Get More Smarter on Wednesday (September 13)

Go away, (Hurricane) Jose. 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…

► Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is introducing a “Medicare for All” healthcare plan today with significant support from well-known Senate Democrats. As the Washington Post reports:

Sanders’s bill, the Medicare for All Act of 2017, has no chance of passage in a Republican-run Congress. But after months of behind-the-scenes meetings and a public pressure campaign, the bill is already backed by most of the senators seen as likely 2020 Democratic candidates — if not by most senators facing tough reelection battles in 2018.

The bill would revolutionize America’s health-care system, replacing it with a public system that would be paid for by higher taxes. Everything from emergency surgery to prescription drugs, from mental health to eye care, would be covered, with no co-payments. Americans younger than 18 would immediately obtain “universal Medicare cards,” while Americans not currently eligible for Medicare would be phased into the program over four years. Employer-provided health care would be replaced, with the employers paying higher taxes but no longer on the hook for insurance.

Private insurers would remain, with fewer customers, to pay for elective treatments such as cosmetic surgery — a system similar to that in Australia, which President Trump has praised for having a “much better” insurance regimen than the United States.

Republicans will immediately point to projections showing big tax increases under such a plan, but Americans might actually end up saving money in this scenario because of the reduction or elimination of copays, premiums, and deductibles.

On Tuesday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cary Kennedy announced her support for a “Medicaid for All” proposal in Colorado.

 

► Jefferson County Republicans are mad as hell (at Republicans) and they’re not above issuing toothless threats to prove it! As Ernest Luning writes for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

The Jefferson County Republican Party is demanding Congress immediately repeal the Affordable Care Act or, if it can’t, to elect new congressional leadership.

A strongly worded resolution adopted unanimously by the county party’s executive committee Monday night maintains that the failure of congressional Republicans to overturn the sweeping health care legislation known as Obamacare “has caused great consternation and angst among registered Republicans in Jefferson County” and put GOP candidates “in great election peril.”

The county party is giving Congress until Nov. 1 to “repeal the abominable legislation,” but if Republicans “fail to meet our demand … and continue in their deceit of the voters,” the Jefferson County GOP want different Republicans in charge of the House and Senate…

…“[I]t is imperative that we differentiate ourselves from the National GOP,” the county party wrote on Facebook Tuesday. “Otherwise, our local and state candidates will be painted with the same brush as the GOP in Washington. Those in Washington are not doing what they promised, and we intend to hold their feet to the fire.”

The irony is strong with this one. By unanimously demanding that Congress immediately repeal Obamacare, the Jefferson County Republican Party has painted every one of its 2018 candidates into a tight little corner.

 

► Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is in Colorado today touring schools, and will finish her visit with a visit to the Air Force Academy this afternoon.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Medi-Something for All!

Cary Kennedy.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) plans to introduce “Medicare for All” legislation in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, and several big names (Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Cory Booker) have already said that they will support the proposal. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), meanwhile, is working out the kinks on a “Medicaid for All” measure.

Here in Colorado, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cary Kennedy made a bold move on Tuesday by announcing her plans to push for a “Medicaid for All” program in our state. As the Denver Post reports:

Cary Kennedy announced Tuesday that she supports allowing anyone to buy into the state’s government-run Medicaid system — a policy stance that puts a line in the sand in the crowded 2018 Democratic primary on the issue of health care.

“My health care plan makes this promise: We can do better,” she said at a campaign event in Denver.

Kennedy said her proposal would not cost the state any money — instead, anyone who buys into the system will cover the cost of their care through premiums. The actual cost remains undetermined, but Kennedy said the cost of premiums could be 20 percent less than the rates available on the individual insurance market.

But the former state treasurer’s plan represents a significant extension of Medicaid and will open her to criticism from Republicans who want to curtail the program expanded under the Affordable Care Act and mired in ever-increasing costs to state and federal taxpayers.

Nevada’s legislature recently passed a “Medicaid for All” bill that was vetoed in June by Gov. Brian Sandoval.

What’s the difference between “Medicare for All” and “Medicaid for All”? We’ll hash this out in a separate post, but in general, “Medicare for All” is more of a federally-focused program while “Medicaid for All” is more of a state-centered plan (though neither idea can really be boxed in quite so easily).

