Coffman Kicks The Poor On His Way Out The Door

Outgoing Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora)

The Greeley Tribune’s Tyler Silvy reports on final passage last week of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, known in the vernacular as the “farm bill” to set a wide variety of food production and access policies for the next five years–a bill that Rep. Ken Buck, who represents the agribusiness-heavy Eastern Plains of Colorado, voted against:

Ken Buck this past week had his first opportunity to support farmers in the Fourth Congressional District via a final farm bill vote. His “no” vote in the U.S. House of Representatives had some farm advocates scratching their heads, even if they’re still celebrating a landslide victory for the bill…

Buck defended his vote by pointing to the increase in food stamp recipients during the Great Recession, arguing that millions of people who came onto the rolls “got used to food stamps.”

“That’s what we were trying to address,” Buck said. “Those people who got used to food stamps, how do we get them back into the employment world?”

For all of his time in office, Rep. Ken Buck has been reliably frank in his positions–even when they’re politically unpleasant. But left unsaid in Buck’s call for the “takers” of America to put some “skin in the game” in exchange for food stamps is the fact that there are already such requirements in place. Since the last big push for “welfare reform” in 1996, able-bodied food stamp beneficiaries have been limited to three months of benefits every three years without qualifying work, job training, or volunteer service. The GOP’s now-scrapped proposal to increase those work requirements would have directly resulted in 1.2 million fewer Americans every month getting food stamps.

Which is great if you’ve got Buck’s “makers vs. takers” mentality, not so much if you’re, you know, hungry.

But again, Buck is a very predictable Scrooge-y case of ideological lack of sympathy, representing an overwhelmingly conservative district unlikely to ever penalize him for it. But another Colorado vote against the farm bill justified by the same insulting “tough love” approach to food stamp recipients, might surprise some of our readers–the Aurora Sentinel’s Kara Mason:

“I voted for the initial version of this bill, which passed the House of Representatives back in June, largely because it included some significant and important reforms to the food stamp program,” Coffman, who represents mostly suburban Aurora outside of Denver, said in an email to constituents.

“Specifically, it required able-bodied, working-aged individuals who are not the primary caregiver for minor dependent children, either to find some work (part-time or full-time), participate in a job training program, or volunteer with an approved non-profit to remain eligible for SNAP assistance.”

Coffman said the most important part of the Farm Bill was the SNAP program and couldn’t support it without the reforms. [Pols emphasis]

Of course, if you’re familiar with Rep. Mike Coffman’s long record in office–especially before his congressional district was redrawn in 2011 into a diverse swing seat–Coffman’s extolment of the “dignity and and improved self-esteem that comes from work” to undercut food stamp beneficiaries isn’t much of a surprise. This is the same Mike Coffman, after all, who called Social Security a “Ponzi scheme” and once declared himself “a proud member of the ‘Party of No.'” Mike Coffman tried hard and spent big to reinvent his image into “a different kind of Republican,” and it worked all the way up until November of 2018.

In the final days of Mike Coffman’s political career, there’s at last no reason to hide his true colors.

Retreat! Trump Predictably Abandons Shutdown Threat

It was just one week ago that President Trump threatened to shut down the federal government over funding for his mythical border wall in an acrimonious White House meeting with Democratic leaders. Trump pounded his chest in front of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and likely incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying this in regard to a looming shutdown: “I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down.”

Today, Trump backed down.

As the Washington Post reports:

President Trump on Tuesday retreated from his demand that Congress give him $5 billion to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, backing down amid acrimonious GOP infighting that left him with few options four days ahead of a partial government shutdown.

The news, delivered by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders in an interview on Fox News, represented a major shift from Trump’s declaration last week that he would be “proud” to shut down the government to get the money he wanted for his border wall.

Democrats, who will reclaim the majority in the House just weeks from now, have consistently refused to give Trump anywhere near the $5 billion he wants.

