Ken Buck “Very Happy” as Part of “Dead” Republican Party

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Despite his belief that the Republican Party is “dead” and its soul “has rotted,” U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) loves his job as Congressman.

“I am very happy where I am,” Buck told KNUS’ Dan Caplis yesterday. “And I am really feeling emboldened, in a lot of ways, about things – having a voice that can try to change the direction of policy in DC. And so I’m very thankful for that.”

And Buck apparently has no plans to drop his GOP affiliation, even though some candidates might not want to be associated with a dead party.

Buck told KNUS’ Boyles today:

Buck: “There is still a Republican Party that is registered with the Secretary of State. You’ll still see it on the ballot. But in terms of a political party, who is fighting for the conservative beliefs that that you and I share – and that many others share – the Party is dead.”

But Buck has concluded that “the soul of the Republican Party has rotted, and the Party has died from within.”

Buck believes the Republican Party can rise from the dead, at least according to an op-ed he wrote in The Denver Post Monday.

Rep. Ken Buck – Still lying, but nicely

Representative Buck is a good communicator. His conversational skills were on display in his Sterling Town Hall on July 29, 2017.  He does not always tell the truth, and his point of view is limited to what one would expect from one of the ten most conservative members of the House of Representatives, and proud member of the ultra-right wing Freedom Caucus.  I’ve listed Buck’s lies and lies by omission below.

Buck handles these town halls well – he doesn’t get flustered when confronted, and  stayed in control with a crowd that was at least 50% Democratic and progressive. The impromptu town hall in Longmont got a little rowdier, but Buck still kept his cool.  I’d call the overall tone of the Sterling meeting “polite but firm” , for all parties involved.

Over the course of the  one hour town hall meeting, Buck and his constituents discussed the budget process, the health care bills past, present, and future, education, water law, Bitcoin and “crypto-currency”, renewable energy, constitutional convention, the VA hospital, and civility in politics. I’ve highlighted some of the places in which Representative Buck strayed from the truth.

  • At 22:59, during a renewable energy discussion , Buck said that he’s against mandates, not renewable energy, even though Colorado now gets 24% of its electricity from wind and solar, and wind turbine jobs are the fastest growing job category in the country. . He was unable to justify his statement that renewable energy is hurting Coloradans and costing them money.
  • At 30:00 Buck says he’s against unfunded mandates in education, but doesn’t commit to fund them.
  • At 39:00, Buck lies about how much ACA coverage cost in 2014. (ACA = $1800, wife’s plan =$108 – but not mentioning that the  Federal Government subsidizes all congressmembers health at 90%, so his remaining 10% cost would have been $180/mo). If you recall, Cory Gardner  tried to scam voters with this same BS, and was never able to show any proof that his ACA payment was more expensive than his private plan.
  • At 40:00 Rep. Buck says he wants to drive down costs of premiums & deductibles, but neglects to mention that the House AHCA bill would have driven those way up for consumers.
  • At 49:45 , he says we should encourage people to be healthier and drive down health care costs that way (but the bill he supported would have eliminated ACA’s preventative medicine coverage).
  • Buck told a LIE again at 51:13 when he said that the GOP congress “never attempted to repeal and replace” Obamacare. The GOP Congress voted over 50 times to “repeal the ACA, and Buck personally voted 3X since he was elected in 2014 to repeal the ACA.
  • Again, at 53: 00 when Buck is asked what can be done about the lack of civility in DC, he blames the media for publicizing sensational stories, not a Republican administration which refuses to work across the aisle, nor a President who models terrible and uncivil behavior.
  • At 53:30, Buck is asked about his book Drain the Swamp, and  if it is true that he wants to change the Constitution. He replies that he would like to have a Constitutional Convention, but only to get a balanced budget and term limits. Whew. It’s not like there are any Koch brothers or nuts out there who want a Con-con just to repeal the last two centuries of progress.

Ken Buck apparently also has access to the Trump White House connection to Breitbart public relations  services. Buck’s humorous “Cut the Debt” video

features Trey Gowdy, Mia Love, Ted Cruz, and other Congress members, and promotes his point of view that cutting the national debt is an urgent priority. It was a front page Breitbart story on 3/15/2017.