From a purely political standpoint, Kennedy’s declaration today will likely speed up a Democratic shift toward being more openly favorable to a “public option-type” healthcare proposal. Republicans will no doubt respond gleefully to this news, though their rhetoric will have to be somewhat muted given their complete and utter failure at doing anything on healthcare with their majorities in Congress and control of the White House.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (September 12)

For those of you who fell asleep before Monday’s late game was over, the Denver Broncos are now 1-0 on the season. 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…

► Things were very good economically for the American middle class in 2016 (thanks, Donald Obama!) As the Washington Post reports:

America’s middle class had its highest-earning year ever in 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday…

…America’s poverty rate fell to 12.7 percent, the lowest since 2007, the year before the financial crisis hit. The percent of Americans without health insurance for the entire year also dropped in 2016 to just 8.8 percent, largely thanks to expanding coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Economists hailed the news as evidence the recovery is finally taking hold after years of frustration for the middle class, which watched the stock market soar while the average American’s income barely budged.

 

► Don’t stop us if you’ve heard this before (because you have): Congressional Republicans are eager to get to work on tax reform issues, but they’re a bit perplexed by the absence of anything resembling a specific proposal. As Politico reports:

“This time around there is no room for error. This has got to be a home run,” Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) said, recalling the GOP’s Obamacare fiasco. “I would hope everyone wants to know what’s in it before you vote on it. That’s the old [Nancy] Pelosi joke on health care, it turned into a colossal joke. ‘You’ll find out what’s in it after we pass it.’”

A member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, speaking on condition of anonymity to speak freely said, “It is frustrating and concerning that we don’t have the details and yet we’re going to be asked in 60 days to vote on something,”

The member suggested that congressional and administration leaders negotiating a plan are holding back information either to avoid leaks or because they haven’t found enough common ground yet to share anything. [Pols emphasis]

Or…and we’re just spitballing here…perhaps not having a plan really is the plan. After all, you can’t oppose something that doesn’t exist.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

► Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler is seeking the Republican nomination for governor in 2018. Brauchler should also be seeking some advice on how to talk about water policy in Colorado. HINT: Don’t say that you are surprised that water is a big issue here.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

You’re Not Helping, “Frackholes”

Boulder County commissioner Elise Jones.

As the Longmont Times-Call’s John Fryar reports, oh Lordy:

Anti-fracking activists wrote a news release about a demonstration they staged Sunday outside a Marine Street residence in Boulder that they thought was the home where Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones lives.

Jones does not live there, though, and said on Monday that while she’s one of the owners of the property on the 700 block of Marine Street, she hasn’t lived there for several years.

In a news release, an organization identifying itself as Boulder County Protectors said about 50 community members had marched “on a home of politically compromised Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones asking her to resign.”

Quad facepalm.

It may not be common knowledge outside their Boulder County stomping grounds, but it’s a fact–as we have gently alluded to on more than one occasion–that the coalition of activists and groups opposed to the expansion of oil and gas drilling into residential neighborhoods runs the gamut from legitimate and thoughtful engagement to…fairly unreasonable. For anyone who wants to see this debate advanced in the direction of greater protections for homes, schools, and businesses from the heavy industrial process of “fracking” for oil and gas, there’s considerable peril in being de-legitimized by less well-adjusted, more strident folks nominally on the same side.

And that’s how we arrive at a group of “fracktivists” in full costume protesting what they thought was the home of Elise Jones, former executive director of the Colorado Environmental Coalition now a Boulder County commish–even calling for her resignation:

Jones said on Monday that while “we all object to fracking” — the process of injecting a mixture of sand, chemicals and water to free up underground oil and gas deposits — she objected to anti-fracking demonstrations that trespass onto private properties.

Cliff Willmeng, of East Boulder County United, one of the groups with members at the Sunday demonstration, acknowledged on Monday afternoon that they’d thought Jones lived at the address in the 700 block of Marine Street but discovered after gathering there that she does not…

Anti-fracking groups have criticized Jones and her fellow county commissioners for not adopting a “Climate Bill of Rights” or advancing such a measure to county voters’ ballots.

