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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► The House of Representatives voted on Thursday to limit President Trump’s ability to take unilateral military action without Congressional approval. As CNN reports:
The vote was 224-194. Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Francis Rooney of Florida crossed party lines to vote in favor while Democratic Reps. Max Rose of New York, Ben McAdams of Utah, Anthony Brindisi of New York, Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, Elaine Luria of Virginia, Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, Kendra Horn of Oklahoma and Stephanie Murphy of Florida voted against the resolution.
Now that the resolution has passed the House it will next go to the Senate.
Freshman Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, a former CIA analyst and senior Defense Department official, is the sponsor of the resolution, which calls on the President “to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran” unless Congress declares war or enacts “specific statutory authorization” for the use of armed forces.
You read that correctly — Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz voted IN FAVOR of the resolution.
Of course, the Senate is where all good things go to die; it is unlikely that Senate Majority Leader “Moscow” Mitch McConnell will even entertain a vote on the matter if he can avoid it. Some Republican Senators have expressed support for a “War Powers Resolution” after a disastrous White House briefing on Iran earlier this week.
Meanwhile, President Trump may have decided to kill Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani to perhaps appease Republican Senators whose support he needs in a coming impeachment trial.
“Mr. Trump, after the strike, told associates he was under pressure to deal with Gen. Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate, associates said.” https://t.co/N0BPUEGhYj
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) January 10, 2020
► House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says her chamber may send impeachment documents over to the U.S. Senate as soon as next week. From the New York Times:
In a letter to colleagues Friday morning, the speaker moved to end a weekslong impasse over the impeachment process that had left the president’s fate in limbo. She did not announce the members of the team she will ask to manage the case, but said the House should be ready to vote to appoint them sometime next week.
“I have asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to be prepared to bring to the floor next week a resolution to appoint managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate,” Ms. Pelosi wrote after lawmakers departed the Capitol for the weekend. “I will be consulting with you at our Tuesday House Democratic Caucus meeting on how we proceed further.”
Once the House votes and the articles are transmitted, the Senate’s proceeding, only the third impeachment trial of a sitting president in American history, will begin promptly — as soon as Wednesday based on Ms. Pelosi’s timeline.
► If you thought that Republican lawmakers in Colorado might be more reluctant to embrace their lunatic right-wing base after last year’s string of recall failures…well, we know you probably didn’t think that. The GOP still loves itself some lunatics.
► Don’t miss the first 2020 episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring an in-depth interview with House Majority Leader Alec Garnett.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► As Elizabeth Hernandez reports for The Denver Post, the University of Colorado Board of Regents is trying to learn how to get along with each other better during a $50,000 retreat, which comes at the same time that critics such as House Speaker K.C. Becker are calling for the Board to de-politicize itself:
The elected regents’ divisiveness has inspired kumbaya-like retreat activities before, but now, in the wake of ongoing controversy over the selection of CU President Mark Kennedy, it’s galvanized talk about reforming the board to tamp down its partisan nature.
“I think the board needs to be de-politicized,” Colorado Speaker of the House KC Becker said in an interview Thursday. “I’m interested in doing something in the best interest of the university. I think we’re trying to figure out what that is.”
The Boulder Democrat declined to elaborate on legislative approaches to altering the selection of regents. Her comments follow the publication last week by the Colorado Independent of a leaked list of candidates that raised new questions about the process that resulted in the hiring of Kennedy, a former Republican lawmaker.
► Big Pharma is raising the price of 400 prescription drugs, as CBS News reports:
Three days into the new year, drugmakers have already increased the list prices on hundreds of medications, with experts predicting more hikes in the weeks to come.
So far in 2020, prices on 411 drugs have increased an average of 5%, according to GoodRx, which tracks the cost of more than 3,500 drugs. Of the drugs that have seen rising prices, 407 were brand-name products and four were generic.
The drug with the biggest cost increase so far this year: Neos Therapeutics’ Cotempla XR, a stimulant used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy, whose list price is up more than 13%. Other commonly prescribed drugs that are getting pricier include Eliquis (up 6%), often prescribed to prevent blood clots, and Humira (7.4%), used to treat inflammation in patients with autoimmune disease.
Colorado lawmakers are working on legislation to make health care and prescription drugs more affordable, but there is a big-money push from industry lobbyists to prevent any changes. But as The Hill newspaper reports, a lack of movement on addressing rising costs of prescriptions could be a huge political problem for Republicans nationwide:
Outrage over increasing prices has propelled the issue to the top of voters’ minds heading into the November elections, when Republicans hope to keep control of the Senate and retake the House.
But proposals that would limit what drug companies can charge for their products face opposition from Republicans, presenting an obstacle to congressional passage.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell(R-Ky.) has said he won’t hold a vote on a House-passed bill supported by Democrats that would require the federal government to negotiate lower prices for some drugs covered by Medicare.
He is also reluctant to hold a vote on a separate bipartisan bill, sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), that would limit the price increases drug companies typically make every year.
Elsewhere, California is considering using the purchasing power of a huge population to create its own generic brand pharmaceuticals that could be much cheaper for consumers.
► 5280 magazine profiles Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora) and his first full year in Congress.
► Thanks for nothing, Facebook. As CNN’s Chris Cillizza explains:
On Thursday, Facebook made a very bad decision that will, without question, negatively impact the 2020 election. They decided not to either ban political advertising or institute any sort of fail-safe measure to avoid lies presented in those ads from politicians from propagating across the Internet.
“Ultimately, we don’t think decisions about political ads should be made by private companies, which is why we are arguing for regulation that would apply across the industry,” Facebook’s Rob Leathern said in a blog post. “In the absence of regulation, Facebook and other companies are left to design their own policies.”
Let’s translate that statement: Because the government won’t set clear regulations as to how speech should be governed on social media sites. Facebook is essentially throwing up its hands. Unlike, say Twitter, which announced a ban on political advertising, Facebook’s decision on how to “design their own policies” is to say they decided not to do anything. Or not much.
“While Twitter has chosen to block political ads and Google has chosen to limit the targeting of political ads, we are choosing to expand transparency and give more controls to people when it comes to political ads,” wrote Leathern.
Here’s the problem: That’s not good enough. Not even close.
► As 9News reports, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is standing firmly behind President Trump on last week’s killing of an Iranian General — facts be damned.
► Colorado lawmakers appear to have enough votes to make Colorado the latest state to abolish the death penalty.
► Here’s an update on legislative efforts dealing with puppies or kittens.
► What happens when a sitting State Senator goes on maternity leave during the legislative session? 9News explains.
► That sound you hear is the collective nodding of heads from fans of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Crowds at rallies for President Trump are still shouting “Lock Her Up!” in reference to former Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
BTW…the Justice Department on Thursday concluded a two-year investigation that came up with absolutely nothing critical of anyone with the last name “Clinton.”
► Everyone remains perplexed by the Great Colorado Drone Mystery.
► Some Senate Republicans are finally pushing back against the Trump administration after a “demeaning” Iran briefing in which they were scolded to not question Trump decisions on military action.
► Once upon a time, Republican Cory Gardner promised to hold regular “town hall meetings” in order to keep his constituents informed. Needless to say, that promise went nowhere; it has been more than 2 years since Gardner’s last public town hall meeting.