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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said publicly Tuesday that she wouldn’t be able to support the GOP health care legislation after the CBO score revealed the high number of people who would lose insurance.
“I plan to vote NO on the current #AHCA bill. As written the plan leaves too many from my #SoFla district uninsured,” the Florida congresswoman wrote in two consecutive tweets. “As #AHCA stands, it will cut much needed help for #SoFla’s poor + elderly populations. Need a plan that will do more to protect them.”
Republican Rep. Leonard Lance, a moderate from New Jersey who Democrats believe will be vulnerable in 2018, told CNN that he believes the House bill will fail in the Senate. As he eyes his own reelection campaign next year, Lance said he doesn’t want to support a legislation that would be rejected by his Republican colleagues across the Capitol.
“I do not want to vote on a bill that has no chance of passing over in the Senate,” Lance said. “The CBO score has modified the dynamics.”
In light of the new CBO report, Lance said House leaders must make changes to their existing bill and only bring to the floor a version that can survive in the Senate.
It’s not difficult to see the political calculations taking place here. Skittish House Republicans are going to oppose Trumpcare as written because they’ll say that it can’t pass the Senate. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans will demand changes to the bill and just refuse to do anything unless/until the legislation passes through the House.
For a terrific breakdown of Trumpcare, check out this page from the Denver Post.
► Allies of President Trump, meanwhile, are warning the big orange man that the GOP healthcare legislation is doomed and are encouraging the President to cut bait before he gets sucked too far into the debate (we’d argue that this has already happened, but, whatever). From the Washington Post:
A simmering rebellion of conservative populists loyal to President Donald Trump is further endangering the GOP health-care push, with a chorus of influential voices suspicious of the proposal warning the president to abandon it.
From headlines at Breitbart to chatter on Fox News Channel and right-wing talk radio, as well as among friends who have Trump’s ear, the message has been blunt: The plan is being advanced by congressional Republican leaders is deeply flawed – and, at worst, a political trap. [Pols emphasis]
Trump’s allies worry that he is jeopardizing his presidency by promoting the bill spearheaded by House Speaker Paul Ryan, Wis., arguing that it would fracture Trump’s coalition of working- and middle-class voters, many of them older and subsisting on federal aid.
It is a bit strange to hear Republicans referring to the American Health Care Act as a “political trap.” If it is indeed a trap, it is one that the GOP set for itself.
► Fringe right-wing interest groups in Colorado are demonstrating that they are absolutely not interested in any sort of constructive outcome on, well, anything.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► Republican State Senators in the Colorado legislature narrowly defeated a “rolling coal” bill earlier this month, but a new version is making its way through the Capitol — this time with Republican sponsorship.
► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) suggests working around the Congressional Budget Office if stupid facts keep getting in the way of legislation.
► J.J. Ament, a former Republican candidate for State Treasurer, is the new CEO of the Metro Denver Economic Corporation. Longtime CEO Tom Clark is retiring.
► Working in the White House sounds…awful. As Politico reports:
A culture of paranoia is consuming the Trump administration, with staffers increasingly preoccupied with perceived enemies — inside their own government.
In interviews, nearly a dozen White House aides and federal agency staffers described a litany of suspicions: that rival factions in the administration are trying to embarrass them, that civil servants opposed to President Donald Trump are trying to undermine him, and even that a “deep state” of career military and intelligence officials is out to destroy them.
Aides are going to great lengths to protect themselves. They’re turning off work-issued smartphones and putting them in drawers when they arrive home from work out of fear that they could be used to eavesdrop. They’re staying mum in meetings out of concern that their comments could be leaked to the press by foes.
Many are using encrypted apps that automatically delete messages once they’ve been read, or are leaving their personal cellphones at home in case their bosses initiate phone checks of the sort that press secretary Sean Spicer deployed last month to try to identify leakers on his team.
► Here’s a candidate for least-surprising news development of 2017: There is NO EVIDENCE to support Donald Trump’s claims that former President Obama was wiretapping his 2016 campaign. From “The Fix”:
Against such strong denials from people in position to know, the White House has offered up, well, not much. Trump has largely gone silent since making the allegations 10-ish days ago. His White House senior aides have been backpedaling; the latest being press secretary Sean Spicer’s decidedly-odd argument that “wire tapping” and wire tapping are simply not the same thing. (Breaking news: They are!)
As I wrote at the time that Trump leveled these very serious allegations: The burden of proof was on him. To suggest a former president orchestrated a listening program using the tools and resources of the federal government during a heated national campaign is a big charge. To do so without providing evidence — then or now — is eye-popping.
The repercussions for such charges should be serious. After all, this is conspiracy theorizing at the top levels of government. But, they almost certainly won’t be as a Republican Congress is unlikely to scold a Republican president so new to the White House. And Trump, if past is prologue, will somehow declare victory and move on.
► How would Colorado Judge Neil Gorsuch rule on immigration issues if confirmed to the Supreme Court? Based on his past rulings, it’s hard to say.
► Voters in the Netherlands head to the polls today to choose between candidates for Prime Minister and other offices. There are 28 different political parties represented on the Dutch ballot.
Why should you care about any of this? Because the Dutch election is being watched closely as a bellwether of bigger elections to come, in France and Germany particularly. Will populist sentiment continue to rule the day, or has President Trump‘s first months in office been enough to frighten people away from that idea?
► Colorado defenders of recreational marijuana laws, unite!
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► The Justice Department has charged Russian spies in connection with the 2014 hack of Yahoo! that revealed information from 500 million email accounts.
► A State Senate committee has approved legislation for debate in the full Senate that seeks to modernize public records access.
► 9News interviews Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett, who is considering making a run for Attorney General in Colorado.
► President Trump is mad at Snoop Dogg.