Folks, this is ridiculous. Even if you are 100% of the opinion that “fracking” should be banned in Colorado, calling for the resignation of public officials who are much closer to your view than the opposing view is an absurd waste of valuable time and resources. Boulder County, along with city governments along the northern Front Range threatened by oil and gas drilling, has led the struggle against the state government for better protections. Setbacks in the courts and the plain wording for state law as it exists today have constrained the ability of elected officials to respond on this issue to the liking of activists, but for the activists to attack people who in every rational sense are their allies on the larger issue is…

Yes, still ridiculous. And it does not help them advance their cause. On the contrary, it gives pro-drilling opponents ammunition with which to discredit the “fractivists,” and dissuades reasonable people who care about the issue from joining their coalition. It may be satisfying to lash out indiscriminately at everyone in power when something doesn’t go your way, but from a long-term credibility perspective it is the worst possible way to respond.

And all that is true before you mess up the location of the protest.

No One’s Happy: Tancredo Calls For Coffman Primary Challenge

Rep. Mike Coffman.

With former Congressman, presidential and once-and-future gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo making lots of news lately with his defense of Donald Trump’s immigration policies and criticism of “backsliding” Republicans growing afraid to see those policies carried out, an interview with Tancredo last week pummeling his successor in Congress Rep. Mike Coffman, and calling for Coffman’s ouster by hook or by crook, is vexing so-called “establishment” GOP strategists today. Here’s the transcription of the key moment of audio above:

TANCREDO: …All of the things he said about Trump, you, you just don’t have to do that. Right? He just didn’t have to do that even before the election, all the things he called him. And then…

CAPLIS: Well, I don’t know Congressman, I think he, I think he made a calculation that he had to come out against Trump in that manner to be able to keep his seat. I think we won by such a large margin that, that he didn’t have to. I didn’t like it when he did, I think what was a stake with the presidency and control of the U.S. Supreme Court in Colorado, a possible decision state in the election, I didn’t like it when he did that.

TANCREDO: Yeah–no, neither did I, and to tell you the truth, see I would not mind at all if he failed in his next attempt, if it is to retain his seat.

CAPLIS: Even if it means Pelosi as Speaker?

TANCREDO: Or actually anything he goes for, I wouldn’t care if he failed. But I especially wouldn’t care if he failed, and I would encourage people–I have encouraged people to, to run against him in a primary, and if he lost that would be okay with me because we, I would say a conservative loses nothing if Mike Coffman loses his seat. We are not in, the Republicans are not in jeopardy of losing the House, um, and it’s not the same as a Senate seat, so really it’s not worth it, I don’t think, to have somebody in there doing the things, he you know he’s threatening a um, discharge petition. I don’t know if everybody recognizes this…

CAPLIS: Yeah, yeah.

TANCREDO: But it’s like the ultimate slap in the face, you know, to the leadership and that sort of thing. Um, and it’s not going to work, it’s just simply another little, you know it’s a showpiece that he’s doing, to again, pander, I think…

In their zeal to win over centrist voters and even some low-information liberal votes, Coffman like U.S. Senator Cory Gardner has made great efforts to affect moderation on defining political issues like immigration and reproductive choice. But in doing so, they’ve put their core constituency of conservative Republican voters at risk of, if not voting for their general election opponent, something perhaps even more damaging: base demoralization. It’s fine to make inroads with new constituencies, even formerly opposition voters–as long as you’re not alienating your base.

Because if you do, you end up with someone like Tom Tancredo telling voters you can’t afford to lose that “a conservative loses nothing if Mike Coffman loses his seat.” Obviously Tancredo would prefer that Coffman lose his seat in a Republican primary, and these words would hurt more in the event Coffman attracts a primary challenge.

It’s really not good for Coffman either way though, folks. With bad political moves like unceremoniously yanking a rare discharge petition on legislation to protect DREAM Act-eligible immigrants that he received genuine credit for initiating, Coffman’s path to successfully triangulating this issue in 2018 is more perilous than ever. Coffman definitely can’t afford to lose his right flank now.

