Coffman again slides by most reporters, this time on Russia

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

This is yet another story about Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) making a head-spinning change on a serious issue, acting as if no shift had occurred, and sliding by reporters who barely noticed or ignored it.

This time it’s the evolution of Coffman’s stance on Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

In response to a question on whether he supported an independent commission to investigate Russian meddling in the election, Coffman told 9News anchor Kyle Clark April 13 that he believed, based on government investigations, that the Russians interfered in the 2016 election. “I think the Russian meddling part has been resolved,” Coffman told Clark, adding that he wasn’t sure about Trump’s involvement.

You’d have been surprised to hear Coffman say this on 9News if you were listening to Colorado Public Radio in January.

During an interview with CPR’s Ryan Warner, Coffman said Jan. 11 he didn’t yet accept that Russians had tried to influence the election, because intelligence reports are frequently politicized.

Sounding like Trump, Coffman maintained this stance even after Warner pointed out that multiple intelligence agencies had concluded the Russians had intervened.

“I can tell you as an Iraq war veteran, I think sometimes that the intelligence at the highest levels tends to be politicized to make a certain point,” Coffman told Warner, adding that he thought the allegations against the Russians should be investigated.

Just two days later, after attending a full house intelligence briefing on Russian interference, Coffman told the Voice of America something quite different. VOA reported:

“I think it’s a wake-up call beyond our security officials, when we look at what they’ve been doing in Europe and wake up to the fact that they’ve been doing it in America,” Congressman Mike Coffman, a Republican from Colorado, told reporters.

Coffman, one of a handful of Republicans who avoided associating with the Trump campaign during the 2016 election season, described House members’ reactions to the briefing as aggressive, with pointed questions about the role Russia had played in the election of Trump.

“I think they consider the United States an adversary and I hope the incoming administration recognizes that fact,” Coffman said.

Yet, in the ensuing months, Coffman never issued a wider statement about his new confidence in the intelligence that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

In fact, in February, with Trump attacking the CIA and calling for an investigation into FBI leaks that led to the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Coffman joined the president and also called for an investigation of the FBI.

During his April 13 town hall meeting, he joked about the need for an independent commission to investigate Russian interference. The Aurora Sentinel reported:

“The most dangerous place to be in Washington D.C. right now is between David Nunes or Adam Schiff and a TV camera,” Coffman told the crowd. “I’m not there yet for an independent council, but I’m moving there.”

It was after the April 13 town hall when Coffman told 9News’ Clark that the question of Russian meddling had been settled, but Coffman was still undecided on the independent commission.

The Obama Administration had done an investigation and “members of Congress, myself included, were briefed about Russian interference, which was predominately the hacking of the DNC and the Clinton campaign, Podesta’s email accounts.”

When was this briefing? It doesn’t make much sense that intelligence briefings could have swayed Coffman, because it was no secret that there was a consensus in January on the issue of Russian interference, as Warner had pointed out to Coffman Jan. 11, when Coffman was broadly trashing the intelligence.

So, what changed between January and April that convinced Coffman of the Russian attacks on U.S. elections?

What happened to his concerns about top-level intelligence being routinely politicized to the extent of not being trustworthy?

What’s Coffman’s explanation for his radical shift on Russian interference? Was there insufficient evidence on the table in January when Coffman continued to doubt the intelligence? Did Trump’s stance against the CIA play a role? What happened?

In contrast to Gardner, Buck has “great time” at town hall meetings

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) told KVOR radio in Colorado Springs over the weekend that he has a “great time” at town hall meetings, and he doesn’t believe the “rowdy people” who attend his town halls are “paid protesters.”

Buck’s comments contrast with U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, also a Republican from Colorado, who’s accused callers to his office and protesters at recent events of being paid, saying earlier this year that he worries about “paid protesters from out of state who are crowding out those Colorado voices.”

Gardner has also refused multiple requests this year to meet with constituents in person.

“I saw you doing some town halls, and so forth, and I’ve been hearing, you know, over these past couple of months, a lot of paid protesters are showing up at these town halls.  Are you getting any of that at yours?” asked KVOR 760-AM’s Tron Simpson of Buck Saturday.