But Sanders told Fox News Channel: “We have other ways that we can get to that $5 billion.”

“At the end of the day we don’t want to shut down the government, we want to shut down the border,” Sanders said.

Sanders said the White House was exploring other funding sources and believed it could be legally done.

If this is at all surprising to you, then you really haven’t been paying attention for the last two years. Despite his frequent claims that he is the best negotiator to ever negotiate things, Trump regularly backs himself into a corner — like he did last week — leaving no other logical option but to abandon his silly threats.

Oh, and to Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma): Good call going all-in on the border wall!

SoperGate! Like House Republicans Need Another Problem?

Rep.-elect Matt Soper (R).

Colorado Public Radio’s Bente Birkeland reports on the continuing controversy over GOP Rep-elect Matt Soper in HD-54, as a complaint alleging Soper lied about his residency in the district combined with allegations of intimidation against the tenant of a rented home owned by Soper’s mother threatens to, if not depose then at least seriously humiliate the latest in a long line of GOP Western Slope wunderkinds:

The complaint filed with the Secretary of State is expected to be finalized on Tuesday. It alleges Republican Rep.-elect Matt Soper didn’t live in House District 54 for the required amount of time, when he ran for, and won the House seat. Yet, even if the charges are found to be true, his removal wouldn’t be automatic. Instead, it would require a full vote of the state House of Representatives.

According to the Secretary of State’s Office, a candidate must have lived in a legislative district for at least one year before the November election to qualify to represent that district.

Palisade resident Dave Edwards filed the complaint and alleges that Soper listed a three-bedroom house in Delta that his mother owns and rented out to a family as his address, but that he lived at another residence, and for part of that time outside of the House district. Soper also used the Delta address on his voter registration form.

“Something this major should not go without someone raising a concern,” Edwards said.

Ordinarily, these kinds of residency questions would not be considered a serious threat to an elected official taking office, as long as there is some kind of plausible claim to residency the candidate can stake. But in Soper’s case, as the Grand Junction Sentinel previously reported, it’s alleged that the tenants of a home owned by Soper’s mother in the district–who insist that Rep.-elect Soper has never lived at the residence during the time they have rented it–were threatened with eviction if they continued to talk to inquiring reporters.

Whether this case rises to the level of action by the overwhelming Democratic House majority is going to depend heavily on the specific circumstances here, in particular the allegations of a tenant in a family-owned property being intimidated in order to maintain a pretense of residency for Soper that did not factually exist. That’s where this could transition from an overlookable mistake to conduct unbecoming of a lawmaker.

As you’ve heard a thousand times in politics, the cover-up is worse than the crime.

“Boob Grabber” Baumgardner Walks Away from the Senate

TUESDAY UPDATE: Lobbyist Holly Tarry has some parting words for the exiting Senate GOP majority, et al:


Sen. Randy “Boob Grabber” Baumgardner

Republican State Senator Randy “Boob Grabber” Baumgardner has announced his resignation from the legislature. Baumgardner’s departure seemed inevitable when Republicans announced their upcoming committee assignments, leaving the “Boob Grabber” off the list entirely.

Kyle Clark of 9News links to Baumgardner’s resignation letter and spells out pretty succinctly why this is happening now:

Senate Republicans, who protected Baumgardner despite multiple credible accusations of sexual harassment, can attempt to wash their hands of the “Boob Grabber” on January 21. The putrid smell that has been stuck to the GOP for more than a year will be a lot harder to get rid of.

Cory Gardner Contradicts Cory Gardner on The Big Wall

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) on “Fox and Friends” (12/14/18)

Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) yukked it up on national television on Friday as a guest on “Wake Up, Mr. President” “Fox & Friends,” the morning news/talk show that is basically President Trump’s personal “Sesame Street” (Jason Salzman has more on Gardner’s “revenge majority” phrase) The topic of discussion was the looming government shutdown over funding for Trump’s big wall along the Mexican border…or as the clip is labeled, “Colorado Republican Senator Cory Gardner says the Democrats are taking revenge out on the president after winning back the majority in the House by not voting for border wall funding.”