Enter Tom Tancredo.

Brauchler Surprised that “Water is a Huge Issue” in Colorado

So, tell me more about this…water.

Many of the 17 dozen candidates for Governor in Colorado descended on the annual “Club 20 Fall Conference” in Grand Junction over the weekend. Candidates from the Front Range may not be exposed to all of the issues that are critical to Colorado’s Western Slope, but Republican gubernatorial candidate George Brauchler was a bit too candid in his comments. As the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports:

As the current district attorney for the 18th Judicial District in the Denver metropolitan area, the Republican knows much about public safety issues, from the courts to law enforcement.

But being governor necessitates more than just a rudimentary understanding of other issues, something he’s learned while campaigning on the Western Slope in the crowded race for the GOP nomination for governor.

“The one issue that I did not anticipate, but appreciate more than any of the other (issues), is water,” Brauchler said Friday shortly after meeting with the Grand Junction Economic Partnership about business issues. “On the Front Range, the water issue is when I turn on my tap, is it there? Getting around the state as much as I have over the past five months, water is a huge issue.” Brauchler said his lack of understanding about water issues prompted him to meet with numerous water experts, including those with the Colorado River District. [Pols emphasis]

His main takeaway, which is still under development, is more storage and more conservation.

Whhaaatttt???

It’s hard to overstate the weirdness of Brauchler’s comments here. Water policy has been among the most important issues in Colorado since…well, since before Colorado became Colorado. We have a Statewide Water Plan in Colorado, for crying out loud. Water policy in Colorado is extremely complicated, as this briefing document from the State of Colorado outlines, so candidates can be forgiven for not knowing all of the details. But not knowing that water is a big issue in general is a flabbergasting acknowledgment from a serious gubernatorial candidate.

This bizarre admission is a terrible look for Brauchler — and no doubt something that will haunt him in the months to come. It is an inexcusable mistake that Brauchler was not better-briefed before he grabbed the microphone in Grand Junction.

If you’re not familiar with Colorado water issues, you probably shouldn’t show up at a “Club 20” event. For that matter, if you’re not familiar with water issues, you probably shouldn’t be running for governor of Colorado.

Get More Smarter on Monday (September 11)

The Denver Broncos open their season late tonight; it may be Sept. 12 before the game finally concludes. 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…

► Officials are still assessing damage from Hurricane Irma, which hit South Florida on Sunday before moving up the western coast of Florida toward the Tampa Bay area. The storm left more than 6 million people without power across Florida, but the worst-case scenarios envisioned by weather forecasters last week seem largely to have been avoided.

 

► The Chair of the Colorado Republican Party is backing up comments made on the official Twitter accounts of the state party that were critical of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

Citing articles critical of the SPLC “from across the political spectrum” and a letter written this week by prominent conservatives that calls the SPLC a “discredited, left-wing political activist organization that seeks to silence its political opponents with a ‘hate group’ label of its own invention,” State GOP Chair Jeff Hays told Colorado Politics he has no intention of apologizing.

“The notion that the Colorado Republican Party should apologize for joining this broad chorus of critics is ridiculous,” Hays said in a statement. “Our tweet was correct to suggest the SPLC is an unreliable source of information, and stories that cite it uncritically ought not to be trusted.”

If you are unfamiliar with the SPLC, you should know that they are one of the leading groups in the United States keeping track of “hate groups,” white supremacy, and other extremist organizations.

 

Steve Bannon, the former top strategist for President Trump who was resigned-fired last month, had plenty to say in an interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday. As CNN reports, Bannon pulled no punches in assessing Trump’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey:

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon believes President Donald Trump’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey was one of the worst mistakes in “modern political history.”

In a “60 Minutes” interview that was posted online Sunday night, Bannon was asked whether he considered Comey’s dismissal — which ignited a political firestorm and directly led to the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including potential ties to Trump’s campaign — the biggest mistake in political history.

Bannon responded, “That would be probably — that probably would be too bombastic even for me, but maybe modern political history.”

Bannon is now back at Breitbart News, and it sounds like he is ready for an all-out war with the Republican Party.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

GOP Lawmakers Troll Well-Plugging Plan, Because Of Course

Sen. Ray Scott (R).

