12132019What's Hot:

Republican Bullshit Round Up.

Republican’s have been busy at work destroying America. Let’s have a recap.

Pence Votes To Break A Tie To Allow States To Defund Planned Parenthood

A bill overturning an Obama administration rule protecting funding for health clinics, including those that provide abortions, now heads to President Trump’s desk to become law, thanks to a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence.

WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence stepped into the Senate on Thursday to break a tie on a vote that would allow states to defund Planned Parenthood and other health clinics that provide abortions.

Two Republicans voted against the bill and one arrived in a wheel chair recovering from back surgery to support it, giving Pence the chance to break the tie and send the bill to President Donald Trump’s desk, where he is expected to sign it into law. This is the first time Pence has broken a tie on legislation since he was sworn-in in January.

The legislation overturns an Obama administration rule, which went into effect two days before he left office in a last-ditch effort to protect Planned Parenthood from losing funding under a Republican Congress and president. The rule prevented states that receive federal Title X funding for family planning from withholding those funds from qualified health centers, including those that provide abortions.

A Department of Health and Human Services report released at the time said that since 2011, 13 states restricted Title X funds from going toward clinics that provide abortion, harming those clinics’ ability to see and provide treatment for low-income patients.

Federal funds cannot, however, go toward abortions themselves. Clinics like Planned Parenthood can be reimbursed with those funds for providing non-abortion services such as cancer screenings, STD tests, fertility services, and contraception to low-income patients without insurance who don’t qualify for Medicaid.

Still, many Republican federal and state legislators, including Pence and the 50 Republican senators who voted to overturn the rule Thursday, argue that taxpayer money should not go toward organizations that perform a service that many of their constituents do not agree with, even if the funding doesn’t go toward the service itself.

The Center for American Progress found that about half of the women who rely on Title X funds to reimburse their health centers for non-abortion services are women of color, many of whom live in medically underserved areas.

After Obama’s rule was implemented, a few states, like Missouri, rejected millions of dollars federal funds in order to defund Planned Parenthood in their states. And anti-abortion lawmakers and advocates said as soon as it was passed that rolling the rule back would be at the top of their list of priorities once President Donald Trump took office. Though the repeal proved controversial, Vice President Pence and congressional Republicans helped them keep their promise.

Just two Republicans in the GOP-controlled Senate, Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, who have long opposed defunding Planned Parenthood, voted against overturning the rule.

“I am not one that wants to go backwards or reduce in any way women’s access to health care, and I felt that by pulling back this rule, we would be doing that,” Murkowski said.

Collins said before the vote that Congress shouldn’t further restrict funding for Planned Parenthood and other clinics like it, arguing that “family planning … is the best way to reduce the number of abortions.”

Those no-votes forced Pence to head to the Senate to break the tie, and because two votes were actually needed to set up and pass the bill, Pence played tie-breaker twice Thursday.

A morning vote on the bill was left open for roughly an hour, as Sen. Johnny Isakson, who is still recovering from recent back surgery, made his way to the Senate to cast his vote and ensure that Republicans could provide a tie for Pence to break. “It’s my job,” Isakson said, as he left the Senate in a wheelchair after the first vote.

The bill also had the support of Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, the only Republican up for reelection in 2018 in a state that Hillary Clinton won in the 2016 presidential election.

The House, meanwhile, passed the bill in February with the support of nearly every Republican in the chamber and two Democratic members.

Republicans were able to target the rule via the rarely used Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to undo recent rules implemented by the executive branch with just a simple majority vote, meaning it didn’t require Democratic support in either the House or Senate.

On the Senate floor Thursday, a clearly angry Sen. Patty Murray, the ranking Democrat on the Senate’s health committee, emphasized how close the vote was and was criticized Republicans for pushing it through.

“My colleagues and I came to the floor weeks ago to make clear that this harmful legislation shouldn’t come to the floor,” Murray said. “Republicans didn’t listen to us — they didn’t listen to women across the country who made clear that restricting women’s access to the full range of reproductive care is unacceptable.”

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell labeled the Obama administration rule as “unnecessary” and harmful, arguing that the money should be spent on local community health centers that do not provide abortions, rather than a national organization like Planned Parenthood.

“[The rule] substituted Washington’s judgement for the needs of real people, controlling Americans’ access to health care services while hurting the community health centers that so many Americans — especially women — depend upon,” McConnell said in a press release quoting his floor remarks. “Fortunately, by sending [this legislation] to the president’s desk, we can once again return power back to the people — and we’ll do so without decreasing funding for women’s health by a penny.”

Planned Parenthood Vice President Dawn Laguens contested McConnell’s claims in a statement after the initial vote Thursday morning, calling their decision to repeal the rule restrictive to women’s access to healthcare.

“Mike Pence went from yesterday’s forum on empowering women to today leading a group of male politicians in a vote to take away access to birth control and cancer screenings,” she wrote. “There’s a reason they could barely get enough votes to get this bill through a procedural step: People are sick and tired of politicians making it even harder for them to access health care, and they will not stand for it.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion group SBA List — which has close ties to the Trump administration — thanked Pence for breaking the tie and celebrated the vote as a victory for anti-abortion advocates.

“Pro-life President Trump’s signature on this legislation will undo former President Obama’s parting gift to the abortion industry,” she said in a statement. “Never again will the federal government thwart efforts by states that – acting on the will of the people – want to fund real women’s health care, not abortion.”


Senate votes to eliminate Obama-era retirement rule

A resolution eliminating an Obama-era regulation that allows states to create retirement accounts for low-income workers is headed to President Trump’s desk after a Senate vote on Wednesday.

Senators by a 50-49 margin approved the House-passed resolution, which rolls back a rule that allows states to create retirement plans for private-sector workers whose employers do not offer their own retirement plans.