Gardner had the bullshit meter turned up all the way to 100 for his sit-down interview, which we transcribed for your reading, uh, pleasure below. Gardner spends most of the interview bashing Democrats for not supporting billions of dollars in funding for Trump’s big wall — though Gardner himself is on the record opposing funding for a border wall. It wasn’t even all that long ago, either. Let’s take a step back in time to March 9, 2017, via Politico:

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, stated his opposition to a physical wall in fairly explicit terms during a telephone town hall Wednesday night…

…”As far as the wall goes, I believe we have to have border security, but I do think billions of dollars on a wall is not the right way to proceed,” Gardner told a constituent, according to audio obtained by POLITICO. [Pols emphasis] “I don’t support a tariff to pay for any kind of wall.”

If constructed, Trump’s wall along the U.S.-Mexico border is expected, by some estimates, to cost $14 billion, if not much more.

Gardner told reporters last month that he didn’t think the wall was “the best idea,” but he was more emphatic in his comments Wednesday night.

“We do need security on the border,” Gardner said. “That may mean personnel. It may mean a fence. That may mean an electronic fence,” the first-term lawmaker said. “But we shouldn’t just build a wall and add billions of dollars because that’s what somebody said should be done.” [Pols emphasis]

Same wall. Same guy.

Hmmm…that’s odd. Here’s Gardner’s interview with “Fox & Friends” muppets Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt from Friday:

EARHARDT: Are there 10 Senators who are Democrats who would consider voting for this wall?

GARDNER: Well, I certainly hope so. This is about border security, which is something that both sides have said they supported. I hope there are more than 10 Senators on the Democrat side of the aisle that believe border security is important.

EARHARDT: I’m thinking about Senators from border states…

GARDNER: Right. You’ve got some border state [Senators]. You have others in the Senate who have been voting with us…

EARHARDT:…Like Joe Manchin…

GARDNER: Like Joe Manchin, on common sense border reforms, and others in the Senate. So I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that just a few months ago you agreed to $25 billion in border security. Why are they trying to cut border security funding now? And I hope they will agree that, yes, let’s get this done.

DOOCY: And that bill you were actually part of – the $25 billion that so many Democrats were like, ‘Yeah, we’ll sign onto that.’ But what has happened? The dynamic has changed because it seems as though the Democrats have dug in. They simply don’t want to give him [Trump?] a nickel for him to build a wall.

GARDNER: This is what I don’t understand. At all. It makes no sense. They have no border security plan. Months ago they supported $25 billion dollars in border security funding. Now, they support less than a fifth of that. This is a massive cut in border security funding that the Democrats are now proposing.

DOOCY: But it’s politics…

GARDNER: It’s politics, but it’s based on a revenge majority that they just elected to the House. This is nothing more than a revenge majority. They want to fight against a President that they believe should never have been elected in the first place. So, the policies that they are pursuing are all going to be based on revenge: Investigations, cutting border security, doing everything they can to provide that revenge.

EARHARDT: Senator, it doesn’t look like the President is going to get the $5 trillion…

GARDNER: Billion…

EARHARDT: $5 billion.

GARDNER: [laughing] $5 trillion would do it.

EARHARDT: I keep saying ‘trillion.’ It’s ‘billion.’ It doesn’t look like he’s going to get that, so is there a compromise? If he gets the 1.3 or 1.6 right now, is there a chance to get another 1.3 or 1.6 in a few months?

GARDNER: You know, there certainly is. You can keep going at it and getting more, bit by bit by bit. But we know the numbers. We know that border security is better when you have something like this in place. We know from the leaders of our border security agencies – by the way, which the revenge majority wants to destroy now. We know that the leaders of these agencies have said, ‘We can do a better job if we have these border security measures in place.’  So, yes, you can do it bit by bit, and ultimately I think we will see that happen over the next week. Let’s get this done.

