Home Daily News Clips Friday News: Trumpcare Debacle is “Sad!”; Lyin’ Ryan is a Scammer; Bunch...

Friday News: Trumpcare Debacle is “Sad!”; Lyin’ Ryan is a Scammer; Bunch of Old White Guys Decide Future of Women’s Health

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by Lowell

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, March 24.

  • Barack Obama statement on the Affordable Care Act:

    When I took office, millions of Americans were locked out of our health care system. So, just as leaders in both parties had tried to do since the days of Teddy Roosevelt, we took up the cause of health reform. It was a long battle, carried out in Congressional hearings and in the public square for more than a year. But ultimately, after a century of talk, decades of trying, and a year of bipartisan debate, our generation was the one that succeeded. We finally declared that in America, health care is not a privilege for a few, but a right for everybody.

    The result was the Affordable Care Act, which I signed into law seven years ago today. Thanks to this law, more than twenty million Americans have gained the security and peace of mind of health insurance. Thanks to this law, more than ninety percent of Americans are insured – the highest rate in our history. Thanks to this law, the days when women could be charged more than men and Americans with pre-existing conditions could be denied coverage altogether are relics of the past. Seniors have bigger discounts on their prescription drugs. Young people can stay on their parents’ plans until they turn 26 years old. And Americans who already had insurance received an upgrade as well – from free preventive care, like mammograms and vaccines, to improvements in the quality of care in hospitals that has averted nearly 100,000 deaths so far.

    All of that is thanks to the Affordable Care Act. And all the while, since the law passed, the pace of health care inflation has slowed dramatically. Prices are still rising, just as they have every year for decades – but under this law, they’ve been rising at the slowest rate in fifty years. Families who get coverage through their employer are paying, on average, thousands of dollars less per year than if costs kept rising as fast as they were before the law. And reality continues to discredit the false claim that this law is in a “death spiral,” because while it’s true that some premiums have risen, the vast majority of Marketplace enrollees have experienced no average premium hike at all. And so long as the law is properly administered, this market will remain stable. Likewise, this law is no “job-killer,” because America’s businesses went on a record-breaking streak of job growth in the seven years since I signed it.

    So the reality is clear: America is stronger because of the Affordable Care Act. There will always be work to do to reduce costs, stabilize markets, improve quality, and help the millions of Americans who remain uninsured in states that have so far refused to expand Medicaid. I’ve always said we should build on this law, just as Americans of both parties worked to improve Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid over the years. So if Republicans are serious about lowering costs while expanding coverage to those who need it, and if they’re prepared to work with Democrats and objective evaluators in finding solutions that accomplish those goals – that’s something we all should welcome. But we should start from the baseline that any changes will make our health care system better, not worse for hardworking Americans. That should always be our priority.

    The Affordable Care Act is law only because millions of Americans mobilized, and organized, and decided that this fight was about more than health care – it was about the character of our country. It was about whether the wealthiest nation on Earth would make sure that neither illness nor twist of fate would rob us of everything we’ve worked so hard to build. It was about whether we look out for one another, as neighbors, and fellow citizens, who care about each other’s success. This fight is still about all that today. And Americans who love their country still have the power to change it.

  • Dan Rather:

    Loser. That’s a word that Donald Trump fears being called more than any other. It is a word that he has wielded with relish against his enemies. But if the health care bill goes down in defeat, and at this point that is still a big if, Mr. Trump will be seen as a loser, and so will his new cheerleader Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

    A loser president. It’s a moniker that every president dreads, but especially President Trump. It strikes at the very essence of his being. It is why he rails away at conspiracy theories about voter fraud. Once you are seen as a loser in Washington your enemies are emboldened and your allies become skittish. Power can evaporate faster than dew in Dalhart.

    When you look back at the history of the modern presidency, the most accomplished denizens of the Oval Office came in with bold agendas that they quickly put in place. Look at Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, in particular. It must vex Mr. Trump no end to see the accomplishments of his predecessor used as a measuring stick for his own failures.

