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General News You Want to Talk About

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141default Re: General News You Want to Talk About Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:31 am



Just so horrible and sad about the mass shooting in Las Vegas.  We need to make a change for stricter gun control laws. 

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Corden | Meyers | Kimmel | Colbert | Conan

via http://gleekto.tumblr.com/post/166010572700

Los Angeles Times wrote:
Column 'Thoughts and prayers' -- and fistfuls of NRA money: Why American can't control guns

October 3, 2017

There is no better example of the corrosive effect of money on American politics than the spending of the National Rifle Assn.

The gun rights organization spent a stupendous $54.4 million in the 2016 election cycle, almost all of it in “independent expenditures,” meaning spending for or against a candidate but not a direct contribution to a campaign. The money went almost entirely to Republicans to a degree that almost looks like a misprint (but isn’t): Of independent expenditures totaling $52.6 million, Democrats received $265.

If you’re looking for a reason that politicians are quick to declare that their “thoughts and prayers” are with the victims of the horrific slaughters that have become virtually routine in American life, but do nothing further to stop them, look no further.

The Center for Responsive Politics has compiled the baleful figures on the NRA’s election spending for its Open Secrets website. A spreadsheet showing totals spent on behalf of individual members of Congress through 2016 is here; the center is working to update the figures, and we will publish them once it does. The Washington Post has an interactive web page showing NRA contributions since 1998 to current members of Congress.

As the Center for Responsive Politics observes, the recipients of NRA largess almost always let their pocketbooks do the voting for them. The NRA endowed the 54 senators who voted in 2015 against a measure prohibiting people on the government’s terrorist watch list from buying guns with $37 million in support; only one Democrat voted against the measure — Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, who has never received NRA support.

The NRA also gave $27 million in direct and indirect support to 50 senators who voted against a bill to require universal background checks for firearms purchases (with Heitkamp again the only Democrat voting no).

Link:  http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-nra-money-20171003-story.html

To find out which of your U.S. Congress persons has received donations from the NRA, go to this site:

Click on your state to see which of your U.S. Congress persons received donations from the NRA:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/nra-donations/

To see which U.S. Senators received donations from the NRA in the 2016 election cycle, go here:



142default Re: General News You Want to Talk About Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:18 am



I meant to post this earlier.   Trump visited Puerto Rico on Tuesday, October 3, almost two full weeks from the date that Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico (on September 20).   What he said to the people of Puerto Rico was simply unbelievable (and that is saying a lot). 

He emphasized that Hurricane Katrina was a "real catastrophe," with hundreds of people who died due to Katrina.  And then Trump proceeded to ask the governor of Puerto Rico what was the death count so far in Puerto Rico.  After the governor answered, Trump pressed on, stating "“Sixteen people versus in the thousands" [who died because of Hurricane Katrina]. 

Who does this?  Who has the gall to tell people that their suffering, that their deaths do not count?  Who minimizes human pain, who minimizes deaths of people, by coldly quantifying them and stamping them as not constituting a "real" catastrophe, when compared to another tragedy?   And instead of providing compassion, he accuses the people of Puerto Rico of inconveniencing the U.S. government when he complained that the people of Puerto Rico "has thrown our budget a little out of whack."   Really?!  How dare these people be in need after a hurricane decimated their island, their homes, their lives?!   (And who cares about the suffering and the danger that continues to be experienced by people, by babies, by children, by the elderly, by the sick?)

Huff Post wrote:
Trump Downplays Puerto Rico's suffering, Says It's Not a 'Real Catastrophe Like Katrina'

October 3, 2017

He said officials “can be very proud” of the low death toll so far and told residents to “have a good time.”

President Donald Trump visited local officials and residents in Puerto Rico on Tuesday, congratulating them and boasting almost two weeks after Hurricane Maria left many of the island’s 3.4 million people without power, water or food.

[. . . ]

When Puerto Rico’s governor told Trump that 16 people so far had been reported dead, the president lauded officials and minimized the hurricane’s damage, suggesting it was not “a real catastrophe like Katrina.”

“Sixteen people versus in the thousands,” Trump said. “You can be very proud of all of your people and all of our people working together. Sixteen versus literally thousands of people. You can be very proud. Everyone around this table, and everyone watching, can be very proud of what’s taking place in Puerto Rico.”

While Trump bragged about the official number of dead, the final death toll will likely turn out to be higher. Poor communication services have hindered reporting, and current living conditions on the island could jeopardize more lives, especially those of the sick and the elderly. 

Trump also appeared to joke about the cost of the storm damage.

“I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack,” he said.

[. . . ]

The trip comes after Trump repeatedly bragged about his administration’s response to the hurricane’s devastation, blamed the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico for its debt crisis and called [San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin] Cruz “nasty” for criticizing the federal government’s sluggish relief efforts.

Trump, who visited Texas twice in the days following Hurricane Harvey and headed to Florida four days after Hurricane Irma, said last week that he was delaying a visit to Puerto Rico “because of the first responders, and we don’t want to disrupt the relief efforts.”

Tensions were high ahead of the president’s visit. Trump had attacked the island’s residents and leaders, saying they wanted “everything to be done for them” after Cruz begged for additional aid.

[. . .]

Following the briefing with federal and local officials on Tuesday, Trump visited with storm victims. He again praised officials for doing “a fantastic job,” as people showed him the storm’s damage to their homes, pointing out broken windows and noting power outages.

“We’re going to help you out,” he told them. “Have a good time.”

During a stop at a church, he threw rolls of paper towels into a crowd.

In truth, conditions in Puerto Rico remain dire.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has shipped millions of gallons of water and meals to Puerto Rico, but the island no longer has the infrastructure to widely deliver those supplies. Puerto Rican officials said last week that they were unable to move aid across the island without electricity and fuel.

[. . . ]

Still, almost all of Puerto Rico is without electricity, and about half the population lacks drinking water.
Link:  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-visits-puerto-rico_us_59d3640de4b0655781554854

USA Today wrote:
Puerto Rico health system on life support two weeks after Hurricane Maria

October 5, 2017

Two weeks after Hurricane Maria toppled Puerto Rico's communications towers, wrecked its electrical grid and knocked out power to water systems, medical officials said the island's health system is "on life support."

[. . . ]

Among the multiple impacts that have left the island’s medical system deeply damaged:

• Patients are dying because of complications related to the primitive conditions and difficult transportation issues so many island residents now endure.

• A lack of transportation in small towns makes it difficult to transfer patients to larger hospitals.

[. . . ]

• Doctors are afraid to discharge patients after surgery to places with unsanitary conditions and where care and transportation may not exist, adding strain to an already strained system.

Puerto Rico has 69 hospitals, with 64 of them now operating at least partially. Of those, 17 are connected to the power grid, and the rest are operating with generators, according to the office of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. The island’s cellular system is still crippled, with 14% of antennas and 26% of cell towers operating.

[Carlos] Méndez, whose hospital has Puerto Rico's only fully functioning ward for cardiothoracic surgery — for treatments inside the chest — said the [U.S. Naval Hospital Ship] Comfort’s arrival comes as the island's health system "right now is on life support."

[. . . ]

Orlando López de Victoria, the only cardiothoracic surgeon still on the island, said more patients have arrived sicker than usual because of the difficult conditions.

Some have died.

On Monday, he operated on a patient whose transfer to Auxilio Mutuo in Hato Rey was delayed because there was no gasoline. By the time she arrived, her heart was so weak she didn't survive the surgery.

