Governor Polis has ordered flags to be flown at half staff in remembrance of eight people killed during yet another mass shooting — this time in San Jose, California. Let’s 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 learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.
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CDPHE Coronavirus website
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*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment.
► President Biden is proposing a whopper of a federal budget, as Jim Tankersley reports for The New York Times:
President Biden will propose a $6 trillion budget on Friday that would take the United States to its highest sustained levels of federal spending since World War II, while running deficits above $1.3 trillion throughout the next decade.
Documents obtained by The New York Times show that Mr. Biden’s first budget request as president calls for the federal government to spend $6 trillion in the 2022 fiscal year, and for total spending to rise to $8.2 trillion by 2031. The growth is driven by Mr. Biden’s two-part agenda to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure and substantially expand the social safety net, contained in his American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan, along with other planned increases in discretionary spending.
The proposal shows the sweep of Mr. Biden’s ambitions to wield government power to help more Americans attain the comforts of a middle-class life and to lift U.S. industry to better compete globally in an economy the administration believes will be dominated by a race to reduce energy emissions and combat climate change.
Mr. Biden’s plan to fund his agenda by raising taxes on corporations and high earners would begin to shrink budget deficits in the 2030s. Administration officials have said the jobs and families plans would be fully offset by tax increases over the course of 15 years, which the budget request backs up.
► Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) is speaking out (again) about Republican efforts to ignore the January 6 insurrection. Via Talking Points Memo:
Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), who served as an impeachment manager in the first impeachment of ex-President Donald Trump, warned on Wednesday night that failing to investigate the Capitol insurrection that Trump incited would be dangerous.
“We have a domestic terror movement in America,” the Democrat told CNN. “It has been enabled, it has been furthered, it has been legitimized by leaders at the highest levels of our country, starting with Donald Trump. That’s the sad reality.”
“If we are not honest about what it is we’re dealing with, if we’re not honest about the dangers of that movement, we will not address it in a way that we need to and we will be at risk,” he continued.
The Democrat asserted that the House’s bill to create a bipartisan commission to study the insurrection is “not just an exercise in history and making sure that the history books accurately reflect on January 6.”
“We have a current problem we have to address and we have to be honest about that and we have to do what is necessary to keep ourselves safe,” he said.
Crow could be referring to any number of Republicans, but his comments seem particularly well-suited for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. As Dana Milbank explains for The Washington Post:
The Senate minority leader told Republican colleagues that they should oppose the creation of a Jan. 6 commission, no matter how it is structured, because it “could hurt the party’s midterm election message,” as Politico’s Burgess Everett reported.
And so, as early as Thursday, McConnell will use the filibuster to thwart a bipartisan effort to prevent further attacks on the U.S. government by domestic terrorists — because he thinks it’s good politics for Republicans…
…McConnell, asked this month about the ouster of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from GOP leadership, and whether he was concerned that many Republicans believe Donald Trump’s election lie, replied, twice: “One hundred percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration.” [Pols emphasis] True to his word, McConnell has blocked everything — even if it means undercutting Republican negotiators.
Performative obstruction is the Republican brand.
► Is it any wonder that Republicans and Americans want very different things in 2022 and 2024? At least some Republicans are privately worried that Donald Trump really will attempt to run for President again in 2024.
► The artist formerly known as “The Colorado Option” is on the verge of passing through the legislature after a few more tweaks. As Colorado Public Radio reports:
A proposal to create a new government-backed insurance plan passed another significant hurdle as Democrats voted to advance the “Colorado Option” through the state Senate on Wednesday.
The approval means that the bill is nearly guaranteed to become law. Once it’s in effect, new health insurance plans would be offered on the individual and small-group markets. That includes up to 15 percent of the state’s population, including hundreds of thousands who don’t have insurance right now. It would not directly affect employer-provided insurance…
…Democrats claim that the bill could lower insurance premiums 15 percent by 2025, allowing more people to afford a new insurance plan that is also designed to lower out-of-pocket costs. The bill would force insurance companies to sell the Colorado plan across the state, and it would allow the state to regulate the price of medical services to achieve those savings. Instead of a true “public option,” it’s more like a public-private option.