Republicans blasted the rule, implemented by the Employees Benefits Security Administration in October, as another example of federal overreach under the Obama administration.

“Under the guise of helping more people save for the future, it undercut a system of private retirement savings that has served millions of Americans very well for decades,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said. “The end result would be more government at the expense of the private sector.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the chairman of the Finance Committee, added that the rule imposed “conflicting and burdensome mandates on private-sector businesses.”

Democrats, arguing the country faces a “retirement crisis,” pressed to keep the rule in place. They have stressed that states need more flexibility to help low-income workers save for retirement.

“For too many working people, saving for retirement isn’t automatic or easy. It seems out of reach, but we can’t let that stand,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) from the Senate floor.

Seven states have taken a steps toward creating programs under the Obama-era rule, and Democrats noted that another 23 states are currently considering the program.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) accused Republicans of trying to hurt working-class Americans, saying since the beginning of the year they “haven’t put up for a vote … a single piece of original legislation to help working families.”

“For years, the Republican-controlled Congress has done nothing to help the 55 million Americans who don’t have an employer-provided retirement plan,” she said.

GOP lawmakers are using the Congressional Review Act to undo regulations implemented late in President Obama’s tenure by a simple majority.

*Particularly relevant to California’s who were looking forward to the state’s “Secure Choice” Program being rolled out


Trump, Ryan go public with fight against Freedom Caucus

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump has gone public with his war against the House Freedom Caucus, pushing into full view growing frustration shared by House Speaker Paul Ryan less than a week after the GOP health care bill crashed amid feuding between rival Republican factions.

Trump appeared to target conservative House members within his own party in a tweet Thursday morning that told his supporters “we must fight” the House Freedom Caucus as well as Democrats next year.

“The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don’t get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!” Trump tweeted.

The tweet represented a bold strike against the most conservative members of the House GOP coalition, who often come from safe districts and are frequently impervious to pressure from party leaders.

It comes at the same time Ryan, who has had multiple conversations with Trump since the failure of the health care bill on how to move their joint agenda forward, has attempted to instill fear in his members through a more gentle, but no less subtle threat: if members stand in Trump’s way, he’ll ditch them — and conservative principles entirely — and go looking for Democratic help.

“It is very understandable that the president is frustrated that we haven’t gotten to where we need to go because this is something we all said we would do,” Ryan told CNN Thursday when asked about Trump’s tweet.

An impasse between House moderates and Freedom Caucus members prompted the withdrawal last week of a bill to replace Obamacare that was supported by GOP leaders and the President. The White House accused the conservative group of moving the goalposts during negotiations and Trump has called out the caucus publicly over the weekend as well.

Trump’s message wasn’t subtle — nor was it random.

It came shortly after Ryan made clear in an interview on “CBS This Morning” that if his party can’t unify, Trump will likely turn toward Democrats for future legislative deals.

Speaking to reporters later Thursday, Ryan amplified Trump’s comments.

“I understand the frustration,” Ryan said. “I share (the) frustration.”

Ryan repeated that “90%” of his caucus is for the health care measure, but would not commit to a timeline on holding another vote.

In tandem, the messages form a dual-pronged campaign to try and emphasize — and raise the stakes — of the risks of remaining a divided party, according to sources familiar with the effort.

As the health care debate reached its final days, and in the wake of its failure, Trump and Ryan have taken pains to preserve and improve their relationship, speaking by telephone multiple times a day, in an apparent acknowledgment that their hopes for a substantive common agenda rest on remaining united.

The dynamics of the House GOP conference — and how to try and bring it together — have been a repeated topic of conversation, sources tell CNN.

The idea that Trump could turn away from his own party at this stage is, to a degree, theater designed to spook the far-right of the party into line. It was a message echoed by Trump administration officials the weekend after the health care failure and repeated Thursday by Ryan, multiple people involved say.

Trump’s tweets, showing an increasingly aggressive and hard-edged view of the Freedom Caucus, represent his own unfiltered take on a group that is viewed inside the White House as threatening ambitious agenda.

For the moment, there’s limited evidence that real work towards wrangling Democrats for Trump’s agenda is taking place and even less evidence enough Democrats exist to make any effort along those lines worthwhile.

But, sources say, it’s a threat that could eventually ring true if the Freedom Caucus doesn’t change its tune. After all, the President is not particularly tied into conservative orthodoxy. So while the most recent comments fit into a loosely designed deliberate campaign of sorts now, there’s no question it could become very real if Trump decides it’s the only way to strike any kind of deal.

Ryan enforced that message in the CBS interview, suggesting that Trump’s patience was not infinite and he could be tempted to work with the other side if Republicans refuse to implement his agenda.

“What I am worried about is … that if we don’t do this then he will just go work with Democrats to try and change Obamacare — that’s hardly a conservative thing,” Ryan said.

“I’m going to let the tweet for itself,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters.

Freedom Caucus member Rep. Justin Amash said Trump has surrendered to the Washington swamp he promised to fight.

“It didn’t take long for the swamp to drain @realDonaldTrump. No shame, Mr. President. Almost everyone succumbs to the D.C. Establishment,” the Michigan Republican, tweeted.

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, uncharacteristically declined to weigh in on Trump’s tweet.

“I don’t have anything to say at this point. No comment,” he told CNN. “No comment. I try to always be accessible, but no comment.”

Rep. Dave Brat, a Freedom Caucus member from Virginia, told reporters that he’s not going to weigh into drama.

“I don’t get involved in any of that drama business,” he said.

He maintains members had and “artificial time line” of three weeks to digest a major part of the economy, and he’s still committed to repealing more regulations than the House bill did.


Day 70.

Source: ONTD_Political

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