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► President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan passed out of the House of Representatives on Friday, and there was much rejoicing:
From The Washington Post:
House Democrats delivered on that promise, voting to approve more than $2 trillion in spending initiatives that would overhaul federal health care, education, climate, immigration and tax laws.
The measure adopted Friday amounts to a dramatic re-envisioning of the role of government in Americans’ daily lives. It sets aside in some cases historic sums to aid workers, families and businesses, seeking to rewire the very fabric of an economy still recovering from the financial devastation wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.
In bearing the name of the president’s 2020 campaign slogan, the successful 220-to-213 House vote on the Build Back Better Act marks the second legislative milestone for Democrats this month. It comes about two weeks after they joined with Republicans to finalize a separate, sweeping bill to improve the nation’s roads, bridges, pipes, ports and Internet connections, delivering long-sought infrastructure investments that Biden signed into law Monday.
The bill still needs to get through the U.S. Senate, where West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin will hem and haw for awhile.
As Jonathan Weisman writes for The New York Times, the combination of income inequality, economic stagnation and a pandemic helped Democrats muscle through a big social spending effort more easily than former President Barack Obama was able to finish off The Affordable Care Act in 2010. As POLITICO notes, Democrats say they learned plenty of important lessons from 2010.
► Vice President Kamala Harris makes history (again) today when she becomes the first woman in U.S. history to officially take the top job in the country. As CNN reports:
President Joe Biden on Friday will temporarily transfer power to Vice President Kamala Harris while he is under anesthesia for a routine colonoscopy, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
The nation’s first female, first Black and first South Asian vice president will break yet another barrier when she temporarily steps into the acting role. Harris will work from her office in the West Wing while Biden is under anesthesia, Psaki said in a statement.
Biden, who turns 79 on Saturday, arrived Friday morning at Walter Reed Medical Center to undergo his first routine annual physical since taking office.
It’s routine for a vice president to assume presidential powers while the president undergoes a medical procedure that requires anesthesia. Then-Vice President Dick Cheney did so on multiple occasions when then-President George W. Bush underwent routine colonoscopies.
Just remember us when you win a trivia contest with this answer 20 years from now.
► Governor Jared Polis will provide an update on the state’s COVID-19 response this afternoon. You can watch the 1:00 livestream on the Governor’s Facebook page.
► The Denver Post reports on an historic agreement between Gov. Jared Polis and the state’s employee union, Colorado WINS:
Colorado’s state employees’ union and Gov. Jared Polis have agreed on a new contract that promises the more than 30,000 people who work for state government across-the-board raises, a minimum-wage hike and more paid time off.
This is a first for the state, as the union, Colorado WINS, only recently won collective bargaining rights. That was a result of a 2020 bill Polis signed after scuttling a similar proposal the year prior.
The union, Colorado WINS, said that over 99% of members voted to ratify the contract. Polis supported it, too, and the two sides held a press conference Thursday at the Governor’s Mansion in Denver to mark the agreement.
“Every Coloradan should be able to live (in) and enjoy our great state of Colorado,” Polis said Thursday, flanked by union leaders. “We aren’t just saying that we value our workers; we’re showing it.”
Colorado state employees have generally been significantly underpaid compared to private sector counterparts.
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And Now, More Words…
► State Representative Tom Sullivan announced that he will seek a State Senate seat in the new SD-27.
► Another effort to lower the state income tax rate will appear on the 2022 ballot, as The Colorado Sun reports:
The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office said Thursday that supporters of Initiative 31 collected enough signatures to get their question before voters in 2022. They needed at least 124,632 signatures to qualify for the ballot.
The measure is being pushed by conservatives, including Jon Caldara, who leads the Independence Institute.
The initiative seeks to reduce the income tax rate to 4.4% from 4.55%.Nonpartisan legislative staff estimated in April that the measure would reduce state general fund revenue by $530 million in fiscal year 2022-23 and $370 million in fiscal year 2023-24.
And why would we want to do this? Mostly just because some rich people gave Jon Caldara money to try to make it happen.
