Sen. Collins and CBO Dim Prospects for Graham-Cassidy

UPDATE: As the Washington Post reports, Graham-Cassidy is pretty well dead:

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), who had been overseeing a raucous hearing on the proposal, said Monday evening that he would only allow one more round of questions given the bill’s predicament.

“Let’s face it, we’re not getting anywhere,” he remarked.

—–

This cartoon is a few weeks old, but no less relevant.

Senate Republicans have managed to unite virtually the entire healthcare industry in opposition to their latest Obamacare repeal attempt. On Monday afternoon, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) announced its initial review of the Graham-Cassidy legislation at about the same time that Maine Sen. Susan Collins voiced her intention to vote no on the bill.

The decision by Sen. Collins is the proverbial nail in this coffin. And as National Public Radio (NPR) reports, the CBO’s new partial analysis of Graham-Cassidy gives Collins and other dissenters good reason to say “NO”:

The proposal the Senate is considering that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act will result in millions losing health insurance and a $133 billion reduction in the deficit by 2026, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s report on the Graham-Cassidy legislation.

The CBO did not have enough time to estimate specifically how many people’s insurance would be affected as they have done when they have scored previous repeal bills. But, the analysis it released Monday evening says, “the number of people with comprehensive health insurance that covers high-cost medical events would be reduced by millions” compared to current law. [Pols emphasis]…

…CBO says it can’t do a complete analysis of the plan in the short window requested by lawmakers. Senate Republicans are looking to vote on the bill this week, before a deadline at the end of September would require they get support from Democrats to be able to pass the legislation.

Earlier proposals to overhaul the health care system failed in part because the CBO analyses showed tens of millions of people were likely to lose insurance coverage because of the proposed changes. The major drivers of those losses, according to the CBO, were the loss of the individual mandate that requires people to buy insurance and the rollback of the expansion of Medicaid that was allowed under Obamacare.

The latest proposal includes both provisions, so some analysts say the results will be the same.

Senate leadership is still trying to figure out what to do with Graham-Cassidy, but Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch said this afternoon that he doubted there would even be a floor vote on the legislation.

Journalists Fail to Note that Gardner Contradicted Himself on National TV

(Spelling it out for you – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

On CBS’ Face the Nation Sunday, John Dickerson had this exchange U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO):

Dickerson: …And there’s a New York Times piece in which you’re quoted as saying, “Donors are furious we haven’t kept our promise.” The picture that emerges from all of this is a rush for political reasons to support this and not substantive reasons. What are your thoughts about that?

Gardner replied with: “Well, this has nothing to do with politics. It has nothing to do with donors. It has everything to do with the people of this country who are suffering each and every day under a health care bill that is failing to meet their needs, that’s bankrupting them.”

Gardner told Dickerson that “the people who are opponents of the bill want this to be about politics and not policy.”

If you’re a reporter, how could you possibly report Gardner’s answer to Dickerson’s question without noting that Gardner essentially contradicted what the New York Times quoted Gardner as saying?

Yet, multiple outlets made no mention of the New York Times account.

For example The Hill’s Rebecca Savransky reported yesterday:

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) said Sunday the GOP push to get an ObamaCare repeal bill passed has nothing to do with politics.

“This has nothing to do with politics. It has nothing to do with donors.” Gardner said on CBS’s “Face The Nation,” when asked about whether there was a rush to pass the ObamaCare repeal bill for political and not substantive reasons.

“It has everything to do with the people of this country who are suffering each and every day under a health-care bill that is failing to meet their needs, that’s bankrupting them.”

Locally, Denver Post reporter Jesse Paul at least noted that Gardner “brushed off a question about whether Republicans are just trying” to make good on their promise to repeal Obamacare. But he, too, failed to note that Gardner’s answer, that this has “nothing to do with politics, it has nothing to do with donors,” contradicted reporting by the New York Times.

I could see a journalist being reluctant to report the New York Times’ account, because it came from an anonymous source, even if the story was from the New York Times.

But Gardner did not dispute the NYT article, when asked directly about it by Dickerson.

And a reporter could always ask Gardner directly if the Times story is accurate–instead of simply omitting the Times’ information and letting Gardner contradict it directly. In fact, that’s still worth doing.

For the record, here’s exactly what the Times reported Friday:

As more than 40 subdued Republican senators lunched on Chick-fil-A at a closed-door session last week, Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado painted a dire picture for his colleagues. Campaign fund-raising was drying up, he said, because of widespread disappointment among donors over the inability of the Republican Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act or do much of anything else.

