State Assemblies End; The Big Line Updates

With both the Democratic and Republican state assemblies/conventions now behind us, we’ve made a multitude of updates to The Big Line. If you’re looking for information on who made the ballot and who didn’t, you’ll find those updates in The Big Line. If you’re looking for a good restaurant in Colorado, you will not find that information in The Big Line. If you’re looking for an analysis of the 2018 races for Governor, Attorney General, State Treasurer, Secretary of State, and Congress…it’s in The Big Line.

You may now commence with your complaints…

(P.S.: The Big Line)

Colorado Democratic Assembly Results

Colorado Democrats assembled at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield from Friday, April 13, to Saturday, April 14, 2018. The crowd of almost 4,000 Democrats were enthusiastic, engaged, yet civil (in contrast to the stunning back-stabbing and skullduggery at the Republican assembly) . The CDP Assembly was superbly well-organized, with balloting completed in about a half hour, and counted in less than two hours.  Kudos to Chair Morgan Carroll and all of the CDP staff and volunteers.

All of the  congressional districts held their own assemblies; many candidates had primary challengers or Democratic challengers to Republican incumbents. In this “blue wave” year, no office held by the GOP can be considered to be off-limits. Democrats in Colorado put forward a slate of phenomenal candidates.

The official results from the Colorado Democratic Party (CDP) for statewide offices are:

CU Regent-at-Large
Lesley Smith: 3,229 votes (100.00%)

Based on these results, Lesley Smith has qualified for the Democratic primary ballot for CU Regent-at-Large.

Treasurer
Bernard Douthit: 1,074 votes (31.50%)
Charles Scheibe: 557 votes (16.34%)
Dave Young: 1,778 votes (52.16%)

Based on these results, Bernard Douthit and Dave Young have qualified for the Democratic primary ballot for Treasurer.

Secretary of State
Jena Griswold: 3,352 votes (98.44%)
Phillip Villard: 53 votes (1.56%)

Based on these results, Jena Griswold has qualified for the Democratic primary ballot for Secretary of State.

Attorney General
Amy Padden: 360 votes (10.54%)
Joe Salazar: 1,249 votes (36.58%)
Phil Weiser: 1,805 votes (52.87%)

Based on these results, Joe Salazar and Phil Weiser have qualified for the Democratic primary ballot for Attorney General. Amy Padden can qualify for the ballot if the Secretary of State determines that she has collected the requisite number of valid signatures.

Governor
Cary Kennedy: 2,101 votes (61.65%)
Jared Polis: 1,120 votes (32.86%)
Erik Underwood: 187 votes (5.49%)

Based on these results, Cary Kennedy and Jared Polis have qualified for the Democratic primary ballot for Governor.

NOTE: These are not all of the candidates that are running for these particular offices. Some candidates have chosen to qualify for the ballot by submitting petition signatures instead of going through the caucus-assembly process.

Here are the CD results in order: ( rounded to nearest 1%). I’ll update this list with numbers as I find them.

I’ve included my notes on the assemblies I attended and on the speakers I heard.

CD1: (Denver metro)Diana Degette – 61% . Her primary opponent, Saira Rao , got 37%, and  will be on the ballot. Rep. Degette has been a reliable Democratic vote for many years in a safe district – I think Rao’s candidacy will be a needed wake-up call to be more progressive and to offer better constituent services. Rao is sharp, a great speaker, and has energized the progressive base. Degette attended her CD1 assembly on April 13 , did not attend nor speak at the state assembly April 14.

CD2: (Boulder area – Jared Polis vacated the seat to run for Governor) Joe Negeuse – 91% Joe gave a helluva speech, as he always does. His personal story touches many people. Boulder will be well represented by him, as he’ll certainly win the primary, and almost certainly the general election. His primary opponent, Mark Williams, did not make the ballot.  The GOP has put up a couple of “Nicks” against Neguse: Nick Thomas and Nicholas Morse. I don’t know who won the GOP assembly vote, but they won’t beat “the Goose”.

