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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
The worse-than-expected Congressional Budget Office forecast seems certain to force meaningful changes to the Obamacare repeal bill now under consideration in the House.
An alarm bell for GOP leadership: Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) is exactly the kind of mainstream conservative whose support House Speaker Paul Ryan needs to secure passage of his pending legislation. After reading the CBO report last night, he came out against the plan…
…Senate Republicans are making it increasingly clear that the House bill, as presently constituted, will be dead on arrival in their chamber.
The Congressional Budget Office estimate that Trumpcare would leave 24 million Americans without health insurance might have actually been generous compared to a separate analysis from the White House. As Politico reports:
A White House analysis of the GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare shows even steeper coverage losses than the projections by the Congressional Budget Office, according to a document viewed by POLITICO on Monday.
The preliminary analysis from the Office of Management and Budget forecast that 26 million people would lose coverage over the next decade, versus the 24 million CBO estimates. [Pols emphasis] The White House has made efforts to discredit the forecasts from the nonpartisan CBO.
► An increasing number of prominent Republicans are backing away from Trumpcare in the wake of Monday’s news (“Let’s say the CBO is half-right; that should be cause for concern,’’ said Sen. Lindsey Graham), but Congressional leaders are still trying to convince members to choke down this shit sandwich. The Republican-aligned “American Action Network” is running advertisements praising Congressional Republicans — including Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) — for committing to support the Trumpcare disaster. On Monday, Coffman said that he supports the GOP healthcare bill “in its current form.”
► Conversations at the State Capitol about a potential sales tax increase for road construction are getting more convoluted as conservative Republicans balk at the idea. From the Denver Post:
Here’s the best indication to date: The No. 2 Republican in the state Senate said Monday he is proposing an alternative to the measure unveiled last week by the Senate’s No. 1 Republican.
Senate President Pro Tem Jerry Sonnenberg calls his effort “supplemental” but the proposal is a clear alternative to the one put forward by Senate President Kevin Grantham and House Speaker Crisanta Duran.
Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, said his draft bill would not increase taxes and would use $100 million in existing state dollars to cover a much smaller $1.3 billion bond, which is only enough to improve small local roads. [Pols emphasis]
Way to get a handle on your caucus, Sen. Grantham.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► State lawmakers are making changes to Colorado’s “grow-your-own marijuana” laws. As the Greeley Tribune reports:
The nation’s most generous grow-your-own marijuana laws came closer Monday to being curbed in Colorado, where the state House advanced a pair of bills aimed at cracking down on people who grow weed outside the commercial, taxed system.
One bill would set a statewide limit of 16 marijuana plants per house, down from a current limit of 99 plants before registering with state health authorities…
…The other bill makes it a crime to grow recreational pot for someone else, effectively ending Colorado’s marijuana co-ops.
Both bill still need to make it through the State Senate before moving on to the desk of Gov. John Hickenlooper.
► Attorney General Jeff Sessions remains coy about whether or not the government will enforce federal marijuana regulations.
► When President Trump accused former President Obama of secretly “wiretapping” his 2016 campaign, he was speaking…metaphorically, or something. As CNN reports, the White House continues to walk back Trump’s baseless accusations:
The White House on Monday walked back a key point of President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated allegation that President Barack Obama wiretapped his phones in Trump Tower during the 2016 election.
Namely, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump wasn’t referring to wiretapping when he tweeted about wiretapping.
“I think there’s no question that the Obama administration, that there were actions about surveillance and other activities that occurred in the 2016 election,” Spicer said. “The President used the word wiretaps in quotes to mean, broadly, surveillance and other activities.”…
…Spicer’s comments came on the same day as the deadline for the Justice Department to provide evidence to the House Intelligence Committee to back up Trump’s claim. The White House has so far refused to provide any evidence, and numerous former officials have denied the existence of any warrant to wiretap Trump Tower.
A week earlier, Spicer said Trump’s tweet “speaks for itself” and declined to provide any further explanation.
Ladies and gentlemen, the office of the President of the United States. [sigh]
► Congratulations to Marshall Zelinger, now at 9News, for winning a Walter Cronkite Award because of his work on the Jon Keyser signature fraud stories last spring and summer.
► U.S. Attorneys offices around the country are scrambling after Friday’s surprise announcement from the Trump administration that every single U.S. Attorney is being pushed out of office.
► Construction defects reform just gets more and more complicated every day.
► State Rep. Mike Foote (D-Lafayette) is proposing a legislative change that would increase the minimum setback distance from schools for oil and gas drilling operations.
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► The Republican-controlled State Senate vetoed legislation aimed at preventing corporal punishment in Colorado public schools and daycare centers. From the Denver Post:
The Senate Judiciary Committee, on a party-line vote, defeated House Bill 1038, sponsored by state Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, an Arvada Democrat.
Republican members didn’t explain their vote.
► A State House committee axed a proposal that intended to make Daylight Saving Time permanent in Colorado.
► Get those NCAA Tournament brackets filled out…and please learn how to correctly pronounce the word “tournament.”