As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Dennis Webb reports–a few weeks ago, Gov. John Hickenlooper announced measures intended to prevent the recurrence of an explosion inside a home in Firestone that killed two people and leveled the structure, an explosion later determined to be caused by methane gas seeping into the home’s foundations from an improperly abandoned well nearby. Flowlines from that well allowed the gas into the home, calling attention to a major statewide problem of abandoned oil and gas development infrastructure. Hickenlooper’s announced fixes have been debated as a potentially too-small response to a problem that will only get worse as the urbanizing Front Range expands into current and formerly drilled areas.

But as the Sentinel reports, a pair of energy biz-friendly GOP lawmakers is pushing back even against Hickenlooper’s small-scale proposed fixes:

State Sen. Ray Scott and state Rep. Bob Rankin are asking Colorado’s top oil and gas regulator to justify why more funds are needed to pay for plugging abandoned wells.

The two made the request in a letter written Wednesday to Matt Lepore, director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

They wrote it after Gov. John Hickenlooper made several recommendations for new laws or regulations in response to the April home explosion in Firestone that killed two men and was linked to gas flowing from an abandoned flowline from a nearby well. One recommendation was the creation of a nonprofit fund to plug and abandon orphan wells and provide refunds for in-home methane monitors. Orphan wells are ones for which no owner or operator can be found, or the owner or operator is unwilling or unable to plug and properly abandon it.

“We are writing to request your assistance regarding the size and scope of the abandoned well situation in Colorado,” Scott and Rankin said in their letter to Lepore. They pointed to what they called Hickenlooper’s suggestion that “the abandoned well problem is so vast in scope that new taxes and fees are necessary to stand up a new organization to address the problem.”

Even Matt Lepore, Gov. Hickenlooper’s rather infamously pro-industry director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, says that the amount of money oil companies are required to bond for plugging old wells is inadequate, having last been increased almost a decade ago and to a level still not enough to cover the need.

But apparently even Hickenlooper’s limited actions in response to the Firestone explosion are too much for Republicans in the legislature! Politically, questioning these baby steps as potential “overreach” following such a high-profile disaster is incredibly tone-deaf–if not for the Western Slope “gaspatch Republicans” in this story, then certainly for Republicans who have to answer to worried suburban homeowners along the Front Range.

At some point, public safety has to come before private profit. Doesn’t it?

Civil Rights Leaders Slam Colorado GOP For “Bizarre” SPLC Attack

SUNDAY UPDATE: Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette:

A coalition of civil rights groups and left-leaning organizations on Friday demanded an apology from the Colorado Republican Party for “viciously attacking” the Southern Poverty Law Center on Twitter, but the state GOP’s chairman called the request ridiculous and doubled down on the party’s criticism of the watchdog group.

The dispute centers around what the civil rights groups term “a bizarre outburst on Twitter” by the state GOP’s official account — a series of tweets and retweets questioning the SPLC’s credibility as an arbiter of hate groups and extremists…

Citing articles critical of the SPLC “from across the political spectrum” and a letter written this week by prominent conservatives that calls the SPLC a “discredited, left-wing political activist organization that seeks to silence its political opponents with a ‘hate group’ label of its own invention,” Hays told Colorado Politics he has no intention of apologizing.

“The notion that the Colorado Republican Party should apologize for joining this broad chorus of critics is ridiculous,” Hays said in a statement. “Our tweet was correct to suggest the SPLC is an unreliable source of information, and stories that cite it uncritically ought not to be trusted.”

—–

A late-arriving press release today from several local civil rights leaders including the Denver Ministerial Alliance and LGBT rights group One Colorado calls for an apology from the Colorado Republican Party–who in the last couple of days has engaged in a series of off-message attacks on the Southern Poverty Law Center, one of the nation’s leading anti-discrimination organizations:

Following a bizarre outburst from the official Twitter account for the Colorado Republican Party viciously attacking one of the nation’s foremost civil rights defense and anti-hate group organizations, Colorado civil rights leaders called on the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party to publicly apologize and hold the staffer responsible for these tweets accountable.