CD3: (most of the western slope and SW CO – currently held by Scott Tipton) Diane Mitsch Bush had the highest delegate vote with 56%; Karl Harlon also cleared the 30% threshold with 41%, and will be on the ballot.

CD4: (Mostly NE CO – current incumbent Ken Buck) The Doctors were in the house! Veterinary doctors Karen McCormick and Chase Kohne each had throngs of energetic supporters on stage for their nominations. Each gave a rousing speech:

Kohne’s best line, in my opinion: “If you want to shoot an AR15, go down to the recruiting office and join the military.”

McCormick’s nominators are emphasizing Dr McCormick’s support for Dreamers and immigrants. Karen McCormick emphasized Cannabis, immigrant rights, healthcare, union support, bipartisan cooperation to get laws passed. Full disclosure: I live in CD4. I’m voting for McCormick, will be fine with Kohne as well.

CD5 (El Paso area, currently held by Doug Lamborn) Stephany Rose Spaulding won the delegate count and will be on the ballot. I don’t know about the other CD5 candidates, whom you can read about at the EPCO Young Dems site.  It’s great to see so many young Democrats running from what has6been the Tea Party GOP’s bastion in Colorado.

CD6 Aurora / Arapahoe County area, currently held by Mike Coffman. Jason Crow won top ballot with 64% , while Levi Tilleman will also be on the ballot with 35%. I saw Crow speak to the assembly, and found his persona to be authentic and appealing. PPP surveyed 761 voters, and found that Crow polled 44-39 against Coffman in Febrary 2018.

CD7 Ed Perlmutter, the Democratic incumbent, did not attend the Assembly as far as I know. Ed, a very popular Congressman in his district,  is not  being primaried in this election.

 

Author’s note – this diary started as an open thread based on my  live blogging at the Colorado State Assembly. I’ve updated it with ballot results.

 

 

The Big Budget Deal, Guns, and Gardner

Trump sign bill, but Trump still mad!

After briefly threatening a veto — and randomly asking Congress to give him line item veto powers (and eliminating the filibuster) — President Trump today signed a massive $1.3 trillion spending deal that includes changes to background checks for gun purchases that Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) opposed to the very end. If that sentence seems complicated…well, it is. There’s no easy way to unpack the giant omnibus spending bill rammed through by Congress early this morning.

Let’s start things off with the Washington Post reporting from the White House:

Just hours after threatening a veto, President Trump said Friday afternoon that he had signed a “ridiculous” $1.3 trillion spending bill passed by Congress early Friday and averted a government shutdown…

…But speaking to reporters at the White House about four hours later, Trump said he had decided to sign the bill despite his reservations, arguing that it provides much-needed funding for the military, including a pay increase for troops and new equipment.

In his remarks to the media today, Trump was in full angry old man mode. From the New York Times:

In a rambling and disjointed 20-minute statement from the Diplomatic Reception Room, Mr. Trump denigrated the bill, which was rushed through the House and the Senate by members of his own Republican Party, as “crazy” and vowed to never “sign another bill like this again.”

“Nobody read it,” Mr. Trump said of the sweeping funding measure drawn up by Republican leaders in the House and the Senate. Echoing criticism from those who voted against the measure, Mr. Trump added, “It’s only hours old.”

Trump specifically addressed his anger about the 2,322-page spending bill that lawmakers could not have possibly even begun to have read before voting on the measure. The House version of the bill made it to the floor on Thursday after just 16 hours of debate; all four Colorado Republican members of Congress voted to end discussion, moving things along with a narrow 211-207 result. Colorado Reps. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) and Ken Buck (R-Greeley) were ultimately able to vote “YES” and “NO” on the proposal (Coffman and Buck voted YES on the procedural move before pressing the “NO” button on the final vote).

Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).

Over in the Senate, the spending bill passed with 62 votes; Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) voted “YES” and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) was a “NO.” Gardner’s vote is particularly interesting because the bill included the “Fix NICS” background check provision that Gardner had been blocking for weeks. The next time Gardner pretends to be concerned about gun violence, remember that he prevented the popular background fix measure from being debated in the Senate and ultimately voted against its final approval.

