Another morning and the republican controlled U.S. Senate has brought back zombie Trumpcare.
Sure, 32 million people will lose access to affordable health care. What could go wrong?
You all know what to do. To the phones. In the streets.
Another morning and the republican controlled U.S. Senate has brought back zombie Trumpcare.
Sure, 32 million people will lose access to affordable health care. What could go wrong?
You all know what to do. To the phones. In the streets.
What does Senator Roy Bunt and my Representative, Ann Wagner (R-2), have against me? Or should I really be asking what the Republican Party has against the people of the United States (those, that is, who aren’t billionaires)?
I’ve had a chronic illness since 2012. So far Medicare and a supplemental policy have taken care of me. However, the GOP healthcare shenanigans in which Blunt, Wagner, and their partisans indulged themselves these past months could have resulted in my supplemental policy, which pays for a big share of my expenses, being priced out of my reach.
For a while it looked like they had decided to give up and leave me be. Killing several million people with a few pen strokes is harder work than it looks – especially when those folks start calling for the heads of compliant legislators.
But my relief has been short-lived. We all should have learned by now that the folks who pay the bills for today’s GOP will never rest until the peasantry learn to live with the low expectations that characterize their cohorts in other third world countries. And obedient senechals Blunt and Wagner are no doubt already on point, along with the rest of the Missouri pack of GOP running dogs, as we used to call their ilk back in the old days of the New Left and Chairman Mao’s vastly overrated little red book.
How do I know this? There’s a legislative abomination, the Graham-Cassidy-Heller bill, that has just been introduced into the Senate and which could easily pass if the Republican leadership can drum up 51 votes – which is looking more and more likely. Named for Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), and Dean Heller (R-Nev.), this latest iteration of Obamacare Dump & Dupe is really, really bad:
As you can see, I and my fellow preexisting conditions sufferers are not the only ones Republicans like Blunt and Wagner want to work over. Graham-Cassidy-Heller would do a job on hundreds of thousands of Missourians. And nobody is even talking (yet) about the destabilizing effect on the private insurance industry.
Pair this effort to gut Obamacare and drastically peel back healthcare funding by 2027 with the suspicion that Paul Ryan will use Trump’s tax “reform” mantra to further his goal of privatizing and ultimately crippling Medicare, and you’ve got the wherewithal to begin to finance the tax cuts GOP leaders have promised their wealthy patrons. Does anyone believe Blunt, Wagner and the Missouri GOP boyos in the House won’t go along? Even though it’ll leave folks like me out in the dead cold. And I do mean dead.
It seems like Republicans in Congress not only want to pull the healthcare rug out from under us, but kick us in oour collective ribs after we’re down. Were we getting a little too uppity what with our Obamacare and all?
But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe they don’t have it in for us. Maybe they just think we’re too dumb to notice how far they’re willing to go to give tax breaks to rich cronies.
All of which means that maybe it’s time to roll out the tumbrils again and start building that electoral guillotine – and, don’t forget, make some noise while you’re doing it: Senate Switchboard number: (202) 224-3121
Addendum: Remember how GOPers howled about how Democrats, who in reality bent over in the proverbial backwards direction to secure GOP input, rammed Obamacare down throats; well, read this and weep for what we’ve become: Republicans go to ludicrous lengths to pass a ‘healthcare’ bill that deliberately harms blue states; (2)
The House of Representatives voted today to pass a bill authorizing 15.25 billion dollars in emergency relief aid for the victims of hurricane Harvey; it was attached to a continuing resolution that would raise the debt-ceiling and fund the federal government through Dec. 8. The vote tally was 316 yeas and 90 nays. All ninety nays were Republicans including the
five six Republican members of the Missouri House delegation.
The Senate voted on the measure on Thursday and passed it on a 80-17 roll call vote. Both Missouri Senators, Republican Roy Blunt and Democratic Claire McCaskill, voted for the measure.
McCaskill’s vote is no surprise, but ol’ Roy? Maybe no surprise there either. It’s not necessarily a case of the the tiger changing its stripes – it’s just that some of those stripes are more attractive than others. In short, Blunt is a pragmatist, a corrupt, power-seeking, self-interested pragmatist, true, but he does understand what’s involved in raising the debt ceiling. And he knows that the economic nightmare that would result from a default would not serve anyone’s interest.