DOOCY: Okay, first time we’ve heard the word ‘revenge majority.’ I’ve got a feeling we’re going to hear that more. Thank you, Senator.

It’s important to note that the $25 billion “border security” bill Gardner references also included a 12-year pathway to citizenship for so-called “DREAMers” — children of immigrants who are in the United States through no fault of their own — that President Trump rejected outright. The $25 billion “WALL Act” that Senate Republicans are now pushing is no shape or form similar to any of the immigration reform bills that Gardner is referencing when he says that Democrats are now trying to “cut border security funding.” This isn’t an “apples to oranges” comparison; it’s more like “apples to spaceships.”

Congressional Democrats largely do not support Trump’s obsession with building a giant wall but have consistently supported proposals to strengthen border security through the use of sensors, drones, and other non-wall means.

As for the duplicitous Gardner, it’s really not a mystery as to why his approval ratings are in the toilet — even among Republicans. Gardner is a man of his words…whichever words he thinks serve him best at any given moment.

BS Comes Home: Obamacare Ruling Jams Cory Gardner

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Politico reports on the political implications of a ruling Friday by a federal judge in Texas, striking down the 2010 Affordable Care Act in its entirety–and setting up a final showdown in the U.S. Supreme Court that could end in millions of Americans losing their health coverage:

Congress was ready to move on from Obamacare.

The midterm elections took repeal off the table, and Democrats were gearing up for a party-defining fight over “Medicare for all.” But Friday night’s ruling by a federal judge in Texas that the Affordable Care Act must be scrapped once again puts the law front and center as Democrats prepare to take back the House just weeks from now.

The ruling is sure to be appealed, and the Trump administration says it’s business as usual in the meantime. But the decision spells bad news for Republicans, by allowing Democrats to replay a potent health care message that helped them flip 40 House seats: that the GOP remains hellbent on gutting Obamacare and rolling back protections for pre-existing conditions…

Colorado Public Radio attempts to put a number on the threat to Coloradans:

The federal judge struck down the entire law, also known as Obamacare. The law will remain in place while the ruling is on appeal, but if it stands, the decision applies to all of the ACA’s protections and regulations, and could strip health insurance coverage from 20 million Americans.

The nonpartisan Colorado Consumer Health Initiative says that includes more than 600,000 Coloradans, because the ruling would scrap both the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid and federal financial assistance for coverage in the individual marketplace.

The political consequences of this decision are for the moment more important, but the rightward hardening of the U.S. Supreme Court make the threat of this new adverse ruling much greater in terms of actually repealing en masse the landmark 2010 law responsible for reducing the rate of uninsured across the nation and in Colorado to historic lows. However the case resolves, Republican failure to replace the Affordable Care Act during their two-year period of total control in Washington leaves that party politically responsible for negative outcomes on the issue over the next two years–and at the same time, any solution now must include House Democrats, who have no reason to either make concessions that would be harmful to those covered today or assume the blame for a poorly-crafted GOP fix.

Sitting in the middle of this increasingly perilous situation is Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, one of the most vulnerable 2020 GOP Senators who campaigned for office on a sloganized promise to “repeal and replace Obamacare.” Gardner was the figurehead of a wide-ranging campaign of misinformation in Colorado about the Affordable Care Act, falsely claiming that hundreds of thousands of Coloradans “had their coverage cancelled” even as the law drove the rate of uninsured down. This misinformation was uncritically reprinted by local media, deepening public confusion over the law and driving down its popularity.

We’ve said for years that a day of reckoning could very well come for Cory Gardner, when he would be forced to reconcile his bogus claims that “hundreds of thousands of Coloradans lost coverage” with the prospect of hundreds of thousands of Coloradans actually losing coverage via Gardner’s own stated goal of repealing the Affordable Care Act. Obviously for the sake of those 600,000+ Coloradans, we were not eager to see this as vengefully satisfying as it may be.