What else do we know about the giant omnibus spending bill? As CNN’s Gregory Krieg explains, it’s important to consider everything that was NOT bundled into the legislation, such as: 1) DACA and immigration reform, 2) Billions of dollars for Trump’s border wall, and 3) Serious attempts at preventing gun violence, including no new limits on gun purchases.

How did this all happen so quickly? As Sarah Binder writes for the Washington Post, this was Republican strategerie at work:

One of the reasons GOP leaders were keen to rush the bill to a vote is that they didn’t want their partisan base to notice that it both funds innumerable Democratic priorities and blocks the Trump administration from doing such things as expanding detention of immigrants, defunding sanctuary cities, and ending federal funding for the arts, to name a few. [Pols emphasis] The Trump White House and many conservatives wanted deep cuts to domestic programs. Party leaders ignored that. The more quickly the two chambers vote, the less time potential opponents have to unearth details that could outrage the GOP base, who might pressure their representatives to vote against the deal.

To summarize, Congressional Republicans rammed through a humongous spending bill that they didn’t read and didn’t really like that does very little to address their political vulnerabilities on gun violence and immigration reform…and will also likely anger their base of supporters.

Ken Buck: Leave Donald Trump Alone!

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

As the Greeley Tribune’s Tyler Silvy reports, Rep. Ken Buck, the former District Attorney for Weld County before being elected to Congress, is tired of all this investigating of our Dear Leader already:

Rep. Ken Buck said Wednesday he’s concerned the special counsel investigation has gone beyond its original scope, saying the law allowing the special prosecutor undermines the integrity of U.S. elections.

The Greeley Tribune reached out to Buck and Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., in the wake of the firing of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, statements from President Donald Trump’s attorney regarding the special counsel investigation and tweets from the president on the same topic…

Buck, a former federal prosecutor, didn’t directly answer whether he ever found things he wasn’t looking for during the course of his investigations. Instead, he said he was never given unlimited resources or unlimited time to investigate someone.

“No federal prosecutor has ever worked on a case like this,” Buck said. “This law is fundamentally flawed. It undermines the integrity of our elections if we’re going to investigate anything a president could have done wrong.” [Pols emphasis]

Rep. Buck seems to forget the expansive prosecutorial discretion enjoyed by the special prosecutor charged by Republicans in Congress to investigate…well, anything they could possibly find or conjure to impugn the integrity of former President Bill Clinton. An investigation that began with real estate deals ended up producing articles of impeachment over oral sex with an intern. The fact remains that crimes committed during the course of an investigation, like perjury and obstruction, are still crimes. By contrast, the investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russians to win the election has been hewing pretty closely to the original stated scope–and, we might add, fruitfully.

But seriously, folks. If you poll 100 people about whether we should “investigate anything a president could have done wrong,” we’re pretty sure the answer is going to be an enthusiastic yes in about 99% of cases. The only exception to that would most likely be sycophant cronies of the president.

Perhaps Rep. Buck just self-ID’ed as one?

Ken Buck Defends AR-15 for Shooting Small Animals

(It’s best to shoot squirrels with a bazooka — promoted by Colorado Pols)

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado defended the sale of AR-15 rifles last week, saying “the AR-15 is a gun that is used in my district by farmers and ranchers to shoot pests, raccoons, or foxes or other smaller animals that are trying get into their chickens or disrupt their operations.”

The AR-15 is a military-style semi-automatic rifle used by the shooter at the Florida school massacre.

Buck, a Republican, made the comments on KOA 850-AM Wed., amplifying on anti-gun remarks he’d made earlier in the day to KCOL radio host Gail Fallon.

The use of the AR-15 for shooting rodents is confirmed by an internet search, but gun-safety advocates say rabbits, foxes, raccoons, and other animals can be killed by other means.

On KCOL, Buck suggested that gun massacres are the price we pay for living in a free society.

“At the same time when you have a free and open society, you’ve got to understand that there have always been acts like this in any country,” Buck said.