On Tuesday, Rosselló raised the death toll from Maria from 16 to 34, citing several similar cases as part of the reason for the increase.

"Yesterday, one of my patients came with a very infected wound because he has no water to take a shower," López de Victoria said.

Other cardiac surgeons left the island before the hurricane.

"I decided to stay because I love my country, my family and my patients," he said.
Link:  https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/10/05/puerto-rico-health-system-life-support-two-weeks-after-hurricane-maria/734130001/

Last edited by Poppy on Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:10 am; edited 1 time in total

143default Re: General News You Want to Talk About Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:53 pm



In other news, more elimination of our rights . . . this is awful and ridiculous.   This is why people need to actually get out and vote. 

Salon wrote:
Jeff Sessions just threw every transgender American to the wolves


Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a memo this morning declaring that the Department of Justice does not interpret Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as offering protections to transgender individuals in the workplace. This is a sharp reversal from the Obama-era interpretation.

[. . . ]

Title VII to which Sessions is referring is a federal law prohibiting employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin and religion. The Obama administration DOJ interpreted the basis of sex to mean protections based on sexual orientation and gender identification.

[. . .]

. . . With this new interpretations, the LGBT community would have no federal law on the books to protect them from being fired on the spot based on their identity.

More than that, with no federally guaranteed right to work, transgender individuals may find simple things like buying groceries or affording housing difficult. Beyond that, the message the DOJ's actions send to employers, the general public and the LGBT community in particular is chilling: No, trans people, already an imperiled population, just aren't Americans in the same way cisgendered people are and it's okay to treat them as such.

[. . .]

Except that there is no federal statute protecting LGBT workers and only 20 states currently have protections for both sexual orientation and gender identity, with less than half of LGBT individuals in America living with both sexual and gender protections.

[. . . ]

In July of 2017, the DOJ rescinded protections under Title VII because of sexual orientation. In September, the DOJ came out in defense of a cake shop owner who denied services to a gay male couple. This comes along with the President's apparently unilateral and unplanned announcement that he would be removing all transgender individuals from military service.

Link:  https://www.salon.com/2017/10/05/trans-protections-civil-rights-act/

NPR wrote:
Trump Guts Requirement That Employer Health Plans Pay for Birth Control

October 6, 2017

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Demonstrators in Washington, D.C., argued for upholding the Affordable Care Act's birth control provision in 2015. The rollback of the rule is likely to spur further lawsuits, analysts say.
Charles Dharapak/AP  

The Trump administration is rolling back the Obama-era requirement that employer-provided health insurance policies cover birth control methods at no cost to women.

According to senior officials with the Department of Health and Human Services, the goal of the new rule is to allow any company or nonprofit group to exclude the coverage for contraception if it has a religious or moral objection.

[. . . ]

But some health policy analysts say the new rule creates a huge opening that lets any employer claim an exemption, leaving their female workers to pay the full cost of any birth control out of pocket.

[. . . ]

The change fulfills a promise President Trump made in May to the Catholic religious order The Little Sisters of the Poor in a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden. The nuns had sued the Obama administration over the birth control requirement.

It also sets up a fight between advocates of religious freedom and those of equal rights for women. The American Civil Liberties Union sued the Trump Administration within hours of the rule being published, claiming it violated the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, which ensures that all people receive equal protection under the law.

"The Trump Administration is forcing women to pay for their boss's religious beliefs," said ACLU senior staff attorney Brigitte Amiri, in a statement.

[. . . ]

"A lot of women will retain birth control coverage," Palanker says, "but there will be a lot of women who will lose that coverage."

That means they'll find themselves paying out of pocket. A one-month supply of birth control pills can cost anywhere from $4 to $55 or more, according to GoodRX.com.

[. . .]

HHS officials say they also plan more stringent enforcement of a provision in the Affordable Care Act that prohibits federal subsidies from being used for insurance policies that cover abortion. The agency will issue guidelines for insurers Friday on how they have to charge women who want abortion coverage at least $12 a year more for such a policy, and they have to keep that money in a separate fund to be used only to pay for abortions.

In addition to the ACLU, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, and California Attorney General Javier Becerra announced they too plan to file suit opposing the new rule.
Link:  http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/10/06/555970210/trump-ends-requirement-that-employer-health-plans-pay-for-birth-control


144default Re: General News You Want to Talk About Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:26 am



My thoughts are with the people of my state, California, as firefighters battle fires.  The people of Puerto Rico continue to suffer due to a lack of a sufficient federal response.

145default Re: General News You Want to Talk About Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:31 am



Since the Republican Congress has failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ("ACA"), Trump and his administration is doing everything they can (that does not require legislation) to sabotage the Affordable Care Act.  To him, it is a way to get a political "win" for his followers.  But for the people of America, it can have disastrous consequences to their healthcare, to their lives.   Ironically, Trump's actions may hurt his own followers, and their families.  In this below ABC article, you will read how Trump is planning to cut federal subsidies which help low- to moderate-income Americans pay for their healthcare.  The result of Trump cutting federal subsidies will be that premiums will increase, and that some insurers will leave the market, making it difficult for people to find healthcare in their states.

ABC wrote:
Pro-Trump states most affected by his health care decision

October 14, 2017

President Donald Trump's decision to end a provision of the Affordable Care Act that was benefiting roughly 6 million Americans helps fulfill a campaign promise, but it also risks harming some of the very people who helped him win the presidency.

Nearly 70 percent of those benefiting from the so-called cost-sharing subsidies live in states Trump won last November, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. The number underscores the political risk for Trump and his party, which could end up owning the blame for increased costs and chaos in the insurance marketplace.

The subsidies are paid to insurers by the federal government to help lower consumers' deductibles and co-pays. People who benefit will continue receiving the discounts because insurers are obligated by law to provide them. But to make up for the lost federal funding, health insurers will have to raise premiums substantially, potentially putting coverage out of reach for many consumers.

Some insurers may decide to bail out of markets altogether.

[. . . ]

An estimated 4 million people were benefiting from the cost-sharing payments in the 30 states Trump carried, according to an analysis of 2017 enrollment data from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Of the 10 states with the highest percentage of consumers benefiting from cost-sharing, all but one — Massachusetts — went for Trump.

[. . . ]

[Premium] Rates already were rising in the immediate aftermath of Trump's decision. Insurance regulators in Arkansas, another state that went for Trump, approved premium increases on Friday ranging from 14 percent to nearly 25 percent for plans offered through the insurance marketplace. Had federal cost-sharing been retained, the premiums would have risen by no more than 10 percent.

[. . . ]

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has estimated the loss of the subsidies would result in a 12 percent to 15 percent increase in premiums, while the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has put the figure at 20 percent [increase in premiums]. Experts say the political instability over Trump's effort to undermine Obama's health care law could prompt more insurers to leave markets, reducing competition and driving up prices.
Link:  http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/pro-trump-states-affected-health-care-decision-50479492

Bannon has even admitted that Trump's motive to cut off federal subsidies (that help low-income and moderate-income people afford healthcare) is to destroy the Affordable Care Act, making it clear that  the motive that Trump himself publicly gave for his decision was untrue.  (Trump had stated the reason why he decided to end federal healthcare subsidies was because such payments were a "windfall to insurance companies." )

Huffington Post wrote:
Trump Ally Says President Cut Off Obamacare Payments to Destroy Health Law

October 15, 2017

President Donald Trump ended payments to health insurance companies serving the poorest Obamacare customers in order to deliberately destroy the health care law, former chief White House strategist Steve Bannon said.