    I have said it before. We are in a cauldron of chaos and confusion bordering on havoc. We have thousands of key posts in the Federal Government yet unfilled, and we see an administration struggling to get much if anything done. Many have worried about Trump’s personality and character, but that can easily be explained away by his allies as a partisan divide. An even bigger question is his competence, and so far there has been not much demonstration of this key presidential quality. That is why you see members of his own party openly flouting Mr. Trump in the House and Senate.

    We must remember that Mr. Trump is not a Republican. It is not clear to me that he believes in any governing philosophy other than his own political expediency. He was basically an independent, maverick candidate. But the GOP leadership got behind him for strategic reasons. And now they will have to own that decision. The party base can easily flee with an excuse that Mr. Trump was never one of them.

    The struggles with the Republicans in Congress to formulate a coherent governing strategy shows how hollow their rhetoric was during the Obama years. They became the Party of No and not the party of ideas. Many of the best conservative thinkers have bemoaned that trend. Their concerns are now bearing bitter fruit.
    Meanwhile, the specter of Russia is a shadow that grows ever darker over the White House. An isolated president in an isolated administration looking at public losses and dropping popularity will react in ways no one can predict.

  • Brilliant comment by a Facebook friend on how the thuggishness, viciousness, etc. of the Trump/Putin alliance – as exemplified by this story – (supposedly) wasn’t detected by the public, media, etc. in 2016:

    It WAS detected. But the overwhelming majority (with a few exceptions like Gov Kaisich, etc.) on the GOP politicians/ Right wing media side today, they will lie, cover-up, and obfuscate and see no limits whatsoever to attain the reins of power and implement their agenda.

    While the mainstream media have been disingenuously brow-beat and cowed by the right wing for so many years that in an attempt to (like Stockholm/”battered wife” syndromes) placate the abuser who will never be placated, bend over backwards to the point of self-sabotage to show “even handedness”, such that even the ostensible left-leaning media of the NYTimes, WaPost, etc spent most of their time attacking Hillary Clinton based on right-wing lies and BS and nothingness (Benghazi, Emails, Clinton Foundation) promulgated by the right.

    Simultaneously, with a very few extraordinary exceptions, they continuously let drop the massive billows of smoke emerging from those exceptions. It was PAINFULLY obvious that there was an unholy alliance between the Trump Campaign and Putin/KGB all summer. But 95% of the “mainstream media” would repeat 1-2 times what the 1-2 true investigative journalists would write, then they’d let it drop rather than give it the treatment (y’know, existential threat to American Democracy) that it deserved, lest they be charged with “Left wing media bias”.

    And the Dems, instead of blanketing the airwaves with the substantiated collusion, let it slide because we are obsessed with nuance, and proven-evidence (the right choice 99% of the time–but sometimes in a campaign, the 85% evidence should be sufficient to defend the foundations of our democracy), whereas the GOP was blanketing the airwaves with utter lies about Benghazi, etc with complete disregard for the truth.

  • True Blue

    “Mailbox full.” “All lines are busy.” “Call back later.” Very, very ineffectual.

    My representative’s DC office did respond to an e-mail with their auto-response, but just how are constituents supposed to make sure that representatives and senators know our views and hear our voices when they won’t have in-person town halls, limit their office visits to five constituents at a time, and run away from questions expressed in public settings? Very, very frustrated.

  • Platt Urges Senate Democrats to Use Filibuster to Stop Donald Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee

    Great Falls, Virginia — Today, Virginia lieutenant governor candidate Susan Platt, a former chief of staff in the U.S. Senate, urged Senate Democrats to reject Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee using every tool at their disposal, including the filibuster.

    “A majority of Virginians and a majority of Americans rejected Donald Trump’s extremism on November 8,” said Platt, “yet he followed through on his promise to put forth a far-right, anti-choice nominee seemingly handpicked by Jerry Falwell, Jr. and the NRA.

    “In past opinions, Neil Gorsuch has made clear that he is ideologue who will put the interests of big corporations ahead of everyday Americans.

    “Particularly troubling to me is his record on women’s rights and his rhetoric toward LGBTQ Americans, areas where he is far out of touch with Virginia values. His opinion in the Hobby Lobby case allowed employers to deny birth control and other healthcare coverage based on the employer’s religious beliefs, and he shamefully criticized LGBTQ Americans for seeking equal rights through the judicial system.

