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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► Republicans in Washington D.C. are angry and frustrated over their inability to craft any sort of plausible legislation for repealing Obamacare, and President Trump voiced his displeasure in person during a luncheon at the White House on Wednesday. Later in the day, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its score of a Senate proposal to repeal — but not replace — Obamacare, and the numbers just keep getting worse. This proposal is similar to legislation that Senators voted on in 2015, and as the Washington Post explains, it’s pretty terrible:
Congressional budget analysts estimated Wednesday that a Senate plan to repeal part of the Affordable Care Act with no immediate replacement would increase the number of people without health coverage by 17 million next year and 32 million at the end of a decade. The forecast by the Congressional Budget Office of the impact on coverage of the Senate GOP’s latest health-care legislation is nearly identical to estimates the CBO made in January based on a similar bill that passed both the House and Senate in late 2015 – and was vetoed by then-President Barack Obama.
For those Americans who don’t lose healthcare under this proposal, premiums would DOUBLE within the next few years.
► Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is in Denver to take part in the right-wing ALEC legislative conference. As Luke Perkins writes for the Durango Herald:
Hundreds of Coloradans protested U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ visit in Denver on Wednesday, largely criticizing her stance on using tax dollars to fund private schools.
DeVos is in Denver to speak at the American Legislative Exchange Council’s 44th annual meeting Thursday. The exchange council is a conservative organization focused on providing “model legislation” for lawmakers across the country. Like DeVos, it supports privatizing public schools.
The protest had hallmarks of a Republican versus Democratic showdown, using DeVos’ visit as the catalyst. It quickly went beyond attacks on the secretary of education and the GOP and to attacks on anyone who had promoted efforts to move funds away from traditional public schools…
…“Betsy DeVos is the worst example of these so called ‘reformers,’” said state Sen. Michael Merrifield, D-Manitou Springs. “She has never attended, worked in nor sent her children to public schools. She has no government experience and no experience in running a bureaucracy or a large organization.”
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is also making an appearance at the ALEC conference and will stick around to take part in the Western Conservative Summit this weekend.
► Attorney General Jeff Sessions is responding to some pretty negative words from President Trump. As CNN reports:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he plans to continue in his job despite President Donald Trump’s comments that he’d have picked someone else had he known Sessions would recuse himself from the Justice Department’s Russia investigation.
“We love this job. We love this department, and I plan to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate,” he told reporters Thursday.
In a New York Times interview published Wednesday, Trump second-guessed his decision to nominate Sessions, an Alabama Republican who was the first sitting senator to back the real estate mogul’s presidential bid.
“Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself, which, frankly, I think is very unfair to the President,” Trump said, referring to himself. “How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I’m not going to take you.’ It’s extremely unfair — and that’s a mild word — to the President.” [Pols emphasis]
Trump was referring to Session’s decision to recuse himself from overseeing the FBI investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The attorney general made his decision after it became public that he had previously met on behalf of the Trump campaign with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak during an event at the Republican National Convention, and later in his senate office.
As Vox.com reports, Trump’s interview with the New York Times demonstrates his complete disregard for the rule of law.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► The Colorado Independent takes a look at fundraising in the race for Governor. As Ernest Luning writes for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, the top fundraiser in state races for Q2 was Phil Weiser, a Democratic candidate for Attorney General.
► Fundraising numbers for candidates seeking the open seat for State Treasurer were not at all impressive.
► Today marks the five-year anniversary of the Aurora Theater Shooting.
► According to a study from the University of Colorado, white men are too fat and take too many drugs.
Conservative political groups are furious that Senate Republicans aren’t doing more to approve healthcare legislation that would gut Medicaid, double premiums, and eliminate health coverage for 32 million Americans. As the Washington Post reports:
Conservatives are furious – furious – that Senate Republicans got close to repealing big parts of Obamacare and are now on the verge of walking away from the effort altogether, possibly leaving President Obama’s health-care law on the books for the foreseeable future…
…Now, nothing is turning out as they’d hoped. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) intends to hold a vote early next week to start debate on a repeal bill. But unless senators can hash out an agreement on how to treat Medicaid spending — as they tried to do in a meeting last night in Sen. John Barrasso’s (R-Wyo.) office — it will likely fail. It’s also unclear when — or if — Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will return to Washington after announcing last night that he was diagnosed with brain cancer.
At least four centrist Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Rob Portman of Ohio – have said they’ll vote against even starting debate on the measure without a better ACA replacement ready to go. That’s got conservatives seething, and plotting their revenge.
These conservative groups are clearly indifferent to the fact that the American public overwhelmingly disapproves of Republican efforts to dismantle healthcare. Bashing Republicans for not going against the wishes of the average voter is a dark road to travel.
► Democrats have found a candidate to run for the HD-26 seat being vacated by Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush in the Steamboat Springs area.
► The Senate Judiciary Committee has given its unanimous approval to confirm Chris Wray as the next Director of the FBI.
► Grand Junction Republican Sen. Ray Scott wants to tax bicyclists in order to create more money for road construction projects.
► Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray will apparently run for Governor in Ohio.
► You can now fly non-stop to Paris from Denver.
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► O.J. Simpson will appear in front of a parole board in Nevada today to ask for an early release from his prison sentence.
► The New York Times updates its list of lies from the Trump administration at the six-month mark of his presidency.
► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) needs a new political shtick now that local media has stopped buying into his nonsense rhetoric.