“Not gonna make the CSR [cost-sharing reduction] payments. Gonna blow that thing up, gonna blow those [insurance] exchanges up, right?” Steve Bannon, the executive chairman of the website Breitbart News, said Saturday in a speech at the Values Voter Summit, a conservative convention in Washington, D.C.

The White House announced Thursday that Trump would halt the cost-sharing payments, creating further instability in the health insurance exchanges set up under Obamacare. Almost 6 million low-income Americans qualified for the subsidy when they enrolled this year in the program, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Trump defended his decision to end the subsidies, claiming they were a “windfall” to insurance companies.

Health Insurance stocks, which have gone through the roof during the ObamaCare years, plunged yesterday after I ended their Dems windfall!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 14, 2017

Several top Republicans disputed the president’s characterization of the cost-sharing subsidies on the Sunday news talk shows.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), one of three GOP senators who voted against repealing Obamacare earlier this year, said Trump’s decision to end the payments is “affecting the ability of vulnerable people to receive health care right now.”

“This is not a bailout of the insurers,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “What this money is used for is to help low-income people afford their deductibles and their co-pays so that their health care is available to them.”

Asked whether Trump’s decision hurt ordinary Americans, Collins said, “I do believe that.”

“If they can’t afford their deductibles, then their insurance is pretty much useless,” Collins added.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) also criticized the president’s decision to end the payments.

“These were payments to insurance companies to make sure that hardworking Americans, who don’t make a lot of money, can have their copayments taken care of,” Kasich said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “It’s a subsidy to do that. And what this decision [by Trump] is leading to are higher prices.”
Link:  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/steve-bannon-obamacare_us_59e38e26e4b03a7be5815bd2

Trump and his administration have turned to a variety of ways to weaken the Affordable Care Act, due to Trump's effort to finally reach a political victory since the Republicans have failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act in the legislature.   The results of Trumps actions are that he is hurting the health care of millions of people.

New York Times wrote:

We're Tracking the Ways Trump Is Scaling Back Obamacare. Here Are 12

October 12, 2017

The Trump administration continues to take action that could weaken the Affordable Care Act and curtail enrollment in coverage under the law. So far, it has:

Said it would end subsidies to health insurance companies that help low-income customers pay out-of-pocket medical costs. Announced on Oct. 12.

Opened the door for sales of less expensive plans [association health plans] with fewer benefits and fewer protections for consumers. Signed executive order on Oct. 12.

3 Decided not to send health department officials to local open enrollment events in states. First reported on Sept. 27.

4 Decided to shut down the Affordable Care Act website for 12 hours nearly every Sunday during open enrollment. First reported in September.

Said it would cut by 40 percent funding to groups that help people enroll. Announced on Aug. 31.

6 Said it would slash spending on advertising and promotion for enrollment to $10 million from $100 million. Announced on Aug. 31.

7 Made videos criticizing the health law and posted them on YouTube. In June and July.

8 Posted infographics criticizing the health law on Twitter. Mostly in late June and mid-July.

General News You Want to Talk About - Page 8 Tweets-Artboard_19 Made tax credits for premiums less generous. Finalized in April.

10 Used news releases to spread negative information about the law. As early as February.

11 Weakened enforcement of the individual mandate. Reported in February.12 Removed useful guidance for consumers about the law from its website. As early as Jan. 20.

Link:  https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/10/12/us/trump-undermine-obamacare.html?smid=pl-share

Trump thinks that we do not know about his actions?!  That we do not care about how he is trying to hurt our healthcare?! 

Make no doubt, all of his actions can achieve the exact effect as what the Republicans in Congress failed to do legislatively--and that is to make the Affordable Care Act fail.  Trump is sabotaging our health care, purely for a political reason (so that at election time, he can claim a great political victory of single-handedly, without the help of Republicans in Congress, causing the downfall of the Affordable Care Act).

The good news is this:  Democrats have been negotiating with Republicans on a bipartisan “stabilization bill” that would include a guarantee that federal subsidies (also known as "cost-sharing reductions" or "CSR payments") continue.  Ask your House of Representatives and Senators to ensure that the bipartisan bill continues protections for people enrolled in association health plans, that short-term plans stay truly short-term, and that subsidies/CSR payments continue.

Please make your voices heard, by calling your House of Representatives and Senators!

Here are some sample Scripts:

Script wrote:
The latest executive orders from the White House will drastically drive up premiums and put healthcare coverage at risk for at least a million Americans.

Please let Representative/Senator _____ [name] that I am urging him/her to commit to supporting a stabilization bill that will both guarantee federal healthcare subsidies (CSR payments), and close loopholes that allow association health plans and short-term plans to offer inadequate coverage.

This isn’t a bailout for insurers—this money will help Americans afford their health insurance coverage.

This is very important to me, and I will be watching to ensure the Representative/Senator _______ [name of Representative or Senator] protects health care for all Americans.

To summarize, here are some of the destructive actions Trump & his administration are taking:

  • He's raising health insurance costs by cutting off critical government subsidy payments that stop insurance companies from charging you more.  Trump’s actions are intentionally causing premiums to skyrocket.

  • He's gutting protections for people with pre-existing conditions, making their health coverage unaffordable, threatening the healthcare of millions of people.

  • He's destabilizing the health insurance marketplaces, separating people who are sick or who have pre-existing conditions into separate health care markets which results in making their health care unaffordable.

  • He's threatening women's access to birth control, by rolling back a federal rule that employers are required to include contraceptive coverage in their insurance plans.

Again, it is especially important that you call your House of Representatives and Senators if they are Republican. 

For contact info of your Senators, go here:  https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

You can find your House of Representative’s number  by calling the Capitol's switchboard at 202-224-3121.

You also may find your House of Representative's phone number by going here: 

146default Re: General News You Want to Talk About Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:42 pm




I was so happy to hear that not only was there a bipartisan effort to make sure that subsidies would continue for low- and moderate-income persons who obtain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, but that Trump actually supported this bipartisan Senate proposal.  But then Trump flip-flopped and now has stated he opposed this bipartisan proposal.

Again, Trump is claiming these payments or subsidies only enrich or would "bail out" the insurance companies.  But all health experts state this statement is simply false, because the subsidies help low-income and moderate-income persons with their deductibles and co-payments and when these subsidies end (because Trump just recently has announced he will end them) then insurance companies will increase premiums.

Time wrote:
Senators Are Pushing Ahead with a Health Care Deal as President Trump Sends Mixed Signals

October 19, 2017

Less than a full day after cheering a bipartisan deal being worked out in Congress to stabilize the individual insurance marketplace, President Donald Trump suggested he couldn’t support it.

[. . . ]

The proposal from Sens. Alexander and Murray, who serve as the chair and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, does include two years worth of cost-sharing reduction payments [CSR payments], which help lower the costs of premiums for consumers, but the chair pushed back on the notion that the payments equal a bailout.

“We are having the strongest possible language in the Alexander-Murray agreement to make sure the cost-sharing reduction payments for 2018 and 2019 benefit the low income Americans to help them pay for their insurance and don't benefit the insurance companies,” Sen. Alexander told reporters at the HELP committee on Wednesday.

[. . .]

. . .The plan would also redirect funding that could be used by the states to help people enroll, outreach that Democrats have blasted Trump for seeking to undercut.