“I’m not.” responded Buck. “I’m getting plenty of rowdy people who are very liberal, who disagree with my worldview, and would love a more liberal representative. And they express themselves.  You know, it’s loud. But I have a great time with it.  I have got to tell you, I don’t care who it is, what your political views are.  If you care enough about America to show up to a town hall meeting and talk politics, I respect you!”

Buck, a member of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, made some schedule changes April 14 that enabled him to appear at a town hall meeting organized by constituents who’d planned to hold the event with or without the Buck in attendance.

Gardner, in contrast, refused to attend a similar event in Denver last month, forcing 1,500 constituents in a packed school gymnasium to pose questions to a cardboard cutout of the first-term senator.

Before being elected, Gardner specifically promised to be held accountable via “town meetings,” but this year he’s held none, deciding instead to take questions from conservatives on 15 conservative talk radio shows and from constituents on two telephone conference calls. He’s also spoken at private events and taken questions from reporters.

Gardner is the only member of Colorado’s Congressional delegation who has yet to hold a town hall meeting this year.

Listen to Buck here:

Local Republicans join Trump in proposing to push people off state health insurance rolls

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a major change since last year, state Republicans are now proposing specific cuts to Medicaid, Colorado’s health care program for the elderly, disabled, and other poor people.

In 2016, local Republican leaders repeatedly blamed Medicaid, including its expansion under Obamacare, for Colorado’s budget woes, but they didn’t explain how they’d cut Medicaid or alter it to save funds.

But this year, state Republican legislators are advocating specific cuts that would throw people off the state health insurance rolls.

For example, all Colorado State House Republicans, except Bob Rankin of Carbondale and Dan Thurlow of Grand Junction, voted April 7 for a budget amendment to reduce Medicaid eligibility for “adults without dependent children.” The measure, which failed, was opposed by all House Democrats. (here at 807-808).

The amendment aimed to transfer $52 million in state hospital fees, which are used to cover Colorado’s nearly 10 percent contribution to Obamacare, to “rural and critical access hospitals.”

“The goal was to back fill the cuts to rural hospitals within existing resources, while still making sure the most vulnerable portion of the population of single individuals without children still received services,” said State Rep. Justin Everett (R-Littleton), the amendment’s sponsor, who’s also running for state treasurer.

Critics of the proposal questioned whether the amendment would, in fact, help hospitals, whose funding could be cut this year due to do a state budget crunch.

“When you rescind Medicaid eligibility, you’re actually putting us back in a situation where hospitals are going to have to care for uninsured people, which results in higher uncompensated care costs for the hospitals,” said Natalie Wood, a senior policy analyst with the Bell Policy Center,  a progressive organization that aims to “help Coloradans get ahead and stay ahead.” “And when hospitals have uncompensated care costs, they make up for it by passing costs to private patients, or it cuts into their profit margin. So that doesn’t seem like a solution to help hospitals deal with their pain.”

The number of Medicaid recipients who would lose coverage under Everett’s proposal isn’t known, but they’d be adults without dependent children who got insurance under Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid. They must earn less than $15,800 annually to qualify for assistance.

So far, about 450,000 Coloradans gained Medicaid coverage under Obamacare, which is the prime reason the uninsured rate in the state decreased by about half between 2013 (14.3 %) and 2015 (6.7%), according to the Colorado Health Institute.

The change in Republican proposals, from calls for unspecified Medicaid cuts last year to this year’s proposals to strip low-income Coloradans of their health insurance, is already emerging on the 2018 campaign trail.

(more…)

Scott still needs to explain his ‘fake news’ posts and comments

ColoradoPolitics.com reported the response of Colorado State Sen. Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction) to Sunday’s announcement by Ray Seaton, publisher of the Grand Junction Sentinel, that he will not sue Scott for tweeting that the Sentinel is “fake news.” The blog reported:

Scott meanwhile seems bewildered by the latest development as well as the whole saga. He told our Joey Bunch late Monday, “It’s just weird.”

“The whole thing … is bizarre,” he said. “Now if I say this is a ridiculous op-ed he wrote, is he going to sue me? People can interpret that however they want, because it is bizarre and it is strange. Do I get sued for saying that?”