Mr. Gardner is in charge of his party’s midterm re-election push, and he warned that donors of all stripes were refusing to contribute another penny until the struggling majority produced some concrete results.

“Donors are furious,” one person knowledgeable about the private meeting quoted Mr. Gardner as saying. “We haven’t kept our promise.”

Get More Smarter on Monday (September 25)

Coloradans are not going to back President Trump over the Denver Broncos. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Arizona Sen. John McCain may have torpedoed Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare, but the rhetoric out of Washington D.C. suggests that the Senate might still try to force a vote this week. Senate Republicans made some changes to the Graham-Cassidy legislation that is the topic of debate this week, but as the Washington Post reports, it’s probably not enough to get the bill across the finish line:

The Republican senators at the forefront of the latest effort to undo the Affordable Care Act proposed Monday sending more health-care dollars to the states of key holdouts, hoping to keep their bill viable as it faced a wall of resistance on Capitol Hill.

Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy (La.) and Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) have given Alaska and Maine — two of whose GOP senators, Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine), respectively — have expressed concerns but not yet declared how they would vote on the measure.

But there was little evidence Monday that the changes would secure enough votes for the legislation’s passage. Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), who is one of two GOP senators against the bill, reiterated his opposition to the updated measure, and the other lawmaker, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), has objected to it on the grounds that there has been no bipartisan outreach…

…A vote by Collins or any other senator would be enough to defeat the bill, since no Democrats are expected to support it. Republicans hold a 52-to-48 advantage in the Senate and can lose only two votes from their party and still pass legislation with the help of a tiebreaking vote from Vice President Pence.

 

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) was quoted by the New York Times on Friday telling his fellow caucus members that Republican “donors are furious” over the GOP’s inability to move healthcare legislation forward; Gardner was a guest on the CBS show “Face the Nation” on Sunday, where he was asked twice to comment about the idea that repealing Obamacare was more about appeasing major donors than anything else. Gardner did as Gardner does by ducking both questions.

 

► State Treasurer Walker Stapleton finally made his announcement that he will seek the Republican nomination for Governor in 2018.

 

► Governor John Hickenlooper responds to Republican legislators who have been voicing their opposition to a “special session” called for next week. In short: We’ll see you on Monday.

 

► Check out the latest episode of “The Get More Smarter Show,” featuring an in-depth interview with Joe Neguse, Democratic candidate for Congress in CD-2.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Jeffco’s 2016 Trump Campaign Chair also Backs a Coffman Primary Challenge

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Tom Tancredo y Mike Coffman.

Laurel Imer, the 2016 chair of the Trump campaign in Jefferson County, agrees with former Congressman Tom Tancredo that U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) should face a primary challenger.

“I’d love to see him replaced, no problem whatsoever,” Imer told me. “I’d love to see someone step in and take it all from him. It would make my heart happy.”

I questioned Imer about Coffman after reading her comment about Coffman beneath my recent post reporting Tancredo’s response to Coffman’s view that Tancredo may run for governor because Tancredo is “bored” and angry.

On Facebook, Imer wrote, “Coffman is an ass!”, and she didn’t back away from the comment this morning.

“Mike Coffman does not support the Colorado Republican Party,” Imer told me. “He does not support the President of the United States, and he is purposefully divisive against everything we stand for, and therefore my comment stands that he is an ass.”

“We’ve had personal confrontations with him, and it’s disgraceful,” she said.

Tancredo threw his support behind removing Coffman from office via a primary challenge during a KNUS 710-AM interview earlier this month, stating on air, “I would encourage people–I have encouraged people, to run against him in a primary, and if he lost, that would be okay with me because I would say, a conservative loses nothing if Mike Coffman loses his seat.”

 

Now You Must Hate The Broncos For Donald Trump

ORCHARD PARK, NY – SEPTEMBER 24: Denver Broncos players kneel during the American National Anthem before an NFL game against the Buffalo Bills on September 24, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

Denver7:

President Trump singled out NFL athletes on Friday, telling owners they should “fire” any player who kneels during the national anthem, while encouraging fans to walk out of stadiums.

The NFL players responded with a clear message on Sunday, protesting through a variety of methods before their games. Only 19 Broncos players stood for the anthem before their game against the Buffalo Bills, according to Denver7’s count. Multiple sources told Denver7 those kneeling were responding directly to Trump’s remarks before an audience in Alabama on Friday.