The point of the bill, Alexander said on the Senate floor on Tuesday, is to avoid the “chaos” of skyrocketing premiums and rising medical debt that are predicted to come if the payments to insurers stop. “I don’t know a Democrat or a Republican who benefits from chaos,” he said.

Some of that chaos appears to have been intentionally inflicted by Trump. On Oct. 12, the president signed an executive order that could give Americans access to cheap insurance plans that offer fewer protections. Then, the White House announced the end of “cost-sharing reduction” payments that are designed to lower insurance costs for poorer Americans. The goal, as Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon said, was to “blow up” President Obama’s signature legislative achievement.

[. . . ]

For now, members of Congress from both parties are moving ahead. Senators are working to make sure the bill has a solid number of bipartisan co-sponsors when the legislative language is released, which could happen as soon as Thursday.

Link:  http://time.com/4988602/lamar-alexander-patty-murphy-donald-trump-health-care-obamacare/

An Update: 
It's a positive development that this bipartisan bill now has 24 co-sponsors:  12 Republicans and 12 Democrats!  But it is going to be an uphill battle because of reluctance from Republicans in the Senate and House.  http://www.npr.org/2017/10/19/558797082/sure-theres-a-health-care-deal-that-doesn-t-mean-it-can-pass

It's absolutely vital that people once again make those calls to their Republican Senators, and tell them that it's the right thing to do to support the bipartisan healthcare bill by  Senator Lamar Alexander and Senator Patty Murray. 

Without this bipartisan bill, many of those who obtain their health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act (about 18-20 million Americans) will be unable to afford the premiums to continue their health care coverage!

Please call your Republican Senators and urge them to support the bipartisan Alexander-Murray healthcare bill now

I know that people are tired of this never-ending battle to protect our healthcare (among many other worries that we have during this difficult time), but this is so critical for millions of Americans' lives.

To find out how to contact your Senators, please go here:  https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

147default Re: General News You Want to Talk About Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:13 am



The Republican budget is another huge issue affecting people's lives, due to all the cuts that are being proposed (which the Republicans need in order to pay for the tax cuts for the wealthy).  This is another issue where we must make our voices heard!

This article talks about the hypocrisy of the conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives preaching over the years, about the need to not add onto the debt, yet supporting the new Senate budget proposal that adds up to $1.5 trillion to our national debt.  (See, the Republicans only have problems with adding to the national debt if the reason for the increase is because of funding for domestic programs.  But if the reason for adding to the national debt is due to loss of revenue from tax cuts to the wealthy, well, then . . . that's perfectly fine!  And even more importantly--to the Republicans in the House--if the reason for them to support this increase to the national debt is because they win a political and legislative "victory"--well then, that more than justifies hurting people!)

The House will vote TOMORROW, on THURSDAY of this week on the budget!  

The Washington Post wrote:
Deficits, schmeficits: House conservatives cast aside fiscal warnings to make way for tax cuts

October 24, 2017

House conservatives have warned for years about the threat posed by the national debt, and for months they pushed to include a path to ambitious spending cuts in budget legislation.

On Thursday, most of them plan to vote for a Senate-written budget that not only fails to make way for spending cuts but also explicitly envisions adding up to $1.5 trillion to the existing $20 trillion national debt to accommodate a tax overhaul.

GOP hard-liners have frequently been willing to oppose must-pass legislation to achieve conservative policy goals, threatening government shutdowns and federal default as leverage.

But numerous House conservatives said in interviews this week that this time is different: Republicans are under enormous pressure to pass a tax bill, given the party’s failure to take legislative action on health care, and they do not want to be seen as standing in the way.

“We’ve got to get something major done,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, whose members pushed earlier this year for hundreds of billions of dollars in spending cuts.

[ . . . ]

House members are set to vote Thursday on a budget resolution that includes special procedures allowing a tax bill that adds as much as $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the coming decade to pass with solely Republican votes. It does not include House language that would have mandated a tax bill that did not add much to the debt and allowed at least $200 billion in cuts to mandatory programs to pass on the same basis.

As of Tuesday, the bigger threat to passage of the budget this week appeared to be a cadre of GOP lawmakers concerned about proposals to eliminate the income tax deduction for state and local taxes. At least three lawmakers who supported the House version said they would vote against the Senate version Thursday unless a deal is reached.

[. . . ]

Budget hawks, meanwhile, have been mostly mum.

[. . . ]

“The budget that came back to us is a crap sandwich, but it happens to be the only thing on the menu,” [Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.)] Womack said.

The tax bill, he said, is “driving the train” and that political reality is that spending cuts will have to wait. “When I go home and people ask me about the budget, it had little to do about the budget and it had everything to do about tax reform,” he said. “It’s just as simple as that.”

Link:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/deficits-schmeficits-house-conservatives-cast-aside-fiscal-warnings-to-make-way-for-tax-cuts/2017/10/24/8930f4a0-b8cd-11e7-9e58-e6288544af98_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories_housebudget-9pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.b8f581e66ae4

CNN wrote:

Guess who loses with Trump's tax plan

October 24, 2017

Trump wants the media to pat him on the back for the budget passing and for his proposed tax cuts. In contrast, I want the media to highlight for our fellow Americans that the budget passed by the GOP-controlled Senate would massively cut both Medicare and Medicaid in order to give the richest Americans a big, fat and unnecessary tax cut.

First, let's look at the budget bill that the Republican Senate passed Thursday, which Trump is now publicly applauding. It would cut funding by $5 trillion over the next decade. And guess who would suffer the most from these cuts? Senior citizens, the poor and the disabled.

Here's why: The GOP Senate budget calls for "$473 billion in cuts from Medicare over 10 years." That would be a painful blow to the over 55 million Americans -- including my own mother, and maybe yours, too -- who depend on this very popular program to manage the cost of their health care.

Add to that, the GOP budget cuts over $1 trillion from Medicaid over the next decade. This is the very definition of cruel. Medicaid is a lifeline for over 70 million Americans -- including the disabled, poor, children and, once again, senior citizens. In fact, seniors would arguably bear the brunt of the GOP's cuts because Medicaid covers 60% of those in nursing homes. So some seniors may see both their Medicaid and Medicare benefits slashed.

And as Trump stated in his tweet, all of these proposed budget cuts are designed to give "the biggest tax cut in U.S. history." And who will benefit from this gargantuan tax cut? Well, again, you don't need to be an expert to know that when the Republicans are in control of government, the rich often benefit the most.

Experts confirm that is exactly what we would see based on the information now known about the GOP's proposed cuts. Per Factcheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, "For the highest earners -- those in the top 1 percent and top 0.1 percent -- nearly all would see lower taxes." In fact, according to Fackcheck.org, "Ninety percent of the top 1 percent -- those earning about $900,000 and above in 2027 -- would get a tax cut, averaging $234,050." (It's difficult to calculate the exact percentage of income that would be given just how wide the top tax bracket is.)

And another nonpartisan website, Politifact.com, found that 80% of the GOP tax cuts would benefit the top 1% by the 10th year of the plan.

So, what about the rest of us? Well, in 2018, middle-income households (those earning $50,000 to $90,000 a year) would receive a tax break on average of $660, or 1.2% of their after-tax income. While they would get an initial, tiny tax cut, the numbers would get worse over time: "By 2027, more than one of every four middle-income families would pay more in taxes."

