Which country will Sen. Cory Gardner visit next week so that he doesn’t have to show his face in Colorado? 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…
► If you’re looking for other reasons for why the GOP healthcare bill is in so much trouble, you won’t be lacking for ideas. Greg Sargent of the Washington Post singles out an interesting moment on Capitol Hill when Republican Senators first learned of the devastating CBO score on their proposed legislation…and were curiously surprised that the news was so bleak:
If GOP Senators expected the Senate bill to achieve “greater distance” from the House bill, then they were either not reckoning with the fundamental underlying realities of what GOP health reform is trying to accomplish, or they were hoping for some magical formula to materialize that would obscure those realities from view. Here is the basic math: If you are going to cut Obamacare’s taxes on rich people by hundreds of billions of dollars, you are going to have to roll back an enormous chunk of the law’s massive coverage expansion…
…Yet the Post report indicates that Republican Senators were surprised to learn that the CBO concluded that their bill would indeed carry out this trade-off. And they responded by dividing into two camps — one that would attack the purveyor of dispassionate, empirical analysis that had confirmed this to be the case; and one that thought this was futile, because the argument could not be won [Pols emphasis], once voters back home learned how many people would lose coverage under their bill. But why did they expect any other outcome in the first place?
Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is firmly entrenched in the first camp listed above; Gardner is desperately trying to brush off the CBO score as unimportant.
► A separate story in the Washington Post offers a simpler explanation for the GOP’s healthcare woes:
White House officials and Trump loyalists saw a president diving in to patch up strife and save legislation that had been curbed in the Senate. Some seasoned senators, however, saw a president unable to grasp policy details or the obstacles ahead, and talked with each other after the gathering about what they saw as a bizarre scene. That Republican disconnect has been a constant ever since the Senate health bill was unveiled…
…Instead of moving happily toward passage of the party’s rallying cry, Republicans are frozen and unsure of the political cost of passing the Senate bill — especially with swing voters who in many states have come to rely on aspects of Obamacare and its expansion of Medicaid.
As Politico reports, Senate Republican leaders are still trying to salvage their healthcare bill by offering billions of dollars in sweeteners to address the opioid crisis. Critics of such proposals include Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich, who has said that a few billion dollars for short-term opioid treatment is a “drop in the bucket” compared the the massive financial losses that would be inflicted by decimating Medicaid budgets.
Here in Colorado, Republicans are having plenty of trouble trying to figure out how to explain why the GOP healthcare legislation is not terrible. Congressman Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) either doesn’t understand the healthcare bills — or he is flat-out lying to his constituents — when he says that nobody who qualifies for Medicaid will lose that coverage. Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) keeps peddling nonsense talking points about rising costs under Obamacare — while failing to mention the fact that insurance rates would rise significantly more under the Republican healthcare proposals.
► As the New York Times explains, we finally have a bit more clarification on how President Trump’s Muslim travel ban will be implemented:
Stepsiblings and half-siblings are allowed, but not nieces or nephews. Sons- and daughters-in-law are in, but brothers- and sisters-in-law are not. Parents, including in-laws, are considered “close family,” but grandparents are not.
The State Department issued new guidelines Wednesday night to American embassies and consulates on applying a limited travel ban against foreign visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries. Enforcement of the guidelines will begin at 8 p.m. Eastern on Thursday.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► A group of protestors with disabilities have been camping out at the Denver office of Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) since late Tuesday in an effort to persuade Gardner to oppose the Republican Senate healthcare bill. While the protestors have not been asked to move, Sen. Gardner has also said absolutely nothing about their presence.
This group of protestors can also take some comfort in the fact that Gardner’s staff isn’t (yet) turning up the thermostat in the room to literally sweat them out.
► Donald Trump’s Twitter account, which may or may not be making autonomous decisions about the fate of the free world, hit a new level of depravity on Thursday.
► Two immigration bills may come up for a vote in the House of Representatives this week before Congress takes its July 4th recess.
► The Colorado Supreme Court will have to reconsider a ruling on a proposed voucher program in the Douglas County School District. It is quite possible, however, that the court will come to the same decision as it had in the past in finding the program unconstitutional.
► As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, national Republicans are giddy about the idea of trying to stir up Democratic dissent with so many candidates now seeking to run against incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Coffman in 2018.
► A Trump administration rollback of water regulations has many Colorado Republicans cheering — while environmental groups express serious concerns.
► Ten Colorado lawmakers will hold their first meeting of a new school finance committee in just a few weeks. As Chalkbeat Colorado reports:
The legislative group tasked with studying and making recommendations about how the state pays for public education includes former teachers and superintendents, a former State Board of Education member and a practicing charter school lawyer…
…The committee was formed against a backdrop of fear that the state’s schools would face deep budget cuts next school year. However, lawmakers at the last minute averted putting the state’s schools in an even deeper financial hole.
Still, lawmakers from both parties and members of the state’s education community agree the funding system is outdated and in need of a massive overhaul. The state last made significant changes to the system in 1994.
► For the first time in more than two decades, Colorado is among the top 10 states for attracting tourists. From 9News:
The state drew 82.4 million visitors who spent $19.7 billion last year and generated $1.2 billion in local and state tax revenue, according to a trio of studies released Wednesday by the Colorado Tourism Office. That represented a boost of 6 percent in visitors over 2015 and an increase in spending of 2.7 percent.
Maybe more importantly, according to CTO executive director Cathy Ritter, the state was able to attract marketable leisure travelers — those tourists who could vacation anywhere but choose Colorado and spend 65 percent more per trip than people who come to the state to visit friends and relatives — at a rate 9.3 percent higher than the previous year. The increase in that dynamic was more than twice that of the national average of 4 percent.
► Colorado may have legalized recreational and medicinal marijuana, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still break the law by illegally trafficking the funky weed.
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► Louisiana Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy has figured out how babies are made.
► A Colorado oil and gas production company is taking heat from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a rise in air pollution near its drilling sites. Denver-based PDC Energy says that it is working with local and national authorities to address the problems.
► There is some science behind President Trump’s bizarrely-aggressive handshake routines.