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January 19, 2024 10:48 AM UTC

Get More Smarter on Friday (Jan. 19)

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  • by: Colorado Pols

Today is “Confederate Heroes Day” or “Confederate Memorial Day” in southern states including Texas, Florida, and Tennessee (other states, such as Alabama and Mississippi, observe a similar “holiday” on the third Monday of January). 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.

 

FIRST UP…

Congress passed (another) temporary spending bill on Thursday in order to avert a government shutdown, with Democrats again saving the arse of Republican House Speaker “MAGA” Mike Johnson. From The New York Times:

Over the strenuous opposition of far-right Republicans, the House voted 314 to 108 to approve the stopgap funding just hours after the Senate provided overwhelming bipartisan backing for the measure in a 77-to-18 vote, allowing lawmakers to narrowly beat a Friday deadline.

“There will not be a shutdown on Friday,” Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, said. “Because both sides have worked together, the government will stay open. Services will not be disrupted. We will avoid a needless disaster.”

Passage of the bill affords lawmakers another six weeks to negotiate and pass a dozen spending bills totaling $1.66 trillion to fund the government through the fall, the level Democrats and Republicans agreed upon earlier this month. That plan would hold most federal spending steady while bolstering the military.

The action in Congress cleared the measure for Mr. Biden, who is expected to quickly sign it before the midnight deadline on Friday. It marked the third time since the start of the fiscal year on Oct. 1 that Congress has extended spending on a temporary basis.

Six of Colorado’s eight Congressional Representatives voted “YES” on the continuing resolution, with Republicans Lauren Boebert and Ken Buck choosing “NO.”

 

As Catie Edmondson follows up in a separate New York Times story today, Johnson clearly has no more control over lunatic House Republicans than his predecessor, now-former Rep. Kevin McCarthy:

Republicans may control the House, but when it comes to enacting any significant measure this Congress, it has fallen to Democrats to supply the bulk of the votes.

When Speaker Mike Johnson pushed through a stopgap spending bill on Thursday to avert a partial government shutdown, it was the fourth time over the past year that a Republican speaker, facing opposition from his right flank, has had to rely on Democratic votes to push through legislation needed to head off a calamity.

It was the latest sign of a punishing dynamic Mr. Johnson inherited when he won the speakership in the fall. With a minuscule and shrinking majority, a restive right wing willing to defect on major issues, and a Democratic Senate and president, Mr. Johnson is presiding over a House majority in name only — not a governing majority — sapping his leverage.

And his hold on that majority is tenuous at best.

Moments before the temporary spending bill passed on Thursday, it appeared Mr. Johnson might fall just short of mustering the support of a majority of his majority — long the informal but sacrosanct standard for determining what legislation a G.O.P. speaker would put to a vote. It was only at the last second that one Republican lawmaker appeared to switch from “no” to “yes,” pushing him just over the threshold. One hundred and seven Republicans voted for the stopgap bill and 106 opposed it, with Democrats supplying most of the votes — 207 — to push through the bill.

Republicans CANNOT govern, and they don’t really WANT to govern.

 

As we noted in this space on Wednesday that Americans are feeling very positive about the economy after a long period of pessimism — despite impressive economic numbers almost across the board. As Axios reported:

63% of Americans rate their current financial situation as being “good,” including 19% of us who say it’s “very good.”

Inflation continues to recede and could dip below 2% in 2024, but a new report shows that Americans still concerned about the price of goods should put more blame onto corporations. According to a press release from Rocky Mountain Values:

A new report sheds light on the role corporations played during the pandemic and throughout supply chain challenges in raising prices on consumers, maintaining them at elevated levels for an extended period of time.

Groundwork Collaborative, a leading economic policy organization, unveiled a groundbreaking report titled “Inflation Revelation: How Outsized Corporate Profits Drive Rising Costs.”