In other words, the wealthy would get the most benefits from the GOP plan, while the rest of us get crumbs or worse -- a tax increase. But we all knew that. Indeed, a CNN poll released last week found that only 24% of Americans believe their families will benefit from Trump's proposed tax plan. Meanwhile, 31% believe the bill will adversely affect them.

[. . . ]

Recent reports indicate that House Republicans may simply adopt the Senate approved plan because they are feeling pressure not just from Trump but also from wealthy GOP donors, who have threatened to put up challengers against sitting congressmen if they fail to deliver.

The reality is that if American citizens don't vocally oppose the proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, why wouldn't the GOP Congress simply approve it? As a reminder, the GOP's attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace with a far inferior plan was only defeated because Americans -- both on the left and the right -- stood up and objected.

That is why those who oppose these cuts must speak up now. If not, then expect Medicare, Medicaid and other safety net programs to be slashed so that the GOP can give a tax cut that primarily benefits the top earners in America -- the ones who need it least.

Link:  http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/22/opinions/trump-tax-cuts-opinion-obeidallah/index.html

Again, it is absolutely critical that those with Republican House of Representative members, call their Representative and tell them to oppose the Senate Budget!   Tell your Republican Representative to oppose huge cuts to Medicaid and Medicare that would hurt seniors, low income persons, children, and persons with disabilities!  Tell your Republican Representatives to oppose tax cuts for the wealthy who do not need the windfall, which is paid from the suffering of seniors, low-income persons, children, and those with disabilities!

Please call your Republican House of Representative  TODAY (WEDNESDAY) since the House votes on the budget TOMORROW, THIS THURSDAY!

For those persons who live in states with high income taxes (New York, California, Oregon, Minnesota, Iowa, New Jersey, Vermont, District of Columbia, and other states)--you also should be concerned about the proposal to eliminate the income tax deduction for state and local taxes.

You can find your House of Representative’s number  by calling the Capitol's switchboard at 202-224-3121.

You also may find your House of Representative's phone number by going here: 

148default Re: General News You Want to Talk About Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:05 am



And I'm disappointed to say that the House of Representatives passed the budget on Thursday.

149default Re: General News You Want to Talk About Mon Nov 06, 2017 12:29 am



Ok, folks this Republican tax bill is bad for so many people (it's bad for anyone who is not very wealthy, and is good for the extremely wealthy).  It's time to start calling your Representatives and Senators!  This Republican tax bill hurts a broad range of non-wealthy folks, from those attempting to adopt children, go to college, buy homes, those who have lost property due to natural disasters, and even those with major medical costs, and teachers who care enough to buy their own supplies!  This Republican bill also harms companies that provide their employees with child care centers, and companies that conduct research of drugs for rare diseases,

usaToday wrote:
15 things in the Republican tax bill's fine print that could affect you

Nov. 4, 2017

Here's a look at 15 tax credits, deductions or exclusions that would change, according to a summary of the bill and the full text. Most of the changes would be effective next year.

Adoption: A tax credit worth up to $13,750 per child would end.

Alimony: To eliminate what Ways and Means Committee documents referred to as a "divorce subsidy," alimony would no longer be deductible by the payor for decrees issued after 2017. Payments would be excluded from the recipient's income.

Classroom costs: Teachers could no longer write off the cost of supplies they buy. 

[. . . ]

Disaster losses: Currently, losses from theft or events such as flood, fire or tornado that exceed 10% of adjusted gross income are deductible. The bill would repeal that deduction, with one exception — disasters given special treatment by a prior act of Congress. A law enacted Sept. 29 increased the deduction for losses caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, and it was sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas. Brady, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, is also sponsoring the tax overhaul.

[. . . ]

Home sale gains: Right now, the gain on the sale of a home is not taxable if it is under $500,000 for joint filers as long as the home was the owner's primary residence for two of the previous five years. New rules would require a home to be the primary home for five of the past eight years to qualify, and the income exclusion would be phased out for taxpayers with incomes over $500,000.
Major medical costs: The decision to eliminate the deduction for medical expenses exceeding 7.5% of adjusted gross income was one of the bill's "tough calls," Brady said Friday. "The call is this: Do we want a tax code that has special provisions that you may need once in your life, or do we want a tax code that lowers rates every year of your life?" he said.

[. . . ]

Office day care center: Companies could no longer claim a credit of 25% of the expenses for employee child care.

Rare disease research: A credit for 50% of the cost of clinical testing of drugs for rare diseases and conditions would be repealed.
Link:  https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/11/04/15-things-republican-tax-bills-fine-print-could-affect-you/829075001/

The next article (in the Washington Post) is truly very sad.  It makes me mad that those folks who are among our most vulnerable will have to pay more, just to help out the wealthy. 
Washington Post wrote:
They spent years planning to live with Alzheimer’s disease. The GOP tax bill threatens those plans

November 4, 2017

When Diane Thorsen began to show signs at an early age of the Alzheimer’s disease that had stolen her mother’s mind, she and her husband, Richard Davis, were as ready as they could be.

. . . Davis planned their finances methodically; once Thorsen’s long-term care insurance ran out, the daunting $98,000 bill for her nursing home would be manageable — because they could deduct medical expenses from their tax bill. 

But as the Republican tax plan took shape, Davis felt as though the rug was being pulled out from under them. He plugged numbers into a spreadsheet as details of the plan emerged, finally arriving at the conclusion that after all his budgeting to avoid digging into savings, he would need to withdraw about $24,000 next year.

“I kind of had everything all planned out. I had it planned out . ..” Davis said. “It’s kind of a kick in the stomach to have it all figured out and then to have it kind of all start falling apart.”

In their plan to cut taxes and declutter the tax code, Republicans have proposed repealing all but a small handful of tax breaks. But people rely on those tax breaks in budgeting for medical expenses, adopting children, replacing stolen or disaster-damaged property, and even paying for business expenses.

The Republican tax . . .  preserves some of the most popular deductions — for mortgage interest, property taxes and charitable contributions — but it imposes new limits. For new home loans, interest payments can be deducted only for the first $500,000, and only up to $10,000 in property taxes can be deducted.

But the medical expense deduction, taken on about 8.8 million tax returns in 2015, is one of the many being repealed. 

It isn’t the most common tax break — in part because it requires a person’s medical expenses to be greater than 10 percent of their adjusted gross income. But for those who do take it, the deduction can be crucial

The most obvious scenarios include an older person with a pension who would otherwise owe tax, or a family that pays to care for an older parent in a nursing home. But it isn’t just older people, several tax specialists said. 

Eliminating the medical deduction could affect parents of children with special needs, who might use the tax break to deduct expenses not covered by insurance. 

Working-age people with a serious illness such as cancer might also use it in the face of high out-of-pocket medical costs and earnings that are lower because they can’t work.

“I just don’t see why these people should lose their deductions, just like that,” said Steven Kronzek, a certified public accountant based in the District. “It’s mostly elderly, it’s not wealthy people, and there’s no lobbyists running around to look out for these people.”

[. . . ]

In a year marked by major natural disasters such as hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and devastating wildfires in California, some tax preparers raised concerns about eliminating tax deductions for casualty losses, such as major property damage due to storms.

[. . . ]

Congress recognized the importance of the tax break for disaster recovery after this year’s hurricanes, taking steps to waive limits on the casualty loss deduction.

[. . . ]

The plan also strikes the adoption tax credit, worth up to $13,570 per child in 2017, even though Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.), the chief writer of the tax plan, is father to two adopted sons. The credit is used to help families with adoption expenses, which can include legal fees, court costs and travel.

