Tag Archives: republicans

Congress Just Got a Lot Closer to Defunding Planned Parenthood

Mother Jones

On Thursday afternoon, the House voted to approve a resolution that is widely seen by advocates as a step towards defunding Planned Parenthood. Should it become law, the measure would weaken contraceptive access across the country.

The bill, HJ Resolution 43, allows states to withhold Title X family planning funds—about $300 million distributed to states annually—from providers who also offer abortion care, a group that includes Planned Parenthood affiliates. In December, Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services finalized a rule that anticipated this sort of effort by prohibiting states from withholding Title X family planning money from Planned Parenthood and other providers. This House resolution proposed overturning that HHS rule via the 1996 Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to repeal new regulations within 60 days of their passage. A version of this bill is also moving through the Senate.

At a House committee hearing earlier this week, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) called this bill “the most serious threat women have faced so far this Congress.” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) called this the Republicans’ “first salvo” in defunding Planned Parenthood.

This development comes on the heels of several actions by the Trump administration and Congress that threaten women’s health care. They include Congressional efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s mandate requiring insurance coverage for contraception; the approval by the House of a bill to codify the Hyde Amendment, which prevents the use of federal funds for most abortions; and Trump’s expansion of the global gag order, which prohibits health providers overseas from receiving any US funding if they so much as mention abortion as an option for patients.

In the last Congress, a broader bill to deny federal funds to Planned Parenthood passed both chambers, but was vetoed by then-President Barack Obama. In contrast, Trump’s campaign said often that defunding Planned Parenthood would be a top priority for his administration.

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Congress Just Got a Lot Closer to Defunding Planned Parenthood

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My Job Just Got a Lot Easier

Mother Jones

Donald Trump held a remarkable press conference today—about which more later—but first I have to thank him. Here’s an exchange with NBC’s Peter Alexander:

ALEXANDER: You said today that you had the biggest electoral margin since Ronald Reagan, 304, 306 electoral votes. But President Obama had 365….

TRUMP: Well, I’m talking about Republicans.

ALEXANDER: George H.W. Bush, 426 when he won as president. So why should Americans trust you?

TRUMP: Well no, I was given that information. I don’t know, I was just given—we had a very, very big margin.

ALEXANDER: I guess my question is why Americans should trust you when you use information…

TRUMP: Well, I don’t know, I was given that information. I was given—I actually, I’ve seen that information around.

This is great! I mean, I write for a magazine, and let’s face it: fact checking is a pain. I know my fellow writers will back me up here. I suppose it’s good for readers, who want accurate information, but it’s a huge time sink for us content creators. Next time, my conversation will go like this:

FACT CHECKER: You say in your article that hippos are the largest mammals. Are you sure?

ME: I don’t know, I was given that information. They’re really big.

FACT CHECKER: And mice are the smallest?

ME: I’ve seen that information around.

This is going to make my job a lot easier. Thanks, Mr. President!

Continued:

My Job Just Got a Lot Easier

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Slavitt: Obamacare Should Be Profitable This Year if Republicans Don’t Blow It Up

Mother Jones

Andy Slavitt ran the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Obama, which included responsibility for Obamacare. Here’s a tweetstorm he posted today:

I talked today/last night to 5 health plan CEOs. Won’t use names but: 1 Blues, 1 integrated w hospital, 2 non-profit, 1 VC backed. All 5 health plan CEOs believe they priced 2017 #ACA business & should at least breakeven. Several of the plans beat their ACA membership projections.

Of the 5 plans, w/ current uncertainty none can yet commit 2 participate in 2018. All seemed aware that new #ACA stability reg is coming. One plan said with all the work to be profitable in the #ACA (they hadn’t been), ironic to question participation now.

….They didn’t say, but I will: if there is ambiguity, they will raise prices if they participate. One CEO who has an actuarial background said he would be at single digit rate increases but for all the uncertainty. It sounds like the plans will submit #ACA rates for 2018 high to hold place in line. Big increases all from repeal & mandate uncertainty.

It is a shame. Not sure if representative, but single digit if we would wipe uncertainty off table. Still can. But needs to be fast….I think people are so weary of the unpredictability of politics. It zaps energy from their real jobs.

We don’t yet have final enrollment figures for 2017, but it appears that even with double-digit rate increases, uncertainty over Republican repeal plans, and deliberate sabotage from the new Trump administration, signups will be only 2-3 percent lower than last year. That’s a pretty stable market, and probably a profitable—or at least breakeven—one. Fairly modest changes could fix a lot of Obamacare’s existing problems, and higher funding could fix the rest of them.

Instead, we have massive uncertainty in an industry that felt like things had finally settled down after years of work. Slavitt is right: it’s a shame. We can only hope that Republicans will wake up and decide that repairing Obamacare and then taking credit for its success is a better path than blowing up the entire individual health insurance market.

Source: 

Slavitt: Obamacare Should Be Profitable This Year if Republicans Don’t Blow It Up

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Jeff Sessions Was Just Confirmed as Attorney General

Mother Jones

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions was just confirmed as attorney general by a 52-47 vote. Here are three things you need to remember about him:

He has a history of blocking black judges.

His anti-immigrant influence will go well beyond his role as attorney general.

Republicans have tried to rewrite his history on race.

Originally posted here: 

Jeff Sessions Was Just Confirmed as Attorney General

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Republicans Tried to Suppress The Words of Coretta Scott King. Bad Idea.

Mother Jones

Sometimes a gag is the best megaphone.

Senate Republicans banded together Tuesday night to block Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) from reading a letter Coretta Scott King, the widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, wrote to oppose a judicial appointment for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) more than 30 years ago. But the move ignited a firestorm of resistance from Democrats, ensuring widespread attention to the letter itself. Prohibited from reading the letter in the Senate, Warren first discussed the episode on MSNBC and then, shortly before midnight, read it on Facebook Live to an audience of more than 2 million people. The hashtag #LetLizSpeak, as well as #CorettaScottKing, was trending on Twitter.

The episode began when Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suddenly interrupted Warren’s speech to a nearly empty chamber, objecting to her use of the letter King wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1986 when Sessions, then a federal prosecutor in Alabama, was nominated to a federal judgeship. The Republican committee chair at the time, Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, never entered it into the record, and it was published for the first time last month. When Warren read the sentence, “Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens,” McConnell objected, citing a rule that prohibits senators from impugning each other.

“I am surprised that the words of Coretta Scott King are not suitable for debate in the United States Senate,” Warren responded. She appealed McConnell’s objection, forcing the body to vote on the matter. Republicans, who control the chamber, provided 49 votes to rule her out of order, and Warren was forbidden to speak for the rest of the debate. “She was warned,” McConnell explained. “She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” By the end of the night, an online retailer was already selling t-shirts and sweaters with McConnell’s remarks, as well as the hashtag #resist.

Watch Warren read the letter:

Democratic lawmakers rushed to support Warren, realizing that McConnell had handed them a golden opportunity—days into Black History Month, the GOP was trying to silence the words of Coretta Scott King. And Republicans appeared to have realized it too: When Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) decided to read the letter aloud hours later, he did so uninterrupted.

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Republicans Tried to Suppress The Words of Coretta Scott King. Bad Idea.

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