You may call it whatever you’d like; the bottom line is that the bill will cut health care premiums by at least 15% for Coloradans.
Here are a few more updates on news from the state legislature as Sine Die draws ever closer…
Legislation that limits the ability of emergency responders to use the drug ketamine is heading to the desk of Gov. Jared Polis.
Republicans who make opposing abortion their central tenet are trying to derail a bill that seeks to provide better maternal care services for women.
Colorado Public Radio reports on the latest iteration of a bill seeking to reform sentencing and prison populations in Colorado.
Legislation to speed up the process of bond hearings is nearing the finish line.
A bill to fund early childhood education made it out of a committee hearing.
Governor Polis signed a bill that ends a requirement for colleges in Colorado to use ACT or SAT scores as a guideline for admitting new students. The bill also ends “legacy admissions” for higher education institutions in the state.
More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…
And Now, More Words…
► As Charles Ashby reports for The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, House Speaker Alec Garnett is perplexed by Republican lawmakers opposing transportation funding legislation:
It makes no sense to the speaker of the Colorado House why many Republicans outside the Colorado Legislature favor his bill to raise money for transportation projects, but few inside the building are lining up in support.
The measure that House Speaker Alec Garnett, D-Denver, has introduced along with Senate Majority Leader Stephen Fenberg, D-Boulder, creates a slew of new fees designed to raise nearly $5.4 billion for transportation over the next 11 years.
Senate Bill 260, which cleared the Senate last week, is intended to give transportation a sustainable funding source in the face of dwindling monies from its main source, the state’s 29 cent-per-gallon gasoline tax, which hasn’t been raised since 1991…
…“We have tons of support from Republican elected officials from across the state,” Garnett said. “I don’t anticipate Republican support from the House caucus. I don’t honestly really exactly understand why because almost every organization and constituent group that they listen to is in support of the bill.”
Two words: Performative obstruction.
► Comically-inept House Minority Leader Hugh McKean finally got a few of his colleagues to agree with him on something. Unfortunately, that “something” was this ridiculous mess of an Op-Ed in The Colorado Sun.
► As CBS4 Denver reports, Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver) addressed the issue of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation during a Congressional hearing on Wednesday.
► Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) seems to think that her job responsibilities involve little more than “trolling liberals.”
► The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Mark Milley, delivered the commencement address for graduates of the U.S. Air Force Academy.
► Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) remains laser-focused on pointless quests that serve the best interests of precisely nobody.
► Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman is doing his very best to look like a complete dickhead whenever possible.
► With a $1 million lottery prize on the line, Colorado now waits to see if a new program will convince more people to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
In related news, a 33-year-old Denver Sheriff’s Deputy has died from COVID-19 complications after refusing to get vaccinated.
► Senator John Hickenlooper (D-Denver) isn’t proving to be the immovable centrist that lefty Democrats feared.
► The EPA may expand the Denver area’s “bad air zone” to include Weld County.
► As POLITICO reports, Senate Republicans made another counter-offer to President Biden’s infrastructure plan that is woefully short of anything worth discussing.
Say What, Now?
► Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley)
sticks to his free market anti-government interference message:
Facebook should stop acting like a publisher and start acting like a platform. https://t.co/DktEsRgXw2
— Rep. Ken Buck (@RepKenBuck) May 26, 2021
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene = Frankenstein.
► The U.S. Justice Department says that Steve Wynn, the casino mogul and major GOP donor, must register as a foreign agent for working behind the scenes to promote interests of the Chinese government.
► If you’re prepping for a small road trip this weekend, remember that gas prices are rising and heavy traffic is expected on the highways in Colorado. This summer could be the biggest ever for the U.S. National Park Service.
► News that former President Trump is being investigated by a grand jury in Manhattan gives us reason to remember Rep. Ken Buck’s infamous blunder when Robert Mueller testified before Congress.
► This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss why “The Big Lie” is The Only Truth for Republicans, and “Canadian Jason Bane” returns as a guest to update us on his outlook in a post-Trump world.