Welcome to August, friends. 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 an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us Facebook and Twitter.
TOP OF MIND TODAY…
The Senate passed a broad, two-year budget deal Thursday that boosts spending and eliminates the threat of a debt default until past the 2020 election, while reducing chances for another government shutdown. The legislation now goes to President Trump, who is expected to sign it despite conservative complaints that it will fuel the nation’s runaway debt…
…Republican leaders including Trump himself had been working to round up GOP support ahead of Thursday’s vote, trying to avoid a repeat of the outcome in the House last week, when a majority of Republican lawmakers ignored Trump’s pleas and voted against the deal. It passed the House anyway, on the strength of Democratic votes. The lobbying effort paid off in the Senate as more Republicans voted in favor of the deal than against it.
The agreement heads off several looming fiscal threats, most immediately the possibility that the Treasury Department could have run out of money to pay its bills as early as September if Congress didn’t act, resulting in a market-shattering default on U.S. obligations.
The deal passed Thursday suspends the debt ceiling through July 31, 2021, removing the threat of default and the accompanying risk of political brinkmanship that typically accompanies debt limit negotiations. It lifts strict Obama-era spending caps that would otherwise slash indiscriminately into agency and military budgets, and sets overall spending levels that will make it easier for lawmakers to write the individual appropriations bills needed to keep the government open past Oct. 1, when current agency budgets expire.
Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) was among the Republicans who had been waffling on a new spending agreement, expressing half-hearted concern about deficits while conveniently ignoring the budgetary peril they inflicted with massive tax cuts for the wealthy in late 2017.
► We could be just days away from Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) claiming credit for free full-day kindergarten in Colorado. On Wednesday, Gardner made the ballsy and completely baseless boast that he helped Colorado secure approval for a “reinsurance” program that could cut healthcare costs for Coloradans by as much as 18% in 2020. Credit for this program actually goes to Gov. Jared Polis and Democrats in the state legislature, who have worked for years to implement this cost-saving measure.
Colorado journalists, including Kyle Clark of 9News, saw right through Gardner’s nonsense:
WATCH @KyleClark call out Cory Gardner’s health care hypocrisy 👇
— Colorado Dems (@coloradodems) August 1, 2019
► We’ve made it through the second round of debates for candidates seeking the Democratic Presidential nomination. Chris Cillizza of CNN lists his “winners and losers” from Wednesday night, while Ed Rogers of the Washington Post doesn’t give high marks to either Colorado-based contender, former Gov. John Hickenlooper or Sen. Michael Bennet. Hickenlooper and Bennet had brief moments in Detroit, but neither did well enough to likely keep them in the race for much longer. As Nic Garcia writes for the Denver Post, it is Hickenlooper who might be the first to depart:
John Hickenlooper’s campaign for the presidency was always a longshot. Now, after another lusterless debate performance, national political observers and some of his closest allies are wondering when — not if — the former Colorado governor will end his quixotic bid for the White House.
At best, Hickenlooper’s friends are split on whether he should persist in seeking the Democratic nomination or bow out. State party insiders are annoyed with Hickenlooper — some openly pushing him to run for the U.S. Senate instead. Others merely dismiss him as a relic of a political era gone by.
“I think he’s done,” a former Hickenlooper aide told The Denver Post.
Like many former gubernatorial and campaign staff members interviewed for this article, he spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect his relationship with Hickenlooper.
“I think his team will know in the next two days after they see the numbers and analyze other data,” the former aide said. “But my sense is he’s not going to see that.”
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► Colorado’s two U.S. Senators are working to add a couple new full-time judgeships to the U.S. District Court for Colorado.
► CBS4 Denver reports on the runup to an historic Climate hearing in Boulder today:
Before the first ever field hearing for the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, members of Congress have been visiting Colorado’s schools and Laboratories learning as much as possible. The hearing is scheduled for Thursday at the University of Colorado Boulder campus.
“I’ve caught a glimpse of the future. The future is clean energy. Colorado now is one of the leading states in the country and we’ve got to replicate that on a national level,” said Congresswoman Kathy Caster, the Chair of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.
Rep. Joe Neguse, a Democrat representing Colorado, is back in his home district. It has been an alphabet soup for the places the representatives toured, including NOAA, CIRES, NREL, NCAR and UCAR, finding out about government-funded climate science at each stop.
► According to a new poll measuring the “generic Congressional ballot” nationwide, Democrats hold an 11-point lead over Republicans on the question about which political party voters would prefer to see in control of Congress in 2021.
► Alice Madden talks with Westword about her campaign for U.S. Senate in 2020.
► Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) will support impeachment hearings, as the Denver Post reports:
Crow said Tuesday that he supports opening an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, becoming the third member of Congress from Colorado to say so.
In a 400-word blog post explaining his position, the freshman Democrat from Aurora drew on his combat experience in Iraq. He recalled meeting a man in 2003 who sought help resolving a dispute with a neighbor, knowing he couldn’t trust his country’s crooked judges. Crow says he heard similar hopelessness about government while on the campaign trail in the United States.
Fellow Colorado Democratic Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Denver) and Joe Neguse (D-Lafayette) have also expressed support for impeachment inquiries.
► You can add Colorado Public Radio to the list of news outlets wondering if recall mania is really a good idea for Colorado Republicans:
“I think that just speaks to the current situation within the Republican Party and the conservative movement where there’s not any agreement and there’s no unity behind what they’re doing and people are pulling in 15 different directions from the same center and going nowhere,” said attorney Mario Nicolais, who has long been involved in Republican circles but is now unaffiliated.
Nicolais said all of these efforts have drained energy “that could be used to go out and to lay the groundwork for [Sen. Cory Gardner] in 2020.” The Republican is widely considered to be vulnerable and Nicolais thinks the recalls are energizing the Democratic base. In an attempt to tap that, Gov. Polis is already using the recall as a catalyst to raise money.
“This is frankly more energy and activism than we would normally see in an odd [election] year,” said Democratic State Party Chair Morgan Carroll. “And it’s also brought in some new people who haven’t been involved before, but frankly are so disgusted at just a transparent abuse of process that they’re like, I’m getting involved.”
Meanwhile, some donors to the “official” Recall Jared Polis group are getting antsy about the disorganized efforts of the recall campaign and are asking for their money back.
► A portrait of President Trump will be unveiled at the State Capitol today.
► One person is dead after a fire broke out at an oil and gas operation in Weld County. The fire took place at a Great Western Oil and Gas facility in Windsor.
► New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation on Wednesday that bans schools from arming teachers.
► President Trump will hold a campaign rally in Ohio tonight. Echoes remain from a “send her back” chant from a previous rally in North Carolina.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► The FBI is warning that conspiracy theories are a serious new domestic terrorism threat.
► Republicans hoping to retake control of the House of Representatives are having trouble just keeping incumbents from retiring.
► House Minority Leader Patrick Neville straight-up admits that recall efforts in Colorado are all about profiting off of fear mongering.