Congress doesn’t return to work until next week, but President Trump’s tax reform proposal is already in big trouble. 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…
► Whether it is a “hurricane” or a “tropical storm,” Harvey continues to batter Texas and now Louisiana; the storm made its second landfall on Wednesday morning, just west of the town of Cameron, Louisiana. As the New York Times reports:
Five days after the pummeling began — a time when big storms have usually blown through, the sun has come out, and evacuees have returned home — Tropical Storm Harvey refused to go away, battering southeast Texas even more on Tuesday, spreading the destruction into Louisiana and shattering records for rainfall and flooding.
Along 300 miles of Gulf Coast, people poured into shelters by the thousands, straining their capacity; as heavy rain kept falling, some rivers were still rising and floodwater in some areas had not crested yet; and with whole neighborhoods flooded, others were covered in water for the first time.
Officials cautioned that the full-fledged rescue-and-escape phase of the crisis, usually finished by now, would continue, and that they still had no way to gauge the scale of the catastrophe — how many dead, how many survivors taking shelter inland or still hunkered down in flooded communities, and how many homes destroyed.
The Mayor of Port Arthur, outside of Houston, said on social media this morning that “our whole city is underwater right now.”
► While the response to Harvey is still focused on search and rescue operations, there is a growing political storm brewing for Republican Members of Congress from Texas who opposed federal relief for Hurricane Sandy (which hit the Northeastern U.S. in 2013). New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is not holding back in his criticism of the bunch, as CNN reports:
“I have no sympathy for this — and I see Sen. Cruz and it’s disgusting to me that he stands in a recovery center with victims standing behind him as a backdrop,” he told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day.” “He’s still repeating the same reprehensible lies about what happened in Sandy (and) called on Congress Wednesday morning to work fast on a bill to aid Texas after Hurricane Harvey.”
Cruz said Monday he voted against a 2013 Sandy relief bill because it was “a $50 billion bill filled with pork and unrelated spending that wasn’t hurricane relief.”…
…A Washington Post fact check, however, has disputed Cruz’s claim.
“It is wildly incorrect to claim that the bill was ‘filled with unrelated pork.’ The bill was largely aimed at dealing with Sandy, along with relatively minor items to address other or future disasters,” the Post fact check concluded.
“Let me be very clear about this: Sen. Cruz was playing politics in 2012, trying to make himself look like the biggest conservative in the world,” Christie said. “And what I said at the time, both to him and everybody else, was if you represent a coastal state, don’t do this because your day is going to come and you’re going to expect people to help you.”
► President Trump has promised to end the DACA immigration program enacted under former President Obama, but as Politico reports, Trump has some conflicting emotions on the idea:
The president has waffled between his campaign pledge to kill the policy known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, and his sympathy for the nearly 800,000 people whose lives could be upended if it’s repealed, aides say.
As an unofficial Sept. 5 deadline looms, there are growing signs that Trump will decide to phase out the program. But administration officials say he remains conflicted, trying to find a middle ground that balances his instinct to be tough on immigration and his personal feelings.
Trump’s final decision could drastically change the lives of the country’s “Dreamers.” Participants in the program — which permits some people who were brought to the United States as children to live and work in the country temporarily — worry they could lose their jobs or be subject to possible deportation if the program is suddenly ended.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► President Trump likes to say that Obamacare is in various states of implosion, but as the Washington Post reports, the Trump administration is actually doing less than it could to help prompt said implosion:
With the congressional failure, the Obamacare spotlight has now shifted to how Tom Price, Trump’s secretary of the Health and Human Services Department, is approaching the Affordable Care Act. And while you might think Price would be trying to shoot holes in the measure he’s long criticized, his agency’s approach – at least so far – is far from clear cut.
Health policy observers — many of them former Obama administration officials who helped implement the ACA — say Trump’s fiery rhetoric doesn’t match the more measured approach HHS appears to be taking toward the law, at least for now…
…That doesn’t mean Price and his appointees are cheerleading Obamacare from behind the scenes — in fact, they often highlight the shortcomings of its insurance marketplaces. But they also haven’t made administrative rule changes — ones that are well within their power to implement — that could severely cripple the ability of insurers to participate in the ACA marketplaces or dramatically reduce the rolls of Americans getting coverage there.
► Despite what you may hear, there really is such a thing as a free lunch. But apparently it isn’t nearly enough to convince right-wing conservatives in Colorado to turn up for a “reform the tax code” rally hosted by Americans for Prosperity. As this subhead from a Denver Post story makes clear:
► The United Nations has condemned a North Korean missile “test” that sailed over Japan earlier this week. The North Koreans, meanwhile, continue to make threats about launching a missile attack on the island of Guam.
► Former Mexican President Vincente Fox is in Denver this week for a Global Chamber Denver forum focused on improving U.S.-Mexico trade relations. As the Denver Post reports, Fox is not a big fan of President Trump:
Former Mexican President Vicente Fox on Tuesday kicked off his multiday visit to Denver this week by praising the city’s efforts to protect immigrants living in the U.S. illegally and blasting President Donald Trump over his proposed border wall and views on NAFTA.
“I believe this city is showing the rest of the United States and the rest of the world that you … do the very best for the people that live in your city, that work in your city — for the people that contribute to the growth of this city,” Fox said…
…Speaking to reporters about Trump’s proposed border wall, Fox used an expletive and called the U.S. president’s efforts misguided.
► Legal marijuana advocates are considering a 2018 ballot initiative for Colorado Springs that would allow for recreational marijuana sales in the state’s second-largest city.
►The publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman writes that grassroots support is growing for a potential decision by the Department of Interior on moving the headquarters of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to Colorado.
► The Colorado Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case that could set precedent for how to legally treat “frozen embryos” in “custody” battles.
► The longest-running seasonal Atlantic hurricane forecast in the country comes out of…Colorado State University?
► President Trump’s visit to Texas in the wake of hurricane/tropical storm Harvey was missing one seemingly-obvious ingredient. As Politico explains:
President Donald Trump said Wednesday that his “heart goes out even more so” to the victims of hurricane-ravaged Texas after touring the state, despite not meeting on Tuesday with any victims or addressing them during his multiple public appearances…
…Trump didn’t directly see much horror or devastation on Tuesday. Avoiding the areas hardest hit as relief efforts were underway — at least in part to avoid distracting from those efforts — the president flew to Corpus Christi, where he was briefed on the response to Harvey, and then Austin, where he toured an emergency operations center and received another briefing before flying back to Washington, D.C.
Trump’s tweet Wednesday morning appeared to be a delayed response to criticism that his prior comments lacked empathy.
“Empathy for the people who suffered” is what the president was missing, former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer told Fox News on Tuesday. “That, in my opinion, should have been the first thing he should have said was that his heart goes out to those people in Houston who are going through this and that the government is here to help them recover from this.”
To make up for this odd error, Trump is pledging to double the number of empathetic emojis he Tweets out.
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► Residents of Broomfield won’t have to travel all the way to Durango if they wish to take part in hearings on new drilling applications from The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. This seems like a frighteningly obvious decision from the COGCC.
► Houston megachurch pastor Joel Osteen says that he didn’t open the doors of his church to shelter displaced Houston residents because nobody asked first. Osteen is apparently not familiar with the first rule of holes, as the Huffington Post reports.