Scott won’t return my repeated calls, but someone should ask him for more details.

Why did he call the Sentinel “fake news” in the first place, undermining the newspaper’s credibility and viability, when he repeatedly posts Sentinel articles on Facebook that support his views or agenda.

And why does Scott post fake news (defined as “news” that’s been proven false by credible news outlets) on his own Facebook page? And refuse to take such items down, despite repeated requests to do so? (And while I’m at it, why doesn’t he sign the Fake News Pledge? He needs to do so.)

Scott has ducked questions by saying he’s been silenced by Seaton’s lawsuit. Now it’s time to get a full explanation from him.

Gardner, who’s voted with Trump 100 percent of the time, speaks out against Trump

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Public Radio’s Allison Sherry reports that U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), who’s in Colorado for a two-week congressional recess “isn’t shy about talking about where he opposes President Trump.”

Sherry reports that “the state’s junior Republican senator spoke out against Trump’s trade policies, his proposed travel ban and the president’s budget priorities that cut diplomatic spending over defense spending.”

Without noting that Gardner has voted with Trump 100 percent of the time so far, Sherry reported:

One of the senator’s recess stops was speaking to employees at CoBank, which provides credit to farmers. Gardner said he was disappointed in the president’s stance on trade, particularly the Trans Pacific Partnership….

On immigration, Gardner said he has continued conversations with Republican Senate colleagues on the need for a comprehensive immigration reform bill that tackled strengthening the border, but also reforming the visa program. He said he wasn’t sure how the Trump administration would greet such a bill, but that discussions were ongoing.

Gardner opposed a bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill when it was in Congress in 2013.

Gardner’s stop at CoBank is noteworthy, because it continues a string of meetings Gardner has held at private venues. He’s also taken questions on 15 conservative talk radio shows this year.

(more…)

Days Before Contentious Town-Hall Meeting, Coffman Praised Trump at GOP Meeting

(Joke’s on you! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In contrast to his appearance Wednesday at a town hall meeting in Aurora, where he was reportedly “pummeled” by constituents and tried to distance himself from Trump, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) praised the president and was “very well received” at a meeting of the North Suburban Republican Forum four days before the town-hall event.

“I would say he was very well received,” said Kaarl Hoopes, the Republican Chair of House District 31, who attended the meeting with Coffman April 8.

“[Coffman] gave the sense that the Republicans have a strong agenda, and he’s very optimistic that with President Trump’s leadership, he’s going to be able to accomplish it,” said Hoopes.

After the meeting, Hoopes stated on Facebook that Coffman specifically cited the imperative for Republicans to pass tax reform and an Obamacare replacement. And Coffman praised Trump’s handling of the military, Hoopes said.

Asked if Coffman called Trump a “real leader,” as implied in his Facebook post, Hoopes replied, “I think he actually did say that. [Trump] met with Coffman in a small group, and he said that, and I may have posted this, he said that he’s a very commanding presence. He fills the room. And people pay attention.”

Hoopes said he was “personally offended” by Coffman last year when Coffman ran advertisements saying he’s stand up to Trump. “That bothered me for quite a while,” said Hoopes.

“I think [Coffman] is more in line with Trump as a leader now,” said Hoopes. “You know, if there’s something he strongly disagrees with him on, I’m sure he will  stand up to him. But his attitude was very positive towards President Trump. I think he really supports the strong leadership that he’s bringing.”

Gardner Loves to Appear on Conservative Talk Radio But Not at Town Halls

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) hasn’t held a town hall meeting this year, but he’s graced the warm airwaves of 15 talk-radio shows, taking gentle questions from some of Colorado’s most conservative figures.

For example, in February, March, and April, Gardner took time to chat with KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis, a staunch right-wing Republican, who begged listeners during the last election to jump on the Trump bandwagon.

A recurrent issue on Caplis’ show is abortion, which he wants to ban. But he’s also a fierce opponent of Obamacare, legalized marijuana, gun-safety measures, and Democrats.

Caplis concluded his most recent conversation with Gardner by telling the senator that he’s “doing a great job back there.”

