The Senate’s health care bill

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Senate Republicans released their proposed health care bill, which, if it passes, must be reconciled to the bill passed by the House of Representatives.

Go here for a helpful comparison of the Senate bill with that of the House of Representatives and with Obamacare.

But the Senate bill is already in trouble.  Republicans have 52 seats, so they can lose two votes.  But four senators have announced their opposition:  Ted Cruz (TX), Rand Paul (KY), Mike Lee (UT), and Ron Johnson (WI).

These are conservatives, but moderates aren’t fond of the bill either.  Changes to satisfy these four might jeopardize it with the moderates.

Obamacare is unlikely to be replaced, just revised.  And maybe not even that.

Photo of Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee (from left), by Gage Skidmore, Flickr, Creative Commons License

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Dems force “nuclear option” and Gorsuch is confirmed

Operation_Upshot-Knothole_-_Badger_001 (1)The Democrats invoked their filibuster privilege to block the vote to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.  So the Republicans used the so-called “nuclear option.”  They changed the rules to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees.  The Democrats, under a previous administration, themselves went nuclear to eliminate the filibuster for other presidential nominations.

Now the Senate cannot block any presidential appointments.  But the Democrats can feel good about themselves.  (“Take that, Republicans!  I guess we showed you, Donald Trump!”)  Even though the gesture significantly weakens their power in the Senate.

UPDATE:  The Senate has confirmed Judge Gorsuch for the Supreme Court. [Read more…]

Democrats will filibuster Gorsuch

412px-Senator_Chuck_Schumer_(cropped)Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says that Democrats will filibuster the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

Republicans have said that if this happens, they will launch “the nuclear option” of changing the rules to eliminate the filibuster option for presidential appointments.

Schumer says that some Republicans will want to keep the traditional Senate perogative of unlimited debate (unless there is a 60 vote cloture), so he doesn’t think the Republicans can get the votes necessary to change the rule.

 

Photo of Chuck Schumer by y United States Senate – https://www.flickr.com/photos/sdmc/27720474940/in/album-72157667655342524/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56927097

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Shutting down the government over the Wall & Planned Parenthood

Chuck_Schumer_January_2016Senate Democrats say they will shut down the government by filibustering any spending bills that include building a wall along the Mexican border or that defund Planned Parenthood.

The government runs out of money on April 28 unless more funding is approved.

President Trump plans to release his proposed budget this week.

If the government gets shut down, the Democrats are convinced that Republicans will get blamed.

 

Photo of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer by Senate Democrats https://www.flickr.com/photos/sdmc/ (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sdmc/24305804949) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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The anti-Trump “resistance”

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French Resistance fighters, 1944

Democrats have gone into full resistance mode, with Democratic Senators boycotting confirmation hearings to prevent a vote on President Trump’s candidates.  (Republicans suspended the rules and approved Treasury Secretary candidate Steven Mnuchin and HHS Secretary candidate Tom Price anyway.  See this.)

Meanwhile, a self-described “alternative left” has emerged that is pressuring Democratic elected officials not to co-operate with the Republicans.  Notice how the use of the term “the resistance” is taken from what the underground movements that opposed Hitler was called.  See a manifesto after the jump. [Read more…]

Trump’s Supreme Court nominee

Neil_Gorsuch_10th_CircuitPresident Donald Trump has nominated Colorado appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the late Antonin Scalia.  Reportedly, Judge Gorsuch is from that same mold:  eloquent, learned, articulate, and an “originalist” when it comes to interpreting the Constitution.

He is the author of a book against euthanasia and supported Hobby Lobby in its suit against the Obamacare birth control mandate.  An Anglican, he would be the only Protestant on the bench, joining the 5 Catholics and 3 Jews currently serving.  He is only 49, which means he would be on the court for a good long time.

Democrats began planning their opposition tactics before they even knew who was the nominee.  Some are urging that that Senate Democrats filibuster the nomination.  Republicans are saying that if that happens, they would take the “nuclear option” of voting to change the rules to limit filibusters, changing the Senate’s time-honored tradition of unlimited debate. [Read more…]