Among those protesting ahead of the game Sunday were star outside linebacker and Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller, who not only knelt but locked arms with inside linebacker Brandon Marshall.

“It was his choice of words. I felt like he was pointing out a few guys. I felt like it was an attack on the National Football League, talking about ratings and all this other stuff,” Miller said following the Broncos’ 26-16 loss. “This my life. I love everything about the NFL. I try not to get into any politics and social issues and just play ball. But I felt like it was an attack.”

Added Marshall, who took a knee for eight games last season to promote awareness of social injustices, “It’s hard because I am sure a lot of us took it personally. Some of the guys came and talked to me and said they were ready to do it. I think we all took it personally.”

9NEWS highlighted a comment from a fan they considered representative:

Today, the NFL died to me. I have been a loyal, faithful Denver Broncos fan for nearly 50 years! You turning your back on my flag? The flag that affords you the privilege to play the game you love on a field & earn millions of dollars doing it? I’m turning my back on you & just so you know, I can live without the NFL but the NFL cannot live without me & the millions of white fans that fill those stadiums! [Pols emphasis]

For our part, we hope that comment is not representative.

Although some NFL players including the Broncos’ Brandon Marshall have been engaging in this small but highly visible protest action for some time, following the lead of now-unemployed quarterback Colin Kaepernick, it was President Donald Trump’s suggestion that players should be fired for taking a knee during the national anthem that prompted the vastly larger protests seen yesterday. In addition to large numbers of players kneeling and/or locking arms during the national anthem, other teams waited until after the anthem had finished playing to take the field.

For Coloradans, for whom support for the Denver Broncos is as close to a universal cultural obligation as anything can be, this sudden escalation of tensions between NFL players and President Trump is either welcome or deeply off-putting. The players regard this as a chance not just to protest, but to show their huge fan bases that what’s happening is too serious for anyone with any kind of notoriety to remain quiet.

The knee-jerk backlash from affronted partisans is inevitable. But will that be followed by what the players are hoping to inspire–a crisis of conscience among the American public?

Because that’s what really matters, not how it goes over on Fox & Friends.

The Get More Smarter Show: September 23, 2017

(ICYMI…)

Today on the Get More Smarter Show: your hosts Jason Bane and Alan Franklin talk Tom Tancredo, who’s up and who’s down in the gubernatorial races on both sides, and break down the hype over the upcoming special session of the Colorado legislature. Then stay tuned for an in-depth interview with Joe Neguse​, a Democratic candidate for Congress in CD-2 with a fascinating life story.

To skip directly to the Neguse interview, jump to 12:05.

Thanks for watching! Catch up on previous Get More Smarter Show episodes here.

Governor To Senate Republicans: Clock Your Sorry Asses In

Senate President Kevin Grantham (R).

9NEWS’ Brandon Rittiman reports, Gov. John Hickenlooper has declined the “request” from Senate President Kevin Grantham to call off next week’s special session of the legislature to fix a drafting error in a fiscal stabilization bill pass this year that’s costing special tax districts millions of dollars–in more polite terms than we would:

Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado) is unwilling to call off the special session of the state legislature he scheduled to begin on October 2, his office tells 9NEWS.

In an interview Thursday for Balance of Power, Republican Senate President Kevin Grantham asked the governor to call off the special session, arguing that Republicans weren’t brought on board.

The special session is aimed at fixing a mistake lawmakers made in a tax bill earlier this year, which accidentally blocked so-called “special districts” like RTD from collecting sales tax on recreational marijuana.

“The governor has circled back with stakeholders who have reiterated the need for a special session,” the governor’s press secretary Jacque Montgomery wrote in a statement. “He certainly appreciates that a special session may be inconvenient for some legislators, [Pols emphasis] but special districts and their residents trying to get to work on a bus or visit a beloved cultural institution should not have to pay for an inadvertent mistake. The right thing to do is come together, fix it quickly, and be done with it.”

The bottom line here is that the governor has the power to order the Colorado General Assembly to convene, but once that happens the General Assembly can do what it wants–including adjourn if that’s what they choose. The Democratic-controlled House will of course take the action requested by the governor, but the obvious question is whether GOP Senate President Kevin Grantham will allow the fix legislation–in all likelihood the same bill introduced by fellow GOP Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg for the 2018 session–through his chamber. In the next few days, we expect affected stakeholders and editorial boards across the state to make it plain to Grantham that this is not an acceptable pretext to “starve the beast.” The argument that fixing this mistake “can wait” until January is not supported by special districts who asked the governor to intervene–and the cost of the special session is a tiny fraction of the revenue those districts would lose in that time.

