Wheels, whose volunteers deliver two meals to their door five days a week. Mary Hennessy doesn’t go into the kitchen any more, and as for Bernie: “I’m a lousy cook,” he said. (more…)

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O’Reilly, Trump, And Ailes: The Culture Of Predatory Harassment Dominating The Conservative Movement

The following article by Eric Boehlert was posted on the Media Matters website April 4, 2017:

Photo: Reuters

With each new disturbing allegation, it’s become increasingly clear that a toxic atmosphere has flourished at Fox News, where powerful men have allegedly harassed and assaulted women for years.

The latest lawsuit to tumble out arrived on Monday, when Fox News contributor Julie Roginsky filed suit in court and claimed that former Fox News chief Roger Ailes had made unwanted sexual advances to her and implied he would reward her with a big promotion if she agreed.   (more…)

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Sunday Shows Whitewash Republicans’ History Of Obstructionism

The following article by Zachary Pleat was posted on the Media Matters website April 2, 2017:

NBC’s Chuck Todd and Fox’s Chris Wallace failed to explain Republican senators’ unprecedented obstructionism of former President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees when discussing a 2013 rule change made by Senate Democrats to forbid the filibustering of judicial nominees below the Supreme Court level.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) appeared on the April 2 editions of NBC’s Meet the Press and Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday and declared that President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, will be confirmed to the court. The hosts questioned McConnell on whether he would invoke the nuclear option — a rule change that would eliminate the use of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees — if the Democrats filibuster Gorsuch’s nomination. Additionally, the hosts pointed out McConnell’s opposition to the rule change in 2013, which he now appears poised to use on behalf of Gorsuch:

(more…)

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Devin Nunes is making it very hard for Republicans to claim they can run an impartial investigation on Russia

The following article by Amber Phillips was posted on the Washington Post website March 27, 2017:

Rep. Devin Nunes, the House Intelligence Committee chairman, departs after speaking with reporters outside the West Wing following a meeting with President Trump on March 22. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

From the perspective of impartiality, one of the problems with Congress investigating Russia’s meddling in the U.S. election and whether President Trump’s circle had anything to do with it is Congress itself.

It’s a political body made up of — well, politicians. That’s not to say these politicians can’t put on their impartial hats to undertake a large-scale investigation about the independence of U.S. democracy from foreign influence. But congressional investigations have a higher threshold of impartiality to meet than, say, an independent investigation outside the confines of Congress.

In recent days, Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is making it very hard for his committee to meet those standards of impartiality. (more…)

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Reporter and photographers say they were assaulted by Trump supporters at Huntington Beach rally

The following article by Angel Jennings and Anh Do was posted on the LA Times website March 26, 2017:

An OC Weekly reporter and two photographers said Sunday that they were physically assaulted by pro-Trump demonstrators at a Make America Great Again rally in Huntington Beach and are seeking the public’s help in identifying at least one of the people responsible.

Frank Tristan, an intern at the paper, and photographers Julie Leopo and Brian Feinzimer were attacked before one of several counter-demonstrators pepper sprayed an organizer of Saturday’s event. After Jennifer Sterling was pepper-sprayed, several fights broke out. (more…)

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What’s at Stake in a Health Bill That Slashes the Safety Net

The following article by Eduardo Porter was posted on the New York Times website March 21, 2017:

The United States still spends less than most of its peers across the industrialized world to support the general welfare of its citizens. But during the Obama administration the gap shrank to its smallest since the early 1980s. Credit Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

What do we lose when social insurance unravels?

It is startling to realize just how much the social safety net expanded during Barack Obama’s presidency. In 2016, means-tested entitlements like Medicaid and food stamps absorbed 3.8 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, almost a full percentage point more than in 2008.

Public social spending writ large — including health care, pensions, unemployment insurance, poverty alleviation and the like — reached 19.3 percent of G.D.P., the most in decades and almost three percentage points more than in the year before Mr. Obama took office. (more…)

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