In 2013 Bunt indicated that he couldn’t support using the urgent need to raise the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip to deny funds to Obamacare, remarking that “I think holding the debt limit hostage to any specific thing is probably not the best negotiating place.” So now he’s reversed himself, showing admirable flexibility; the new circumstances, he implies, justifies the contingency. He observed that that tying the debt ceiling to Harvey aid is “one way to do it, ” i.e., raise the debt ceiling, a crucial must-do, adding that the need to address the destruction left in the wake of the hurricane is “another reason as to why you’d want to keep the government open.” Even though it looks like a flip-flop, Blunt’s consistent about one thing. No debt ceiling default. Ever.
Sadly, the other members of the Missouri GOP delegation don’t get it. Perhaps it’s because they don’t actually understand that extending the debt ceiling has nothing to do with increasing Government spending, but simply permits Treasury to pay the bills Congress has already run up.Or maybe they want their constituents to believe that they had a “fiscally responsible” reason for voting to leave Harvey victims high and dry (so to speak), while undermining the functioning of the federal government and maybe even wrecking the heretofore sterling credit worthiness of the United States.
Here’s a sample of the debt flim-flamming we’re hearing from our Missouri congressional representatives:
Rep. Ann Wagner (R-2): “I promised the people of St. Charles, Jefferson, and St. Louis counties that I would go to Washington to cut up the government’s credit card and put a stop to wasteful federal government spending.”
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-3), also thinks that raising the debt limit so that Treasury can pay the bills that he and other congressmen have already run up represents a failure to “curb future spending.”
(You’d think that folks who’ve worked so assiduously as Luetkemeyer and Wagner to assist the financial industry would understand what the debt ceiling is and how it works. But, evidently, you’d be wrong.)
Rep. Billy Long (R-7) explained his “no” vote by declaring that “simply raising the debt limit is not the answer to fixing our nation’s fiscal mess. (Note to Billy: nobody said it was. The answer, that is, to a supposed fiscal mess. Different topic totally).
Give Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-4) points for originality: she purports to think that extending the debt ceiling for three months “freezes defense spending at current levels and ties the hands of our Defense Department, preventing them from making desperately needed investments to meet the threats we are facing.” Nu-uh, Vicky! Talk about deflecting from the actual topic.
What really puts these excuses to the lie is the fact that House and Senate leadership wanted to go for an eighteen month extension of the debt limit. They were hoping to avoid the inconvenient messiness that would be sure to ensue when the limit has to be negotiated again at the very beginning of the midterm political season come December. Are you willing to bet good money that had that deal come down the line, all of these GOPers – even go-along-to-get -long types like Wagner – would have oppposed it?
And, in case you are persuaded by occasional claims that these folks were willing to vote “yea” on Harvey relief, but balked at voting on the debt ceiling because they believe the debt ceiling vote ought to be “clean,” with no need-to-pass riders, just think back to the behavior of almost all of these stalwarts when it came time to take debt ceiling hostage during the Obama years. Dead-enders, every one of them.
Addendum (9/9/2017, 11:56 am): You will notice that there’s nothing in the post above about the positions of Jason Smith (R-8) and Sam Graves (R-6). That’s because I couldn’t find anything. Too early? It struck me that the absence of online info about these two lawmakers actions is pretty predictable. Takes them a while to issue a statement if they ever do. Don’t their constituents care? Do folks in their districts just reflexively vote Republican, relieving them of any obligation to take care with their votes or to explain them? Do I need to subscribe to their newsletters? Do they have newsletters? Guess I’ll have to check it out.
David Brooks, conservative pundit at the New York Times, captures the essential point when it comes to the nastiest issue swirling around Donald Trump, the use and practice of “white identity politics” by politicians on the right:
White identity politics as it plays out in the political arena is completely noxious. Trump … established his political identity through birtherism, he won the Republican nomination on the Muslim ban, he campaigned on the Mexican wall, he governed by being neutral on Charlottesville and pardoning the racialist Joe Arpaio. Each individual Republican is now compelled to embrace this garbage or not. The choice is unavoidable, and white resentment is bound to define Republicanism more and more in the months ahead.
