Mitch McConnell on the health-care legislative process, 2010 vs. 2017

The following fact check article by Glenn Kessler was posted on the Washington Post website June 19, 2017:

While Obamacare was under consideration, McConnell had strong words for the Democratic majority’s tactics, criticizing them for going ‘the partisan route.’ Now, he seems to be using them. (Video: Meg Kelly/Photo: Oliver Contreras for The Washington Post/The Washington Post)

“Unfortunately, it will have to be a Republicans-only exercise. But we’re working hard to get there.”
— Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), in remarks to reporters June 13

It has become a regular feature of the U.S. political system that the politicians in the minority accuse the politicians in power of cutting deals behind closed doors to advance controversial legislation — only to engage in similar tactics once they regain power. (more…)

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Senate Repeal Bill Would Still Eviscerate Coverage and Protections for People with Pre-Existing Conditions

The following article by Thomas Huelskoetter and Emily Gee was posted on the Center for American Progress website June 9, 2017:

AP/David Zalubowski
A doctor checks a patient in a primary care clinic located in a low-income neighborhood, March 2017.

Recent reports indicate that the emerging Senate version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) may not include the House version’s provision permitting states to waive the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) community rating provision, which prevents insurers from charging sick people higher premiums than healthy people.

Even without community rating waivers, the Senate bill would still critically weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions. By allowing states to waive the ACA’s essential health benefits (EHB) requirements, it would enable insurers to effectively screen out sick people by excluding certain services. (more…)

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Al Franken Comes Out and Says What Most Americans Really Think of Trumpcare

The following article by Alexandra Rosenmann was posted on the AlterNet website May 30, 2017:

The Minnesota senator calls on his Republican colleagues to kill an “awful bill.”

While they review the much-maligned American Health Care Act, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) issued a stern warning to his Republican colleagues in the Senate.

“I don’t think the Republicans can do this themselves, and they shouldn’t,” he said in a “CBS This Morning” interview May 30. “What came out of the House is just dreadful.” (more…)

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Klobuchar Joins St. Louis Park’s Peggy Flanagan In ‘Powwow For Hope’

The following article by William Bornhoft was posted on the St. Louis Park Patch website May 12, 2017:

Earlier this week, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar joined Sen. Al Franken, St. Louis Park State Rep. Peggy Flanagan, and tribal leaders for the American Indian Cancer Foundation‘s 6th Annual Powwow for Hope. “Proud to stand with Minnesota’s Native community and stand up for strong investments in cancer research,” Klobuchar said in a statement. “All Americans are counting on us to continue pressing for better prevention, better treatment, and ultimately a cure.”

Joined tribes from around Midwest for . Need to keep investing in cancer research for patients & families.

View the post here.

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Why Americans Vote ‘Against Their Interest’: Partisanship

The following article by Amanda Taub was posted on the New York Times website April 12, 2017:

Kyle Lloyd, 40, wore a painted “Dump Trump” message at a protest in Philadelphia in January. Credit Mark Makela/Getty Images

Working-class Americans who voted for Donald J. Trump continue to approve of him as president, even though he supported a health care bill that would disproportionately hurt them.

Highly educated professionals tend to lean Democratic, even though Republican tax policies would probably leave more money in their pockets.

Why do people vote against their economic interests?

The answer, experts say, is partisanship. Party affiliation has become an all-encompassing identity that outweighs the details of specific policies.

“Partisan identification is bigger than anything the party does,” said Frances Lee, a professor at the University of Maryland who wrote a book on partisan polarization. Rather, it stems from something much more fundamental: people’s idea of who they are. (more…)

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Al Franken may be the perfect senator for the Trump era — a deadly serious funnyman

The following article by Karen Tumulty was posted on the Washington Post website March 18, 2017:

It was a half-hour before one of the sparsely attended committee hearings that take place almost every day on Capitol Hill — in this case, a session on energy infrastructure so dry it would not merit even the presence of a C-SPAN camera.