Ken Buck is still one of the most conservative members of Congress. People running against him need to confront him on policy and votes. He’s not stupid or undisciplined – he’s not going to curse anyone out or get into a sex or money scandal. He’ll be a formidable foe not least because he is so “nice” and “personable”. Candidates running against him need to be prepared to confront him on votes, policies, and facts, stay polite and respectful, but call his lies out when necessary.

Representative Buck has other town hall meetings scheduled. See his website for updates.

Ken Buck Says the Republican Party is Dead

Rep. Ken Buck to the rescue!

Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) authored a pretty interesting Op-Ed in the Denver Post over the weekend in which he asserts that the Republican Party — of which he is a member — has destroyed itself:

The Republican Party is dead.

At one time, the blood of the people coursed through its veins, enlivening the party with their values and virtues, their goals and dreams. The party became its own energizing force, compelling people to sacrifice for a higher moral purpose.

But today’s Republican Party abandoned these people. It no longer represents their values. It no longer has a vision for a better America. And no one is stepping up to provide that vision…

…After eight years of assuring that unified Republican government would allow for conservative policy, our Republican Congress has accomplished little, except for passing a spending bill that shackles the aspirations of future generations with crippling debt.

Egads! The Republican Party is dead? To whom shall conservatives turn for guidance in these troubled times? Who will drag the Republican Party further to the right, where it (apparently) belongs?

We’re guessing Ken Buck is the answer to this question:

More than anything else, we need a vision, someone who has a message and a plan to unify this country. Instead, we’ve assembled a “b-team” of messengers who distract the nation with frivolities.

But Coloradans do not care about the frivolous. We care about the meaningful. We have a vision for the meaningful. If we can pass a balanced budget amendment, a responsible spending bill, and reforms of our health care system, of our tax system, of our entitlement system, and of our immigration system, then we can begin to fulfill the one-time destiny of this party, a destiny to offer hope and prosperity to the people of this great nation.

The Republican Party may well be dead, for many of the reasons Buck lists in this Op-Ed. Of course, it certainly doesn’t help that people like Buck are willing to throw the elephant in the lake in order to get the credit for diving in to save it from drowning.

Trump Transgender Service Ban Slammed From All Sides

So much for that.

A press release from One Colorado, the state’s principal LGBT advocacy group, slams an announcement via Twitter today from President Donald Trump, apparently barring transgender Americans from serving in the U.S. military:

One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Coloradans and their families released the following statement from Daniel Ramos, Executive Director, on President Trump’s announcement that transgender people can no longer serve in the U.S. Military.

“President Trump just attacked thousands of patriotic transgender Americans who already serve in our military and who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe and free. The U.S. military is the largest employer of transgender people in the world, employing an estimated 15,000 transgender people today.

“This is yet another example of the Trump Administration attacking the most vulnerable among us instead of bringing Americans together to fix the problems that face all of us. Transgender people — like all Americans — should be judged for their qualifications, nothing more, nothing less. As we learned in repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, allowing service members to serve with integrity strengthens our armed forces.

“Our veterans and military deserve better and we will fight against this vicious attack on dignity and equality. Transgender people are our friends, neighbors, and coworkers. They are veterans who have served with honor, and active duty service members who have sacrificed to protect our freedoms. When it comes to being able to serve their country, earn a living, having a place to live, or being served by a business, transgender people should be treated like anyone else and not be discriminated against.”

And as the Denver Post’s Mark Matthews reports, arch-conservative Rep. Ken Buck, a consistent Trump defender, is not happy with this decision:

Colorado Congressman Ken Buck, a Republican, pushed back against President Donald Trump’s decision Wednesday morning to bar transgender people from serving in the military “in any capacity.”

“America needs a military comprised of patriots willing to sacrifice for this country,” Buck, who represents Weld County and the Eastern Plains, said in a written statement to The Denver Post. “Any American who is physically and emotionally qualified should be allowed to serve.”

Buck, who led the high-profile Greeley hate-crime prosecution of the the killer of transgender woman Angie Zapata, was one of several members of Colorado’s congressional delegation to weigh in following Trump’s Twitter posts Wednesday morning.

