Monday, July 27, 2015

Lat Call For House Of Mirrors

So after all the noise in the Senate, the Sunday session, Ted Cruz getting on the Senate floor to call Mitch McConnell a liar, an agreement for six years' funding of the Highway Trust Fund and renewal of the Export-Import Bank...the House won't even consider the bill as majority leader Kevin McCarthy says Mitch better pass the GOP House version or highway projects across the country run out of money by the end of the week.

McCarthy’s decision leaves Congress with two possible paths forward.

The House could simply do nothing, leave town and hope that will force the Senate to swallow the five-month highway bill it passed two weeks ago. That measure does not include any Ex-Im language.

Another, less confrontational option would be to go smaller and send the Senate a two- or three-month highway patch, punting the issues of highway spending and Ex-Im until after Labor Day, when Congress returns from its summer recess.

Senate and House Republicans are on different planets when it comes to the highway bill.

Besides the fight over the Export-Import Bank, House Republicans prefer a shorter-term bill to buy time for negotiations with the White House on tax reform, which Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) believes could be used to pay for a full six years of highway funding.

The Senate bill, crafted by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), covers six years but only pays for three years of funding.

McConnell prefers the Senate bill because it would prevent a series of votes on stopgap measures this fall, and possibly in 2016, when the GOP leader wants to focus on helping his conference retain its Senate majority.

A majority of Senate Republicans have backed McConnell, and Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) reacted to McCarthy’s comments by stating on the Senate floor that he is “very concerned about what the House is doing right now.”

McCarthy said the House would stick to its schedule and head home on Thursday.

Imagine that.  House Republican are going to wreck a must pass bill because they can.  Oh, and they'll blame Obama when they choose not to even vote on the Senate bill that was worked out very publicly over the last two weeks.

The only suckers here are the American people who thought that Republicans gave a damn about things like "roads" and "governance".

Rockin' The Doc Costs

Obamacare's mission to make health care more affordable has several key components. Making health insurance more affordable and increasing insurance availability, plus having more people on insurance to lower the cost for everyone is what most of the debate about Obamacare involves.

But a big chunk of that is the fact that health care costs aren't skyrocketing like they have been before the ACA was passed.  And as the economy improves, health care costs are remaining flat.

The price of health care has grown more slowly than core consumer prices—what Americans spend on everything except food and energy—over the past five years. It’s the first time that’s happened since record-keeping started in 1959. That’s a remarkable break from decades of health-care prices outpacing inflation, but consumers shouldering a greater share of their medical costs may not notice the difference.
Goldman Sachs economist Alec Phillips pointed out the milestone in a research note on July 22. His analysis uses a broad measure of health-care prices, including what health providers charge government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

The price of health care typically lifts overall inflation, but in recent years it’s been an anchor weighing down overall price growth. What’s behind the slowdown?

Some of it is from government-dictated reductions in Medicare and Medicaid payments. Wage growth in the health-care sector has also been slow since the recession, Phillips notes.

But health care prices are in fact stabilizing.  The cost curve is being bent, as predicted.

Maybe it's time to start acknowledging that Obamacare works?

Naah.  We can't have that.

The Huckster Hucks Up Big TIme

The best part of Donald Trump's continued rise in the GOP polls (by showing America just how terrible the GOP base is when they respond positively to him) is that the rest of the pack wants in on the action too.  Behold, Mike Huckabee on the Iran deal:

Former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee blasted President Barack Obama on Saturday over the nuclear deal reached between Iran and world powers, saying that by trusting the Iranians, the president "will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven."

Nothing is out of bounds anymore.  Everything is permitted.

In an interview with Breitbart, the 59-year-old conservative television personality called Obama's foreign policy "the most feckless in American history" and dubbed the Iran deal "the most idiotic thing." "It should be rejected by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and by the American people," he said.

Huckabee entered the race for his party's 2016 presidential nomination last May, vowing strong U.S. support for Israel and declaring "Hell will freeze over" before Iran gets a nuclear weapon.

In Saturday's interview, Huckabee urged the GOP presidential hopefuls to simplify their message to the American people, and focus on "conservatism, limited government, more local government, lower taxes, and less regulation to people who sweat through their clothes every day and have to lift heavy things to make a living.”

Watch Huckabee's number rise sharply.  Watch the rest of the pack keep reminding America just what the GOP stands for in 2015.  He won't pay a price for accusing a sitting President of another Jewish Holocaust.  He will only benefit, because Republicans are awful, awful people.


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