Hold that in your mind, particularly the part about “completely noxious” – coming from a principled conservative yet – along with the part about “each individual Republican is now compelled to embrace this garbage or not.” And then read the unambiguous welcome GOP Senator Roy Blunt has extended to Donald Trump on the occasion of his visit to Missouri:
“I’m glad that President Trump will be in my hometown of Springfield to highlight the economic benefits that tax reductions and other pro-growth policies will have for Missouri families, farmers, and small businesses,” Blunt said. “The president and the Senate have taken important steps to roll back burdensome regulations and create a stronger foundation for economic growth. I look forward to continuing that effort by pursuing changes in our tax code that will increase U.S. competitiveness, boost wages, and expand opportunity for Americans.”
Trump Blunt wasn’t alone. Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill issued a statement “welcoming” Trump to Missouri and signaled that she is also more than willing to chill with a Putin-loving demagogue, whose true metier is spewing racist “garbage” intended to rile up an angry white base, as long as Missouri “moderates” will applaud her good manners – no matter how badly he disses her in the process.
Here’s what she had to say during her recent tour of the state when asked about an effort to censure Trump’s Charlottesville circus-of-the-damned performance:
“Listen, I’m disappointed and discouraged and worried about some of the things that president has said and the tone he’s taken on some issues. But my job out there is not to fight the president. My job is to fight for you,” McCaskill told the crowd about 100 gathered at the American Legion post. “My job is to work as hard as I can representing Missouri families and doing the things that I think will make a difference in your lives. I’m going to stay focused on that.”
Who’da thunk it. McCaskill and Blunt, siblings in political pragmatism. Or should that be cynicism. These responses amply illustrate the point David Brooks was trying to make about he dilemma facing Republicans – except in Missouri it seems to pose a problem for Democrats as well. It has to do with facing up to the fact that “fighting” the president is just exactly what is called for in order to fight for the full range of ones constituents, not just the white, old and angry segment.
What we got from Blunt is what we expected. Slick twaddle over a layer of corruption. So big whoop.
But what we got from McCaskill? A failed balancing act … so thumbs down. But only because we care.
I understand the need to keep the eye on the prize. The little one that comes after the next election, not the big one that has to do with the long-term survival of American democracy. I get the part about focusing political energies on the possible – and non-controversial – good one can actually do. But even from that point of view, would it have really hurt McCaskill too much to just have kept her mouth shut. Did she have to make with the cheery official welcome extended to a de trop sleaze-bag intent on destroying American political and civil norms?
*2nd and 3rd from last paragraph slightly edited; text added (5:51 pm. 8/29).
Donald Trump is coming to Springfield, Missouri on Wednesday. Senator Roy Blunt (r) is pleased.
On Friday, via Twitter:
Senator Roy Blunt @RoyBlunt
Glad that @POTUS will be in Springfield to highlight economic benefits that pro-growth policies will have for #MO families & businesses
1:24 PM – 25 Aug 2017
Some of the responses:
Between Trump, you, Greitens and Mo. GOP the only thing highlighted in Mo. is our new travel advisory status, our lack of providing needed…
aid to our elderly, disabled, foster children, Vets, etc. so that the rich and Corporations can have more tax cuts. The only thing trickling…
down in Missouri is poverty! Corporations do not give back to employees or community, they keep for themselves
I’m sure that POTUS will cite the huge benefits Missouri and Kansas have experienced with all the tax cuts.
Wonder which trump will show, teleprompted or unhinged. We know which Roy will show, grinning lap dog.
Are you sure? Or, is he going to rant about “fake” news and perceived slights from fellow GOP members for 77 minutes?
Mexico will provide the tax plan.
Maybe you should be encouraging him to focus Harvey and try to staff FEMA instead of coming here to stroke his ego and lie to us.
We don’t want him here
MO doesn’t need to hear about the tax policies of a man who won’t release his taxes. He and his bigot brigade are not welcome here.
Praying for Texas enduring Harvey and MO enduring Donald.
Makes sense. Springfield is Klan country.
Have the moral integrity to stand up to trump. He is ruining the Republican party.
With Arpaio pardoned, you are welcoming a man who continues to come out on the side of racism #notmypresident #ImpeachNow Silence tells all.
