house senate

5

Republicans who voted for Trumpcare admit they didn’t even read the bill

  • House Republicans barely passed the American Health Care Act on Thursday.
  • Yet, despite the sweeping impact the bill could have on millions of Americans if passed into law, many House Republicans didn’t even read the bill’s text before casting their votes.
  • Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), an early supporter of President Donald Trump, said neither he nor many Republican lawmakers who voted for the bill actually read the text.
  • Rep. Thomas Garrett (R-Va.) also said he didn’t read the bill, instead giving that task to his staff. Read more (5/5/17 8:25 AM)

Obamacare had 79 committee hearings before it passed. Trumpcare had none.

  • Since the ACA was passed in 2010, Republicans have complained that Democrats “jammed [the ACA] down peoples’ throats.”
  • They objected to “back-room deals” and a pace that they said Democrats designed to prevent their constituents from reading the bill.
  • But the truth is, the ACA took months to craft, according to the New York Times, and was the subject of 79 hearings.
  • By contrast, the AHCA was forced through the House without a single hearing in relevant committees, no score by the Congressional Budget Office and admissions from members of the House GOP that they had not read the very bill they voted on.  Read more (5/5/17 9 AM)

Democrats’ trust in the government just hit a historic low

  • A new Pew poll found that just 15% of Democrats trust the government in Washington to do the right thing always or most of the time.
  • “The share of Democrats expressing trust in government is among the lowest levels for members of the party dating back nearly six decades,” Pew said in a post on its site that announced the findings. Read more (5/4/17 8:15 PM)
2

Trump is threatening them if they vote against the bill, if you’re their constituent (or know someone who lives in their states), call them and make sure these reps know they answer to the American people and not to Trump.

Vote will take place on Thursday, March 23 - tell them to vote no on AHCA aka Trumpcare.

10

Wondering what a call to your elected official actually sounds like? We got you.

If you’re on this website (or a human alive today) there’s a really good chance you’re afraid to call your Congressional Representative because you don’t know how the phone call will go. We’re trying to remove some of the mystery around calling elected officials to show you a few different examples of first time callers leaving a comment with a government official. It’s so easy!

In this call we see Lyric calling her Congressman, Brad Sherman, about Steve Bannon. Unfortunately, sometimes it can be confusing at first figuring out exactly who to call. As Lyric learned, you have to be especially careful that you’re calling somebody from the United States Congress, not your state’s Congress (unless you’re calling about a local issue). But don’t worry, this problem is easy to solve. If you have this post in front of you, you can shortcut the lookup process by using this handy website

If you don’t have this post in front of you, just google who your congressional representatives are, making sure you get the answer from a federal and not state website:

To find out who represents you in the Senate, just google “[your state] Senator.” Make sure you’ve found US Congress Senators, not state Senators. Google should also autopopulate with your state’s two Senators if you use that search query. There will be only two, no matter what. You can call either or both of them.To find who represents you in the House, google “Who is my representative.” The first google result should be a house.gov website that prompts you for your zip code. Enter it in and you’re good to go. You will only have one Congressional Representative no matter what. Once you get the name of your congressperson, google “[your representative] phone number” to get the phone number you need.

Read more about how to call your congressional representative here.

The Moral Travesty of Trumpcare

Shame on every one of the 217 Republicans who voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, and substitute basically nothing. 

Trumpcare isn’t a replacement of the Affordable Care Act. It’s a transfer from the sick and poor to the rich and healthy. 

The losers are up to 24 million Americans who under the Affordable Care Act get subsidies to afford health insurance coverage, including millions of people with pre-existing conditions and poor people who had access to Medicaid who may not be able to afford insurance in the future. 

The winners are wealthy Americans who will now get a tax cut because they won’t have to pay to fund the Affordable Care Act, and healthy people who won’t have to buy health insurance to subsidize the sick. 

House Republicans say they have protected people with pre-existing health problems. Baloney. Sick people could be charged premiums so high as to make insurance unaffordable. Trumpcare would even let states waive the Obamacare ban on charging higher premiums for women who have been raped — which actually occurred before the Affordable Care Act. 

America has the only healthcare system in the world designed to avoid sick people. Private for-profit health insurers do whatever they can to insure groups of healthy people, because that’s where the profits are. They also make every effort to avoid sick people, because that’s where the costs are. 

The Affordable Care Act puts healthy and sick people into the same insurance pool. But under the Republican bill that passed the House, healthy people will no longer be subsidizing sick people.  Healthy people will be in their own insurance pool. Sick people will be grouped with other sick people in their own high-risk pool – which will result in such high premiums, co-payments, and deductibles that many if not most won’t be able to afford. 