The report states, “Inflation has come down significantly from its peak over the past year, yet prices remain high for American consumers. From housing and groceries to car insurance and electric bills, families are still feeling the squeeze. In the wake of the pandemic, virtually every company in every industry faced rising costs to make products and stock shelves. Labor costs rose sharply, the cost of transporting goods across the country hit record highs, and raw materials became costly or impossible to get. Corporations were quick to pass rising costs – and a little extra – on to consumers, fueling rapid inflation.”

The report from Groundwork Collaborative shows that

While labor and nonlabor input costs have played a role in price increases, corporate profits drove 53 percent of inflation during the second and third quarters of 2023 and more than one-third since the start of the pandemic. Comparatively, over the 40 years prior to the pandemic, they drove just 11 percent of price growth…

…Corporate profits as a share of national income has skyrocketed by 29 percent since the start of the pandemic. While our economy has returned to or surpassed its pre-pandemic levels on many indicators, workers’ share of corporate income has still not recovered.

Via Groundwork Collaborative

Economic indicators are often connected to Presidential administrations (in the public eye) more than they probably should be, while corporations often get to slide for their role in negative numbers. This is another good reminder that there are only so many buttons that any White House can press when it comes to influencing the economy overall.

 

As The Colorado Sun reports in its “Unaffiliated” newsletter, Democratic challengers to two of the legislature’s more, um, controversial members are outraising the incumbents:

Democratic state Reps. Elisabeth Epps and Tim Hernández, both of Denver, were dramatically outraised by their primary challengers from October through December, according to campaign finance reports filed Tuesday with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.

Denver attorney Sean Camacho reported raising nearly $59,000, compared with the roughly $8,200 raised by Epps in House District 6. Camacho had nearly $62,000 in cash in his campaign account at the end of the year, compared with Epps’ $35,000.

Retired immigration judge Cecelia Espenoza raised more than $50,000 compared with nearly $9,000 raised by Hernández in House District 4. A vacancy committee selected Hernández over Espenoza for the northwest Denver seat last summer.

Espenoza counted numerous lobbyists and some former state lawmakers among her donors. She had $52,000 in cash in her campaign’s account at the end of 2023, compared with the $18,000 Hernández had.

Camacho also continues to rack up Democratic endorsements, most recently from State Sen. Nick Hinrichsen; State Reps. Andrew Boesenecker and Meghan Lukens; and former State Rep. Said Sharbini.

 

On the subject of former Rep. Said Sharbini, a Democratic vacancy committee on Thursday night selected former Thornton City Council member Julia Marvin to fill the remainder of his term.

 

 

Click below to keep learning things…

 

 

Check Out All This Other Stuff To Know…

 

With Ron DeSantis rapidly losing all hope at even being competitive in the race for the Republican Presidential nomination, the restrospectives on the Florida Governor’s campaign are starting to be written. As POLITICO explains, DeSantis might well have run the worst Republican Presidential campaign in history:

Tim Pawlenty’s and Scott Walker’s presidential campaigns can breathe a sigh of relief. The mantle of Worst Republican Presidential Campaign Ever has been lifted from their shoulders, stolen by the crew that ran Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign into the dirt.

As usual, revisionist histories are being written even before the candidate has been officially buried, with DeSantis staffers and apologists offering a variety of nonsensical explanations. However, we need no gossip from inside sources to understand what happened. The debacle played out in broad daylight.

Start with an indisputable fact: At the beginning of 2023, Gov. Ron DeSantis was in first place, ahead of former President Donald Trump. Then acknowledge that the DeSantis campaign and super PAC raised more money than any other campaign, including that of the former president. Many in the GOP billionaire class gushed over DeSantis, promising to spend whatever it would take to vanquish the former president.

What could possibly go wrong? Well, everything. [Pols emphasis]

D’oh! 

 

The Colorado Times Recorder checked in on the availability of staff at the Pueblo office of Congressperson Lauren Boebert in recent months. Let’s just say that it would have been easier to note when the office WAS open:

 

 

Republican Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is getting touchy about age-related questions, as The Washington Post explains with an amazing lede:

Onstage at a New Hampshire campaign event on Wednesday night, former president Donald Trump bragged about many things: his immigration policies, his passage of a tax cut, the unemployment rates during his administration.