Buck also dismissed the proposal to restrict gun purchases by young adults, telling Fallon:

“You know Gail, the United States government, the Army, handed my son an M-4 when he was 18 years old. He’s responsible and could could handle it,” said Buck. “And I think he was shooting a 50 caliber when he was 18 years old. So the idea that age is simply the answer, I do not agree with. We lived in a country, outside Greeley when when my kids were growing up. They grew up with the BB guns and a 22, and I had absolute confidence  that video games, music other things were not going to affect their responsibility.

“Unfortunately we have some young people who have a tendency to violence and are irresponsible, and we need to identify those young people and not have a policy that discriminates against the vast majority of 18- 19-year olds who can responsibly handle a gun.

“We let we let young people drive at less than 18-years old. We let young people vote at 18, and I don’t think it’s right to increase the age to 21 when they are doing so many other things that are responsible.

“A lot of young people want to go out and enjoy either target practice or hunting with a parent or other friend. And to me it’s not a simple answer. We’ve got to identify the mentally ill, and we’ve got to make sure that they don’t have access to guns.

If the allowable age for buying a gun were increased, young adults would likely still be able to hunt or shoot at targets with a parent or friend, gun-safety advocates say.

Listen to selected quotes from Buck’s KCOL interview:

Buck still sees not a “shred of evidence” of Trump-Russia collusion

(See no evil, hear no evil, Buck no evil – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

In a Jan. 26 interview on Denver’s KNUS-710-AM, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) said once again there’s not a “shred” of evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia–and he recommended that Trump skip any interviews with Special Prosecutor Robert Muller, saying it’s a perjury trap and pointing to problems Bill Clinton encountered speaking about Monica Lewinsky.

“There has been no collusion,” Trump told KNUS guest host Randy Corporon. “There’s not a shred of evidence about collusion.”

“This president should not give a statement, and this special counsel should wrap this up,” said Buck.

Still, Buck, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, which would theoretically take up impeachment hearings if any occur, said a “Republican-controlled Congress” would impeach an Republican president, if a “crime was presented” to the body.

Buck said last year that the Russia-Trump collusion investigation has “no substance.”

Buck addressed a handful of other topics in the interview, including DACA. The Congressman expressed an openness to a DACA deal, even one possibly involving a path to citizenship for Dreamers.

“You can see some of the Art of The Deal in how [Trump] handled the shutdown,” Buck said, saying he looks forward to seeing what Trump comes up with for the Dreamers.

Listen to the entire interview here. Below is a compilation of different segments of the interview.

Rep. Ken Buck Gets Smart on Guns? Fat Chance

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

If you don’t read past the headline of the stories about passage yesterday in the U.S. House of legislation to force states to honor concealed carry permits from states with weaker standards, you might think that Rep. Ken Buck, arguably the state’s hardest-right member of Congress, had suddenly gone soft on the issue of guns:

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 231-198 Wednesday to pass a bill that would allow people with concealed carry permits to carry their weapons into other states where concealed weapons are allowed—though Republican Rep. Ken Buck voted against the measure.

Buck, who cosponsored the bill in January that changed before Wednesday’s vote, was one of 14 Republicans who voted against the measure, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017. He was targeted in NRA emails earlier this week urging constituents to call him and tell him to “listen to his constituents and vote for H.R. 38.”

But before you offer a surprised “attaboy” to Rep. Buck, keep reading:

“I strongly supported the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, but could not vote for it in this combined bill,” Buck said in a statement to Denver7 following the vote. “I have concerns that the NICS portion of the legislation places Americans at risk for having their Second Amendment rights stripped without due process.”

Tacked onto the original bill are extra background check measures that would strengthen the FBI’s database of who is not allowed to buy a gun. Democrats criticized Republicans for lumping the measure in with the concealed carry legislation, saying the background check measures should stand alone. The background check measures come in response to Air Force lapses that allowed a man to shoot and kill more than two dozen people at a Texas church.