Republicans say their bill creates a pool of money that will pay insurance companies to cover the higher costs of insuring sick people. Wrong. Insurers will take the money and still charge sick people much higher premiums. Or avoid sick people altogether. 

The only better alternative to the Affordable Care Act is a single-payer system, such as Medicare for all, which would put all Americans into the same giant insurance pool. Not only would this be fairer, but it would also be far more efficient, because money wouldn’t be spent marketing and advertising to attract healthy people and avoid sick people.

Paul Ryan says the House vote was about fulfilling a promise the GOP made to American voters. But those voters have been lied to from the start about the Affordable Care Act. For years Republicans told them that the Act couldn’t work, would bankrupt America, and result in millions losing the healthcare they had before. All of these lies have been proven wrong. 

Now Republicans say the Act is unsustainable because premiums are rising and insurers are pulling out. Wrong again. Whatever is wrong with the Affordable Care Act could be easily fixed, but Republicans have refused to do the fixing. Insurers have been pulling out because of the uncertainty Republicans have created.

The reason Republicans are so intent on repealing the Affordable Care Act is they want to give a giant tax cut to the rich who’d no longer have to pay the tab.

Here we come to the heart of the matter. 

If patriotism means anything, it means sacrificing for the common good, participating in the public good. Childless Americans pay taxes for schools so children are educated. Americans who live close to their work pay taxes for roads and bridges so those who live farther away can get to work. Americans with secure jobs pay into unemployment insurance so those who lose their jobs have some income until they find another. 

And under the Affordable Care Act, healthier and wealthier Americans pay a bit more so sicker and poorer Americans don’t die. 

Trump and House Republicans aren’t patriots. They don’t believe in sacrificing for the common good. They don’t think we’re citizens with obligations to one another. To them, we’re just individual consumers who deserve the best deal we can get for ourselves. It’s all about the art of the deal.

So what do we do now? We fight.

To become law, Trumpcare has to go through 4 additional steps: First, a version must be enacted in the Senate. It must then go a “conference“ to hammer out differences between the House and Senate. The conference agreement must then pass in the House again, and again in the Senate. 

I hope you’ll be there every step of the way, until Trumpcare collapses under the weight of its own cruelty. House Republicans who voted for this travesty will rue the day they did. Any Senate Republican who joins them will regret it as well. 

youtube

The 10 Steps to Impeach a President

It won’t be easy to impeach Donald Trump. No president in American history has ever been convicted on articles of impeachment. 

Only two presidents so far have been impeached by the House and had that impeachment go to the Senate for trial. The first was Andrew Johnson, in 1868, when the Senate came one vote short of convicting him. The next was 131 years later, in 1999, when Bill Clinton’s impeachment went to the Senate. 50 Senators voted to convict Clinton, 17 votes short of what was needed.

What about Richard Nixon? He resigned early in this process, before the House had even voted on articles of impeachment. And then his successor, who had been his vice president, Gerald Ford, gave Nixon a full and unconditional pardon for any crimes he might have committed against the United States while president.

This isn’t to say Trump couldn’t or won’t be impeached. Only that it’s a long and drawn-out process. 

It all revolves around Article I Sections 2 and 3 of the Constitution, and rules in the House and the Senate implementing those provisions.

Step 1. It starts in the House Judiciary Committee, when a majority of the member vote in favor of what’s called an “inquiry of impeachment” resolution.

Step 2. That resolution goes to the full House of Representatives where a majority has to vote in favor. And then votes to authorize and fund a full investigation by the Judiciary Committee into whether sufficient grounds exist for impeachment.

Step 3. The House Judiciary Committee investigates. That investigation doesn’t have to be from scratch. It can rely on data and conclusions of other investigations undertaken by, say, the FBI.

Step 4: A majority of the Judiciary Committee members decides there are sufficient grounds for impeachment, and the Committee issues a “Resolution of Impeachment,” setting forth specific allegations of misconduct in one or more articles of impeachment.

Step 5: The full House then considers that Resolution and votes in favor of it – as a whole or on each article separately. The full House isn’t bound by the Committee’s work. The House may vote to impeach even if the Committee doesn’t recommend impeachment.

Step 6: The matter then goes to the Senate for a trial. The House’s Resolution of Impeachment becomes in effect the charges in this trial.

Step 7: The Senate issues a summons to the president, who is now effectively the defendant, informing him of the charges and the date by which he has to answer them. If the president chooses not to answer or appear, it’s as if he entered a “not guilty” plea.

Step 8 is the trial in the Senate. In that trial, those who are representing the House – that is, the prosecution – and counsel for the president, both make opening arguments. They then introduce evidence and put on witnesses as in any trial. Witnesses are subject to examination and cross-examination. The trial is presided over by the chief justice of the Supreme Court – who has the authority to rule on evidentiary questions or may put such questions to a vote of the Senate. The House managers and counsel for the president then make closing arguments.