He also bragged that he correctly identified a whale on a cognitive test when he was president. [Pols emphasis]

Republican challenger Nikki Haley is starting to do more to openly question Trump’s age (77) and his cognitive abilities:

The attacks appear to be bothering the former president, who on Wednesday night spent a good portion of his remarks talking about how young he feels and boasting about his cognitive abilities.

“I feel like I’m about 35 years old,” he said. “I actually feel better now than I did 30 years ago. Tell me, is that crazy? I feel better now, and I think cognitively I’m better than I was 20 years ago. I don’t know why.”

A spokesman for Trump did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Haley’s attacks on the former president’s age. The campaigns of both Biden and Trump as well as experts on aging have stated that the two remain physically capable of being president even with demanding schedules. Each candidate disclosed positive health reports from their physicians during this campaign cycle.

Donald Trump for President: He can identify a whale!

 

► John Ingold of The Colorado Sun digs into WHY health care is getting more expensive, including a maddening story about a $2,000 popsicle:

By almost any measure, health care is becoming more expensive, in some cases by a lot. For instance, payments by patients and health insurers in Colorado for prescription drugs increased 97% between 2013 and 2020, according to the Denver-based Center for Improving Value in Health Care.

Overall, health care payments in 2020 averaged $7,200 per person, a 27% increase from 2013. The portion of that actually paid by patients — what is known as out-of-pocket costs — was $870 per person for folks with commercial insurance, a 22% increase from 2013.

But this isn’t the only narrative about rising health care costs in Colorado, because “health care” is not a single product or even a single system. What you pay for it rests on thousands of individual circumstances and decisions — some of which you can control to help mitigate what you pay and some of which you can’t. How those combine together determine whether health care is actually more expensive for you.

 

Democrats in the state legislature passed a resolution today recognizing the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision and calling for the right to an abortion to be enshrined in the Colorado constitution. Republicans responded with this defiant statement read by Republican Rep. Brandi Bradley as the House GOP caucus stood behind her:

The people of Colorado are suffering from the weight of the high costs of inflation, housing and taxes. Homelessness and crime are on the rise. The people have sent legislators here to the capitol to work on making their lives better. Instead of focusing on the issues of affordability, housing and crime the Democrats have caused with their failed policies, they’re pulling another bait and switch scheme by attempting to turn the conversation towards abortion.

Roe v Wade was overturned on June 24, 2022 by the United States Supreme Court by the Dobbs v Jackson Womens Health Organization decision and is no longer the law of the land. In that decision the Supreme Court stated that it is the right of the states to develop abortion laws. Last session, there were three more extreme abortion laws passed by the Democrat majority, even though Colorado already had the most radical abortion laws in the country, including abortion through the day of birth.

This resolution is purely political hype and will do nothing to address the real issues facing Coloradans. The legislator [sic] was elected to be the voice of all people and work towards finding solutions to those problems, not to claim the work of past legislators for political gain. There is no shortage of issues that deserve this body’s attention. The Republicans stand united with us, the people of Colorado, in our message to our Democrats on the other side of the aisle, let’s go to work for the people of Colorado and stop playing political games.

Abortion: It’s just a political game!

 

Colorado Newsline has more on a Washington D.C. visit from Denver Mayor Mike Johnston asking for more federal help in dealing with the migrant crisis.

 

Colorado Public Radio has the latest on a response from Donald Trump’s lawyers to a Colorado Supreme Court ruling preventing him from being on the ballot in 2024 on account of attempting an insurrection:

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump on Thursday urged the United States Supreme Court “to put a swift and decisive end” to efforts to kick him off the 2024 presidential ballot over his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss.