In a statement, Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs is supporting Trump, saying “there are too many unanswered medical, housing, readiness, and deployment questions to allow the previous policies of the Obama administration to continue.” That’s the only clear support we’ve seen from any elected official in Colorado, though others have yet to weigh in. As for Rep. Buck, it’s believed that his experience in the high-profile 2009 trial of the murderer of Greeley transgender woman Angie Zapata genuinely affected him, and made him more tolerant in the specific case of transgender people.

Obviously, this is a major setback for Trump’s not-insignificant number of defenders in the LGBT community–and we expect the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump will have even more trouble explaining this, like so many other things her dad has said and done, to her socially liberal wealthy friends in NYC. With all of the very real problems besetting the Trump administration today, there’s only one reason why Trump would voluntarily open himself to this whole new line of fully avoidable criticism.

It’s petty and mean-spirited, but it’s also a distraction.

That Ridiculous “Trolls” Video, Though


The weekend’s main political event in Denver after a big week for local Republicans was the Western Conservative Summit, which played host to a large number of conservative politicos, interest groups, and individual activists–and featured a memorable disruption of Sen. Cory Gardner’s speech by disability-rights activists.

But what people are talking about most today is a video shot for Jeff Hunt of the WCS’ sponsoring organization Colorado Christian University, featuring a bevy of Colorado elected officials and Hunt dancing to the tune of Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling”–as featured (without a shred of irony) in the hit Dreamworks animated movie Trolls! Now the video hasn’t yet been taken down for copyright violations, so we assume the song was licensed? Either way, Denverite:

Described as the largest gathering of conservatives outside of Washington, D.C., the summit started Friday afternoon and continues through Sunday at the Colorado Convention Center. The video features Colorado Republicans dancing all over Denver, though some of them are closer to “dancing.”

They were at the State Capitol, the Convention Center, Little Man Ice Cream, Ace Eat Serve and apparently an Audi dealership — among other locations…

Using the song from Trolls is doubly ironic once you see what the internet did to this video within moments of its release. See–George Brauchler dancing a jig!

See–Rep. Ken Buck blow ’em away!

See–Jeff Hunt loving him some Audi R8. Call it the “prosperity Gospel?”

Sen. Cory Gardner and Hunt say, “it’s fun to stay at the W-C-S!” Except you’re on camera, so do it backwards! Crap, too late:

Cory Gardner, cool guy in the Corvette gets turned into:

Check out more examples at Denverite, or show us your own in comments.

And no matter how good it sounds in a staff meeting, don’t ever let this happen to you! The internet is a cruel, unforgiving place–where context has no obligation to exist at all. Until you’ve thought through not just how a video like this will be received, but how it will be used against you out of context…just don’t.

Every so often it’s necessary for the political class to relearn this lesson the hard way.

Buck Blasts U.S. Chamber of Commerce

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

The schism between business groups and some members of the Republican Party in Colorado came into sharp focus Saturday when U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), speaking on conservative radio, lit into the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

In an interview about his book Drain the Swamp, Buck was asked by KNUS 710-AM’s Chuck Bonniwell about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. (Listen, hour 3, at 15 min)

“They are one of the big problems in Washington DC,” replied Buck. “They affirmatively go after conservatives. Tim Huelskamp lost his seat in the western district of Kansas because of the U.S. Chamber targeting Tim as a conservative, and defeating him. They play, and they play very hard. We have some groups on the right, like Club for Growth, that also target folks. But, you know, the Chamber is a corporate cronyist organization that promotes corporate interests at the expense of conservative values. There are a lot of stories to tell about the swamp, and if I didn’t mention the Chamber, they certainly deserve to be mentioned.”

A spokesman from the Chamber promised to return my call with the Chamber’s decision on whether to respond to Buck.

Syndicated right-wing columnist Michelle Malkin, who resides in Colorado, has a similar view of the Chamber, writing in 2014. “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a politically entrenched synod of special interests. These fat cats do not represent the best interests of American entrepreneurs, American workers, American parents and students, or Americans of any race, class, or age who believe in low taxes and limited government. The chamber’s business is the big business of the Beltway, not the business of mainstream America.”

Buck’s comments came after some Republicans in the Colorado General Assembly appeared to anger business groups by voting against a measure that classified a hospital fee as a business enterprise within the Colorado budget, freeing millions of dollars for health, transportation, and other state priorities.