Step 9: The Senate meets in closed session to deliberate.

Step 10: The Senate returns in open session to vote on whether to convict the president on the articles of impeachment. Conviction requires a two-thirds vote by the Senate. Conviction on one or more articles of impeachment results in removal from office. Such a conviction also disqualifies the now former president from holding any other public office. And it doesn’t bar additional legal proceedings against that former president, and punishment.

So there you have it–the 10 steps that must all take place to impeach the president. 

It may come in handy.

22 million people will lose health care under Senate Republican plan, CBO says

  • By 2026, 22 million Americans will be without health insurance if the Senate health care bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, becomes law, the Congressional Budget Office said Monday, per to the NY Times.
  • The CBO estimates that 1 million fewer Americans would lose insurance under the Senate plan than under the House-passed American Health Care Act, but the Senate bill has even deeper cuts to Medicaid in the long-term than the House proposal.
  • The report puts Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in a tougher position as he negotiates with both conservative and moderate Republican senators opposed to the plan. Read more (6/26/17)
JUST IN: Pres. Obama releases statement on new Senate health care bill:

“Our politics are divided. They have been for a long time. And while I know that division makes it difficult to listen to Americans with whom we disagree, that’s what we need to do today.

I recognize that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has become a core tenet of the Republican Party. Still, I hope that our Senators, many of whom I know well, step back and measure what’s really at stake, and consider that the rationale for action, on health care or any other issue, must be something more than simply undoing something that Democrats did.

We didn’t fight for the Affordable Care Act for more than a year in the public square for any personal or political gain – we fought for it because we knew it would save lives, prevent financial misery, and ultimately set this country we love on a better, healthier course.

Nor did we fight for it alone. Thousands upon thousands of Americans, including Republicans, threw themselves into that collective effort, not for political reasons, but for intensely personal ones – a sick child, a parent lost to cancer, the memory of medical bills that threatened to derail their dreams.

And you made a difference. For the first time, more than ninety percent of Americans know the security of health insurance. Health care costs, while still rising, have been rising at the slowest pace in fifty years. Women can’t be charged more for their insurance, young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until they turn 26, contraceptive care and preventive care are now free. Paying more, or being denied insurance altogether due to a preexisting condition – we made that a thing of the past.

We did these things together. So many of you made that change possible.

At the same time, I was careful to say again and again that while the Affordable Care Act represented a significant step forward for America, it was not perfect, nor could it be the end of our efforts – and that if Republicans could put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we made to our health care system, that covers as many people at less cost, I would gladly and publicly support it.

That remains true. So I still hope that there are enough Republicans in Congress who remember that public service is not about sport or notching a political win, that there’s a reason we all chose to serve in the first place, and that hopefully, it’s to make people’s lives better, not worse.

But right now, after eight years, the legislation rushed through the House and the Senate without public hearings or debate would do the opposite. It would raise costs, reduce coverage, roll back protections, and ruin Medicaid as we know it. That’s not my opinion, but rather the conclusion of all objective analyses, from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which found that 23 million Americans would lose insurance, to America’s doctors, nurses, and hospitals on the front lines of our health care system.

The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care, or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.

Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.

I hope our Senators ask themselves – what will happen to the Americans grappling with opioid addiction who suddenly lose their coverage? What will happen to pregnant mothers, children with disabilities, poor adults and seniors who need long-term care once they can no longer count on Medicaid? What will happen if you have a medical emergency when insurance companies are once again allowed to exclude the benefits you need, send you unlimited bills, or set unaffordable deductibles? What impossible choices will working parents be forced to make if their child’s cancer treatment costs them more than their life savings?

To put the American people through that pain – while giving billionaires and corporations a massive tax cut in return – that’s tough to fathom. But it’s what’s at stake right now. So it remains my fervent hope that we step back and try to deliver on what the American people need.

That might take some time and compromise between Democrats and Republicans. But I believe that’s what people want to see. I believe it would demonstrate the kind of leadership that appeals to Americans across party lines. And I believe that it’s possible – if you are willing to make a difference again. If you’re willing to call your members of Congress. If you are willing to visit their offices. If you are willing to speak out, let them and the country know, in very real terms, what this means for you and your family.

After all, this debate has always been about something bigger than politics. It’s about the character of our country – who we are, and who we aspire to be. And that’s always worth fighting for.”

10

Without individual and employer mandate, GOPcare won’t be able to deliver on popular obamacare provisions even if they keep it, like coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and no lifetime caps.