Now, just in time for Gardner’s re-election campaign, it looks like that day could be at hand.

Everybody Should Have The Opportunity To Run Against Gardner

(Bumped into Monday by popular demand – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATE: Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette now updating that Andrew Romanoff may not be a U.S. Senate candidate despite today’s filing:

A representative of Andrew Romanoff said Thursday’s FEC filing was an update to previously filed paperwork and was not intended to launch a new campaign for Senate.

We’ll update when we or anybody else learns more.


The overwhelming consensus from post-election polls and press analysis is that Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado will be one of the nation’s most vulnerable incumbent U.S. Senators in the 2020 elections. With that in mind, it should surprise no one that a large number of Colorado Democrats are seriously considering a run against Gardner, setting up would could be a big and very competitive primary. Back in April of 2017, Gardner held a telephone “town hall” where he answered a question about Donald Trump’s tax returns saying “everybody should have the opportunity to release their tax returns.”

Today, everybody wants the opportunity to run against Cory Gardner.

With that in mind, we’re beginning with this post a running list of the Democratic candidates who are officially in the U.S. race, seriously considering, or maybe would make the jump given the appropriate encouragement from the right people. And as we’ll explain, there’s lots of room for this list to grow, including big names who could become prohibitive favorites upon entry:

Former Colorado Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff filed to run just today, confirming widespread rumors that he would take his second shot at a U.S. Senate seat after losing the hotly contested 2010 Democratic primary to now-Sen. Michael Bennet. Romanoff remains popular among grassroots Democrats, and has stayed in the game with his unsuccessful challenge to Rep. Mike Coffman a few years ago.

Lorena Garcia, executive director of the Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition, announced her run in late November. Although she has never held elected office, Garcia is a longtime director or numerous local political nonprofits and is a frequent presence at the state capitol during the legislative session.

Here are candidates who haven’t yet formally joined the race but are known to be considering:

Outgoing Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran has an energetic base of support among Denver Democrats, who have made no secret of their desire for her to run–but could struggle elsewhere.

Former Colorado Sen. Michael Johnston, who lost the gubernatorial primary despite large helpings of out-of-state ed “reform” support, still has resources he could draw upon for a Senate bid.

Former Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett indicated an interest in the race last year.

Trish Zornio, who seems nice but would be best described as a minor candidate in the event she files for the race.

From there, the speculation turns to potentially big names who could upset or even end a primary if they were to announce their own runs. This would include Rep. Ed Perlmutter and freshman Rep. Joe Neguse–and yes, even Gov. John Hickenlooper in the event he reconsiders a run for President. Cary Kennedy was another potential first tier candidate, but she just took a high-level position in Jared Polis’ administration.

Again we’re not intending this to be a comprehensive list, and names are likely to come and go before we get to anything like a final slate of Democratic primary candidates. The multitude of qualified candidates on the Democratic bench, combined with Gardner’s widely-recognized weakness, means this is going to be a compelling primary.

U.S. Olympic Committee Spurns Cash-Strapped Colorado

Abandoned Olympic stuff.

Colorado Public Radio reports, no Winter Games for you Colorado:

The U.S. Olympic Committee has nominated Salt Lake City to be the host city of the 2030 Winter Olympics, eliminating Denver from the process…

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) announced their choice for the 2030 host city on Friday.

Denver and Salt Lake City were two of the few true competitors for the title. Most cities have been ambivalent at best in their efforts (or lack thereof) to woo the upcoming Winter Olympics. The Reno-Tahoe area declined an invitation to bid for the host city title.

The Denver Sports Commission said in a statement the decision was “disappointing.”

Not everyone is disappointed by the decision of the U.S. Olympic Committee to return to Utah once again as the nation’s host entry for the 2030 Winter Olympics instead of Colorado, or the Colorado-Utah co-hosted Games also proposed–first among them Gov.-elect Jared Polis, who broke with the previous administration’s support for a Colorado Olympic bid with a “meh” that was probably decisive.