After his vote against the legislation, which passed, State Sen. Ray Scott (R-Alamosa) alleged that the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce was so angry at him that the organization refused to read Scott’s letter about the General Assembly session at an annual breakfast.

Scott wrote on Facebook that he’s either “chopped liver” or, according to Scott, “they wanted to see how many would notice” [his absence from the meeting].

Good News! Week of June 3-June 10

(Get More…Gooder! – promoted by Colorado Pols)

This diary, which I hope to publish every Friday, will be all about small victories in the big battles: People doing the right thing for the right reasons. Stories of bravery, generosity, caring, and integrity. Where possible, I’ve connected this to Colorado politics and stories.

This is a selfish project for me – I need to see those small victories and uplifting stories just to keep going as an activist. Without them, it’s too easy to be overwhelmed by the flood of bad news and attacks on democracy and civil rights, and simply stop trying to keep politicians accountable.

There are many “good news” items I haven’t covered; more possible categories for good news are: Race, discrimination, justice, bizarre news, animals, marches, town halls, community organizing, “the resistance”. Where another organization such as ProgressNow Colorado reports on “How to fight back this week”, I’m not going to duplicate coverage. As always, add your own “good news” stories and commentary.

(more…)

What’s The Matter With Kansas, Weld County Edition

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

The Greeley Tribune’s Sharon Dunn reports from Weld County, Colorado, where a solidly Republican electorate voted for Donald Trump last November–and now face the consequences of their vote:

About 73,584 Weld County residents use Medicaid, according to the most recent count by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing. That’s about 24 percent of the county.

With President Donald Trump’s budget plan calling for $800 billion in cuts to the federal Medicaid program over the next 10 years and reports that the American Health Care Act, if passed, could leave 23 million more people across the country uninsured, it’s likely Weld residents will feel the changes…

So we’re clear,  these are not positive changes. Unless you’re Weld County’s congressman, GOP Rep. Ken Buck:

The Congressional Budget Office released a report May 24 estimating the direct spending and revenue effects of the American Health Care Act, which passed the House but has yet to go to the Senate. The report estimates the bill would reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion over the coming decade.

Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., who voted for the bill, said it’s important to reduce the country’s deficit.

“It is clear we have healthy, able-bodied men and women who can join the workforce who are not in the workforce, and we have got to cut benefits [Pols emphasis] and incentivize employment in this country,” Buck said.

There are few members of Congress willing to be as frank about the goals of Republican policy as Ken Buck. Other Republicans couch their desire to cut people off from social safety nets in platitudes about offering “better” services to needy Americans than what current law provides, or highlight individual cases of people who aren’t seeing the benefits of reform.

It’s another thing completely to say we have to cut benefits to “incentivize” lazy Americans to go to work. Buck is evoking the worst kind of prejudice against recipients of all kinds of public assistance, the assumption that safety nets breed dependency and complacency instead of bridging financial gaps any family could face. The argument that we need to “incentivize employment” by cutting public assistance assumes a lack of work ethic that is simply offensive to recipients–especially considering how many recipients work full time at jobs that don’t pay enough to cover basic needs.

With all of this in mind, Rep. Buck’s dismissive insult of 24% of the population of the largest county in his congressional district is politically mind boggling to us. There is nothing to be gained politically from making such heartless assumptions about thousands of your own constituents. With so many residents on Medicaid, even the most hard case talk radio-loving social Darwinist knows someone who could be affected. We’re not saying this could endanger Buck’s re-election in his deep red district, but it’s horrible both for his own public image and for the Republican brand generally. It undermines more moderate Republicans looking to put a kinder face on these proposals.

Ken Buck’s lack of a filter is at least as big a threat to fellow Republicans as it is to Buck personally.

Ken Buck: “It’s Just Very Difficult” to Spread News of “Good Things” Happening in Washington

(There are good things happening? — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) said on a Denver radio show Friday that it was “premature” for the Trump Administration to appoint a special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the last election–and that it’s “just very difficult” at his town halls to get his positive message out “about the good things that are going on” in Washington.

