Senators Reach Bipartisan Deal on Health Care

The following article by Mary Ellen McIntire was posted on the Roll Call website October 17, 2017:

Alexander, Murray have an agreement on stabilizing insurance marketplaces

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander and ranking member Patty Murray have a tentative deal on legislation to stabilize the insurance marketplaces. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander said he has reached an agreement with Washington Sen. Patty Murray, the panel’s ranking Democrat, on a limited deal to stabilize the individual health insurance markets.

Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, briefed GOP senators on that deal during their weekly policy lunch Tuesday.

President Donald Trump said at an appearance at the White House on Tuesday that administration officials have been involved in the Alexander-Murray talks and signaled he supports what he described as a one- or two-year package.

He called it a “short-term deal” that is needed to “get us over this hump” until Republicans might find a way to send him a measure to partially or completely repeal the Obama-era law.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer spoke positively of the agreement, saying, “Two years of cost sharing provides real stability to the system and we want to make sure that happens.”  Read More

A Zillionaire’s Solution: Tax the Rich and Save the Economy

The following article by Nick Hanauer was posted on the Politico website October 11, 2017:

The Republican tax plan is a scam that won’t create jobs, contrary to what Trump says.

The Republican tax plan is a scam—a massive and destructive financial giveaway masquerading as pro-growth tax reform. Which is why our first response must be to demand not one penny of tax cuts for big corporations and rich guys like me. In fact, if I were Benevolent Dictator, I would substantially raise taxes on myself and my wealthy friends. Why? It is the only way to sustainably grow the economy, boost productivity, increase business opportunities, and create more and better jobs.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: That’s crazy talk! For decades, rich guys like me have been selling you tax cuts on the merits of pure economic stimulus. The rich are “job creators,” we’ve told you. The more money and incentives we wealthy few have to invest in creating jobs, the better the economy is for everybody—especially you.

Republican Tax Plan is a Bad Deal for Working Families

The following column was written by State DFL Chair Ken Martin:

As Congress turns to tax reform, details surrounding the Republican tax plan remain blurry. But we know one thing for sure: The plan balances massive handouts for the wealthy on the backs of working Americans.

The Republican tax proposal is written by Wall Street, for Wall Street. Literally. President Donald Trump tapped two former Wall Street executives—Steven Mnuchin and Gary Cohn—to secretly craft a tax plan and force a partisan vote without the American people knowing how much they’ll be harmed. Read More

After Trump-Corker flap, Hill Republicans choose a simple strategy: avoidance

The following article by Sean Sullivan was posted on the Washington Post website October 9, 2017:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) talks with farmer Mike Back at Mahan Farms in Paris, Ky., on Monday. (Adam Beam/Associated Press)

Senate Republicans on Monday avoided weighing in on the fiery fracas between President Trump and Sen. Bob Corker, and aides and allies of those lawmakers privately worried that a prolonged fight would hurt the GOP’s already threatened legislative priorities.

A day after Corker (R-Tenn.) and Trump traded some of the sharpest intraparty blows of the year, Republican senators were mostly quiet. Those who did speak did so obliquely — by praising Corker generally but steering clear of inserting themselves directly into the brutal clash.

“Senator Corker is a valuable member of the Senate Republican caucus and he’s also on the Budget Committee and a particularly important player as we move to the floor on the budget next week,” said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), walking a line that other Republican senators followed throughout the day. McConnell’s remarks were first reported by the Associated Press and confirmed by his office. Read More

GOP-Trump Tax Framework Would Provide Richest One Percent in Minnesota with 62.2 Percent of the State’s Tax Cuts

The following article was posted on the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy website October 4, 2017:

The “tax reform framework” released by the Trump administration and congressional Republican leaders on September 27 would not benefit everyone in Minnesota equally. The richest one percent of Minnesota residents would receive 62.2 percent of the tax cuts within the state under the framework in 2018. These households are projected to have an income of at least $632,000 next year. The framework would provide them an average tax cut of $65,780 in 2018, which would increase their income by an average of 2.5 percent.

The framework would particularly benefit those with incomes greater than $1 million. These households will make up just 0.7 percent of Minnesota’s population but would receive 55.2 percent of the tax cuts if the plan was in effect next year. This group would receive an average tax cut of $78,600 in 2018 alone, which would increase their income by an average of 2.8 percent. Read More

For Republican Leaders in Congress, the Headaches Keep Mounting

The following article by Jonathan Martina and Alexander Burns was posted on the New York Times website October 5, 2017:

Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, and other Republican leaders in Congress are facing pressure from all sides of their party leading up to next year’s midterm elections. Credit Pete Marovich for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Republican leaders in Congress are under attack from all sides of their own party, battered by voters from the right and left, spurned by frustrated donors and even threatened by the Trump White House for ineffective leadership and insufficient loyalty.

Since last week, Senate Republicans lost one of their own when Roy S. Moore, the firebrand former state judge, trounced Senator Luther Strange in a Senate runoff in Alabama. The retirement of Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee kicked off a potentially fratricidal fight for his seat, with the establishment’s preferred successor, Gov. Bill Haslam, declining to run on Thursday. Read More

3 Things You Need to Know About Trump’s Tax Plan

The following was posted on the website October 5, 2017:

The Trump Tax Plan is gaining steam and momentum even as natural disasters and the horrific events of this weekend in Las Vegas have changed the national dialogue. Here are three things you need to be watching on taxes:

Growth Projections and Deficit – In addition to the disastrous outcome of the Kansas/Brownback tax cut disaster, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget argues that there is no way that tax cuts will pay for themselves and that lowering taxes will lead to more deficit spending. “Past tax cuts in 1981 and the early 2000s have led to widening budget deficits and lower revenue, not the reverse as some claim.” Increased deficits represent a significant challenge to the U.S. economy and any tax plans advanced by the Republicans need to help reduce the deficit. Read More

One GOP senator’s extraordinarily dim assessment of the Trump administration

The following article by Aaron Blake was posted on the Washington Post website October 4, 2017:

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) weighed in on the tumult within President Trump’s administration on Oct. 4, and said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “ends up not being supported in a way that I would hope a secretary of state would be supported.” (C-SPAN)

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) announced recently that he would not seek reelection in 2018, and that seems to have freed him up to speak more candidly about the Trump administration. And speak more candidly he did on Wednesday.

In a conversation with reporters, Corker responded to an NBC News report that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had to be talked out of resigning after disagreements with President Trump. Corker, who as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has worked extensively with Tillerson, said he wouldn’t disclose sensitive conversations that the two might have had. Read More

Congress to Trump, basically: Russia is not fake news

The following article by Amber Phillips was posted on the Washington Post website October 5, 2017:

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-S.C.) said Oct. 4 “we have not come to any final conclusions” about the Russia investigation but that they are still looking into multiple areas of interest. (Reuters)

This post has been updated with Trump’s latest tweet about the Russia investigation. 

As recently as two weeks ago, the president called the allegations that Russia helped him win the 2016 election a hoax. Read More

5 takeaways from Senate Russian meddling presser

The following article by Olivia Beavers and Katie Bo Williams was posted on the Hill website October 4, 2017:

© Greg Nash

The Senate Intelligence Committee is expanding the scope of its investigation into Russian meddling, with panel leaders saying there is no end date in sight.

The panel is interested in questioning a lawyer who runs in the president’s inner circle, looking into possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign, and determining whether the intelligence community’s findings are fully correct and complete.

Here are the five main takeaways from the Wednesday presser:

Read More