Gardner took time in February to talk to KNUS 710-AM’s Craig Silverman as well.

Like Caplis, Silverman is a huge Gardner fan, which he made clear by concluding his last Gardner interview with, “You always leave me in a good mood.”

(more…)

Lamborn would “probably” vote to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs).

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO Springs) told a conservative talk-radio host Monday that he’d “probably vote” to get rid of the Environmental Protection Agency, if he had the opportunity, even though he does not think it’s currently “in the cards to get rid of EPA completely.”

“But right now, it’s not in the cards to get rid of EPA completely.  And I would probably vote for that, because I trust states like Colorado to step in and do it anyway,” Lamborn told KVOR radio host Doug Lamborn April 10. “But while we have the EPA, at least have them not destroy jobs, and have multiple layers of bureaucracy, like Waters of the U.S.  That’s a job killer.”

“We had Gina McCarthy of EPA come in front of us,” Lamborn said on air. ” And I told her, ‘You know, in my district and in my part of the world, my part of the country, Gina, people despise you and the EPA. ‘What are you doing wrong that they despise you?’  And she just said, ‘We’re just doing our job.’ She didn’t even understand.”

Lamborn mentioned the Gold King disaster, but he’s also upset over an EPA and Colorado Department of Health lawsuit alleging stormwater violations.

“There is this weird lawsuit that EPA brought against Colorado Springs, even though we’re doing our best to mitigate the storm water issues that affect Pueblo and other downstream users of the water,” said Lamborn, not mentioning the health department’s participation in the suit.

“And, in fact, there are plans – we don’t have a final plan, but there are plans to spend maybe hundreds of millions of dollars to be responsible there.  And yet the EPA sues us, which means money that could have gone to that is going to be tied up with lawyers and paying fines, perhaps.  It doesn’t help solve the problem!”

But Colorado Springs wasn’t adequately addressing the problem itself, according to the he EPA suit, which found longstanding and repeated violations.

(more…)

Republican Lawmaker Defends Driver’s License Vote Amid GOP Attack

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

State Rep. Hugh McKean (R-Loveland) last week took to Facebook to defend his vote for a state program providing drivers licenses to immigrants.

McKean was under attack by fellow Republican State Rep. Dave Williams of Colorado Springs, who called Democrats and Republicans “shameful” for opposing a budget amendment Friday that would have cut a program giving drivers licenses to, in Williams’ words, “illegal aliens.”

“This program is something that I have been told by farmers in my District is vital to help their employees in obtaining insurance so that they can limit their liability when those workers have to leave the farm, even for a few hundred yards,” McKean wrote on Facebook in response to Williams attack. “After an hour of debate, virtually none of which was related to the budget discussion, nothing was offered to mitigate the effects of a very broken federal immigration system. I will continue to vote for my District and continue to put pressure on our Congressional delegation and our President to fix this flawed system. I will never tell my colleagues in the House how to vote. I count on them to know their Districts and know what their people need.”

Williams use’ of the word “illegal immigrant” in his amendment angered Democrats, like Thornton Rep. Joe Salazar.

“This is an alt-right show,” Salazar told the Colorado Statesman’s John Tomasic. “When you pass a policy like this, people learn how to drive better and they have insurance. They take tests that insure they know how to drive on our roads safely, which lowers insurance rates… But it has to be a show for some, not about policy, not about what’s good for Colorado, but because we have to put sparklers and glitter over a show and use hateful language in order to get people’s attention. We should rise above the show.”

“What we should be talking about here are citizens, the citizens we’re supposed to be representing and protecting,” Williams told the Statesman. “This program is another program that attracts illegal aliens to our state and in turn endangers our public… This is a sanctuary city policy. If by keeping this policy in place the majority wants to endanger our citizens, I won’t be a part of it.”

Williams’ amendment was one of a slew of measures offered last week by Republicans who said they wanted to transfer funds from existing programs to transportation. Other GOP amendments, also defeated, would have raised Medicaid co-pays, reduced Medicaid eligibility, and eliminated funding for red-light cameras and a state patrol aircraft program.

Brauchler Waffling on Route to Ballot Access

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Reporters covering the weeds of the gubernatorial race should note that GOP candidate George Brauchler is contradicting himself about how he’ll try to access the ballot.

