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May 19, 2023 11:36 AM UTC

Get More Smarter on Friday (May 19)

  • by: Colorado Pols

The Denver Nuggets are two wins away from advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time after defeating the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday. Game 3 is Saturday in Los Angeles. 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.




With the United States roughly two weeks away from a potentially catastrophic debt default, Congressional Republicans are playing a game of “chicken” with the White House. From The Associated Press:

A top debt ceiling negotiator for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Friday it’s time to “press pause” on talks as negotiations with the White House came to an abrupt standstill at the Capitol.

Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., tapped by McCarthy, R-Calif., to lead the talks, emerged from an hourlong session and said gaps remained between House Republicans and the Democratic administration.

“It’s time to press pause because it’s just not productive,” Graves told reporters.

He added that the negotiations have become “just unreasonable” and that it was unclear when talks would resume.

Wall Street turned lower as talks on raising the nation’s debt limit came to a sudden halt, raising worries that the country could edge closer to risking a highly damaging default on U.S. government debt.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is claiming that a legislative deal needs to be in place by this weekend. But as POLITICO reports, that’s not really true:

Even though timing may seem extremely tight, both chambers have their own escape hatches that could allow them to vote on a bill more quickly, sometimes dramatically so. Plus, lawmakers aren’t all convinced that June 1 is a hard deadline, given the Treasury Department’s uncertainty about when it would truly run out of cash. Congress could potentially have until June 8, according to one estimate, giving lawmakers a crucial extra week to tie up loose ends.

McCarthy faces another potential problem of his own creation:

Next week, the spotlight is on the House, since the Senate is in recess. There, McCarthy believes it would take about four days to pass any potential legislation due to commitments he made back in January, including his promise to give lawmakers 72 hours to review bills before a vote.

He could theoretically ignore that rule if the timeline gets squeezed, but he’d risk the wrath of his right flank.

“I don’t think our members would tolerate it,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a senior Republican appropriator, adding that he didn’t think McCarthy would abandon the rule. “I don’t think we want to look like our members didn’t have the time to read and consider the legislation.”

The House is scheduled to depart for recess the week of May 29, but Cole said he wouldn’t be surprised if members are called back to pass a debt limit deal, should a vote fall through next week.


In other debt ceiling news, Colorado Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) is still playing his ridiculous game of pretending to be involved in debt ceiling talks even though he has voted against any such proposal going back to the Obama administration:


Buck is making no serious effort to contribute to a solution here; he was one of just four Republicans to vote against a GOP proposal passed a few weeks ago, and has suggested RAISING THE RETIREMENT AGE to 72 or 73 years of age as a way to cut spending. It’s important to remember here that the debt ceiling discussions are about paying for things that Congress has already approved in previous years.


Congressperson Lauren Boebert (R-ifle) first made her name in politics by yelling at a Member of Congress. Now that she is in Congress herself, that sort of dissent from a member of the public is apparently not tolerated.

It shouldn’t be lost in the coverage that the topic of the press conference itself was completely bonkers. As Erik Maulbetsch reports for the Colorado Times Recorder:

…lawmakers, including Boebert, made numerous unsubstantiated claims, from the World Health Organization being controlled by China, to blaming it for the COVID pandemic, to claiming it is the vehicle for a plot to force all nations under a single worldwide government.

Among other things, Boebert claimed that the United States is surrendering its sovereignty to the WHO, an organization that she and other Republican legislators claim is controlled by “Communist China.”


In other Boebert-related news, Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Denver) has reached the end of his rope when it comes to Boebert’s habit of taking credit for things she voted against.


Click below to keep learning things…



Check Out All This Other Stuff To Know…


The City of Golden is trying out a new 4-day work week, as 9News reports:

This summer, the city will launch “The Best for Golden,” a program trial that moves all police department employees from a 40-hour workweek to a 32-hour workweek without a change in pay.

The trial begins in July and will run through the end of the year.

The city said they hope the shorter workweek will improve employee retention and engagement, increase wellbeing and elevate efficiency.

“Organizations around the world, including governments, have seen important benefits from adopting a four-day workweek, and we are excited for Golden to be the first city in our region to experiment with this innovative program,” said Scott Vargo, Golden’s city manager.