GOPcare is basically a massive tax break for the rich and insurance companies and low quality healthcare for everyone else, if you can afford it.

What’s also not being discussed or detailed is how it affects other important but not well known obamacare provisions, like for coal miners, for mental healthcare, opiod addiction, women’s healthcare, etc.

What’s more, their bill is designed around elections to let them get through 2018 and push all other issues to 2020, during the next presidential elections. All they care about is maintaining power, not American people.

Call your reps, don’t let it even go pass the house into the senate.
change.org
Remove health-care subsidies for Members of Congress and their families
Several years ago, my dad got the news that he had cancer. Sadly, he passed away. My dad had a job at the time, but his employer did not cover him, and without coverage, he avoided going to the doctor until it was too late. As Congress and President Trump try to pass a new healthcare law, I'm reminded...


More than 519,000 signatures…so far.

A good friend of mine was diagnosed with liver cancer when we were in high school. She was 16. Some time later, upon hearing that a surgery had not gone as well as hoped, I sat down with my guitar and wrote her a song. A few other good friends of hers strung together some photographs to make a music video and we sent it to her to watch from her hospital bed. When those same friends gathered together less than two years later to sing the song at her funeral, the dissonance was jarring. This was meant to be a work song, to see her through the hard days when the task of healing was tiring. It was not supposed to be a funeral hymn.

In June of 2015, we as a band decided that our LGBTQ community deserved a new song for Pride Week. This was days after the Supreme Court ruled that state-level bans on same-sex marriages were in violation of the Constitution of the United States, and it felt like the whole country was celebrating.

But as we began to write, I couldn’t help but think that although we had won this particular battle, the hatred and fear ailing our nation seemed as malignant as ever.

I knew this because people were still dying.

At least 21 transgender women were murdered in 2015. A disproportionate percent of our country’s homeless youth were (and are) LGBTQ adolescents, forced to reckon with the impossible task of staying healthy and safe without a home or proper health care.

We knew that if we were to make a song that truly spoke to the American LGBTQ community in 2015, it would need to address both victory and violence.

With “I Know a Place,” we chose to imagine a place where none of us would need to be afraid. In honor of Pride and the rich LGBTQ history of turning bars and ballrooms into safe havens, the space we imagined was a dance club:

I can tell when you get nervous
You think being yourself means being unworthy
And it’s hard to love with a heart that’s hurting
But if you want to go out dancing
I know a place
I know a place we can go
Where everyone’s gonna lay down their weapons

At the time, we intended the dance club to serve as a metaphor. Then, on June 12th, 2016, a gunman walked into Latin Night at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida — a queer space, a brown space, a safe space — and shot 49 people to death.

“I Know a Place” was never supposed to be a funeral hymn. It was meant to be a work song, like Yoko Ono’s full-page ad in the New York Times that proclaimed, “War Is Over!” in December of 1969, at the height of the Vietnam War. We wrote our song to be the voice in your head that tells you to celebrate peace during wartime, because our battle is only just beginning, and one day our war really will be over.

It was also meant to serve as encouragement for our community to remain vulnerable and kind and hopeful in the face of violence. We cannot build a better world without first imagining what that world might look like, and by creating that space inside ourselves first.

After the Pulse shooting, the Los Angeles Gay Men’s Chorus led a crowd of two thousand people outside City Hall in song:

We are a gentle, angry people
And we are singing
Singing for our lives

We sang with a unified voice that cried out, “We do not accept that this is what our world will look like.” And that night, people all over the country went out dancing — not just because it was Pride Weekend, but because they felt it important not to give in to fear in the face of hate.

People came together in dive bars, bedrooms, and places of worship to celebrate and to grieve, to love and protect one another, and this gentle resilience was nothing less than radical resistance.

Today, in this post-Trump America, many of us feel badly bruised. We, as a band, understand this. We believe it is a mistake to see this incoming Administration as anything other than a threat to the livelihood of our brothers and sisters; the LGBTQ+ community, the Muslim ummah, women, POC’s, indigenous Americans, undocumented people, the working class, and beyond. At the same time, we believe it is a mistake to say that a man whose best assets are hate and fear truly represents America. We say this because America has always been an idea, a utopian concept of a multiethnic, multicultural democratic republic, and therefore its home lies in the imagination, not in the House or the Senate or in a Trump Tower. In the bridge of the song, we implore:

They will try to make you unhappy; don’t let them
They will try to tell you you’re not free; don’t listen
I know a place where you don’t need protection
Even if it’s only in my imagination

Let us push ourselves to imagine a peaceful America where no one has to live in fear. Let us continue to build spaces with our humble means that reflect the America of which we dream. Let us keep up the fight.

Let us keep singing for our lives.

ー Katie Gavin, MUNA