Asked by KDMT 690-AM host Jimmy Sengenberger if he thought it was a “smart move” for the deputy attorney general to appoint Robert Mueller as special counsel, Buck said:

“I think that it was premature,” Buck answered. “I don’t think it was warranted at this time. I can see politically whey they want to remove themselves, the Department of Justice, from this inquiry. And I understand politically why it was done. But as a prosecutor, you wait until you have probable cause before you start doing things like special prosecutions or grand jury or other criminal investigations. So I just felt it was premature.”

Buck is a former Weld County District Attorney.

Buck’s comments came on the day it was revealed that Trump told Russian officials that former FBI Director James Comey was a “nut job” and his firing by Trump alleviated pressure on Trump about his campaign’s Russian ties.

Earlier in the week, a recording emerged of former GOP House Majority leader, Kevin McCarthy, saying he thinks Russian leader Vladimir Putin paid Trump. McCarthy said he was joking, even though he said, “Swear to God” after he made the comment in the audio tape. Multiple Trump officials, including Trump’s Attorney General, James Sessions, have admitted talking to Russians during the campaign.

Buck said Congress and Trump are doing a lot of good work, but “when I go to town halls, trying to the get positive message out about the good things that are going on is just very difficult.”

Asked why, Buck said the media “is fundamentally unfair in this situation; it’s a left-leaning media,” and Trump has “not done us any favors.”

He added that “the left if very well organized and focused on a singular message.”

“I tell ya, Jimmy, I think there are great things happening in the country, and the stock market today is reflecting some of those great things,” Buck said on air. “We have consumer confidence that is outstanding right now. We have low unemployment. You know, I was driving to the airport the other day, from Greeley down to DIA, and I saw five different HELP WANTED signs, and I haven’t see that in years….”

“For some reason, this narrative continues that there’s some sort of collusion between the Trump Campaign and the Russians, and there’s just no hard evidence that leads to that conclusion,” said Buck.

Buck took over Colorado’s Fourth Congressional District when U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) was elected in 2014. Gardner defeated a Democrat, Betsy Markey, to win the seat in 2010.

Buck says journalists are “inventing this Russia story”

(Спасибо дружище! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

Some Colorado conservatives are joining Trump in blaming the press for the daily-eye-pop-head-spin news stories streaming from the White House.

Leading the charge are local talk radio hosts, but conservative politicians are also mad at journalists.

Appearing on KOA 850-AM’s Mandy Connell show yesterday, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) lamented that the media are “inventing this Russia story.”

Buck: “When George Bush won, he was the dumbest human being alive, even though he’d gone to great schools and gotten great degrees. Every time he stumbled in a speech, it was a story for two or three days. He just wasn’t smart enough to be president ” Buck told Connell. “And then we get Barack Obama, and he’s the smartest person in the world. He’s just a savior.

“And then we get Donald Trump. And they’ve got to find something with Donald Trump. He’s a very successful businessman. So obviously he’s not stupid. So now now we’re inventing this Russia story, and just on and on.”

Citing the anonymous sources used by the New York Times in its story about Trump pressuring Comey to lay off Flynn, KNUS radio host and (former Fox 31 Denver reporter) Julie Hayden said on air May 15.

Hayden: “I have been dismayed — I mean, as a reporter– at just how they just make it –. I mean, they really do just make it up, you know!”

C0-host Chuck Bonniwell jumped in with, “They don’t care. They just don’t care.”

You can always criticize journalists, and some people will never accept anonymous sources, but that’s why we have professional journalism. To utilize such sources in a responsible way. That’s not making stuff up–or not caring.

Gubernatorial candidate George Brauchler also pointed to media bias among reporters covering Trump. On KNUS 710-AM May 15, Brauchler said:

Brauchler:  [Journalists] don’t need Trump’s help. But he gives it to them anyway. That’s the only part that’s a little frustrating, is like, ‘If you, Mr. President, could just pull it back– just a little bit — it would expose, I think, how biased that they truly are.’ Because right now, there’s just enough there that they make mountains out of molehills, and all this other stuff.  But if he can just pull it back, just a little bit.

To her credit, KOA host Mandy Connell faults Trump for blundering, but then she attacks the “viciousness” of the media and says the “media has picked [his blunders] up, [and] blown up into massive proportion.

