Monday, December 10, 2012

Last Call

Huckleberry Graham apparently feels the need to put the President (who I guess didn't actually win re-election or anything) in his place.  Steve Benen:

With memories of last year's brutal debt-ceiling crisis very much on his mind, President Obama said last week, "We can't afford to go there again." He added, "The only thing the debt ceiling is good as a weapon for is destroying your credit rating.... I will not play that game."

This morning on Fox News, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) responded, "Yes, we will play that game."

Hostage taking again.  Nothing has changed, the GOP still insists than Obama obey them.  Benen is rather brutal in his assessment:

But even looking past all of that, the eight words to remember here are these: "We're not going to raise the debt ceiling." In other words, according to Lindsey Graham, Republicans intend to hurt Americans on purpose. They will, quite deliberately, hold the global economy and the full faith and credit of the United States hostage -- again -- until the president agrees to take benefits away from senior citizens.

Why this isn't a shocking national scandal is an ongoing mystery.

For what it's worth -- and to Lindsey Graham, it's probably not worth much -- American business leaders, investors, and financial sector are siding with Obama when it comes to the debt ceiling. In other words, "job creators" think Graham and his Republican allies are damaging the country with their antics, which have no precedent in American history.

That generally means something on the right, but for now, that's no longer the case.

As for the White House, it seems to be the principle should simple and repeated frequently: the president will not negotiate with those who would deliberately harm Americans.

If it's a fight Graham wants, then it's a fight he'll get.  It's also a fight he'll lose, along with the rest of the GOP.

The Great Cornhusker Medicaid Revolt

Nebraska Democrats (yes, they do exist folks) aren't taking GOP Gov. Dave Heineman's opposition to Medicaid expansion lying down.  They're planning to pitch a veto override to Republicans through, well, math.  State Sen. Jeremy Nordquist is leading the charge:

Nordquist says he believes the legislature could muster up enough votes to override Heineman’s veto. It takes 30 votes from the 49 lawmakers in the state’s unicameral legislature to overturn a governor’s veto. There will be 17 Democrats and two independents who will likely caucus with them in 2013, which means at least 11 Republicans would have to buck their national party line and support a key provision of the ACA. [...]
How will Nordquist bring them around? It’s a fiscal argument, he says. The state legislative fiscal office estimated that Nebraska will spend $123 million by 2020 on the expansion. But there will also likely be savings and new revenue. The fiscal office projected the state would save $100 million by 2020 because of the ACA provision that guarantees coverage regardless of preexisting conditions, which will eliminate the need for a state program that provides subsidies for high-risk insurance buyers. That money alone almost offsets the cost of the expansion, Nordquist notes.

So has this ever happened before in Nebraska history?  As a matter of fact, yes.  Cornhusker State Republicans have indeed overruled Heineman's vetoes before.

And Nordquist is confident in his ability to override his governor because he’s done it before. In 2010, after Heineman vetoed a bill that would have extended prenatal care to undocumented immigrants through the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program — claiming that Nebraska shouldn’t have to fund health care for immigrants who didn’t enter the country legally — Nordquist successfully built a coalition of 15 Democrats and 15 Republicans who voted to override Heineman’s veto. This year, Nordquist already has support from Nebraska’s Republican health committee chair, who has confirmed she will propose the bill because she supports Medicaid expansion.

Here's hoping that Nordquist can pull it off again.  I think he's got a pretty good shot.  It's certainly better than giving up and saying "Oh well, he vetoed it" right?

Go Big Red, as they say where I was born.

More Texas-Sized Stupidity

Some Texas Republicans are now regretting destroying funding for Planned Parenthood and birth control for the poor as the additional cost of some 24,000 additional babies to low income mothers is costing the state hundreds of millions.

When state lawmakers passed a two-year budget in 2011 that moved $73 million from family planning services to other programs, the goal was largely political: halt the flow of taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood clinics. 

Now they are facing the policy implications — and, in some cases, reconsidering.
The latest Health and Human Services Commission projections being circulated among Texas lawmakers indicate that during the 2014-15 biennium, poor women will deliver an estimated 23,760 more babies than they would have, as a result of their reduced access to state-subsidized birth control. 

The additional cost to taxpayers is expected to be as much as $273 million — $103 million to $108 million to the state’s general revenue budget alone — and the bulk of it is the cost of caring for those infants under Medicaid. 

Ahead of the next legislative session, during which lawmakers will grapple with an existing Medicaid financing shortfall, a bipartisan coalition is considering ways to restore some or all of those family planning dollars, as a cost-saving initiative if nothing else. 

“I know some of my colleagues felt like in retrospect they did not fully grasp the implications of what was done last session,” said Representative Donna Howard, Democrat of Austin, who said she had been discussing ways to restore financing with several other lawmakers in both parties. 

She added, “I think there is some effort they’ll be willing to make to restore whatever we can.” 

Surprise!  Instead of saving money, idiot Texas Republicans quadrupled the cost.   And they still refuse to restore funding for Planned Parenthood, meaning now in order to serve Texas's burgeoning working poor, the state will have to greatly expand Medicaid as a government program rather than work with non-profits like Planned Parenthood who could defray some of the cost to taxpayers through donations and grants.

Gotta punish those slutty poor women after all.  Increasing the cost to taxpayers by $200 million will really show them, huh guys?

Great job.


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