The credit was taken on nearly 64,000 returns in 2015, according to Internal Revenue Service data, and its removal could discourage adoptions, advocates warned. 

[.  . . ]

“What is the biggest piece of growth in the individual debt? When you look at that pie, these days it’s student loan debt — more than a trillion dollars now. So, hey, congratulations, millennials!” said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate. “The modest benefit you got from deducting that interest? That’s going away.”

But those with very large medical expenses may be in the most difficult position of all, and it might lead to difficult choices — pushing some families to put parents on Medicaid rather than pay for the nursing home.

[. . . ]

[Regarding Richard Davis’s wife, Diane Thorsen, who has Alzheimer’s disease, and the repeal of the medical expense deduction by the proposed Republican tax bill]  The disease is overwhelming on its own. To think about carefully laid financial plans crumbling — he anticipates his tax bill will jump by about $20,000 in a year — makes it harder.

“It entails dipping into savings. There’s no getting around that,” Davis said. “If it ever got to a point where it becomes too unmanageable — where we would see the end of the road in our savings — there is an e
nd to the road.”

Link:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/they-spent-years-planning-to-live-with-alzheimers-disease-the-gop-tax-bill-threatens-those-plans/2017/11/04/83ac1ffa-c098-11e7-8444-a0d4f04b89eb_story.html?tid=ss_tw-amp&utm_term=.7c39c4bc3a05

And for millennials, this tax bill is going to make it harder for students who seek to go to college.
CNN wrote:
This is what the GOP tax plan means for higher education

November 4, 2017

The highly-anticipated tax reform legislation introduced by GOP leaders this week included bad news for student loan borrowers.

If passed, the bill would eliminate a deduction on interest paid on student loans, a move that has borrowers up in arms.

[. . . ]

Putting things in context, the GOP tax plan cuts a wide array of other higher education benefits as well. The plan includes major reductions in the tax credits for tuition that help students and their families offset college costs, moves to treat employer-provided tuition payments as taxable income, and proposes taxing endowment income at prestigious private universities.

[. . .}

. . . slashing the higher education benefits risks further limiting economic mobility in the US, because it will make higher education less affordable for many families.

Link:  http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/04/opinions/tax-plan-student-loans-dancy-opinion/index.html

Again, it is especially important that you call your House of Representatives and Senators if they are Republican!   Republicans in Congress are hoping to pass this unfair tax bill by Thanksgiving (November 23)!   Please call every day this week and until November 23!

For contact info of your Senators, go here:  https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

You can find your House of Representative’s number  by calling the Capitol's switchboard at 202-224-3121.

You also may find your House of Representative's phone number by going here: 

150default Re: General News You Want to Talk About Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:51 am



From Gleekto:

slaydiest wrote:slayediest:

Along with the NJ and Virginia Governors races and Danica Roem kicking Bob Marshall’s sorry ass:

Maine is going all in on Medicaid expansion

Virginia House of Delegates has picked up AT LEAST 11 Dems AND a Democratic Socialist defeated the Majority House Whip!!

What else are we waiting on tonight?

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Congratulations to Andrea Jenkins who won her race for City Council in Minneapolis. She is the first openly transgender woman of color ever elected in the nation.

Ralph Northam is the Democratic governor of Virginia, winning over the racist, anti-immigrant Republican candidate, Ed Gillespie, by 9 points.

Philip Murphy is the Democratic governor of New Jersey, beating Republican Kim Guadagno by 13 points.

Democratic candidates in Virginia legislature (called the House of Delegates) beat Republican candidates for 11 seats, and flipped 3 seats that were once occupied by Republican incumbents who did not seek re-election.   Among these Democratic candidates, is Danica Roem, Virginia's first openly transgender person to be elected in the state, who beat Robert Marshall (who earlier this year had introduced an anti-transgender bathroom bill).  clapping hands  Karma! 10 of these seats were won by women.  Two of these women are Latina (Hala Ayala and Elizabeth Guzman) and and one woman (Kathy Tran) is Asian.   Democratic candidate Lee Carter, a socialist, beat Majority Whip Jackson Miller.  :happy face

In addition Democrats won the Virginia races for attorney general and lieutenant governor (Democrat Justin Fairfax became the second African-American elected official in a state position in Virginia).

Democrat Bill de Blasio easily won re-election as New York City mayor.

And in a ballot measure, voters in Maine approve Medicaid Expansion (widely seen as a rebuke of the Republican governor often acting to veto Medicaid Expansion legislation).

A very good night!

Unfortunately Republican John Curtis won against Democrat Kathryn Allen in the House of Representatives, in Utah's 3rd Congressional District.

Keep in mind that one of the next big races is the special election on December 12, 2017, in Alabama in the Senate (due to Jeff Sessions now being the Attorney General).

151default Re: General News You Want to Talk About Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:26 am


Advanced II
Advanced II

@Poppy wrote:Among these Democratic candidates, is Danica Roem, Virginia's first openly transgender person to be elected in the state, who beat Robert Marshall (who earlier this year had introduced an anti-transgender bathroom bill).  General News You Want to Talk About - Page 8 2029512208  Karma!


152default Re: General News You Want to Talk About Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:33 pm



:amused Gotta love karma sometimes. 

Update of last night's election results:

One of the Democrats who won a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates is Jennifer Carroll Foy, an African-American woman.  Also, Democrats won 12 (not 11) seats in the Virginia House of Delegates, with 3 more seats being flipped Democrat (those 3 seats were once occupied by Republican incumbents who did not seek re-election).  And 4 more seats are too close to call at this moment.

Also, Ravi Bhalla became New Jersey's first Sikh mayor (mayor of Hoboken).  :happy face

Some more positive election news from last night:

The Washington Post wrote:
From Charlotte's first female black mayor to a $10 million state Senate race: Here are all the Election Day firsts

November 8, 2017

Danica Roem is grabbing a lot of headlines for becoming one of the nation's first openly transgender elected officials.

But her election — which ousted one of Virginia's most socially conservative lawmakers — is far from the only first that happened Tuesday. Women, black women, black men, Latinas, money in politics and the surge of Democratic voters all recorded some notable firsts.

In fact, almost all of the firsts are on the Democratic side, because, well, they won almost across the board in competitive state elections Tuesday night.

Here's a rundown of some notable firsts.

Color and gender firsts

From Montana to South Carolina, at least seven cities elected their first black leader. One black woman became her city's first mayor.

First mayor of Framingham, Mass.: Yvonne Spicer, a black woman, will become the first mayor in Framingham's 317-year history. The town voted in the spring to become a city instead of a maintaining a town government.

First black female mayor of Charlotte: Charlotte Mayor-elect Vi Lyles's father didn't graduate from high school. She spent three decades as a city administrator before running for office.

First black mayor of Statesboro, Ga.: Jonathan McCollar

First black mayor of Cairo, Ga.: Booker Gainor

First black mayor of Milledgeville, Ga.: Mary Parham-Copelan

First black mayor of Georgetown, S.C.: Brendon Barber

First black mayor of Helena, Mont.: Wilmot Collins

First black mayor of St. Paul, Minn.: Melvin Carter

First Latinas elected to the Virginia House of Delegates: Democrats Elizabeth Guzman and Hala Ayala.

First Asian American female to be elected to Virginia House of Delegates: Kathy Tran, a refugee from Vietnam who fled to the United Sates when she was just 2, unseated a Republican.