“Trump keeps giving the media ammunition with which to shoot him,” said Connell on air. “If he would shut his pie hole sometimes and not shoot from the hip, they would not have the ammunition that they currently have.”

In truth, the media are working sources and exposing serious dangers to us and our democracy. That’s what the fourth estate is supposed to do. Thank you, journalism.

Listen to Buck on KHOW May 18:

Buck hopes Trump didn’t collude with Russia

(Because, you know, that would suck – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

On KOA 850-AM this morning, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) compared the Russian interference in the 2016 election to the attacks on Obama over his birth certificate.

Asked by host April Zesbaugh if he thought “we will get to the bottom of the Russian meddling in our last election,”Buck said:

Buck: I also think that politically, people are going to be raising this issue just like people raised the birth certificate or other issues on President Obama that I didn’t think were credible but that some people did. And they kept gnawing at it.

Though he doesn’t think the birth-certificate issue was credible, Buck does believe proof might emerge that Trump colluded with Russia, saying only that he hopes Trump did not do so.

Buck: I think we have got to reach a consensus among most people in this country that while Russia did try to interfere, hopefully we will find that the Trump campaign did not collude or collaborate with the Russians in that effort.


Buck did not call for an independent investigation of Russian meddling.

In a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate yesterday, in the wake of Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) called for a special prosecutor to investigate of Russian interference in the last election.

“By the way,” said Bennet, “Everybody I know up here believes [Russian interference] happened. “But the President says, ‘Maybe it was the Chinese. Maybe it wasn’t the Russians.’ No intelligence agency in America believes that. No senator believes that. And the President who has access to all of that intelligence is saying that it might not have been the Russians, that it might have been the Chinese.”

Bennet said Trump has “hard time” distinguishing between reality and “somebody shooting their mouth off on the internet.”

Get More Smarter on Friday (May 5)

Remember, kids: Don’t put the guacamole in your tortilla-chip hat until just before you are ready to leave the house. 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…

► As you may have heard, Congressional Republicans finally passed a bill on Thursday related to the repeal and destruction of Obamacare. Republicans toasted to the (poor) health of Americans at the White House last evening, but the political blowback is already underway. From CNN:

The Cook Political Report, a non-partisan campaign handicapping service, changed the ratings on 20 GOP-held districts Friday morning — all of them moving in Democrats’ favor in advance of the 2018 midterm election…

…Two of the 20 changes affected members who actually opposed the AHCA: Leonard Lance of New Jersey and Mike Coffman of Colorado. Of Coffman, Wasserman wrote: “Coffman ended up voting against the AHCA, but his hesitation to announce his position likely won’t assuage voters who want to send a message to President Trump next year.” [Pols emphasis]

Think about the changes the Cook Report made this way: To win back the House majority, Democrats need to gain 24 GOP seats. Twenty Republican seats just moved toward Democrats — in less than a day and with a single congressional vote.

That’s a big deal.

Aurora Republican Mike Coffman did indeed vote “NO” on Trumpcare 2.0 on Thursday, but it doesn’t appear as though Coffman is going to get any real political cover from the decision. Coffman’s vote on Thursday won’t extinguish the memory of his longstanding support for repealing Obamacare, including the fact that he was one of the biggest cheerleaders of the failed Trumpcare bill in March of this year.

 

► The healthcare legislation now moves to the U.S. Senate, and its future is as uncertain as ever. Republican Senate leaders are already questioning the wisdom of the House passing a bill that many members never even had a chance to read first.

Check out this video of a reporter asking Republican Members of Congress if they had read the healthcare legislation — that’s Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) who walks quickly away from the question near the end of the clip.

 

► Other than Mike Coffman, Colorado’s Congressional delegation voted along party lines on Trumpcare 2.0. Congressman Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) had been coy about his support for the latest healthcare bill, but as the Grand Junction Sentinel reports, Tipton is drinking all of the GOP Kool-Aid:

The most recent version of the American Health Care Act passed the House on Thursday with U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., saying it met his test of making insurance more affordable.

“As the House developed the American Health Care Act, I was adamant that the replacement plan needed to ensure people with pre-existing conditions would have access to affordable health insurance,” Tipton said in a statement after the vote. “The bill provides these assurances.”…

…Critics took immediate issue with Tipton, among them ProgressNow Colorado, whose executive director noted Tipton’s comment to The Daily Sentinel in February that, “Every policy is still going to be in effect. People are not going to be left without coverage.” Tipton broke his promise to constituents with his vote, said Ian Silverii.