What will break this logjam? Republicans realizing that the political cost of digging in their heels over a drafting error going into a tough midterm election exceeds any potential benefit. The attack this sets up against Republicans, that they are once again choosing political games over elementary responsibility, could be quite damaging in close Senate races next year.

And have we mentioned recently that Senate Republicans have no margin for error in 2018? Stay tuned.

Monday Open Thread

“Prevarication, like honesty, is reflexive, and soon becomes a sturdy habit, as reliable as truth.”

–Norman Mailer

Cory Gardner Faces The Nation, Straight-Up Lies


This morning, Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation to discuss the latest version of legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The questions from host John Dickerson zeroed in on a New York Times story published Friday that quotes Gardner, the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), bluntly telling fellow Republicans that they need to get in line on repealing the ACA in order to appease angry donors:

As more than 40 subdued Republican senators lunched on Chick-fil-A at a closed-door session last week, Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado painted a dire picture for his colleagues. Campaign fund-raising was drying up, he said, because of widespread disappointment among donors over the inability of the Republican Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act or do much of anything else.

Mr. Gardner is in charge of his party’s midterm re-election push, and he warned that donors of all stripes were refusing to contribute another penny until the struggling majority produced some concrete results.

“Donors are furious,” one person knowledgeable about the private meeting quoted Mr. Gardner as saying. “We haven’t kept our promise.”

…They said Mr. Gardner did not specifically urge approval of the so-called Graham-Cassidy health proposal that Republicans were considering bringing to the Senate floor next week. He was seen as speaking more generally and mainly looking forward to the coming debate over tax cuts…Gardner told his colleagues that a major Colorado contributor who played a role in his own campaign says party donors are reluctant to give any more money until congressional Republicans demonstrate results. [Pols emphasis]

In today’s appearance, Gardner repeatedly denies that this last-minute push to pass legislation repealing Obamacare had anything to do with donor pressure, despite donors being the principal focus of Gardner’s remarks to fellow Senators in the above NYT story. Gardner makes no attempt to explain the quotes attributed to him–he just denies that what they’re doing has anything to do “with donors” and reverts to the same script of anti-Obamacare taking points he has employed for years. Just as important, Gardner tacitly expresses support for the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill over and over, seriously undermining his repeated claims to local reporters last week that he is undecided on the bill.

And at 0:57 into the video above, Gardner makes a critical mistake in his rote talking points:

GARDNER: Half a million people in Colorado lost their health insurance–had their insurance plans cancelled, excuse me, [Pols emphasis] because they were told it wasn’t good enough…

In this statement, Gardner implicitly lets slip the fact that half a million people in Colorado did not “lose their health insurance” under the Affordable Care Act. There was a period of turnover in policies after the ACA took effect, with the overwhelming majority of Coloradans who received alleged “cancellation notices” in fact straightforwardly renewing their policies to updated versions that met the ACA’s required standards. The rate of uninsured in Colorado has dropped to record lows under the ACA, which is totally at odds with the misleading impression Gardner wants to leave by claiming these policies were “cancelled.” But Gardner cannot accurately state that “half a million people in Colorado lost their health insurance,” which he nearly did–and with that his whole case begins to fall apart. We’ve been saying this for years.

The fact that Gardner is plainly supportive of not just Graham-Cassidy in today’s interview, but every attempt to repeal the the Affordable Care Act he has had the chance to vote for, shows that every time he claimed this past week to be undecided when questioned by local reporters he’s been lying. If Graham-Cassidy does make it to a vote by the full Senate, which is less likely after John McCain came out against the bill late last week, the odds of Gardner voting “no” hover somewhere in the neighborhood of 0%–and anything less than a acknowledgement of that by Gardner at this point is an insult to everyone’s intelligence.

Not the first, though. Most of what we saw today was not new.