    “Our country needs an impartial ninth justice who will serve as a check on the Trump Administration’s wild interpretation of the law. With the Supreme Court hanging in the balance, we cannot trust Neil Gorsuch to be anything other than the type of far-right rubber-stamping justice Donald Trump promised during his campaign.

    “As a former chief of staff in the U.S. Senate, I urge Senate Democrats to use every tool at their disposal, including the filibuster, to stop Trump’s nominee.”

  • Suck it, Ed Gillespie:

    Governor McAuliffe Announces Commonwealth’s Unemployment Drops to Lowest Rate in Nine Years

    ~ Unemployment rate down to 3.9% ~

    RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was down 0.1 percentage point in February to 3.9 percent, the lowest rate since June 2008. When Governor McAuliffe took office in January 2014, the unemployment rate was 5.4 percent. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues below the national rate, which was down 0.1 percentage point to 4.7 percent and announced earlier this month. Since Governor McAuliffe entered office, Virginia has added 191,600 net new jobs.

    “This report confirms we are continuing to make great strides in building a new Virginia economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “To date, my Administration has helped close 902 economic development deals worth a record-breaking $15.6 billion in investment, ensuring thousands of jobs for Virginians in 21st century industries. I’m pleased to see yet another decline in the unemployment rate, as well as record highs in our labor force and household employment. Today’s announcement is a positive sign that our economy is strengthening thanks to targeted investments in key sectors.”

    Virginia has the second-lowest unemployment rate of any major U.S. state. In addition, initial claims filed in 2016 for unemployment insurance benefits were the lowest Virginia has seen in 44 years, going back to 1973.

    “Virginia continues to grow its economy, and this administration will continue to ensure economic opportunity exists for everyone across the Commonwealth. We have been focused on matching skills training to jobs, investing in our education system, and providing a competitive environment for businesses to thrive. By doing so, Virginia will continue to see economic progress,” said Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam.

    Virginia’s labor force expanded for the 11th consecutive month to 4,281,022, up more than 7,300 people in February, setting a new record high for the Commonwealth. Household employment also rose by more than 13,400, the 26th consecutive monthly increase and another record high. Virginia’s nonfarm payroll employment increased by 11,400 jobs in February and is 53,500 jobs higher when compared to February of 2016.

    “Today’s announcement highlights continued increases in employment and labor force expansion across the Commonwealth, a cornerstone of the Governor’s mandate to build a new Virginia economy,” added Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “Even with this great news, we will continue our efforts with the General Assembly and the private sector to further enhance Virginia’s business climate by encouraging increased investment and jobs creation opportunities, putting more Virginians to work and making Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family.”

    Virginia’s over-the-year employment growth was 1.4 percent in February and has been positive for 35 consecutive months. With February’s over-the-year employment growth and January’s revised over-the-year growth of 1.3 percent, Virginia’s growth was once again above 1.0 percent after falling below 1.0 percent in November and December. Nationally, total nonfarm employment grew 1.6 percent in February compared to a year ago.

    In January, the private sector recorded an over-the-year employment gain of 48,800 jobs, and the public sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 4,700 jobs. Compared to a year ago, on a seasonally adjusted basis, seven of the 11 major industry divisions experienced employment gains.

    For a greater statistical breakdown visit the Virginia Employment Commission’s website at http://www.vec.virginia.gov.

  • Comstock watcher

    How will Virginia’s republicans vote on the health care bill today?

    As of 11:45 am, the Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/03/20/us/politics/health-care-whip-count.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=a-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

    Shows
    Brat, wittman and Garrett as NO
    Taylor , Bad latte, and Griffith as YES
    and nova’s own Comstock as UNDECIDED

    Her calculations must be completely cynical: why vote for something that is doomed anyway? She doesn’t need to listen to the Orange dude, he lost her district to HRC by 10 points, so she is not susceptible to being primaried from the right, as some of the freedom caucus are;
    By not supporting the GOP leadership whip does she lose any influence she might want on other issues? The other yes votes are all guys who blindly follow the leadership. The no votes are freedom rebels..