Tipton’s comments are complete and utter nonsense. It has been widely reported that the GOP healthcare bill would all but eliminate the requirement that insurance companies don’t penalize people with pre-existing conditions.

 

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

New Poll Shows Tough 2018 Road for Colorado Republicans

Magellan Strategies, a Colorado-based polling firm that is known to lean-Republican, released a fresh new batch of polling numbers in Colorado today. For Republicans hoping to see better results after an awful Keating Research poll in March…

Well, let’s just say that things are looking up — but only because Republican numbers are essentially upside-down.

Magellan Strategies polled 502 “likely 2018 General Election voters in Colorado” on April 26 and 27, and the results are pretty dismal for Republicans. Take a look at some of the “key findings” as presented by Magellan:

♦ Among likely 2018 voters, 47% approve and 49% disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing as President. Among unaffiliated voters, 40% approve and 53% disapprove of the job he is doing.

♦ The generic Congressional ballot shows voters prefer the Democrat candidate to the Republican candidate by a 5-point margin, 39% to 34% respectively. Among unaffiliated voters, the generic Democrat candidate leads the generic Republican candidate by a 13-point margin, 34% to 21% respectively.

♦ Among all respondents, 34% approve of the job the Republicans in Congress are doing and 58% disapprove.

♦ Among likely 2018 voters, 40% approve of the job Senator Cory Gardner is doing, 37% disapprove, and 23% do not have an opinion. Among unaffiliated voters 37% approve of the job Senator Gardner is doing and 35% disapprove.

President Trump’s approval ratings are definitely upside-down in Colorado. Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is right on the precipice of being flipped on his head, but remember here that Magellan Strategies generally tilts rightward in its poll results.

Gardner should also be worried that he continues to poll far below Trump among likely Republican voters. In the Keating Research poll from March, Gardner had a 63% approval rating among Republicans compared to 83% for Trump. According to Magellan Strategies, Gardner has a 59% approval rating among Republicans compared to 85% for Trump. In short, Gardner is losing support among Colorado Republicans at the same time that Trump is slowly gaining favor.

There are a lot of reasons why Gardner is losing favor among voters, including Republicans, and it starts with his disinterest in speaking with constituents. It doesn’t help that Gardner is getting splinters in his pants from regularly riding the fence on issues while he bends over backward to show deference to Trump on subjects that are supposed to be right in his wheelhouse.

The only good news for Trump and Gardner is that they won’t have to appear again on a Colorado ballot until 2020. But for Republicans campaigning in 2018, these numbers must be absolutely terrifying.

Buck, Coffman Emerge as Swing Votes in Trumpcare 2.0

TUESDAY UPDATE: Concerns over the status of “pre-existing conditions” in the latest version of Trumpcare is costing Congressional Republicans the support of key moderates. From the Washington Post:

The revamped Republican push for a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s health-care system ran into a new roadblock on Tuesday when a key lawmaker, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), said he would vote against the current proposal.

In an interview with WHTC radio in Holland, Mich., Upton, a former chairman and current member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he could not support the latest version of the House GOP plan because he does not believe it does enough to protect people with preexisting medical conditions — a growing concern among Republicans.

“This amendment torpedoes that, and I told the leadership I cannot support the bill with this provision in it,” Upton said. “I don’t know how it all will play out but I know there are a good number of us that have raised real red flags.”

Upton’s comments came the day after Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.), a longtime opponent of the federal health-care law known as Obamacare, came out against the current Republican plan to repeal and replace key parts of it — also citing concerns about preexisting conditions.

Here’s a list of pre-existing conditions in Colorado that might not be covered under the current iteration of Trumpcare.

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Trumpcare 2.0

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Congressional Republicans are having trouble finding the votes to support another legislative repeal/replacement of Obamacare — or “Trumpcare 2.0.” From CNN:

The White House and congressional Republicans are in serious danger of not having enough votes to pass their health care bill.