I wish instead of cheering him coming to our state, take a leadership role and stand up to his childish behavior
You are an embarrassment to Mo. He shouldn’t be welcomed here. He doesn’t care about anyone but himself. Oh wait. You have that in common
Im a farmer Roy. i too am interested in how much he addresses any of what youre referring to. im guessing Trump will be talking about Trump
Sad that pro-growth is really only code for anti-health & anti-environment. I guess as long as the rich get richer people don’t need water
Senator @RoyBlunt, how can you trust any @POTUS appearance to not turn into a rambling rant about nothing in particular?
You’re scared he’ll talk smack about you if you don’t welcome him? He doesn’t care about Americans unless he can use them. He’ll use you too
This will be a great photo op for Roy. Everyone knows Roy loves photo ops, unlike his fear of town hall meetings. tRump talks Roy language.
So presidential. He cares nothing about this country. Only himself. And you choose to support him instead of representing & fighting for MO
I’m not glad. And newsflash: trump doesn’t give a rip about working families anywhere.
Senator Blunt – you will be remembered for enabling a President who consistently chooses the morally indefensible.
You picked the wrong side of history. Choosing @realDonaldTrump over Americans, you lose. There is no excuse or reasoning for your decision
Your continued support of Trump puts you on wrong side of history. You continue to put party and self-interest over best for Missourians.
“burdensome regulations” and “tax reform” code for ” making the wealthy wealthier and keeping the workers waiting for trickle down crumbs”
The only reason he’s coming to Springfield is to campaign. He has no interest in Missourians.
You’re an embarrassment to Missouri. Donnie is an embarrassment for the whole United States
“Burdensome regulations” like the EPA rule preventing toxic coal ash being dumped in waterways. Great job letting your rivers be polluted.
There will be no redemption for you if you stand in support of this white supremacist. We will know without a doubt where you stand.
The only pro-growth you two are worried about is your own personal bank accounts #ImpeachTrump
The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.
Like shutting down the government if he can’t get funding for his transparent border wall? He, like you, should stay out of MO
You can hold KKK rallies but not town hall meetings?
Your support for the modern world’s most prominent Nazi has been duly noted.
Unlike some other Republicans who actually care about this country, you have now joined yourself to the #CRAYCRAY #RascistInChief Disgusting
Sad that Senator Blunt is a shameless, spineless sycophant to a racist POTUS.
@clairecmc is busy holding #TownHall
Why won’t you??
And on and on…
Donald Trump is coming soon to a city near you (August 28, 2017)
On Thursday morning in Warrensburg Senator Claire McCaskill (D) continued her long chain of open public town halls for Missourians. Close to one hundred people attended and participated in the hour long event.
As it has been over the past year and in past years the format for these town halls was the same as previous ones held by Senator McCaskill. Anyone can submit a written question. An individual in the audience who volunteers that they “would probably never vote for” the senator is asked to randomly select the questions from a basket. That volunteer gets to ask the last question.
At this particular town hall, unlike previous ones for Senator McCaskill we’ve covered this summer, we noticed that the volunteer was screening out and selecting the questions. Individuals in the audience noticed the same and insistently called him out. The silliness in his behavior, whether it’s emblematic of a larger cultural dynamic or not, is that there weren’t any questions Claire McCaskill hasn’t heard before and couldn’t easily handle. The unfairness in the activity was that some other individuals who had submitted questions for their senator had someone else screen them out of the process. That’s not fairness in anyone’s book.
Once the behavior was pointed out it was quickly resolved. Speaking out and speaking up can work.
There were other interesting exchanges:
Senator Claire McCaskill (D): [….] Uh, uh, we got a letter. [laughter] Um, this is not a, uh, [voice, in whisper: “Thank you.”] there’s no, nobody put their name on this.
[reading] In America we are observing groups decide they don’t like certain statues, nativity scenes, veteran’s symbols, even the American flag. Do you believe a group of twenty or a hundred have a legal right to tear down what they disagree with? What about the twenty or a hundred people standing there trying to protect the statues, nativity scenes, veteran’s symbols? Do they have a legal right to protect it? How would you solve this problem? This week I have watched news channels that have tried to convince everyone that if you are white and conservative you are a racist, white supremacist or neo-Nazi. Are you doing anything in your power to counteract this nonsense?
Um, I disagree with some of the things in this. Um [crosstalk]…
Voice: That’s me, Abby Phillips. I didn’t know we were supposed to put our name on [crosstalk]…
Senator McCaskill: That’s fine.
Voice: I’m proud of my question.