The recent mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas that killed 26 people was committed by a man who by all accounts shouldn’t have been able to legally purchase a gun. A conviction for domestic violence while the shooter served in the Air Force wasn’t properly reported to the national database used to approve firearm purchases. As Denver7 correctly reports, that lapse prompted bipartisan consensus that a law to improve collection of this information is needed–drawing a clear line from an horrific mass shooting to a policy change that might have prevented it.

It was Republicans who had the bright idea to stack the bipartisan consensus for fixing background checks on to a far less unanimously-supported bill to enact “concealed carry reciprocity.” This is legislation that would significantly weaken the ability of states to regulate the carrying of guns by forcing them to honor concealed carry permits from states that have inferior (or even no) requirements for a concealed carry permit. Lumping these two provisions together made for a contradictory piece of legislation that Democrats simply couldn’t support.

But for Ken Buck, it was the opposite: strengthening background checks, which most everyone else had agreed on, was too much even to get CCP reciprocity. That puts Buck even farther out of the mainstream than his colleagues who supported the “compromise.”

So no, Rep. Buck, no applause for you. From either side.

Coffman, Tipton, Buck, Lamborn Give Wind Power The Shaft

From top left: Rep. Ken Buck, Rep. Mike Coffman, Rep. Doug Lamborn, Rep. Scott Tipton.

A press release before the holiday break from American Wind Energy Association condemns passage of the GOP-controlled House version of the so-called “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”–which contains a provision that won’t be good for jobs in one important industry to Colorado:

The U.S. House of Representatives missed an opportunity to stand up for 60,000 American workers and preserve $50 billion in private infrastructure investment. The tax reform bill passed by the House retroactively changes how businesses can qualify for wind energy’s primary investment tools, the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which are already on a path to phase out by 2019.

“The House tax bill, far from being pro-business, would kill over half of new wind farms planned in the U.S. and undermine one of the country’s fastest growing jobs,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). “The wind industry tax reformed ourselves with bipartisan agreement in 2015. The Senate tax proposal gets it right by respecting those terms. Congress must act immediately in conference to drop the House provisions on the PTC and ITC, to restore the confidence of businesses ready to pour billions of dollars into job-creating American infrastructure.”

The House bill undermines wind development by implementing a retroactive change to qualification rules for wind energy tax credits. Because businesses can’t go back in time to requalify for the credits after ordering wind turbines and inking construction contracts, tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of investment could be lost, and new business has stalled. The House bill would also terminate an inflation adjustment, significantly cutting the value of the PTC.

Sen. Cory Gardner (R), with wind power turbines in a 2014 campaign ad.

In an op-ed in the Pueblo ChieftainJohn Purcell of Houston-based Leeco Steel calls out Republicans who voted to kill the wind energy production tax credit:

By breaking its promise to the wind industry, Congress wouldn’t just hurt the investors, manufacturers and developers whose deals are undermined. The harmful effects of the House bill would have a ripple effect across the wind energy supply chain, ultimately harming thousands of American workers and families.

No American job is safe if Congress can change the terms of business contracts years after agreements are signed and billions of dollars are spent. That’s not pro-growth tax reform, that’s bad business.

The people who benefit from wind energy in this country are not strangers. They are the backbone of our communities, our returning veterans, our teachers, nurses, neighbors and family members.

Voting to hurt the wind power industry is a particularly toxic vote for Colorado Republicans. Rep. Scott Tipton’s district includes the Vestas wind tower manufacturing plant, and Rep. Ken Buck’s hometown of Windsor is home to a Vestas blade factory. Numerous smaller companies in Colorado support the wind power industry, from manufacturing to installation to operations.

And yet all four Colorado Republicans in the House voted to kill the wind power production tax credit. Don’t you think somebody should ask them why they voted directly, transactionally to kill Colorado jobs for the sake of tax cuts for the richest Americans?

In the Senate, the current tax “reform” legislation under debate does not include cuts to the wind power production tax credit. Although there are Republicans in that chamber who have paid lip service to supporting wind power including Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, it’s anybody’s guess whether Senators beholden to the fossil fuel industry will try to reinsert this provision–or if it does get out of the Senate with the wind power production credit intact, when the next attempt to slow down renewable energy will be made.