“Today’s conservative movement under President Donald Trump is empowering and mobilizing the forces of hatred in America, threatening America’s most fundamental values,” said Superintendent Patrick L. Demmer of the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance. “The Southern Poverty Law Center’s job since 1971 has been to fight back against organized hatred, and they’ve done that job brilliantly. Less than one month since Charlottesville, the solution to the growing epidemic of hate in America is not to vilify the messenger.”

“It is outrageous to witness the Colorado Republican Party attacking an organization that has fought for civil rights and equality for over 45 years,” said Demmer. “With racist hatred and violence on the rise across America since Trump took office, the Southern Poverty Law Center is sounding the alarm that something very bad is happening. Instead of smearing the SPLC, Colorado Republicans should be reading Hatewatch—and making sure that hate is not being legitimized within the Republican Party, in Colorado or any other state.”

“The Southern Poverty Law Center’s has a long history of tracking and documenting the individuals, organizations, and funders of anti-LGBTQ extremism in this country,” said One Colorado Executive Director Daniel Ramos. “It is indeed possible that being marked as a hate group makes it harder for groups to retain their legitimacy and they may lose support from the public. That’s how it should be. Over the last two decades, we have made enormous progress in putting the days of anti-LGBTQ hate and discrimination behind us. SPLC’s ongoing work to expose hate in America is crucial to that progress.”

“Instead of denying the problem and attacking the messenger, every American should ask themselves: what am I doing to help put a stop to hatred in our country?” said Felicia Griffin, Executive Director of FRESC, Good Jobs, Strong Communities. “Sen. Cory Gardner, the top Republican elected official in this state, has repeatedly disavowed the racism that manifested in Charlottesville last month. If those words were more than platitudes, Gardner must demand that the Colorado Republican Party apologize for smearing one of the nation’s foremost civil rights organizations.”

In the aftermath of the racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia last month–but really since the beginning of President Donald Trump’s administration, and even before as the GOP sought to accommodate and exploit the rise of the so-called “alt-right”–there’s been what seems to be a concerted push to de-legitimize the SPLC, as well as its mission to identify and hold hate groups accountable. Where SPLC has called out organizations that promote bigotry against LGBT Americans, they’ve been on what you might call a “civil rights frontier.” As a result, SPLC’s equation of bias against LGBT people with racial prejudice makes people who still think it’s okay to be biased against LGBT people…well, uncomfortable.

The commonality between “traditional” racial hatred and prejudice against LGBT people is not a new concept, and has been increasingly recognized in civil rights law–but there are some people out there who still don’t want to acknowledge that they are equally unacceptable in a just society. That includes, apparently, the Colorado Republican Party in its official capacity. Despite the fact that the party has on many occasions tried to soften its image on LGBT rights. And hopefully, the benefit of the doubt we’re affording them on the matter of straight-up racism is justified.

Instead of (metaphorically) shooting the messenger, maybe it’s time to consider what SPLC is saying.

Weekend Open Thread

“For every good reason there is to lie, there is a better reason to tell the truth.”

–Bo Bennett

Coffman Caves on BRIDGE Act Discharge Petition

UPDATE: Congressman Mike Coffman’s on-again, off-again support of DREAMERs is back on again. For now.

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

—–

The Denver Post’s Mark Matthews reports–Rep. Mike Coffman got his headlines, and…

Coffman no longer will press Congress to vote on a bill to help young immigrants who are at risk for deportation — an about-face that critics said confirms their suspicions that the Aurora Republican launched the short-lived effort simply for political gain.

Three days ago, Coffman filed what’s called a “discharge petition” to try to force the House to vote on a measure that would suspend the deportation of immigrants registered with the 2012 program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which President Donald Trump is canceling.

It was an unusual move, as discharge petitions typically aren’t used by the members of the party in power, but the fifth-term Republican said it was necessary to compel his GOP colleagues to take steps to protect DACA recipients…

That was then. This is now:

“I had a conversation with House Speaker (Paul) Ryan (on) Wednesday morning and he said that he’s committed to get DACA passed, albeit he wants to do it with some type of border security; I’m fine with that,” Coffman said Friday. [Pols emphasis] “What I told him is I’d hold it back but if I saw that he wasn’t making progress in terms of putting something forward, that I would push the discharge petition.”