The city said they chose the police department as the pilot group because of the department’s scheduling flexibility, 24-hour coverage needs, variety of positions and more.

The City of Golden says service hours and patrol staffing will not change.


Hannah Metzger ranks the most (and least) effective lawmakers from the 2023 Colorado legislative session in a story for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

Unsurprisingly, the top three lawmakers on this list are members of the Joint Budget Committee, whose responsibilities include the annual budget package, supplemental funding and about two dozen orbital bills to balance the budget. But unlike last year, JBC members didn’t dominate the entire top five. This year, Sens. Faith Winter and Dylan Roberts beat out three JBC members who ranked sixth, eighth and 10th in overall bills passed.

You could probably guess who ranked as the least-effective lawmakers:

This list includes the House lawmakers that lean the furthest right ideologically, dubbed the far-right four: Reps. Stephanie Luck, Scott Bottoms, Ken DeGraaf and Brandi Bradley. [Pols emphasis] The group often clashed with the Democratic supermajority, debating bills for hours, but not pursuing much legislation themselves. Bottoms, DeGraaf and Bradley — and the two Democrats on this list — are all first-year lawmakers. This is Luck’s second year in a row topping this list.

That image is Rep. Scott Bottoms (R-Colorado Springs) talking about he and Rep. Ken DeGraaf (R-Colorado Springs) earlier this year. Bottoms now views himself as the true leader of the House GOP caucus, though his only apparent goal is to just get in the way when other lawmakers attempt to do their jobs.


Senator John Hickenlooper was involved in a Twitter pissing match with racist Alabama Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville regarding the eventual permanent location of Space Command (which is currently headquartered in Colorado Springs).

Meanwhile, Alabama politicians continue to do their best to provide reasons for the Biden administration to potentially reverse a Trump era decision to relocate Space Command in Huntsville.


As Josh Marshall writes for Talking Points Memo, Republicans across the country continue to lose elections in part because of their opposition to abortion rights.

We know that Republicans had a dismally disappointing midterm even though they did manage to capture a razor-thin House majority. But that trend has continued and arguably intensified. According to Daily Kos Elections numbers, in 18 state legislative races held in 2023, Democrats have over-performed presidential results by an average of 6.6 points. Compared to 2016, it’s 10.9%. The DeSantis-backed candidate for Mayor of Jacksonville, Daniel Davis, got upset by underdog Democrat Donna Deegan. The Post has a good run-down of these and other races from Tuesday.

Of course we know about high profile contests like the Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice race in which Janet Protasiewicz scored a commanding victory over former Justice Daniel Kelly and shifted the balance of power back to the Democrats.

The clearest through-line to all of these results is abortion.


Republicans who insist on fighting culture war battles instead of dealing with actual issues of importance are learning the hard way that these decisions have negative consequences for their constituents.


► Ernest Luning of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman sees similarities between former Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s first campaign and the surprise victory of Yemi Mobolade in Colorado Springs. We made the same connection here at Colorado Pols on Wednesday.

The Colorado Sun has more on what Mobolade’s victory means for the future of the Colorado Republican Party.


► As Colorado Newsline reports, Colorado Democrats are trying to revive the CORE Act once more:

Colorado’s Democratic members of Congress will try again to pass the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act, a years-in-the-making package of public lands protections that has been repeatedly stonewalled in recent years by Republican lawmakers.

The latest version of the CORE Act, introduced this week for the third time since 2019, includes the same major components as previous iterations, with the exception of protections for the new Camp Hale–Continental Divide National Monument, which President Joe Biden established through executive action last year.

“Our work is not done,” U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet said in a press conference Wednesday. “Every provision in this bill reflects thoughtful collaboration among county commissioners, businesses, ranchers, sportsmen and conservationists.”

Among others at the press conference were CORE Act supporters Sen. John Hickenlooper and U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse of Lafayette.


A surge of migrants trying to cross into the United States may not have been as significant as Republicans predicted, but it’s still an issue for cities across the country…particularly as Republican elected officials try to make a political statement out of a human rights issue. As Saja Hindi explains for The Denver Post:

In a statement posted on his Twitter account, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the first group of migrants chartered by his state to Colorado were dropped off near Civic Center Park at 14th Street and Court Place Tuesday afternoon.