    My guess is that it will go down, and the reporting will be all about how the freedom caucus sunk it, and if she votes against it for “moderate ” reasons, she won’t get any credit for that vote, from any republicans, or, of course, from any democrats…
    So she might as well vote for it… especially if it will lose anyway..

    • Taylor has got to go next year. And Comstock.

      • Comstock watcher

        NPR just reported Comstock as a NO
        which puts her as probably the most civilized Virginia republican. …
        Yes, there is a very low bar for that honor…

  • Susan Platt statement on last-minute decision by Rep. Barbara Comstock to oppose Trumpcare:

    “Because of the activism of citizens across the Commonwealth, especially women who are fed up with Donald Trump, even right-wing Barbara Comstock was forced to go against her Party today. While I’m not sure what took her so long, I was inspired to see so many people take action, like the Planned Parenthood supporters who I joined outside her office today. When we resist and persist, we win. The same energy, enthusiasm, and organization that progressive Virginians showed this week will carry us to victory in November.”

  • From the Virginia House Dem Caucus:

    House Dems Call on GOP to Oppose Trumpcare
    Del. John O’Bannon declared support for bill

    Richmond, Va.- Citing devastating effects to the Commonwealth, the Virginia House Democratic Caucus today called on Virginia House Republicans to oppose the American Health Care Act, otherwise known as Trumpcare.

    Del. John O’Bannon this week told NBC29 that he supported the bill.

    “From refusing to expand Medicaid to passing a bill to defund Planned Parenthood, Virginia House Republicans have repeatedly voted against the health of their constituents,” said House Democratic Leader David J. Toscano. “Trumpcare would be a catastrophe for Virginia and impose tremendous costs to the Commonwealth. Yet when we called on Virginia House Republicans to sign a letter to our Congressional delegation opposing the repeal of the ACA without a viable replacement, not a single one signed on. Even Congresswoman Barbara Comstock has finally broken her politically-expedient silence and come out against the bill. I ask Virginia House Republicans again and directly: why would you ever want Virginians to lose their health insurance?”

    “If passed, Trumpcare will accomplish what Virginia House Republicans failed to accomplish, thanks to the veto of our governor’s pen,” said Caucus Chair Charniele Herring. “It is not hyperbole to say that defunding Planned Parenthood is a death sentence. Between 2010 and 2012, the pregnancy-related death rate in Texas nearly doubled – the same period during which the state drastically cut women’s health funding, including to Planned Parenthood. Defunding Planned Parenthood will disproportionately affect women, particularly low-income women and women of color. I call upon Virginia House Republicans to pressure our Congressional delegation to oppose this bill.”

    The American Health Care Act may come up for a vote today.

  • Gov. McAuliffe vetoes yet another godawful Republican bill:

    Governor McAuliffe Vetoes Bills That Would Put Virginians at Risk

    Governor Terry McAuliffe today vetoed five pieces of legislation that would further weaken the Commonwealth’s gun safety laws and put Virginians at risk. The Governor’s full veto statements are below:

    House Bill 1852

    March 24, 2017

    Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 1852, which would provide that for a period of 45 days after the issuance of a protective order the individual seeking the protective order may lawfully carry a concealed weapon. This bill would eliminate the application and training requirements associated with concealed handgun permits and allow petitioners to carry a concealed weapon immediately upon the issuance of any protective order. It is identical to House Bill 766/Senate Bill 626 (2016), which I vetoed.

    The bill perpetuates the dangerous fiction that the victims of domestic violence will be safer by arming themselves. It would inject firearms into a volatile domestic violence situation, making that situation less safe, not more.

    In 2014, there were 112 family and intimate-partner related homicides in Virginia. Sixty-six of those deaths were with a firearm. I will not allow this bill to become law when too many Virginia women have already fallen victim to firearms violence at the hands of their intimate partner.

    Accordingly, I veto this bill.

    Sincerely,

    Terence R. McAuliffe

  • “Virginia Organizing is happy that the U.S. House of Representatives will not pursue the American Health Care Act, which would have greatly reduced or eliminated access to health care for 24 million Americans. We are relieved that their effort failed, and we believe the calls, emails, and letters of ordinary people made the difference. The people defeated this terrible replacement of the Affordable Care Act.”
    Ladelle McWhorter, Chairperson