After being forced by prudence (not to mention agreement) to praise Coffman’s move a few days ago, Democrats unleashed fury on Coffman for walking back his commitment to press forward, with mostly Democratic support if needed, with a discharge petition to force a vote on the BRIDGE Act:

Although Coffman reportedly signed on without fanfare as a cosponsor of the current version of the full DREAM Act just before the August recess, the BRIDGE Act is a simpler bill that would have extended the DACA protections for three years. Most importantly, the BRIDGE Act and the DREAM Act were standalone pieces of legislation not dependent on some larger bargain on the divisive subject of “border security.” In short, these were bills that would not require a deal to build Donald Trump’s wall in order to give Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries peace of mind.

Except now apparently, making DACA contingent on “border security” is “fine” with Mike Coffman! That’s an undeniable step backward from the leadership Coffman was making an effort to show last week, using a legislative tactic normally used by the minority to force a quick vote on a standalone bill to renew the terms of DACA for three years with no strings. In short, if you thought Coffman was going to follow through and match his words with action, you got played. And if you were cynical about Coffman’s true intentions and willingness to buck Republican leadership on this issue, you were right.

Mike Coffman is who he is, a conservative Republican and loyal member of Paul Ryan’s Republican majority. He will never be the right man to represent a district Hillary Clinton won by nine points last year. He can only fake it. What happened today was the end stage of faking it, and it was always inevitable.

Coffman caved.

Get More Smarter on Friday (September 8)

In these times of escalating partisan rancor, it’s nice to know that we can all come together in a shared dislike of Tom Brady. 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…

► Congress this morning gave final approval to a $15 billion disaster relief package in the wake of Hurricane Harvey…just as Hurricane Irma prepares to throttle Florida. President Trump is apparently quite excited that his show of “bipartisanship” this week has attracted so much positive media coverage. As NBC News reports:

Trump expressed that he was thrilled with the positive news coverage the debt limit deal had received, a senior Democratic aide told NBC News.

“The people of the United States want to see a coming together, at least to an extent. We’re different parties, we have different thoughts, different feelings, different ideas. But I think you’re coming to see a much stronger coming together,” Trump told reporters at the White House Thursday.

Earlier in the day he said he looks forward to working with both Republicans and Democrats.

You’re a good wittle President, aren’t you? Yes, you are! 

 

► Anyway, back to the hurricane news…As the New York Times reports, nearly the entire state of Florida is in danger from one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded:

One of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes ever recorded crescendoed over the Caribbean on Thursday, crumpling islands better known as beach paradises into half-habitable emergency zones and sideswiping Puerto Rico before churning north. It is expected to hit the Florida Keys and South Florida by Saturday night…

…Gov. Rick Scott of Florida urged extreme caution in the face of a powerful storm that could quickly change course. “Every Florida family must prepare to evacuate regardless of the coast you live on,” he said.

Hurricane Irma is the size of France — like, the entire country. Miami could take a near-direct hit by Sunday morning.

Meanwhile, a third potentially major hurricane, Jose, is right on the heels of Irma. And a major 8.1 magnitude earthquake was recorded off the southern coast of Mexico.

 

► Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) has already dropped his plans to push a discharge petition for a House vote on DACA. As The Hill reports:

Coffman said he made an agreement with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to hold off on gathering support for his discharge petition for the bill, which would extend protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for three years.

Coffman filed the discharge petition on Tuesday, which would need 218 signatures to trigger a House floor vote. Discharge petitions are typically used by the House minority party to bring attention to legislation ignored by the majority-party leadership — but are rarely successful.

For a member of the House majority like Coffman to file a discharge petition was an exceedingly rare move.

If you were cynical about Coffman’s newfound commitment to DACA, well, go ahead and say, “I told you so.”

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman — Mike Coffman’s former spouse — doesn’t want any part of the controversy surrounding President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program for children of undocumented immigrants. Elsewhere, a group of 11 Democratic Governors are urging Congress to take swift action to assist DREAMERS.

 

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