Enter Walker Stapleton

Treasurer Walker Stapleton made his long-awaited (understatement) entry into the GOP gubernatorial primary official this weekend, launching his campaign with a new website and a flattering story from Joey Bunch of the Phil Anschutz-owned Colorado Springs Gazette:

In 2011, when Standard and Poors downgraded U.S. credit ratings, county treasurers found themselves no longer able to invest their county’s tax dollars into U.S. bonds, costing counties across Colorado and the nation millions of dollars. Walker immediately recognized the real ramifications that this would have on Colorado communities, and in collaboration with county treasurers across the state, led the passage of bipartisan legislation to allow Colorado counties to continue to invest in U.S. Treasuries. Doing so saved Colorado communities millions of dollars.

Every single year that Walker has been charged with investing Coloradans’ tax dollars, the state has made money and beat investment benchmarks. None of these efforts were lost on Colorado voters, who in 2014 comfortably reelected Walker for a second term as State Treasurer.

His willingness to fight for the financial security of Coloradans has extended far beyond his official capacity as a statewide elected official. In 2013, Walker led the fight to defeat Amendment 66, a proposed billion-dollar tax increase that provided no safeguards for where Coloradans’ hard-earned tax dollars would have been allocated. The measure failed by a nearly two-to-one margin, reflecting what Walker has and continues to believe: at its core, Colorado is a fiscally conservative state with economically responsible voters.

In 2016, an even more fiscally irresponsible measure landed on Colorado ballots: Amendment 69 would have created a single-payer health care system in Colorado at a staggering $25 billion price tag, per year. Walker, understanding such a tax increase would have crushed Colorado families, went to battle for the state’s taxpayers, traveling the state to warn communities of the consequences of such a disastrous proposal. His message resonated with Colorado voters, who rejected Amendment 69 by a more than three-to-one margin.

You think we’re kidding about the aliens, don’t you?

Stapleton’s controversial fundraising strategy over the summer, which basically made a mockery of the rules meant to separate candidates from the “independent” supporting efforts on their behalf, made this weekend’s announcement much less suspenseful. With that said, it’s widely expected that Stapleton will lead the GOP field in the governor’s race, with a nationwide–or worldwide, maybe even including the aliens depending on your particular flavor of Bush family conspiracy theory–backfield of support.

Stapleton’s dark-horse stalking of the gubernatorial race is also a major reason why other candidates have found it difficult to raise funds and buy up the experienced campaign staff needed to win the gubernatorial primary. This has perhaps been hardest on Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler, whose candidacy has struggled badly in the vacuum created by Stapleton’s looming bid. The biggest remaining piece of the puzzle in this race is the still-uncertain entry of Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, who faces an uphill battle in a Republican primary expected to trend rightward on just about every issue. With Stapleton now official in the race, Coffman’s moment to “put up or shut up” has arrived.

The buzz for today? Stapleton and upstart millionaire Victor “Nice Trump” Mitchell. Slugging it out.

No Nibiru, just rural Democrats causing trouble.

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

So the world didn’t end today (yet). I  bet a 6th grader a chocolate bar that we’d still have class Monday.  His older brother had told him for sure that September 23 was it. Young students are all on Facebook, gobbling up and sharing every bit of fake news and conspiracy theory out there.

The eclipse, the hurricanes, and the earthquakes proved that doomsday was at hand.

This didn’t happen. Nibiru hitting earth, debunked on Snopes.com

My more sciencey students rushed to debunk this: “If there was a planet about to hit the earth, we would have seen it coming! Planets don’t just jump out of their orbits and go wherever they want! NASA says it’s not true. ”

I love that they’re paying attention in science class, and using evidence-based arguments.

But, no Nibiru in sight. Just another day, living the dream in northeast Colorado. Something else surprising is happening, though….Democrats are organizing in Northeast Colorado, and in rural counties all over the state.

At Octoberfest, it was chilly and drizzly. Felt like fall.  The Morgan County Democrats were boothed next to the American Legion, so we had lots of opportunities to chat while we waited for people to stop by.

I quickly found that we could talk about anything as long as I didn’t directly criticize the President. They could criticize him, though, and did. “Needs to take a Speech 101 class,” said a spry old gentleman who later showed off his world-class polka moves. “He’s embarrassing us with all the tweeting,” confided a lifelong Republican.

Democrats were zeroing in on us, too. “You have a booth? Here? How many Democrats are in Morgan County?” Turns out, about 3,000 registered Dems to about 6,000 registered Republicans, with ~4,500 unaffiliated. Dems have kept rather quiet until now, what with that 2:1 disadvantage.

But those days are gone. Dems had big, loud, crowded floats in all of the recent town parades.

(more…)

Colorado Election System Was Targeted by Russian Hackers

President Trump with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on May 10 at the White House.