He told The Denver Post he’d rely solely on the decision of delegates at the State Republican convention, while telling a conservative radio host he’d leave open the possibility of getting on the ballot via the petition process that upended the senatorial campaign of former state Rep. Jon Keyser (R-CO Springs).

This is the second time in two weeks of campaigning that Brauchler has made conflicting statements to The Post and talk-radio hosts. Contradicting a 2015 comment to The Post, Brauchler claimed last week on air that he was on juror away from securing the death penalty in the Aurora-shooting case, when, in fact, he was three votes away.

With respect to accessing the ballot, here’s what Brauchler told The Post’s John Frank just before his April 5 campaign announcement:

Positioning himself as one of the more conservative candidates in the race, Brauchler said he plans to seek a slot on the primary ballot through a nomination at the Republican Party’s convention, rather than collect petition signatures to qualify.

The political gamble is paired with a not-so-subtle dig at his expected rivals. “Every single one of them is a potential self-funder or has long family connections to politics. I’m not that guy,” he said without noting Stapleton’s ties to the Bush family. “I’m the guy who has spent his entire life in Colorado, and I’m going to get around this state and win it through the grassroots effort.”

And here’s what Brauchler said to KHOW’s Ross Kaminksy the next day, Thursday, April 6:

Kaminsky–One interesting thing, you have said that you plan to get your position on the primary ballot by going to the convention rather than getting signatures. This is a little bit of insider baseball, but I think it says something about you as a candidate, as well.  Can you explain, please?

Brauchler–And I’ll say this:  I haven’t publicly foreclosed the possibility of petition. But honestly – and this is the way I got to be District Attorney – I’m invested in the grassroots aspect of getting elected. I think we have reached a place with campaign-finance and social media where you can have people who have the means — either their own or through third-party efforts — to simply bypass the individual, face-to-face requirements of going out and earning votes. You just show up on TV, show up on the Internet, you put things into people’s mailboxes.  Now, we’re going to do all those things.  But at the end of the day, there’s only one process to get on the ballot that guarantees you are going to get around the state and do retail politics, to press the flesh, look people in the fac,e and answer their questions about who you are and what’s important to them.  And so, I’m invested in really trying to look hard at how we’re going to accomplish getting on the ballot through the assembly process.  But I haven’t foreclosed any other options.

He hadn’t publicly foreclosed the petition option? That’s not how I read The Post interview, which hasn’t been corrected.

Frank was correct that, for Brauchler, relying on Colorado’s State Republican convention would be a “political gamble”–which is probably why the Arapahoe County District Attorney thought twice about it. The outcome of convention is predictably unpredictable, as demonstrated the jaw-bouncing decision of Republicans there last year to hand the GOP senatorial nomination to Darryl Glenn, who went on to lose to Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.

Well-heeled candidates like Brauchler usually try to access the ballot via both the convention and petition routes, giving them a backup if they get Glenned, so to speak. Colorado State Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton) eschewed the petition process and watched his U.S. Senate dreams die when he was upset by Glenn at the convention last year. Brauchler wants to avoid Neville’s fate.

But the state convention is the stronghold of the GOP’s grassroots contingent, whose support is critical to winning the Republican nomination, even in an open primary–and even more so this year because Trump seems to have energized and emboldened Colorado Republicans.

So, by initially saying he’d skip the petition process Brauchler was sending a love note to GOP grassroots activists. But it turns out Brauchler isn’t ready to commit to marriage. Honestly, I don’t blame him. They can be so difficult and hard to live with.

Listen to Brauchler on KHOW April 6:

Coffman Refuses Interview with Huffpo Journalist, But He Loves Talk Radio!

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Huffington Post reporter Matt Fuller tweets this morning that U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) refused to talk to him because, Coffman told him, he’s “not a legit journalist.”

This prompted former Coffman deputy Tyler Sandberg to tweet that “Huffpo is a left-wing blog, not a bastion of journalistic legitimacy.”

That might be true for some Huffpo writers, but not for Fuller, as you can see from his resume.