And as exciting as it would have been, there are lots of more important things to spend money on.

Just like Dick Lamm said in 1972.

Get More Smarter on Friday (December 14)

Get ready for a lot of “hemp” mentions in the near future. It’s time to 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 a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.



► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) continues to run interference for Saudi Arabia when it comes to foreign policy decisions. From the Denver Post:

Gardner voted Thursday afternoon against ending U.S. support for Saudi Arabia in its war on Yemen — one of a pair of votes taken in response to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The amendment passed, however, with support from all Senate Democrats, including Colorado’s Michael Bennet, and a handful of Republicans.

“The tragic and extraordinarily complex situation in Yemen requires a political solution,” Bennet said in a statement. “It’s also critical to stress how inadequate the President’s response to the death of Jamal Khashoggi has been, in effect legitimizing his murder and failing to stand up for press freedom.”

President Donald Trump has continued to support Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman despite the CIA’s findings.

As the Washington Post explains, the Senate — not including Gardner — is at least trying to take on a leadership role in the absence of a strong voice in the White House:

On Thursday afternoon, a bipartisan coalition in Congress moved to fill the void and perform this function of the presidency that Trump has essentially outsourced. Senators voted 56-to-41 to cut off U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia’s often brutal conduct in the Yemen civil war. It’s the first time either chamber of Congress has asserted itself against the executive branch by using the War Powers Act, which became law during the depths of the Vietnam quagmire in 1973.

A few minutes later, the Senate voted unanimously to approve a separate, nonbinding resolution that blames Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for what happened to Khashoggi. The CIA concluded that MBS, as he’s known, probably ordered and monitored the dismemberment of the dissident journalist inside a Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. But Trump has touted the authoritarian prince’s denials and sought to play down the expert assessment of his own intelligence community. There’s even a tape.

Gardner has said a lot of words about Saudi Arabia lately. None of them meaningful.


► Congressional Republicans have again settled on a familiar strategy regarding a potential government shutdown: Punt. As Politico reports:

The House and Senate left town Thursday with no strategy to avert a partial government shutdown next week, putting Congress on the brink of an intractable conflict that could drag out through New Year’s Day — furloughing hundreds of thousands of workers and costing taxpayers millions.

Frustrated lawmakers in both parties are complaining that congressional leaders have made zero progress since Tuesday, when Trump stunned even his fellow Republicans by boasting that he would take the blame for the closure of a dozen federal agencies if he doesn’t get money for his border wall.

Lawmakers say there is no public plan to prevent a partial government shuttering. And no secret plan either.


President Trump has more answers than a Scantron sheet in response to worsening news about Robert Mueller’s investigation into a myriad of 2016 campaign issues. From the Washington Post:

The president no longer disputes that he instructed his then-personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to make the payments to former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal and adult-film star Stephanie Clifford, who goes by the stage name Stormy Daniels.

Instead, Trump sought to evade that question Thursday by saying he never told Cohen to break the law — making a narrow assertion that was itself an admission that his and his team’s earlier denials were false…

…In these and other statements Thursday, Trump tried to place blame entirely on his lawyer for felonies that his advisers and allies are increasingly concerned could imperil the president. The statements come as Trump feels besieged by multiplying investigations in New York and Washington and uncertain about what may be around the corner, according to several of his associates.

The evolving strategy on the hush-money allegations is textbook Trump: Tell one version of events until it falls apart, then tell a new version, and so on — until the danger passes.

Get even more smarter after the jump…


Friday Open Thread

“To be outspoken is easy when you do not wait to speak the complete truth.”

–Rabindranath Tagore

Get More Smarter on Thursday (December 13)

Tremendous amounts of political news. It’s time to 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 a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.



► Gun deaths in the United States have reached a new high, as CNN reports:

Nearly 40,000 people in the United States died by guns last year, marking the highest number of gun deaths in 38 years, according to a new analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s WONDER database.

