We know that there are probably a number of days this year that have already seemed like they would never end; today really is the longest day of the year. 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…
Senate Republicans don’t yet have an actual healthcare bill, let alone a score from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and a majority of GOP Senators reportedly still have no idea what might be included in any potential legislation…but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is moving ahead with plans for a potential floor vote by the end of next week. The Washington Post elaborates on the details:
…the secrecy adopted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is explicitly designed to shield the Senate GOP health-care bill from as much debate and public scrutiny as possible. The text of the bill will be available for all of one week before it is likely to be voted upon, after having been drafted in such secrecy that even Republican senators complained that they were being kept in the dark. There have not been, and apparently will not be, any hearings before the vote.
What’s more, lawmakers and the public may have only two or three days to absorb the details and significance of the CBO’s conclusions. Given that this will be the most rich and detailed empirical analysis available of the bill’s likely impact on tens of millions of people and one-sixth of the U.S. economy, you’d think this document would be deserving of extensive consideration in all its complexity.
But this rolling scandal doesn’t end there. This compressed schedule is not only designed to limit debate on the bill. As the Journal reports, the vote is being rushed for the express purpose of getting it done before the July 4 recess, because the failure to do so “could open Republican lawmakers up to pressure from constituents,” some of whom might be “concerned about losing their health coverage.” Thus, the schedule is also explicitly designed to shield lawmakers from public exposure and questioning about the immense human toll the measure they are considering could have — before they vote on it.
A new CBS News poll finds that the public broadly wants a more open process. Americans say, 73 percent to 25 percent, that Senate Republicans should discuss their plans publicly rather than privately. More than three-quarters of independents agree.
Vox.com has more analysis on how the Senate can potentially succeed with their secret plan…as well as several scenarios under which it will fail miserably.
The satirical news site The Onion also hits the nail on the head:
► Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is among the original 13 Republicans appointed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to craft a Senate version of Trumpcare, but Gardner clearly doesn’t want to talk about any of this. The big question for Gardner relates to whether he will ultimately support legislation that could gut Medicaid coverage for hundreds of thousands of Coloradans. You can call potential Medicaid cuts whatever you want — a “glide path to stability” is a favorite explanation of Gardner’s — but large-scale Medicaid cuts are not going to go over well with the 1.4 million Coloradans who rely on it for healthcare.
And as we said yesterday in this space, it’s also a fair question to ask whether or not Gardner even understands whatever secret legislation the Senate is crafting.
Elsewhere, Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-Denver) outlined many of the problems with the proposed GOP healthcare bill in a press conference on Monday. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is also becoming increasingly outspoken about Republican plans for Trumpcare; Hick says the process taking place is “kind of crazy.”
► It is fitting that one of the longest special elections in recent memory will be decided on the longest day of the year. The New York Times has an extensive preview of Election Day in Georgia’s sixth congressional district.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► A controversial late-session bill related to charter school funding could be coming back to bite one of its chief supporters. State Rep. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood) is getting a public thanks from the Koch Brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity (AFP) for her work on HB-1375, as Joey Bunch reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:
The conservative, tax-hating political operation called Americans for Prosperity has done the unexpected: lauded two Democrats in the Colorado statehouse, Rep. Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood and Sen. Angela Williams of Denver.
The two will be thanked in an upcoming ad campaign, along with two Republicans, Sens. Owen Hill of Colorado Springs and Rep. Lang Sias of Arvada, for sponsoring of House Bill 1375, which divides up public school funding equitably, funding charter schools the same as any other public school…
…Everyone else getting an attaboy from Americans for Prosperity is a Republican: Sens. Tim Neville of Littleton, Jack Tate of Centennial, Beth Martinez-Humenik of Thornton, Chris Holbert of Parker, along with House Minority Leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock.
This is some high-grade political trolling from AFP, which certainly understands that thanking Pettersen for her work on a charter school funding measure will not be helpful in her Democratic Primary bid in CD-7.
► Colorado’s most well-known political couple is calling it quits. Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) and Attorney General Cynthia Coffman announced Monday that they have agreed to file for divorce after 12 years of marriage. The Coffmans’ relationship has long been…we’ll say “unusual.”
► Several left-leaning political groups in Colorado are releasing reviews of the 2017 legislative session called “Colorado Values Report Cards.”
► White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer apparently has had enough of the job and is seeking both a replacement and a new role for himself. As CNN notes, media frustration over a lack of transparency in the Trump administration is boiling over:
White House press secretary Sean Spicer will return to the briefing room on Tuesday to address reporters on-camera for the first time in eight days.
His on-camera return to the lectern comes as frustrations about press access at the White House have come to a head. Spicer took questions for less than a half-hour on Monday, refusing to allow reporters to record audio or video of the briefing while rebuffing a series of questions about the most pressing topics of the day.
► Cathy Proctor of the Denver Business Journal reports on a meaty sale (sorry, but that pun was just too easy) that is particularly important in Colorado:
JBS SA — the world’s largest meat packer, whose U.S. division is based in Greeley — is offering for sale assets of its subsidiary, Greeley-based JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding LLC, the world’s largest cattle feeding operation.
The announcement today is part of a larger divestment plan that the company hopes will raise $1.8 billion to cut debt and reduce leverage, Reuters reported.
► Vice President Mike Pence will be in Colorado Springs on Friday to speak at a 40th anniversary celebration for “Focus on the Family.” Pence and former FOF leader James “Spongedob” Dobson are old pals.
► President Trump’s approval ratings remain at historically-low levels. The good news for the big orange guy is that those numbers are holding fairly steady this week.
► Colorado voters may get to decide on the first measure in the country that would set a minimum age for purchasing smartphones. Because there aren’t any more important things happening these days.
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► “Little Marco” (Florida Sen. Marco Rubio) and President Trump appear to have decided to let 2016 campaign bygones be bye-gone.
► We’ve said it many times before here at Colorado Pols, and it bears repeating once more: Neither Republicans nor Democrats have a monopoly in the “stupid supporters” market.
► Alan Salazar, Chief of Staff for Denver Mayor Michael Hancock (and a former top adviser to Gov. John Hickenlooper) is throwing some shade at organizers of a messy 4/20 rally in Denver in April.