Several Republicans have come out Monday against the current measure to repeal and replace Obamacare, bringing CNN’s whip count to 21 Republicans — mostly moderates — opposed to the bill with another dozen lawmakers still undecided.

And President Donald Trump, whose White House was optimistic the House could pass a bill Wednesday, once again muddied the waters by suggesting the measure may still be changed.

“I want it to be good for sick people. It’s not in its final form right now,” he said during an Oval Office interview Monday with Bloomberg News. “It will be every bit as good on pre-existing conditions as Obamacare.”

Over the weekend there were a plethora of national stories about how Republicans and the White House were feeling good about potentially reaching the number of required “YES” votes in order to push Trumpcare 2.0 to a vote on the House floor. That enthusiasm has apparently begun to wane.

According to a detailed whip count from The Hill, two Colorado Republicans could play a pivotal role in the fate of this latest health care bill. The Hill lists Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) as a current ‘NO’ vote, with Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) listed as a ‘YES’ on the proposed bill. This marks an interesting change from mid-March, when Coffman was a 100% supporter of Trumpcare and Buck was — well, Buck was all over the place.

We’d attempt to read the political tea leaves here, but since both Coffman and Buck have hunkered down on all sides of the debate over the last few months, your guess is as good as ours.

Get More Smarter on Monday (May 1)

If someone left a bouquet of May Day flowers on your front door today, we want to hear about it. Seriously. 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 has come to agreement on a budget proposal that will keep the federal government funded through September. As the Washington Post reports, President Trump got absolutely rolled on the negotiations:

Perhaps the best negotiators are not the people who tell everyone that they are the best negotiators.

A spending agreement was reached last night that will keep the government funded through the end of September. This will be the first significant bipartisan measure passed by Congress since Donald Trump took office.

The White House agreed to punt on a lot of the president’s top priorities until this fall to avert a shutdown on Friday and to clear the deck so that the House can pass a health-care bill…

…But Democrats are surprised by just how many concessions they extracted in the trillion-dollar deal, considering that Republicans have unified control of government.

 

► Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, are casting this week as the last real chance to approve a potential plan to repeal Obamacare. The White House is taking its usual blustery stance about having enough votes from Republicans to pass a bill out of the House, though the outlook is not so rosy when you ask Congressional leaders. It is unclear whether House Republicans have enough support from moderates to pass something along to the Senate, and there is little reason to believe that any potential legislation could move at all if it were to land in the Senate.

The main sticking point in the current healthcare negotiations revolves around pre-existing conditions. Trump maintains that any new Obamacare repeal “will be every bit as good on preexisting conditions as Obamacare.” But in order to gain the support of right-wing Republicans, such as the Freedom Caucus, Congressional Republicans are actually trying to gut protections for pre-existing conditions.

 

► By the end of the day today, there will be little evidence left of a weekend snowstorm in the Denver metro area. But it did snow — quite a bit, in fact — and the weather didn’t stop a huge crowd from turning out in Denver in support of efforts to combat Climate Change. Thousands of people showed up at Civic Center Park on Saturday to take part in a march and rally that was also happening simultaneously in more than 300 cities around the world.

 

► Republicans in the State Senate are crowing about a new budget proposal in an effort to pretend that they are actually interested in governing. From John Frank of the Denver Post:

Colorado’s top lawmakers are negotiating a far-reaching measure in the final days of the legislative session that is designed to save hospitals from major budget cuts, generate $1.8 billion for road repairs and lower the state’s spending cap.

Senate President Pro Tem Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, unveiled the details early Monday after days of closed-door negotiations with top Democratic lawmakers. But moments after he announced an agreement on the legislation, an aide passed him a note from Democrats that declared no deal.

We don’t doubt that many Democrats aren’t happy with this latest funding proposal, considering some of the nonsense included in Sonnenberg’s bill:

The latest negotiations include requiring the maximum federal co-pay for Medicaid, the government-funded health care program for people with low-income, as well as a cut to the business personal property tax for small business owners, up to $25,000. Other provisions would change how TABOR refunds are issued and funnel more money to rural schools.

Republican lawmakers continue to insist that there is plenty of money hidden away in government coffers that could pay for everything if they could just move some decimal points around here and there. Note also how Republicans would include a tax cut for businesses alongside a big new financial burden for low-income Coloradans.

 

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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