LGBT firsts

Roem wasn't the only openly transgender candidate who won Tuesday. Andrea Jenkins became the first black transgender woman to be elected to public office when she won a Minneapolis City Council race. “Transgender people have been here forever, and black transgender people have been here forever,” Jenkins told The Washington Post. “I’m really proud to have achieved that status.”

In Pennsylvania, Tyler Titus became the first openly transgender person elected to the state, ever, by winning a seat in the Erie school board.

Money-in-politics first

One of the most expensive state legislative races ever culminated Tuesday. More than $10 million was spent between the two sides in a special election for an open Washington state Senate seat outside Seattle. This wasn't just about one seat; control of the entire state government was on the line. Democrats needed to flip just one seat in special elections Tuesday to effectively take control of the state Senate, and they did. Democrat Manka Dhingra ended up winning the expensive race.

That makes Washington the eighth state to be entirely controlled by Democrats. (Compared with 26 controlled by Republicans).

[. . . ]

On Tuesday, Maine voters made their state the first to expand Medicaid by ballot initiative. Maine voters approved an initiative to expand government-paid health care to tens of thousands of mostly lower-income people, the exact opposite of what Republicans in Washington have spent the past year trying to do.

But Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R), who has vetoed at least five Medicaid expansions sent to him by the bipartisan state legislature, said he will not expand Medicaid until state lawmakers figure out a way to pay for it without raising taxes. In other words, this expansion is on hold for the moment.
Link:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/11/08/from-charlottes-first-female-black-mayor-to-a-10-million-state-senate-race-here-are-all-the-election-day-firsts/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_fix-firsts-230p%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.cb4bf250c1e8


153default Re: General News You Want to Talk About Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:55 am



Wow, just wow.  Today, The Washington Post broke with news that Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for the highly contested U.S. Senate seat race in Alabama (that was vacated when Jeff Sessions became the Attorney General), had  pursued young teenage girls when he was in his thirties.  The Washington Post pursued the story; these women did not not seek out The Post.  Initially, the women were reluctant to speak with The Post.  One of the women confirmed that when she was only 14 years old, Roy Moore (again, he was in his thirties) sexually molested her.  John McCain has asked Moore to vacate the Alabama Senate race (scheduled for a special election on December 12, 2017), but other Republicans are more reluctant to abandon Moore and only have stated that Moore should step down, "if" these allegation are true.  Please contact your Senators and demand that they call for Roy Moore to step aside. 

To find out how to contact your Senators, please go here:  https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

In other news, today the House of Representatives' Way and Means Committee passed their proposed tax bill.  The House plans to vote on their proposed bill NEXT WEEK!  Please call YOUR REPUBLICAN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE-- and urge them to vote "no" on the House tax bill!

Also today, the Senate revealed their proposed tax bill, and that differs from the House version.  This article explains the differences between the House tax bill and the Senate tax bill:


Both versions of the Republican tax bill are widely seen as favoring the extremely wealthy and corporations. 

The Washington Post wrote:
The GOP tax plan will raise taxes on lots of people. A new analysis shows how many.


November 9, 2017

Republicans have always been good at spin, but right now they’re facing one of the most extraordinary PR challenges they’ve ever confronted: Can they sell a bill that raises taxes on tens of millions of Americans as a glorious tax cut for everyone?

It would be an extraordinary trick if they managed to pull it off, but distracting from the facts will be no easy task.

. . .  For now, we know much more about the House’s version, so let’s start with a new analysis of that bill released by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, which has lots of detail on exactly how many people will see their taxes go down and how many will see them go up . . .

For the moment, let’s focus only on those who are going to lose. I used the TPC’s figures (from tables 3 and 4 here) to calculate numbers they didn’t detail specifically: exactly how many people’s taxes will go up if this bill is passed. And it’s a lot — a quarter of all households by 2027.

[ ... ]

Since we spend so much time talking about the middle class, let’s look at the middle quintile of the income range. This year that includes households with incomes between $48,600 and $86,100. In 2018, more than 3 million of these households will see their taxes go up. By 2027, the figure rises to more than 11 million households. The average amount that these people will see their tax bills increase is more than $1,000.

But that’s just the beginning. If you add up everyone getting a bigger tax bill, it comes out to 12.8 million households in 2018, and 47.5 million in 2027, or a quarter of all households.

If you had said a year ago that Republicans would produce a bill that raises taxes on a quarter of all American households, no one would have believed you. It isn’t just that there are many particular groups who stand to get huge tax increases — graduate students, parents who adopt children, people with large medical expenses — it’s also that they’re raising taxes on such broad swaths of the population.
Link:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2017/11/09/the-gop-tax-plan-will-raise-taxes-on-lots-of-people-a-new-analysis-shows-how-many/?utm_term=.a5489e55a489

Many other news articles confirm that 25% of all taxpayers would pay a larger tax bill in 10 years under the Republican tax plan.  

As stated earlier however, the extremely wealthy would enjoy the most tax cuts:
The Washington Post wrote:Fact Checker-Analysis

Trump's claim that the House GOP bill is 'so bad for rich people.'

November 9, 2017

“The deal is so bad for rich people, I had to throw in the estate tax just to give them something.”
— President Trump, in reported comments to Senate Democrats, Nov. 7, 2017
We do not normally fact-check secondhand comments, but the White House does not dispute this phrasing. Moreover, it cries out for a fact check. Is there really nothing in the House GOP tax plan for the rich but repeal of the estate tax?

Let’s take a look.

The facts

[ . . . ]

Both the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) and the Tax Policy Center (TPC) have published analyses of how the tax cut would benefit taxpayers in the highest income brackets — $1 million a year or higher. As expected, they tend to do better than other income groups.

Here, TPC shows that by 2027 the top 0.1 percent ($5 million and above) would experience the biggest percentage change in after-tax income and the biggest change in the average tax rate. The top 1 percent (about $1 million) would get 47 percent of the total reduction in taxes.

[ . . . ]

The JCT analysis (which does not include the impact of the estate tax repeal) shows how the taxpayers with incomes over $1 million would see their tax cuts grow over the course of the tax bill, from 2019 to 2027, while all other income groups would see their tax cuts dwindle or even turn into tax increases. (This is mainly because of expiring provisions for the middle class that Republicans claim would be retained in future tax bills, but there’s no guarantee.)

[ . . . ]

TPC came to a similar conclusion, showing the after-tax income went up for the top 0.1 percent over the course of the bill, while it shrank for every other income group.

[ . . . ]

The Pinocchio Test

Contrary to the president’s claim, the tax plan is not “so bad” for the wealthy. In fact, no matter how you slice it, the superwealthy do rather well under the House GOP proposal.
Link:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/11/09/trumps-claim-that-the-house-gop-bill-is-so-bad-for-rich-people/?utm_term=.86a6815d3220

So please call your Republican House of Representative and tell them to vote no on the the Republican tax plan!

You can find your House of Representative’s number  by calling the Capitol's switchboard at 202-224-3121.

You also may find your House of Representative's phone number by going here: 


154default Re: General News You Want to Talk About Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:25 am



@Poppy wrote::amused Gotta love karma sometimes. 
What a difference a year makes.  I was shedding tears again at the election results this year, BUT this year, they were tears of relief and happiness.  

This year's results were an important barometer for next year's mid-term elections and I was on pins and needles awaiting the results.  

Last year, I sat in utter disbelief and horror as the Presidential election results came in bit by bit.  THIS YEAR, I was smiling and cheering on as the results from the different races came in! 

