A lot of stuff happened in the political world over the weekend; let’s get you caught up. 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 are making a last effort at repealing Obamacare before the September 30th deadline to move the legislation under budget reconciliation. But as the Washington Post reports, the GOP still hasn’t solved its biggest issue:
Senators pushing a last-ditch Obamacare repeal effort this week are up against the same old problem: math.
This small group of Republicans — led by Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham — appear convinced they can rework the equation to secure that ever-elusive 50th vote for their measure, finally passing a bill overhauling the Affordable Care Act with a tiebreaking vote from Vice President Pence and moving closer to their goal of repealing and replacing President Barack Obama’s health-care law.
There will be a lot of moving parts to watch this week. Republicans have asked the Congressional Budget Office to rush a score of the Graham-Cassidy bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) office confirmed yesterday. McConnell plans to take the temperature of his leadership team and his entire conference over the next few days. They have only two weeks left to scrape together enough support, since the budget reconciliation bill they’re using expires at the end of the month.
But despite all the noise being generated on Capitol Hill, Cassidy and Co. still appear to be shy of the vote total they’d need to succeed. Cassidy says he’s certain they have 48 or 49 Republican votes for his bill. But getting that final, 50th vote is the crucial — and the hardest — part.
► Colorado Republican lawmakers have been making plenty of noise lately in response to news that Gov. John Hickenlooper is calling a special legislative session for October 2. The legislature needs to fix an unintended problem related to SB-267 (Hospital Provider Fee) that is costing organizations such as RTD and the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (i.e., the Denver Zoo and Museum of Natural History) millions of dollars in tax revenue.
Republicans have been all over the place on their messaging but have generally expressed manufactured outrage at the idea of a brief special session. As Colorado Pols reported late Friday, however, GOP lawmakers already knew about this problem and had even filed draft legislation to fix the error — which pretty well destroys any argument that the special session isn’t necessary.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► It’s looking more and more as though former Judge Roy Moore will win the Alabama Republican runoff for the Senate seat that was held by current Attorney General Jeff Sessions. That’s not good news for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (or Sen. Cory Gardner, who heads the NRSC for the 2018 cycle). As Politico explains:
The bomb-throwing former Alabama Supreme Court justice has vaulted to a hefty lead in Alabama’s Senate special election, lambasting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell every step of the way. A Moore victory would no doubt make McConnell’s tenuous 52-seat majority even more precarious, allies of the majority leader warn, potentially imperiling tax reform, raising the risk of default on the nation’s debt or even derailing routine Senate business.
Moore faces interim Sen. Luther Strange — whom a McConnell-aligned outside group has spent millions to elect — in a Sept. 26 Republican runoff.
Strange is a team player, according to interviews with more than a dozen Republican senators, while Moore is viewed as unpredictable — a clash-in-waiting with McConnell’s low-key leadership style.
“I do not,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), when asked whether he thought Moore would be a productive member of the Republican caucus. “Look at his track record.”
Added a Republican senator who requested anonymity: “It’s highly likely that he could be disruptive. We’re talking about somebody who has been removed from the bench twice.”
On the bright side, it’s hard to see how Moore could truly make the Senate any less functional than it is already.
► Congressman Jared Polis (D-Boulderish) is sponsoring legislation intended to make it easier for students to transfer credits back-and-forth from community colleges and larger universities.
► We’re closing in on the 8-month mark for President Trump, and there’s still no word on if or when Trump will fill hundreds of key posts — some of which directly impact Colorado. As the Denver Post reports:
Full-time administrators have yet to be installed in the Colorado regional offices of the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Housing and Urban Development and Department of Health and Human Services, amongothers.
The state also has an acting U.S. attorney and a vacant seat on the federal bench. A jurist nominated in June to replace U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch on the 10th U.S. District Court of Appeals only recently was given the green light to appear before a U.S. Senate panel for vetting.
The slow pace hasn’t gone unnoticed by either Democrats or Republicans, though the two sides often disagree on its primary cause — the White House or Congress.
Research by CNN and the Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan good-government group, indicates that Trump has fallen far behind predecessors Barack Obama and George W. Bush in nominating federal officials and getting them confirmed.
Trump and his supporters regularly try to shift blame onto “the system” or the slow pace of the U.S. Senate, but none of that explains why Trump is lagging so far behind his predecessors in this regard.
► Trump did get around to nominating a Colorado Springs businessman for a position that you probably didn’t know existed.
► Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker are pushing for an audit of the White House committee on election fraud, which seems to be spending a lot of time and money looking for a problem to justify its existence.
► Former congressman and potential gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo talked to 9News about why he’s considering a third run for the state’s top job. When asked about the odds of running for governor, Tancredo tells Brandon Rittiman that he is about “50-50” on jumping in the race.
► Political allies of President Trump are already looking ahead to 2020 and plotting ways in which they can damage any potential opponents.
► If you’re going to burn your “Make America Great Again” hat, just make sure you don’t breathe in the fumes.
► Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) will visit Ecotech Institute in Aurora on Tuesday afternoon.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► “Spicey” had a brief cameo at the Emmy Awards on Sunday night. It didn’t go particularly well.
► The world is going to end on Saturday, which may or may not be related to “some kind of space queen giving birth in front of a seven-headed moon lizard.”
► If you missed the Emmy Awards on Sunday night, you missed a lot of jokes about Donald Trump.