But we do know four Colorado Republicans who voted against this industry with a crucial role in Colorado’s economy one week ago. And they can’t take it back.

Wait, You Can Do That? Harassment Tax Break Edition

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

KDVR FOX 31 Denver reports on a proposal from a Colorado Republican for which we think there ought to be unanimous support, in light of headlines coast to coast and flyover states too–but for one little problem:

Whether it be Bill O’Reilly, Harvey Weinstein, Roy Moore or Steve Lebsock, the topic is dominating Colorado airwaves.

Now Congressman Ken Buck says it’s time to end the practice of businesses being able to deduct harassment settlements from their taxes.

“Right now a business can write that off as an ordinary and necessary business expense which is wrong,” Buck told FOX31 political reporter Joe St. George.

The idea that a corporation can build harassment settlements into the cost of doing business to the extent that they can get a tax break for them might come as a rude shock to many readers, and we of course have no idea when this particular provision may have been inserted into the tax code.

We assume plenty of dudes through the years found it useful. It’s good to see that time may finally be past.

With that said, there is a problem in the case of Rep. Ken Buck’s proposal with implementation:

Buck has written a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee chairman asking for language to be included in the latest tax reform debate on Capitol Hill.

That’s right–unfortunately, this no-brainer of a tax deduction to repeal is going to get bundled with a whole bunch of other and in many cases stupid alterations to the tax code, an elusive “pay-for” in the GOP’s budget-busting tax cut plan that–while we certainly wouldn’t mind seeing this particular pay-for enacted–isn’t worth the widespread harm certain to ensue when the hole these cuts create has to be filled. As a general guide, that is usually right after the opposing party retakes power.

If Buck keeps this idea alive in the entirely possible event the tax bill tanks, or fails to include this provision at all, we’ll circle back to thank him.

As of now, we’d rather see a “clean” harassment tax break repeal.

The Greatest Tax Reform Proposal in the History of Never

Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) was the only Colorado Republican to press the ‘NO’ button on the budget today.

The House of Representatives today passed its 2018 budget resolution in a party-line vote, the first step for Congressional Republicans are they endeavor to mold some sort of amazing tax “reform” policy. Reps. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez), Doug Lamborn (R-Imbecile), and Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) voted in favor of the budget; Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) was the only Colorado Republican to vote ‘NO,’ where he was joined by all three Democrats from the state’s delegation.

As The Hill reports:

In a 219-206 vote, lawmakers approved a budget resolution for 2018 that sets up a process for shielding the GOP tax bill from a filibuster in the Senate…

…The budget reconciliation rules would allow Republicans in the Senate to pass tax reform without any Democratic votes, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) can only afford two defections.

Republicans used the same strategy for ObamaCare repeal but failed, and are hoping for a better outcome on taxes.

Yet there are already signs of trouble, with some Republicans questioning whether the tax proposal would add too much to the deficit, and others balking at plans to eliminate a deduction for state and local taxes. The tax plan is now estimated to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over a decade, but that figure would grow if the state and local tax deduction is not eliminated. [Pols emphasis]

Trouble? Wait…you mean to say that Congressional Republicans aren’t unified about how to overhaul the nation’s tax laws?

The problem Republicans are facing with tax reform legislation is strangely similar to what they ran into with repeated attempts at repealing Obamacare: Lawmakers are starting to understand that what they’re being sold by GOP leadership is vastly different than what the tax proposal would actually accomplish. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and President Trump are in general agreement on a set of talking points that are about as authentic as a Rex Tillerson press conference. Trump and friends are trying to sell a 1988 Ford Taurus with talking points from a Ferrari dealership, and Republicans aren’t buying it:

Senator Paul is far from the only Republican confused by this new tax proposal. As NPR reports:

President Trump and congressional Republicans have pitched their tax plan as a boost for the middle class.

“The rich will not be gaining at all with this plan,” Trump told reporters during a meeting with lawmakers in mid-September.