Ernest Luning has some breaking news this afternoon on Russian election hacking attempts in Colorado:

Russian hackers tried without success to get into Colorado’s computerized voter system before last year’s election, officials with the Colorado secretary of state’s office said Friday.

The Department of Homeland Security informed Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ office in a phone call before noon that Colorado was among states targeted last summer by hackers earlier identified as Russians — contrary to what DHS officials told Williams earlier this year — but stressed that the hackers didn’t get into the state’s electronic voter data system, Gary Zimmerman, chief of staff for the secretary of state’s office, told Colorado Politics.

“They confirmed we are one of the 21 states where intelligence sources — they didn’t tell us what those were — advised they detected scanning activity here in Colorado,” Zimmerman said. “The analogy would be if somebody went to your home and jiggled the windows and the door handles to see if any were unlocked. That’s what scanning is. At the same time, DHS also confirmed there is absolutely no evidence they penetrated our systems or network.”

The DHS official who informed Zimmerman of the attempted breach only found out Colorado was among the targeted states “an hour or so before we did,” Zimmerman said. “Apparently this information was known in September or October of lat year,” he added, although he couldn’t say whether anyone within DHS had that knowledge.

We’ll update this story as necessary; here’s more from NPR on how and why DHS today informed the 21 states about hacking concerns.

Get More Smarter on Friday (September 22)

Welcome to the first day of Autumn. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Arizona Sen. John McCain appears to have torpedoed the last best hope for Republicans hoping to repeal Obamacare before a budget reconciliation deadline of Sept. 30. From the Huffington Post:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Friday that he doesn’t support the latest Obamacare repeal bill, all but ensuring Republicans’ last-ditch effort to gut the Affordable Care Act is dead in the water.

“I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal,” McCain said in a statement.

“I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried,” he said. “Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will affect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it. Without a full [Congressional Budget Office] score, which won’t be available by the end of the month, we won’t have reliable answers to any of those questions.”

As multiple news outlets are reporting, McCain’s statement of opposition to the Graham-Lindsey healthcare bill all but ensures the legislation’s demise. The major flaws in Graham-Cassidy were too much for McCain to ignore. While this is another blow to Senate Republican leadership, it also provides a convenient exit strategy for Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), who had absurdly claimed that he was “undecided” on the legislation when he is more worried about angering major Republican donors.

Coloradans such as Sarah Metsch can also exhale — for the moment, anyway.

 

► Colorado Republican opposition to a “special session” called by Gov. John Hickenlooper is getting more and more ridiculous by the day.

 

► The Washington Post reports on escalating rhetoric between President Trump and North Korea. If you’re looking for a silver lining here, at least Americans are learning a new word.

 

► The Trump administration is making changes to its “Don’t Call it a Muslim Travel Ban. From the New York Times:

President Trump’s ban on travelers from six majority-Muslim countries is set to be replaced as soon as this weekend with more targeted restrictions on visits to the United States that would vary by country, officials familiar with the plans said on Friday.

The new restrictions, aimed at preventing security threats from entering the United States, could go into effect on Sunday after the conclusion of a 90-day policy review undertaken as part of the administration’s original travel ban. Though the restrictions would differ for each country, people living in the targeted nations could be prevented from traveling to the United States or could face increased scrutiny as they seek to obtain a visa.

As part of the review, administration officials said that the Department of Homeland Security initially identified more than six nations that were failing to comply with security standards that could block terrorists from entering the United States. Officials notified the governments in those nations that travel to the United States could be severely restricted if they did not increase those standards. It was not clear which countries would be targeted under the new restrictions or exactly how many would be affected.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

BREAKING: McCain Kills “Graham-Cassidy”

Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham.

New York Times, so much for that:

“I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal,” Mr. McCain said. “I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried. Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will affect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it.”

It’s very difficult to see how the latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act known as the Graham-Cassidy bill can pass without the support of Sen. John McCain–and that’s before other swing Senators like Sen. Lisa Murkowski follow his lead, which is likely now. McCain’s move also puts highly vulnerable Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada in a very bad position going into next year’s elections after Heller backed this latest effort.

And with that, once again, it’s all over but the shouting. We’ve certainly learned our lesson about calling “Trumpcare” really most sincerely dead through more mulligan attempts than we would have predicted. But for a host of procedural and political reasons, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act is now, well, deader than ever before.

Keep your zombie-hunting gear handy though.