A similar analysis was first conducted by the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, a non-profit gun policy advocacy group.

CNN replicated that analysis and found that 39,773 people died by guns in 2017, which is an increase of more than 10,000 deaths from the 28,874 in 1999.

CDC statisticians confirmed with CNN on Thursday that these numbers are correct and they show gun deaths have reached a record-high going back to at least 1979.

We’re #1! Dammit.


A new farm bill made it through the House of Representatives on Wednesday and is now on its way to the desk of President Trump.


► Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) emerged as a major player in discussions that will likely ensure that Nancy Pelosi becomes Speaker of the House. Perlmutter helped negotiate a deal that will set term limits on Democratic leadership to pave the way for new “generational” change in two years.


► “Medicare X” is not the name of a new superhero. The Colorado Sun explains:

Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet is giving a new push to his grand idea for fixing America’s health insurance market.

He calls it Medicare-X — “the best name I ever came up with,” he says. Bennet, a Democrat, touted the idea last week at the Colorado Health Institute’s annual Hot Issues in Health conference, then spoke about it afterward with reporters.

On the political spectrum of health-policy ideas, Medicare-X sits somewhere in the middle — a more moderate and incremental approach than the single-payer plans many of his fellow Democrats have been endorsing, but with plenty of federal involvement to draw fire from Republicans skeptical of government meddling in the marketplace.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Ed Perlmutter Gets Hard Concessions For Pelosi Support

Colorado Public Radio’s Bente Birkeland reports on the deal struck yesterday between a group of dissident Democratic members of Congress and presumptive Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi–a deal that includes significant changes to the way Democratic House leadership works, most importantly through a term limit that will ultimately apply to Speaker Pelosi herself:

A person familiar with discussions said Democrats wanted to avoid entering the 116th Congressional session leaderless and divided. This agreement will likely quell that intra-party debate.

“An important conversation was started here and going forward I feel confident our leaders will work to share their knowledge, experience and skill with those who aspire to leadership for the sake of our caucus, our party and our country,” said Colorado Congressman Ed Perlmutter in a statement.

The District 7 representative was a key part in negotiating this deal. He now backs Pelosi for Speaker, as do six other members of Congress who were previously opposed to her election. He said he believes her support for term limits will help create a pipeline for a new group of Democratic leaders.

The Denver Post’s Anna Staver:

The deal gives Pelosi at least one and possibly two more terms — or four more years — as speaker. It also sets term limits on the other three top Democratic positions: majority leader, whip and assistant Democratic leader.

“I have pushed for new leadership because I want to see generational change in the Democratic Caucus,” Perlmutter said in a statement. “I am now convinced that generational change has started and will continue to accelerate.”

Putting an exit plan in place earned Pelosi the support of Perlmutter and many others in the small group of “rebel” representatives in the U.S. House who have been calling for her and other top Democrats to step aside.

It should be noted that the agreement to limit terms for Democratic House leadership was not popular among, well, everyone in Democratic leadership:

“She’s not negotiating for me,” [incoming House Majority Leader Steny] Hoyer said, adding that she has not kept him apprised of the ongoing negotiations. “I think there’s a lot of discussion about it. I don’t think it’s going to happen. I hope it doesn’t happen.”

“No … I have not supported term limits,” Hoyer said. “I am against term limits because I have a term limit. It’s a two-year term limit.”

Which only underscores the significance of the deal Perlmutter struck yesterday. The reality is that Pelosi had already done most of the work needed to consolidate support ahead of the formal House leadership election in January, and the remaining holdouts were hitting the limit of their negotiating power. But more than a face-saving kumbaya, this is an agreement that will guarantee the change of leadership Perlmutter wants in due course. Both sides can plausibly claim a win, and House Democrats can unite going into their new majority.

Not to mention that incoming Speaker Pelosi seems to be holding her own just fine.