But analysts at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center who studied the proposal reached a very different conclusion. They predict that nearly three-quarters of the savings from the tax overhaul would go to the top 20 percent of earners — those making more than $149,000. More than half the savings would go to the top 1 percent — people who earn more than $732,800. [Pols emphasis] The tax breaks are even more tilted to the wealthy by the 10th year of the overhaul, when the Tax Policy Center projects nearly 80 percent of the savings would go to the top 1 percent of earners.

Republican leaders want to sell this proposal as a huge — YUGE! — benefit to the American middle class, but the math doesn’t add up. It’s no wonder that Senate Republicans are trying to get rid of a rule that requires a CBO score of legislation to be made public for at least 28 hours before a vote. Again, from NPR:

The tax benefits for the rich in the GOP plan are direct, obvious and easily quantified. Many of the promised benefits for the middle class, on the other hand, are indirect, speculative and uncertain…

So how do the tax plan’s supporters claim that it’s focused on the middle class? By highlighting speculative, indirect gains that are supposed to result from economic growth…

…Rather than simply promise that the government will cut the tax bill for working families — many of whom pay little income tax already — the GOP is arguing that its tax plan will promote growth, which in turn will boost employment, and over time result in higher wages. Break any link of that chain and the middle-class “winnings” end up in someone else’s pocket. [Pols emphasis]…

And so on, and so forth, until the middle class becomes so obscenely wealthy that they have to start lobbying for another round of tax cuts for rich people like them. This theory of “supply side economics,” or as it came to be known in the Reagan era, “trickle-down economics” does not work. We don’t have to speculate about whether or not it could work. It doesn’t. There is plenty of data to prove this. It is (again) no wonder why President Trump’s administration recently suppressed a 2012 report from the Office of Tax Analysis (OTA) that essentially lays bare the fact that this tax proposal would do the exact opposite of what Trump claims would happen.

The NPR story we cited above is an excellent resource for understanding the ins and outs of the Republican tax plan, but it’s a bit of a long read. For an even more briefer-er look, we put together this graphic to help you understand Republican math on healthcare and tax reform. If any of this makes sense to you, then you might be a Member of Congress:

Get More Smarter on Thursday (October 5)

The Colorado Rockies made the playoffs this year, but you missed it if you didn’t catch Wednesday’s game in Arizona. 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…

► Tens of thousands of Colorado children are in serious trouble if Congress does not renew funding for CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program that expired at the end of September. The Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday took the first step toward renewing CHIP funding with a bill sponsored by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).

 

► Today is the last day for DACA recipients to renew permits before the process is closed under a policy shift announced last month by the Trump administration.

 

► Colorado Senate Republican leaders pledged not to do their jobs when the legislature convened for a brief session to fix an unintentional legislative error this week, and they succeeded in doing nothing once again. But the decisions of Republican leaders such as Senate President Kevin Grantham are looking even worse with the news that legislation to fix SB-267 would have passed in the Senate had a floor vote been permitted.

State Sen. Chris Holbert is among those Republican leaders whose reputations took a hit this week. Holbert was quoted by the Denver Post saying that he “did not swear an oath to uphold the opinion of a court” and preferred to follow his constituents’ interpretation of the State Constitution rather than, you know, facts.

 

► Former Judge Roy Moore, who easily defeated Sen. Luther Strange in a Republican Primary in Alabama last month, showed up unexpectedly in Washington D.C. on Wednesday and caused quite a stir. As the Washington Post reports, Moore apparently met with NRSC head Cory Gardner, despite the best efforts of both men to pretend othewise:

Rather than meeting with McConnell, Moore was on the House side of the Capitol on Wednesday. In a brief interview as he left the office of Rep. Robert B. Aderholt in the afternoon, Moore said he had no meetings set up with McConnell or members of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Senate majority’s campaign arm, which spent millions trying to defeat Moore in the primary.

“Nothing confirmed,” he said casually, as an aide tried to head off questions. Asked why he decided to come to Washington, Moore simply replied: “Beautiful place.”

In the evening, Moore met with the NRSC chairman, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), according to a Republican close to Gardner and a second Republican familiar with the talk who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the closed-door session. Moore’s campaign declined to comment.