► As The Washington Post outlines in a massive new report, efforts by former President Trump and former Sen. Cory Gardner to move the Bureau of Land Management HQ to Grand Junction worked exactly as planned — since the plan was to destroy the BLM:
While Black employees have not sued the bureau responsible for overseeing more than 245 million acres of public lands, a new Government Accountability Office report found that its relocation reduced the number of Black employees, as The Post reported last month. Dismantling the D.C. office also drove out the bureau’s most experienced employees and created widespread staffing shortages, investigators concluded. [Pols emphasis]
“Increased vacancies, and the details used to temporarily fill those vacancies, sometimes led to confusion and inefficiency, according to staff members we interviewed,” the report found.
Despite the warning, the Trump administration pushed ahead with the relocation to Grand Junction, Colo. — which is now being reversed by President Biden. The move did dramatically worsen diversity, with more than half the Black employees at the headquarters retiring or quitting rather than accepting the move to Colorado.
The agency’s major reorganization was also done without a “strategic workforce plan,” laying out how the changes would advance the agency’s goals, the report added.
As a result, “BLM lacks reasonable assurance the agency will have the workforce necessary to achieve its goals in managing millions of acres of public lands,” the report said. [Pols emphasis]
► What is it with Republican Congressional candidates, like Colorado’s own Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, filing to be reimbursed for excessive amounts of “mileage”?
► Colorado Republicans are getting really good at lowering expectations for their candidates in 2022.
► President Biden appointed former Colorado House Speaker K.C. Becker to serve as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency (Region 8).
► Check out the responses that 9News is getting after Kyle Clark said earlier this week that journalists in Colorado were holding Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert to a lower standard than other politicians.
► Survivors of child sexual abuse in Colorado are preparing to file several lawsuits made possible by changes enacted by the State Legislature last spring.
► Targets of a joint state and federal investigation in Mesa County are claiming things that officials say did not happen. From Colorado Public Radio:
Allegations continue to fly over the FBI search of four homes in Mesa and Garfield counties earlier this week, related to the security breach of Mesa county’s Dominion voting machines.
Among the search locations were the homes of Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and Sherronna Bishop, a staunch supporter of Peters’ and a former campaign manager for Rep. Lauren Boebert.
Peters is under a federal investigation over allegations that she allowed an unauthorized person to make copies of the county’s election equipment hard drives in late May. That data was eventually released on the internet by people promoting unproven claims the 2020 election was stolen.
A group raising money for Peters’ legal defense has characterized the FBI searches as raids and said in a statement they were conducted by “large teams of heavily armed federal agents, using a battering ram to break down doors.”…
…However, the Colorado Attorney General’s office disagrees with that assertion and said the searches were executed in “a professional and lawful manner.”
Considering that Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and helpers such as Sherronna Bishop have regularly been shown to lie about pretty much everything, we’re inclined to believe law enforcement officials here.
► The Jefferson County Board of Health will consider an indoor mask mandate at a meeting next week. Jeffco is one of many metro-area health organizations pushing Gov. Jared Polis to initiate a statewide mask mandate. Indoor mask mandates are already in place in Boulder and Larimer counties.
► Westword asks a simple question with an easy answer: Do Denver County or Douglas County schools have more COVID-19 cases?
Say What, Now?
Just skip the murder cartoons, alright?
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► As The Hill newspaper reports, an attorney for the “QAnon Shaman” has a message for former President Trump:
“If you’re asking my opinion, my opinion is meaningless. I will say that I would probably be far more effective over a beer with former President Trump, even if he didn’t have a beer, because I understand he doesn’t drink beer, but I’d have a beer,” attorney Albert Watkins said.
“And I’d tell him, ‘You know what? You’ve got a few f—— things to do. Including clearing this f—— mess up and taking care of a lot of the jackasses that you f—– up because of January 6.’ In the meantime, I might talk to him about some other things that I’d agree with him on. But my opinion doesn’t mean s–t,” he added.
► Is it possible to be just a little bit militia? We think not.
► How is Lauren Boebert’s former campaign manager, Sheronna Bishop, involved in the ongoing (non) election fraud scandal in Mesa County, Colorado?