Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Day Of The Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver

Meanwhile, while all the attention is on the Senate GOP's Trumpcare tire fire, Paul Ryan and the House GOP are showing their budget proposal cards and are planning trillions in austerity cuts over the next ten years and a plan to force it through the Senate on just 50 votes.

The House Budget Committee blueprint, which is set for a Thursday committee vote, sets out special procedures that could ultimately allow Republicans to pass legislation over the objections of Senate Democrats who can normally block bills they oppose. GOP leaders in the House, as well as top Trump administration officials, hope to use those procedures — known as reconciliation — to pass a tax overhaul later this year. 
The instructions in the draft budget, however, go well beyond tax policy and set the stage for a potential $203 billion rollback of financial industry regulations, federal employee benefits, welfare spending and more. Those are policy areas where Republicans have, in many cases, already passed legislation in the House but have seen Democrats block action in the Senate.

House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black (R-Tenn.) said the spending proposal is “not just a vision for our country, but a plan for action.” 
“In past years, our proposals had little chance of becoming a reality because we faced a Democratic White House,” she said in a statement Tuesday. “But now with a Republican Congress and a Republican administration, now is the time to put forward a governing document with real solutions to address our biggest challenges.” 

In other words, the House still plans to ram this through on reconciliation.

Like the spending blueprint released this year by President Trump, the House plan envisions major cuts to federal spending over the coming decade, bringing the budget into balance by relying on accelerated economic growth to boost revenue. Under the House plan, defense spending would steadily increase over 10 years while nondefense discretionary spending would decline to $424 billion — 23 percent below the $554 billion the federal government is spending in that category this year
Unlike Trump’s budget, the House proposal cuts into Medicare and Social Security — entitlement programs that the president has pledged to preserve. The House plan also makes a less-rosy economic growth assumption of 2.6 percent versus the 3 percent eyed by the Trump administration. Both, however, exceed the 1.9 percent figure used by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office in its most recent economic estimates.
The House blueprint won a strong endorsement from White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, who served on the House Budget Committee before joining the Trump administration.

“It is a bold effort that follows the leadership of President Trump in Making America Great Again,” he said in a statement. “Critically, this budget lays a pathway for Congress to pass, and President Trump to sign pro-growth tax reform into law.”

So yeah, total cuts across the board over ten years will easily be in the trillions of dollars to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other social programs.  They expect this to sail through the House and Senate and for Trump to sign it.

Of course, they expected the same thing for Trumpcare.


A Problem Of Compound Interest

Meanwhile our good friends the Russians really are expecting their cute little spy HQ buildings back from when mean ol' Obama threw a bunch of Russian agents out of the country last December, and they're rapidly running out of patience with the current American regime they bought and paid for.

Russia has described any possible conditions set by Washington to return two of the country's diplomatic compounds in the US that were closed down late last year as "unacceptable." 
"We have repeatedly said that we think any conditions are unacceptable. We think that the diplomatic property must be returned without any conditions and talks," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told CNN Monday. 
"What is happening is -- de facto and de jure -- a violation of international law," he said. "Contacts are happening between the foreign policy departments. Kremlin, as it is, does not really participate but as you know this issue was raised by President [Vladimir] Putin during his G20 meeting with President Trump in a quite straightforward manner." 
CNN has reached out to the White House for comment. 
Last December, then-President Barack Obama imposed a range of sanctions against the Russian government for its alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election, including the closure of two Russian compounds located in New York State and Maryland. 
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov is expected to meet with US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon in Washington later Monday to discuss the diplomatic compounds.

The Senate overwhelmingly voted to stop Trump from giving these compounds back as part of a package of new sanctions against Moscow last month. The Russians have gone from miffed to annoyed to outright angry at this point, and expect the man they installed in power to follow through on this.

Meanwhile the House GOP is dodging the Russian Senate bill and instead wants to tie Russian sanctions to new measures against North Korea.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced Friday that the House is looking to add North Korea provisions to a Russia and Iran sanctions bill that is stuck in a procedural morass.

The House passed a standalone North Korea sanctions bill in May on a 419 — 1 vote, but the Senate has yet to take up the measure. Adding North Korea to the Russia and Iran sanctions measure would ensure speedier Senate consideration.

“I believe Iran, the work Russia has done and what North Korea has done, it would be a very strong statement for all of America to get that sanction bill completed and done and to the president’s desk,” McCarthy said in floor remarks Friday. 
House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce told reporters earlier Friday that he was working on a bipartisan sanctions measure that could see floor action as soon as next week. He did not specify the contents.

So who knows where this will all end up in the end.  The House GOP almost certainly wants some pretty tough measures against North Korea if they are going to go along with the Senate on Russia.

We'll see.

Reports Of Trumpcare's Death Are Greatly Exaggerated

Yesterday morning Trumpcare stood at two GOP senators against it, Maine's Susan Collins, who though Trumpcare was too cruel, and Kentucky's Rand Paul, who thought Trumpcare wasn't cruel enough. Three Republicans against it would mean Mitch McConnell wouldn't have the votes to pass it. 

That brings us to last night, when Nevada's Dean Heller, stuck in days of "damned if you do, damned if you don't" hell and facing re-election in 2018, had his legs cut out from under him by two of Rand Paul's crew, Utah's Mike Lee and Kansas's Jerry Moran, both coming out against the Senate bill for not killing enough poor people. Mitch is now going with plan C: calling out Rand Paul's crew on the "not cruel enough" part by planning a vote to defund Obamacare immediately and then repeal the ACA in two years.

President Donald Trump's top legislative priority was dealt a potentially fatal blow Monday night as two more Republican senators announced their opposition to the party's health care overhaul. 
Trump quickly called on Republicans to simply repeal Obamacare and begin work on a new health care plan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he would try to do so.

“Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful," McConnell said. 
The Kentucky Republican said he planned to hold a vote in the coming days to take up the House-passed bill to replace the 2010 health law and then call up an amendment to eliminate major parts of Obamacare, such as the Medicaid expansion, insurance subsidies and fines for the employer and individual mandates. 
Republicans passed a similar bill to effectively repeal Obamacare in 2015 under reconciliation — the fast-track budget procedure the GOP is using to thwart a Democratic filibuster — but it was vetoed by President Barack Obama. 
McConnell added that the repeal-only bill is "what a majority of the Senate has already supported in 2015," but GOP lawmakers have voiced severe doubts that such a plan can win the 50 votes necessary this year given the uncertainty it would throw onto insurance markets. The 2015 vote was viewed as mostly symbolic at the time given Obama’s certain veto. 
But after his own caucus tanked McConnell's attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare simultaneously and at the prodding of the president, the GOP leader is going to force his caucus to go on the record on health care. If the Senate does vote to open debate on the House bill, which is not guaranteed, the repeal-only bill would be the first amendment. But senators would still be able to offer unlimited amendments to the bill, leading the GOP down an uncertain road once the process began. 
"Republicans should just 'REPEAL' failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!" Trump tweeted shortly before McConnell's statement came out.

That House 2015 bill was literally the worst case scenario, it would kick 32 million people off health care coverage and double premiums by 2026.  This is what Mitch is daring Rand Paul to block, as Trump will more than happily sign it.  The bill was window dressing when Obama was around to veto it.  It was never supposed to become law, but now Mitch is forcing his own caucus to eat this flaming poop sandwich and, you know, destroy the individual health insurance market in the process.

Rand Paul and his faction wanted something more cruel?  They got it.  And unless we fight back hard now, we're the ones who are going to "get it".

Got it?


Call your Senators.


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