The meeting appeared to be hastily arranged, given Moore’s afternoon remark and Gardner’s uncertainty earlier in the day, as he and other Republicans struggled to save face.

“I haven’t looked at the schedule — I don’t know that yet,” Gardner said around midday, when asked whether he planned to meet with Moore.

The entire story is worth a read; Republicans who feared Moore and his right-wing supporters seem to have plenty of reason to be nervous. Moore’s Senate campaign was also a referendum on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whom the Alabama nominee has openly criticized.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Gardner, Buck Among Top Recipients of NRA Money

As the New York Times reports today, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) and Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) are among the top career recipients of campaign money — among current members of Congress — from the National Rifle Association (NRA).

We’ll just leave this here…

No Nibiru, just rural Democrats causing trouble.

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

So the world didn’t end today (yet). I  bet a 6th grader a chocolate bar that we’d still have class Monday.  His older brother had told him for sure that September 23 was it. Young students are all on Facebook, gobbling up and sharing every bit of fake news and conspiracy theory out there.

The eclipse, the hurricanes, and the earthquakes proved that doomsday was at hand.

This didn’t happen. Nibiru hitting earth, debunked on Snopes.com

My more sciencey students rushed to debunk this: “If there was a planet about to hit the earth, we would have seen it coming! Planets don’t just jump out of their orbits and go wherever they want! NASA says it’s not true. ”

I love that they’re paying attention in science class, and using evidence-based arguments.

But, no Nibiru in sight. Just another day, living the dream in northeast Colorado. Something else surprising is happening, though….Democrats are organizing in Northeast Colorado, and in rural counties all over the state.

At Octoberfest, it was chilly and drizzly. Felt like fall.  The Morgan County Democrats were boothed next to the American Legion, so we had lots of opportunities to chat while we waited for people to stop by.

I quickly found that we could talk about anything as long as I didn’t directly criticize the President. They could criticize him, though, and did. “Needs to take a Speech 101 class,” said a spry old gentleman who later showed off his world-class polka moves. “He’s embarrassing us with all the tweeting,” confided a lifelong Republican.

Democrats were zeroing in on us, too. “You have a booth? Here? How many Democrats are in Morgan County?” Turns out, about 3,000 registered Dems to about 6,000 registered Republicans, with ~4,500 unaffiliated. Dems have kept rather quiet until now, what with that 2:1 disadvantage.

But those days are gone. Dems had big, loud, crowded floats in all of the recent town parades.

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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.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Ken Buck Preparing to Announce Run for Attorney General

Rep. Ken Buck (R) prepares to press the “Attorney General campaign” button.

Dominoes, prepare thy fall.

Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) is apparently on the verge of making official his plan to run for Attorney General in 2018. From what we hear, a formal announcement is expected to happen in “days, not weeks.”

A few weeks ago we outlined the chaos that would result if current Attorney General Cynthia Coffman were to announce a run for Governor in 2018. Coffman has been hemming and hawing on that decision for some time, and Buck is apparently tired of waiting for her to make it official. It is important to note here that Buck does not plan on running against Coffman in a GOP Primary; many Republicans expect Coffman to run for Governor rather than re-election, so Buck is really just prodding her to get off of the metaphorical pot.

Buck has only been in Congress for two terms, first winning election in 2014 to fill the seat vacated by Cory Gardner’s ascension to the U.S. Senate. The former Weld County District Attorney would literally cut his salary in half if he is elected Attorney General, but Buck — who recently announced the death of the Republican Party — would apparently welcome the change because he’s generally miserable in Congress and isn’t getting anywhere in his efforts to drain the swamp.

There is no shortage of Republican candidates who would like their chance to be miserable in Congress. From what we hear, House Minority Leader Patrick Neville is already preparing as though he’ll be a candidate in a likely-crowded Republican Primary in CD-4. State Senator Jerry Sonnenberg and former state Senators Mark Scheffel, Tom Wiens and Scott Renfroe are also among the names to watch here.