Thursday, September 11, 2014

Last Call For Portman's Priorities

Just a reminder that should the GOP retake the Senate, "moderate" Republicans like Ohio Sen. Rob Portman will be working to repeal Obamacare.

"I don't know what's going to happen specifically on votes on Obamacare," Portman said Thursday at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast. "I suspect we will vote to repeal early, to put on record the fact that we Republicans think it was a bad policy and we think it's hurting our constituents. And we think it's going down, not up. We think people should be able to keep the insurance that they had." 
Portman added that he would support such a vote and supports repeal
"But I think we ought to also spend more time on the replacement side of that and the Republican approach has never been just repeal it's also always been 'lets get rid of this but lets replace it with something that does deal with the very real problem in our health care system and that is increased costs and the lack of coverage," Portman said. 
Asked if that meant Portman thought a Republican Senate majority should develop its own healthcare reform plan, the senator from Ohio said "I think we should. I think we should." 
"I think it's something that ought to go along with the repeal to say 'yes we think this is the wrong way to go but we also think that the healthcare system must be improved,'" Portman said.

So we're back to "repeal and replace" but replace with what?  Well, nobody seems to know.

Least of all, Rob Portman, The Most Boring Man On Earth

Better hope the GOP doesn't decide to eliminate the filibuster and force President Obama to sign repeal legislation or face a government shutdown.  A lot of people would get hurt with that mess.

Of course, you could get out to the polls and vote Democratic instead.  Bring a few friends.

The Export-Import Bank Bunk Funk

Reminder: Orange Julius has one job, and that's to keep his Wall Street buddies happy whenever there's a fight between them and the section of the Tea Party that's pretending the GOP isn't a wholly owned subsidiary of corporate America.

Wall Street likes the Export-Import bank because it's government money that allows companies to get cheap taxpayer loans, although the Tea Party wanted to shut it down to force companies to use the big banks instead for capital loans for imports and exports.  Turns out the whole point of the Export-Import Bank is to use the power of the US government to get cheap loans, so the two evils are "Taxpayers are on the hook when the loans go bad"  versus "Wall Street megabanks would make billions without the Export-Import bank because the bulk of the loans are good".  The bank actually does make enough money to keep itself in business.  Hey, somebody's got to cover all those "machine parts to Thailand" deals, right?

That brings us back to Orange Julius.  The Tea Party is pretending the Export-Import Bank is evil and want to let its charter expire at the end of the month, when they just want to get the loan business for the banks that own the Tea Party (grassroots my ass). Orange Julius happily screwed them over on that.

Republican leaders in the House of Representatives will propose extending the U.S. Export-Import Bank's charter through June 30 next year, a Republican aide said on Tuesday, granting a temporary reprieve for the export lender. 
The extension would be added to a bill to temporarily fund the U.S. government after Sept. 30, the House Republican aide said. That could come up for a vote as early as Thursday. 
Speaker John Boehner said earlier that Representative Jeb Hensarling, a key opponent of the bank, now "thinks a temporary extension of the Export-Import Bank is in order" - removing a key obstacle to the bank remaining open. 
Hensarling, an influential Texas conservative who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, has been highly critical of the bank and has accused it of crony capitalism and favoring big business. He had proposed letting its mandate expire - a prospect worrying many in the business community.

An extension through mid-2015 - longer than the end-2014 time frame many had envisaged - would remove the threat of closure on Oct. 1, when the bank's current mandate runs out, and give businesses reliant on Ex-Im programs some breathing room.

So now Boehner has punted until June 30, and he's counting on a much friendlier Senate by then to work out whatever deal he needs to keep the bank going.  The Tea Party will complain and moan, but they're not stupid enough to kill the budget resolution due September 30 and shut down the government six weeks before midterm elections, right?

I mean...right?

Cruz Uncontrolled

Sen. Ted Cruz is making up stuff again, because that what he does all day, basically.  This time the Senate Democratic proposed amendment to the Constitution that would put a stop to the Supreme Court's awful Citizen's United ruling allowing unlimited corporate cash in elections has somehow become "The Senate will frog march Saturday Night Live writers into prison for making fun of politicians."

No, seriously.  That's his argument.

Sen. Ted Cruz says the comedy of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” is at risk and creator Lorne Michaels could be thrown in jail if a proposed Constitutional amendment on campaign finance is passed. 
“Congress would have the power to make it a criminal offense, Lorne Michaels could be put in jail under this amendment for making fun of any politician. That is extraordinary. It is breathtaking and it is dangerous,” the Texas Republican argued on the Senate floor on Tuesday, with a board of stills from the late-night sketch show displayed behind him.
Cruz said that the proposal, which will face a vote tomorrow, gives Congress the authority to prohibit corporations from engaging in political speech.

“Well, NBC which airs Saturday Night Live, is a corporation,” Cruz said, who gave his own impression of Dana Carvey as President George H.W. Bush. 

This only makes sense if you believe money and free speech are not only the same thing, but interchangeable as well.  Because under Cruz's logic, I could then buy Apple with blog posts.  If free speech is money, then money is free speech, right?

Cruz said he asked Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, a former SNL actor and writer, whether he believed Congress should prohibit SNL from making fun of politicians. 
“Now the good senator promptly assured me he had no intention of doing any such thing,” Cruz said. However, Cruz added that the debate was not about intentions, but the impact of the amendment.
Cruz, who has been lampooned on SNL himself, slammed Democrats for supporting what he called an “abominable provision.”
And if I remember, he got pretty pissy about being made fun of on SNL, too.  Funny how that works out.


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