But even if it were true, Coffman doesn’t use “journalistic legitimacy” as his litmus test for talking to media figures, as demonstrated by the fact that he’s been on conservative talk radio shows at least seven times this year alone. And hundreds of times over the years.

I have nothing against KNUS 710-AM’s conservatives, like Craig Silverman, Krista Kafer, Steve Kelley, and Jimmy Sengenberger–all of whom Coffman’s talked with this year. Ditto for KHOW 630-AM’s Ross Kaminsky.

But none of them is a “legit journalist.”

I’m not saying Coffman shouldn’t chit chat with conservative talkers, who usually, but not always, scratch his back. He just shouldn’t offer fake excuses to avoid reporters like Fuller.

FACT CHECK: Brauchler Falsely Claims One Juror Blocked Holmes Verdict

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

On a right-wing radio show Wednesday, GOP gubernatorial candidate George Brauchler again said he was one juror’s vote away from getting a death-penalty verdict against the aurora-theater shooter.

But as the prosecutor in the case, Brauchler was actually three votes away, according multiple jurors and a previous statement by Brauchler himself.

On KNUS 710-AM’s Peter Boyles show April 5, Arapahoe County District Attorney Brauchler said:

Brauchler: “Any right-minded, justice-loving person out there could see why that decision was made. I’m disappointed that there was that juror that ended up saying, ‘Look, I will never ever vote for death.’ And it sort of ended deliberations. Having said that, that’s part of the process. Yes, we have the hardest death penalty law in the country, but it’s our law. Had we gotten that vote and had we gotten death, I would have expected the state to embrace that as justice. Just because I didn’t get the answer I thought was best, I’m not going to give scandal to the system. I think that guy deserved to die. I still do. What that a just outcome? I think it was, based on the system.” (Colorado Times Recoreder emphasis)

After the trial, it was widely reported that one juror wanted life and two more were undecided, based on one anonymous juror’s account.

Yet, after the trial, Brauchler said on multiple radio shows that he was one vote away from a death verdict.

But in an interview with The Denver Post six weeks after the trail, facing a reporter who was following the details of the case, as opposed to a friendly talk-radio host, Brauchler himself acknowledged that the juror count was one for life in prison, two undecided, and nine for death.

The Post reported, “After all, [Brauchler] said, he convinced at least nine jurors of his position.” And he acknowledged to the Post that he hadn’t interviewed all the jurors.

Seven weeks later, The Post interviewed another anonymous juror who said that three jurors voted affirmatively for life in prison.

Gardner suggests using debt limit to shrink government

(Drown it in the bathtub, redux – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner.

On a conservative radio show yesterday, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) proposed tying any increase in the U.S. debt limit to reducing government regulations, raising the specter of stock market gyrations and economic problems that have accompanied uncertainty about America’s commitment making payments on its debt in the past.

“Why don’t we put a measure in place that says, ‘If you increase the debt a dollar, then you have to decrease the regulatory burden by 15 percent or something like that,'” Gardner told KNUS 710-AM’host Krista Kafer Tuesday (at 48 min 25 sec. here).  “Let’s make sure that we’re able to say, ‘You know what, if you’re going to do this, let’s make real government reforms happen and possible.”

Gardner pointed out that the federal government will  have to extend the U.S. debt limit this summer.

Gardner once suggested linking any increase in the debt limit to cutting Obamacare, even saying he’d force a government shut down to do so. He later backtracked on this stance.

Gardner’s proposal would certainly be controversial, possibly causing anxiety and delay in Congress, and it appears to run counter to Trump Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s desire to raise the debt limit quickly.

“As I said in my confirmation hearing, honoring the full faith and credit of our outstanding debt is a critical commitment,” Mnuchin said recently in a letter to congressional leaders. “I encourage Congress to raise the debt limit at the first opportunity so that we can proceed with our joint priorities.”

During the campaign, Trump said it was “worth a fight” to stop any increase in the debt limit–a position that U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman has also held in the past, once saying he didn’t think it would be a “huge deal” to go over the so-called “fiscal cliff” and not extend the debt limit.

Republicans and Democrats increased the debt limit over 100 times (Bush and Reagan did it) until 2011, when an impasse occurred.