But in Al Franken’s suite of offices in the Hart Senate Office Building, the man still known best as one of the early stars of “Saturday Night Live” was going through an intense rehearsal with four aides. (more…)

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For Congressional Republicans, Wall Street Trumps Main Street

AP/J. Scott Applewhite House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Reps. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Steve Scalise (R-LA) arrive for a Republican strategy session on Capitol Hill, November 13, 2014.

Less than one decade ago, during the final two years of the George W. Bush administration, the United States went through what was in absolute terms the worst financial crisis it has ever experienced. When President Barack Obama entered office, the United States was losing close to 700,000 jobs each month.1 By the end of the crisis, more than $19 trillion in wealth had been lost, unemployment had reached a peak of 10 percent, home prices had declined an average of 35 percent, and more than 10 million homes had been lost due to foreclosure or distressed sales.2 This was a tsunami of economic devastation by any measure, and many Americans are still recovering today. Yet, even before Americans have fully cleared the wreckage from this past crisis, congressional Republicans are trying to roll back large portions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act—the signature financial protections put in place to prevent another such crisis from occurring.3 (more…)

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Sen. Franken Assails Effort by New FCC Chair to Cut Off Broadband Help for Low-Income Families, Veterans, Seniors

Senator and Colleagues Say Move will Deprive Americans of Ability to Communicate, Look for Work, Complete Schoolwork, Access Vital information

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) assailed a decision by the new Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that could make it harder for low-income Americans to access affordable broadband internet services.

In a letter, Sen. Franken, along with several Senate colleagues, pressed Chairman Ajit Pai to reverse his decision to stop nine broadband providers from being part of the federal Lifeline program. For decades the program has helped millions of low-income families, military veterans, and elderly Americans afford basic phone service. In 2016, the program was modernized and began to offer support for broadband use in Minnesota and across the country.

Last week, Chairman Pai, who was elevated recently to the commission’s chairmanship by President Trump, informed nine broadband providers that they can no longer provide a $9.25-per-month subsidy to qualified customers. The decision could mean that some needy families will lose the broadband services they need to communicate, access health care information, search for jobs, or complete school assignments. (more…)

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5 Republican Disgraces You Missed This Week

The following article by Jacob Sugarman was posted on the AlterNet website Feburary 18, 2017:

Jason Chaffetz isn’t even masking his villainy anymore.

(Credit: AP/Rick Bowmer)

Each day in Donald Trump’s America is seemingly dumber, crueler and more exhausting than the one that preceded it. This week alone saw the president’s pick for labor secretary withdraw his name from consideration, a story that was all but eclipsed by the greater scandal of Michael Flynn’s resignation from the National Security Council amid charges of collusion with the Russian government.

While it’s tempting to believe the centrifugal force of Trump’s cracked brand of authoritarianism will pull his presidency apart, the reality is that he remains enormously popular with Republican voters, and the party’s craven politicians are unlikely to take any kind of action that could alienate them. Even if he were miraculously impeached or removed from office through the 25th Amendment, America would be left with Mike Pence, arguably an even darker fate than our present dystopia. (more…)

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Sen. Amy Klobuchar, state’s Democrats want open investigation of Trump Russia ties

The following article by Allison Sherry was posted on the Star Tribune website February 20, 2017:

Sen. Amy Klobuchar is diving into the boiling controversy over Russia and President Donald Trump, vowing to leverage what she said are strong alliances with her Republican colleagues to push for an independent investigation.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., spoke while Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general, gave testimony during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Sessions’ confirmation on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Jan. 10, 2017.

– Sen. Amy Klobuchar is diving into the boiling controversy over Russia and President Donald Trump, vowing to leverage what she said are strong alliances with her Republican colleagues to push for an independent investigation into possible ties between the new administration and America’s global rival.

“Why did all of this happen? Why was the Trump campaign so focused on placating Russia and making them happy when they have been ruthless to our allies and ruthless trying to attack us?” Klobuchar said.

The resignation last week of Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, after revelations he communicated with Russian officials and then lied about it to Vice President Mike Pence are “a major problem for our government, and it makes it look like we don’t know what we’re doing,” Klobuchar said. (more…)

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