Senator McCaskill: Yeah, no, not a problem. Thank you for asking it. Um, I think anybody who destroys a public, a public statue or building, anybody who does any damage should be prosecuted for it. Um, so that’s what you do when someone destroys public buildings or destroys public statues. You prosecute them.
I think local communities and states should have the right to decide what they want to erect in terms of statues and what they want to take down in terms of statues. I believe very much in separation of church and state. [applause] I don’t think public money should be used to promote one religion over another. Private money, I’ve got no problem with it. Public money, public spaces, should not favor one religion over another. Not in a country that was founded on the premise of freedom of religion. People who came to this country were escaping religious prosecute, persecution for what they believed in. So, freedom of religion is really one of our core values in this country. And that’s why I don’t think public money should ever take sides with one religion over another.
Um, I think the people who are, people who are protesting have the right to protest and say whatever they want to say or do in this country. But that doesn’t mean that my father, who fought in World War Two, that I don’t have the obligation to speak out against hundreds of people carrying swastikas. [applause]
Voice: You know what, my father fought in World War Two, also. He was in Germany. But, what I’m trying, the point I’m trying to make is, what I’m seeing on TV they’re stereotyping people like me. I am a white, conservative woman. And so now, all of a sudden, all I’m hearing on TV is because I’m a white, conservative woman then I’m a racist, white supremacist, neo-Nazi. [voices: “No.” “Not true.” “Which answer do you want?”] No, I know, I know, I’m in the middle of Democrats, I understand that. But, but, they thing is what, what we’re getting sick of, and I hope both sides are, is that they’re, they’re doing word games in Washington, D.C. and on the media. It’s all games and it’s all true manipulation. It’s what they call the spin. And somebody besides me has to be sick of this. [crosstalk]
Senator McCaskill: I don’t think there’s any question. Yeah, let me [crosstalk]…speak a little to that.
Second voice: I’m sure that African Americans [crosstalk]…
Voice: Really, you know, I, I don’t blame people for fighting. [crosstalk]
Senator McCaskill: [crosstalk]First of all let me say, let me just say clearly that you are a white, conservative woman and I don’t think anybody in this room thinks you’re a racist. Anybody. [applause]
Voice: But, but it’s being, wait, but we’re being stereotyped that way it’s what I’m trying to tell you [crosstalk] and I just…
Senator McCaskill: Well, I think that, if that, if that’s being stereotyped that way that’s just as unfair as stereotyping every black person as somebody who’s a terrorist in Black Lives Matters [inaudible][applause][crosstalk]…
Voice: [inaudible][crosstalk] I don’t do that. You know, I don’t do that.
Senator McCaskill: But, and you don’t do that. And the people in this room don’t do that. But it, those stereotypes are going on, too. So, here’s the problem we have, and I don’t know how we get over this problem, [voice: “I don’t either.”] believe me, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it. [….]
Do you think Senator Roy Blunt (r) will hold open public town halls in Missouri any time soon? Or ever?
In the wake of Donald Trump’s dimwitted apologia on Tuesday for the triumphalist white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, public condemnation has been swift. Few Americans are able to stomach blaming a rightwing “alt-truth”construct, the “alt-left,” for violence that left one peaceable anti-racist demonstrator dead, 20 wounded including a protester who was severely beaten in a parking garage. As Steve Benen observes, Trump’s unhinged press conference amounted to a “moment of national shame,” adding that “it’s also the basis for a challenge to Donald Trump’s partisan allies: what exactly does the Republican Party intend to do with its president in the face of such a scandal?”
But wait – Donald Trump has an idea about how Republicans should answer that question:
The White House is asking Republican members of Congress to follow the President’s lead as he blames “both sides” for the violence that broke out in Charlottesville, Va. during a white supremacist rally over the weekend, according to a memo obtained by The Atlantic.
Just hours after President Donald Trumps gave a provocative press conference — claiming that both the “alt-left” and the “alt-right” are to blame for the deadly violence that broke out in Charlottesville when a self-proclaimed white supremacists allegedly drove his car into a crowd of counter protestors — the White House gave Republicans guidance on how to discuss Charlottesville.