Would Buck have voted for the GOP bill to repeal Obamacare?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: An op-ed from Rep. Ken Buck supporting Trumpcare gets Tweeted out by President Donald Trump himself:

Unfortunately for Rep. Buck, he appears to be contradicting himself with this new position supporting the moribund American Health Care Act, which we suspect won’t make The Donald very happy:

It’ll be fun to see how this shakes out, won’t it? Stay tuned…

—–

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) told a conservative radio host Friday that he would have supported the GOP’s proposal to replace Obamacare, if it had come up for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives last week.

Buck told KNUS 710-AM’s Steve Kelley that he was “very reluctantly willing to support” the American Health Care Act, in part, because Trump “deserves a honeymoon” after showing his willingness to “work with conservatives.”

Steve Kelley: So, were you going to vote for it?

Ken Buck: You know, I told the Speaker that I didn’t like a bill. I didn’t like the process, but if they needed my vote I would vote for it. I consider myself a lot more conservative than this bill, but I also think it’s important that we get things done. And I also feel like this President deserves a honeymoon. He gave us a great Supreme Court nominee. He gave us a great cabinet. And he has proven that he is willing to work with conservatives, and conservatives should step forward to work with him. And so, I was very reluctantly willing to support this…

Kelley: The idea of, “this [death of the AHCA] may be, in fact, the best thing because it is going to force the issue.” Do you agree with the President on that?

Buck: I think it is going to force the issue. I don’t think it was the best thing. I think the best thing would have been to pass this and also force the issue.

Buck, who’s a member of the House’s ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus, joins U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman in publicly supporting the GOP’s Obamacare replacement, while the rest of Colorado’s GOP House members didn’t take a public position.

The Freedom Caucus, Buck said on air, was invited to the White House to “go bowling” with Trump, and also to attend “probably a half dozen” meetings and dinners  to discuss the health care legislation, but ultimately Trump couldn’t get enough votes needed to pass the GOP bill.

Buck’s comments on KNUS were made from Dulles airport at the end of Friday after the GOP legislation was withdrawn.

On Friday morning, just before the bill was scheduled for a vote, The Denver Post’s Mark Matthews quoted Buck as saying, “I’m reading and I’m trying to gather information and I’m not going to have my arm twisted by anybody.” Matthews tweeted that Buck was undecided.

After the bill failed to come up for a vote, Buck told 9News he “was not completely sold” on it. This led 9News and other Denver outlets to report that Coffman was the only Colorado House Republican to publicly support the Republican legislation.

Buck was not among 33 Republicans identified by the New York Times as opposing the bill and causing its demise. None of Colorado’s Republicans were on the Times’ list.

(more…)

What can you do to fight fake news?

(Read Colorado Pols – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Common Cause Fake News Discussion & Happy HourFake news is a giant threat to democracy, yet there’s little grassroots activism combating it.

That’s why it’s great, necessary, and essential that Colorado Common Cause is hosting a discussion Thursday, April 6, on “Fighting Fake News in the Digital Age.”

The focus is on what we can do to combat fake news, besides complain about it and hope Facebook and Google do something for us.

Join the fake-news discussion and happy hour Thursday, April 6, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Irish Snug, 1201 East Colfax Ave. The program starts at 5:30.

RSVP via Colorado Common Cause’s Facebook-event page or by emailing cfry@commoncause.org.

One way to take action, which liberty advocate Ari Armstrong and I will discuss at the Common Cause event, is the Fake News Pledge. (Armstrong opposes it.)

By signing the pledge, lawmakers and citizens promise not to spread information, packaged somehow to look like news, on Facebook if it’s “deemed false or inaccurate by Snopes, Politifact, Factcheck.org, or by a respected news outlet.” If such information is accidentally posted, it will be removed unless “detailed reasons for not deleting it” are provided.

“We’ve all seen it before,” states Colorado Common Cause’s Facebook page promoting next Thursday’s event. “Our neighbor, uncle, or friend posts something on a social media site that is factually inaccurate. How should we react? Can we agree on what is truth and what is fiction? And how do we combat “fake news” at a time when this term is thrown around so casually?”