There are 355 days remaining in 2017. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. 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…
► President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for Attorney General is facing hearings on Capitol Hill today. Among the early highlights of the confirmation hearing for Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions is an admission from Sessions that he would have to recuse himself on anything related to criminal investigations of Hillary Clinton.
Elsewhere, several Colorado groups are calling on Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) to support the interests of Colorado over those of the Republican Party in confirmation hearings for members of Trump’s cabinet.
► It turns out that some Republican lawmakers are actually a little concerned about the idea of repealing Obamacare without a replacement program in its place. As the Washington Post reports:
Republican leaders on Capitol Hill are scrambling to ease growing concerns among GOP lawmakers about rushing to repeal the federal health-care law before plans for a replacement take firmer shape, addressing complications to the effort to deliver on one of the party’s signature campaign promises.
In the Senate, where Republicans are using a budget package to move swiftly ahead with repeal, leaders are looking at ways to adjust their plans to address the skittishness that GOP senators have voiced in recent days.
The legislative crossroads highlights a key dilemma facing Republicans as they look to make good on their long-stated goal of shredding the law known as Obamacare: Although there is broad consensus in the party about doing away with the law, there is far less agreement about what a substitute should look like — or even how quickly one needs to be in place.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has been a leading voice over concerns that “repeal without replacement” could be a disaster for millions of Americans and the economy in general.
► One of Donald Trump’s most prominent campaign promises was to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and make Mexico pay for the construction. Trump seems to be backing off this plan, since Mexico has told him to go jump in a lake, and now other Republicans — including Colorado’s own Rep. Mike Coffman — are acknowledging that this whole proposal was nonsense from the beginning.
“I never thought that would happen,” said Rep. Coffman in an interview with CNN. “I thought it was a gimmick.”
A “gimmick?” That’s probably not what millions of Trump voters thought of the proposal from the GOP Presidential nominee.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► Congressman Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) says he is totally a huge fan of protecting public lands…nevermind the fact that Tipton is supporting a measure that would make it easier for the federal government to sell off public lands.
► Score one victory in the battle over “fake news.”
► Troops from Fort Carson in Colorado Springs are among the U.S. forces being deployed to Eastern Europe in a show of force directed toward Russia.
► When the 2017 Colorado legislative session begins on Wednesday, it will consider a number of issues left over from 2016.
When the legislature officially convenes tomorrow, the Durango area will be represented by Sen. Don Coram, who was selected by a vacancy committee to replace Ellen Roberts, who is stepping down early. Marc Catlin of Montrose will replace Coram in the State House.
► Colorado Senate Republicans spent the last several days reaching out to constituents hoping for suggestions on legislative proposals in 2017. As the Colorado Springs Gazette reports, what they got instead was a bunch of responses from the progressive side of the aisle:
As Colorado Senate Republicans on Monday touted a new web page asking the public for feedback on government regulation, left-leaning groups hijacked the portal with retaliatory comments.
Incoming Senate President Kevin Grantham of Cañon City and Republican Majority Leader Chris Holbert of Parker told reporters Monday that the new forum would be used to identify laws that should be repealed or delayed.
“We hear that word a lot when we’re talking with groups of constituents, we need ‘repeal.’ OK, tell us what those issues are. And that list has grown,” Holbert said.
“We’re going to start looking at those (comments)… We’re trying to gather those ideas from people in Colorado. It’s fascinating, because it’s all across the board.”
► El Paso County Republican Chair Jeff Hays is making a run at becoming the State GOP Chair.
► Former U.S. Attorney John Walsh is joining the staff of law firm WillmerHale, which counts Ken Salazar and Tom Strickland among its senior members.
► The “G-Line” light rail connection from Wheat Ridge to Denver is being delayed, again, because of problems with the software regulating street crossings along the rail line.
► Pueblo County Commissioner Liane “Buffie” McFadyen, a longtime fixture at the state legislature, officially ended her time in Pueblo County government on Monday. Democrat Garrison Ortiz defeated McFadyen in a Democratic Primary last June.
► Beth McCann will be sworn-in today as Denver’s first female District Attorney.
► Chris Hansen, a confidant of Sen. Cory Gardner and the new Executive Director of the NRSC, apparently believes that 2010 and 2014 were tough political years for Republicans. He must be thinking of some other 2010 and 2014.
► Donald Trump’s Twitter Account, which may or may not be making autonomous decisions about the free world, is mad at Meryl Streep. As Eugene Robinson writes for the Washington Post, Trump’s thin-skinned reactions on Twitter are a sign of weakness.
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivers his final “State of the State” speech today as one of the most unpopular sitting governors in recent memory.
► Mr. Ivanka Trump will officially become a senior White House advisor.
► The Clemson Tigers defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide on Monday to win the national championship in college football.