I don’t know about you, but today I’m calling GOP Senator Roy Blunt’s office and that of my Republican Representative, Ann Wagner (2nd Dist.), to find out if they’re planning on going along with the President’s directive. Trump’s memo gives rise to several pertinent Charlottesville-related questions that these folks need to answer:
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” I intend to let my GOP congresspersons know that I support their right to disgusting beliefs, but that I’ll be doing all that I can do to see that they lose their government job come next election.
If the answer to these questions is “no,” I intend to ask my GOP congresspersons, assuming that they have remained silent or have responded, as has Senator Roy Blunt (at least to my knowledge at this point) in the blandest way possible, where they’ve stored their spine.
Oh … and I’ll also l let them know that unless they can do better than mouthing safe platitudes when it comes to standing up to abomination, I’ll support anyone coming after their jobs who promises to do what’s necessary when it comes to shipwrecks like the Trump presidency.
I suggest you do the same.
In centuries past alchemists sought to turn dross into gold. Today’s Republicans practice a type of reverse alchemy wherein they turn gold into what we will euphemistically term dross. Case in point: The Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly known as Obamacare.
It is now de rigueur for liberals and progressives – open minded creatures that we are – to open any discussion of Obamacare by noting that it isn’t perfect. Which is true. But there is real gold there, liberally distributed throughout all that silver and bronze. I personally am still alive – and not bankrupt – thanks to the preexisting conditions provisions in Obamacare, so I know what I’m talking about.
The past six months have seen a continuous effort on the part of the GOP to distill that gold – and the attendant silver and bronze — into the purest form of excremental dross via the congressional Obamacare dump (repeal) and dupe (replace) effort. Despite Republican efforts to relabel their stinky product as “freedom” or “access,” almost nobody was fooled. In the end, thanks to three brave Republicans who bucked the GOP Borg Collective and joined Democrats to save healthcare for Americans, we can breathe easier. For now, at least.
Unfortunately, Missouri GOP Senator Roy Blunt was not one of those brave Republicans who put our welfare above his party and its well-heeled patrons. And his response to the demise of Trumpcare does not bode well for those of us who depend on Obamacare:
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) hoped that Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price could use his authority to make beneficial changes to the law. Price has previously talked about some market stability measures and helping states apply for waivers for certain ObamaCare provisions.
“I think this ends this discussion for a little while and Tom Price is going to continue to look at all of the 1,400 places in the bill that his department is responsible for defining how this might work better,” Blunt said.
At the risk of running the alchemical metaphor into the ground, Blunt’s evocation of Price is the equivalent of calling on Doctor Alchemy, the evil alchemist of the DC Comics world, to keep the reverse transformation going.
And it just might work. Price, who ” has taken every turn possible to express his displeasure with the Affordable Care Act and has suggested he’ll do little to bolster its markets,” will be running the whole regulatory shebang:
As health chief, the former Roswell congressman has nearly unparalleled power to determine how health care gets delivered in America. Through special rule makings, guidance and regulatory tweaks at HHS, Price can make what are essentially unilateral changes to loosen the grip of the Affordable Care Act or tweak aspects of Medicare that could have a major impact on doctors and patients.
Sounds to me like Senator Blunt is giving a wink and a nod to cronies in the know, effectively telegraphing that there’s more than one way to win.
If Republicans can’t manage to legislate effectively and get their way on the up and up, it seems that they’ll resort to sabotage, the will of the majority imploring them to save and “fix” Obamacare be damned. Although President Orange Bully implicitly threatened sabotage when he declared that we should just “watch” as Obamcare implodes, he wasn’t as explicit as Blunt about how they were gonna rain on our victory parade. Blunt put a name on it, and that name is Tom Price.
Dubbed “Dr. Personal Enrichment” by David Leonharadt in a New York Times’ op-ed, Price’s well-publicized medical conflicts of interest have raised eyebrows almost stratospherically high – although not high enough evidently to inspire gotta-get–mine GOP Senators like Blunt to vote against his appointment. Add to personal corruption, Price’s willingness to lie to serve political ends – Media Matters outlines several of his worst recent whoppers on the topic of healthcare – and his “ardent hostility” toward any government role in healthcare, and it doesn’t look good for those of us who depend on Obamacare.
As to Senator Blunt’s smug reminder about who holds the cards in Washington – what to say? Seriously, what can we say about the members of a party that has, in the words of D. R. Tucker “declared war on every American not wealthy enough to afford his or her medical treatment?”