In a written filing, Trump’s lawyers called on the court to reverse a first-of-its-kind Colorado Supreme Court decision that said Trump should not be on the state’s Republican primary ballot because of his role in the events that culminated in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. The justices are hearing arguments Feb. 8 in a case that both sides say needs to be resolved quickly so that voters know whether Trump, the leading Republican candidate for president, is eligible to hold the presidency…

Efforts to keep Trump off the ballot “threaten to disenfranchise tens of millions of Americans and … promise to unleash chaos and bedlam if other state courts and state officials follow Colorado’s lead and exclude the likely Republican presidential nominee from their ballots,” Trump’s lawyers wrote. [Pols emphasis]

 

As Ernest Luning writes for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, the 2024 election in Colorado may go down as the “year of the carpetbagger.”

 

Colorado lawmakers are discussing the “freedom” to allow people to buy raw milk. Presumably from cows.

 

Democrats in the state legislature are looking at occupancy limits in their first housing affordability bill this session. From Sara Wilson at Colorado Newsline:

House Bill 24-1007 would ban limits that are based on factors such as familial status and relationship. It would only allow occupancy limits tied to a dwelling’s square footage that are necessary for health and safety.

“Folks are getting priced out of their homes, and they’re not allowed to live in the ways that they want because of really arbitrary and arcane laws on the books in certain municipalities that are preventing folks from living with roommates or with distant family members,” Rep. Manny Rutinel, an Adams County Democrat, said. “This bill is all about making sure that folks have increased availability of affordable housing options. It’s about greater inclusivity for various different types of family and household structures.”…

…The bill was introduced this month on the first day of session with the initial batch of bills and got a shout-out from Gov. Jared Polis the next day as he spoke to the entire Legislature.

 

State lawmakers on Thursday held a memorial for former State Rep. Alice Borodkin, a Denver Democrat who died last April at the age of 89.

 

Coloradans will continue to suffer from last week’s freezing temperatures thanks to yet another rate increase from Xcel Energy.

 

Denver7 reports on the 2023 State of Homelessness Report. Among other findings, the report from the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative notes that 90% of homeless people in Denver were already living in Colorado when they were forced to the streets. The report indicates that the number one contributing factor to homelessness is relationship problems and family breakup issues, followed by an inability to keep paying for rent or a mortgage

 

 

Say What, Now?

House Speaker “MAGA” Mike Johnson has some, um, curious words about abortion:

 

 

 

 

Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

 

Bestselling author Stephen King is not particularly fond of Congressperson Lauren Boebert, as Newsweek reports:

“I did NOT come to Congress just to continue Nancy Pelosi’s bloated spending levels,” Boebert wrote on X. “I’m here to rein in the Swamp and cut spending so we can have a future for America that isn’t completely bogged down in debt. I am a NO on today’s upcoming Continuing Resolution – time to actually govern like conservatives!”

This post was referring to a Thursday House of Representatives vote to advance a short-term funding extension intended to help avoid a government shutdown. Boebert was one of the 106 House Republicans who voted against the stopgap bill.

King clearly wasn’t happy with her decision, as he retweeted her post and added: “You ARE the swamp.”

 

Republican Presidential candidate Nikki Haley just can’t quit Donald Trump, as HuffPost explains:

Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley said it would be bad for America to see Donald Trump “sitting in a jail cell” should he be convicted in any of the multitude of legal cases against him, but added she would not preemptively pardon him.

“For me, the last thing we need is an 80-year-old president sitting in jail because that’s just going to further divide our country,” Haley said during a town hall event with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Thursday. “This is no longer about whether he’s innocent or guilty. This is about the fact: How do we bring the country back together?”

Members of the Republican Party that once considered itself the party of “law and order” continue to argue that laws are dumb.

 

 

ICYMI

 

► We’re keeping this here because it’s so important: Legislative Republicans who continue to whine about being in a micro-minority don’t have a leg to stand on in their accusations against Democrats in the majority. The numbers clearly show that Republicans DOMINATED speaking time in the 2023 legislative session, despite having very little substance to offer.

 

► Supporters of former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters are trying to pray the jail away ahead of her pending trial for breaking into her own election servers in order to prove some sort of ridiculous 2020 election conspiracy.

 

 

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

 

 

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