“Until the President and his Administration step up and fulfill their constitutional duty to secure the border, the State of Texas will continue busing migrants to self-declared sanctuary cities like Denver,” he wrote.

Texas has been chartering buses of migrants to Washington, D.C. since April 2022, and also started sending migrants to New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia last year. The state has bused more than 19,000 migrants to other cities to “provide much-needed relief to Texas’ overwhelmed border communities,” according to Abbott’s statement.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock called the move by Abbott “political theater and partisan gamesmanship pitting jurisdictions against each other,” further exacerbating the problem, rather than finding solutions to the ongoing humanitarian crisis at the border. 

“If Gov. Abbott thinks he’s going to win over allies to his cause here in Denver with this latest stunt, he’s going to be sorely mistaken,” Hancock said in a written statement. “And we’re more than happy to send him the bill for any additional support we have to provide now because of his failure at managing his own state.” [Pols emphasis]


► Seth Klamann of The Denver Post reports on the signing of legislation intended to reduce tensions between police officers and young people in Colorado. 

Keep clicking for more news on new legislation, including “copay coupons“; housing discrimination related to vouchers; and a “right to repair” law for farmers.


9News looks at how the issue of gray wolves has divided some Coloradans


The Colorado Times Recorder reports on recent victories for labor unions in Colorado.


A Washington D.C. police officer has been arrested and accused of providing information to the “Proud Boys” regarding the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection. 


Colorado Public Radio reports on negotiations in Jefferson County focused on pay raises for teachers.



Say What, Now?

Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl should probably turn off the television and go for a walk:





Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 


This story is a few days old, but it’s still worth repeating because of the Colorado angle and because it’s just so hilarious:

A driver, who was pulled over for speeding, tried to switch places with his dog to avoid arrest, police in Colorado said.

An officer watched him maneuvering inside the car before he got out on the passenger side on Saturday night in Springfield, a town of about 1,300 people on the state’s Eastern Plains, police said in a Facebook post Sunday.

You’d have to be pretty drunk to decide that it would look better to have your DOG behind the wheel.


The popular 1990s sitcom Seinfeld apparently inspired legislation recently passed in New Jersey. From

Under a law inspired by the sitcom “Seinfeld,” telemarketers in New Jersey will have 30 seconds to identify themselves and whom they represent.

Telemarketers also will have to provide a callback number under the measure, which Gov. Phil Murphy signed Monday evening. It was nicknamed the “Seinfeld bill” in a nod to the iconic 1990s sitcom.

In one scene, Jerry gets a call from a telemarketer while he has guests over, and he asks for a callback number. The telemarketer refuses.

“Oh, I guess you don’t want people calling you at home,” Jerry responds. “Well, now you know how I feel.”

And he hangs up.

The new law also prohibits telemarketers from calling New Jersey residents between the hours of 9:00 pm and 8:00 am.





Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to be the Republican nominee for President in 2024, but he’ll need a personality transplant to have any chance at winning nationwide. examines the “Great Unwinding” for Medicaid recipients in the United States.


Give your eyes a break and put your ears to work for the 2023 legislative wrap-up edition of the Get More Smarter Podcast:


Don’t forget to give Colorado Pols a thumbs up on Facebook and Twitter. Check out The Get More Smarter Podcast at




4 thoughts on “Get More Smarter on Friday (May 19)

  1. Last night, I watched the 9News overview of the wolf re-introduction on the 9 PM news. I was surprised to hear Rancher Schowalter talking about “ballot box biology.” That’s the same line used in the last public testimony before the CPW Commission, earlier this month, by a Garfield County commissioner.

    One of the virtual public commenters during the same one hour session criticized politicians for engaging in “bar stool biology.” I was more impressed by that comment.

    1. I always want to know from the ranchers how much of their grazing is done on federal public lands.  If they're doing 90% of their grazing on federal public lands, I have far less sympathy for their complaints about wolf reintroduction.  As for "ballot box" or "bar stool" biology, there's a lot of that going on.  Though not as much as the armchair virologists and immunologists during the pandemic. 

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