While I can’t answer this question, at least not here, on the level it deserves, I can propose a micro-answer when it comes to the question of what to say right now – and who to say it to. We need to keep the pressure up on our Representatives and Senators – Roy Blunt and the GOP junior contingent in the House in this case – and let them know that we’re on to the sabotage dodge and we won’t stand for trading gold, sliver, or bronze for crap. Payback comes on election day.
Seems that the Trump apparatus, in the person of the Secretary of the Interior, Ran Zinke, decided that Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) needed to be reminded who calls the shots. -She was showing a little too much independence when she joined with Susan Collins (R-ME) as the only Republicans who refused to vote to advance the horrible, terrible Trumpcare bill to the floor of the Senate for debate.
Had opponents – Murkowski, Collins, and every Democratic Senator – prevailed we would have seen the end of the GOP efforts to take healthcare away from millions of Americans. This show of gumption got Trump and his minions all in a swivet because for some reason they think they have to keep their stupid propaganda promises to repeal that black man’s healthcare plan – although Trump, evidently, feels perfectly entitled to ignore the second part of his campaign promise – that it would be replaced with something “wonderful.”
Anyway, Trump sent his lackey Zinke to let the two Alaska Senators know that, thanks to Murkowski efforts to act like an independent agent accountable to her constituents rather than to his Orange Majesty, he’d be inclined to take it out on Alaska, which, because of its dependence on energy extraction, has close relations with the Department of the Interior. Didn’t do too much to scare Murkowski, though. She responded in a measured, but firm way – and, reportedly, thanks to her role on an important Appropriations subcommittee, put a hold on hearings for some of Zinke’s nominations for Interior Department posts.
What’s most amusing for those of us from Missouri, though, might be the reaction of our GOP Senator:
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), a member of the Senate GOP leadership team, on Thursday chimed in to say that any threats from the administration likely won’t work.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I’ve seldom seen threats be very effective,” he told reporters when asked about Zinke’s reported threat to the Alaska senators.
I’m sure he’s right. The fact that both Senators went public immediately about the threat itself indicates that they’re not quaking in their boots.
If, however, the administration weapon against the Senators were being wielded by wealthy campaign donors waving their checkbooks, Blunt, one-time House bagman for Tom Delay, might feel differently. This is the guy who “built a formidable political machine by transforming lobbying cash into industry-accomodating legislation.” Just ask Monsanto what has worked with Blunt, the carrot or the whip?
But then again, Trump probably isn’t smart enough or temperamentally inclined to deploy those carrots with the subtlety carrot deployment demands.
A constituent’s account of her phone call to Senator Roy Blunt’s (r) office earlier today:
Recap of what I told Blunt’s LA just about five minutes ago…
“I’m calling again to make sure you understand what’s at stake for me and my family in the healthcare debate. I grew up in Missouri, the youngest of three. My older brother has autism and depends on Medicaid for care. When I was in grade school, my mother showed me a report on Willowbrook, a mental hospital where patients were left to rot in their own waste, naked and unattended for days on end. My mother looked me in the eye, told me that she’s fighting to keep my brother out of an institution because of inhumane care, and explained that one day this fight would be mine. That day is now. I’m fighting hard to ensure my brother is the first man in our family to live past 62 years old. I spend hours on his health, his quality of life, his daily community involvement. And the last thing I need is less funding, less support, and fewer options. I’m calling to tell you that I will be relentless in this quest…because my mother was, my father was, and my brother deserves it. My brother’s name is Bill. He’s 47. He loves trains, planes, the smell of vanilla, Kit Kats, lunch meat, walks, and contributing to his community. It took him years to learn to write his name, to use the bathroom, to sign basic requests. He’s amazing. He’s a Missourian. And he is why I’m on the phone talking to you about a reckless healthcare bill no one wants pushed by a historically unpopular president no one likes. This is what’s at stake. Bill Merritt’s quality of life and health is at stake. And this story is what I intend to share with you daily. Because I inherited this quest with love and appreciation, and my brother is more than worth it.”
Senator Roy Blunt (r) is much more concerned with giving billionaires and millionaires a tax cut. He voted for the motion to proceed. Then he voted to take away access to affordable health care for millions of Americans.
There are thousands of these health care stories. Senator Roy Blunt (r) isn’t listening.