The people have spoken, and more importantly, the people CAME OUT AND VOTED.  The amazing results of this year's election (finally) give me hope for more positive results at next year's mid-term elections.

The results were wonderful to see (thanks for sharing the recaps, Poppy), but the Virgina results were espcially beautiful.  
--Danica Roem winning (by a significant margin) against the awful guy (his name is not worth mentioning) that authored the anti-transgender bathroom bill and called himself the "state's biggest homophobe", all while keeping to her campaign focused on the issues and not lowering herself to participate in the *other candidate*'s mudslinging . . . :guitar jamming
--election of Democratic Governor Ralph Northam over yet another awful guy not worth mentioning (also the Lt. Governor and Attorney General positions Poppy mentioned earlier) . . .  celebration dance!
--the Virginia House of Delegates also now includes Kathy Tran (the first Asian American Delegate), and Hala Ayana and Elizabeth Guzman (the first and second Latina Delegates) . . .  clapping hands
-a House of Delegates flipped from red to blue . .  :very happy

Also, Maine voting for the expansion of Medicaid in direct opposition to their Governor's efforts to block the expansion . . .  :bravo

Also, the ousting from office of guy (another name not worth mentioning) that commented that he hoped all the women at January's Women's March made it home in time to make dinner . . .  applause

Well said Rachel . . . 
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History writen with the caps lock key on . . . I love that. 

These candidates came out to directly address issues and WON. 
The people CAME OUT TO VOTE and WON.
I know there's so much more goodness, but those are the ones that come to mind. 

Yup, Poppy, gotta love karma sometimes!  :big grin

155default Re: General News You Want to Talk About Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:22 pm



Hi Lilikoiluv! Hi there! 

Thank you for sharing Rachel's words.  I was touched by her passionate message.   You can see that Laurence O'Donnell was also touched.  

I agree 100% with everything you wrote!  Thank you for writing it so beautifully.  You always have such a way with words--your words just seem to always hit you right in the heart!  heart 

These words of yours especially resonate with me:
Lillikoiluv wrote:The people have spoken, and more importantly, the people CAME OUT AND VOTED.  The amazing results of this year's election (finally) give me hope for more positive results at next year's mid-term elections.

The results were wonderful to see (thanks for sharing the recaps, Poppy), but the Virgina results were espcially beautiful. 

[. . . ]

These candidates came out to directly address issues and WON. 
The people CAME OUT TO VOTE and WON.
I know there's so much more goodness, but those are the ones that come to mind.

Beautifully said, Lilikoiluv.  This is what the Democratic party needs.  Candidates with messages that address the issues, that address the needs of their communities.  When our party does this, and when people in our various communities all around our country come out and make their voices heard (through activism, and through voting)--I am hopeful of our country's future.  heart

156default Re: General News You Want to Talk About Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:53 pm



The Republican Tax Plan
Deadlines to remember:

-Week of November 13: vote on the House floor (THIS WEEK!)
-Week of November 13: mark up in the Senate Finance Committee  (THIS WEEK!)
-Week of November 20: vote on the Senate floor

-We have a vote scheduled in the House on their proposed Tax bill (which already has passed the House Ways and Means Committee), AND
-We have a vote scheduled in the Senate Finance Committee for their proposed tax bill

So please CALL BOTH YOUR HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE, AND CALL YOUR SENATORS, especially if they are Republican!  Call THIS WEEK since there are votes scheduled THIS WEEK for BOTH the House of Representatives, and the Senate Finance Committee!

Here are the reasons why this tax bill is bad for so many people:

-The tax cuts for the wealthy and for corporations would increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion.  Thus, the likelihood is high that the next step after passing their tax bill, is that Republicans will then make deep cuts to domestic programs in the federal budget, including deep cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, and even possibly Social Security;

-the Republican House tax bill will eliminate the medical deduction, a deduction that many persons take who have high medical expenses, (such as elderly patients in nursing homes, parents with children with special needs , and persons with expensive medical treatment for a variety of medical conditions including those having cancer treatments);

-the Republican tax bill also eliminates the credits given to companies for clinical testing of new medication that could help patients who are hoping for a cure for a medical condition;

-the Republican tax bill also eliminates the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which encourages employers to hire people from certain groups, including unemployed and/or disabled veterans;

-the Republican tax bill eliminates  the deduction that teachers can take for using their own money to pay for school supplies;

-the Republican House tax bill eliminates the deduction that college students can take on interest on their student loans, making college education more unaffordable than ever;

-the Republican House tax bill would eliminate the Lifetime Learning Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which helps students with the cost of college;

-the Republican House tax plan would tax the earnings on endowment funds of some private colleges (thus reducing the funds that these private colleges have to help reduce students' cost of higher education);

-the Republican House tax bill would tax graduate student tuition waivers (graduate students sometimes can get their tuition waived in return for being a teacher’s assistant; the tuition that is waived was not taxed in the past).  Again, this would make higher education unaffordable;

-the Republican House tax bill will eliminate the deduction that people can take for casualty loss when their property is damaged or destroyed by natural disasters; (Note:  the Republican tax bill contains specific language to allow deductions to be taken by victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, but not by victims of the recent California wildfires—once again showing how politicians are playing reprehensible partisan politics to the detriment of the lives of the people of California who lost their homes to the recent wildfires--all because California is a blue state!);

-the Republican tax bill eliminates the deduction that workers once were able to take for the costs incurred to move their families due to a job in a new geographic area;

-both the Republican House and Senate tax bills will hurt residents of high-tax states.   The Senate tax bill will eliminate the deduction of State and Local Taxes altogether (including the elimination of the deduction for property tax), whereas the House bill will limit the deduction to property taxes up to $10,000.  The House Republican bill also will limit deductions on interest on home mortgages up to $500,000.

Here is how the Republican tax bills help the very wealthy (the top 1%) and corporations by giving them the largest tax CUTS by far:

-the Republican tax bill repeals the Alternative Minimum Tax (the AMT was originally designed to ensure that the riches--those making between $200,00 and $1 million--pay at least some tax by disallowing many tax breaks);

-the Republican House bill will eliminate the estate tax completely; and the Senate tax bill doubles the exemption for the estate tax (the current exemption is set at $5.49 million for individuals and $10.98 million for married couples)

Note that the Senate is using the “reconciliation process” so that they could pass the Senate tax bill with 51 votes, thus bypassing the need for bi-partisan support from Democratic members of Congress. 

It is vitally important that  you call your Republican Senators, as well as your Republican House of Representative THIS WEEK!

Newsweek wrote:
Robert Reich: Hello Trump Tax Cuts, Goodbye Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security . . . .

Opinion by Robert Reich


This article first appeared on RobertReich.org.
The goal of Trump and the Republican leaders is to pull off a giant redistribution of over $1 trillion from the middle class, working class, and poor to the rich, who are already richer than ever.

They’re selling this to the public with a false claim that the middle class will benefit from their tax cut plan. It’s a gigantic Trojan horse.

For most Americans, the proposed tax cuts are tiny and temporary. That’s right – temporary. They will shrink in just a few years. And some middle class Americans will actually get a tax increase.

Meanwhile, the top 1 percent will get a gigantic tax cut. The Tax Policy Center estimates that the current plan will save the bottom 80 percent between $50 and $450 in taxes per year, but that it saves each person in the top 1 percent an average of $129,000 a year. For people at the very top, like Trump himself, the tax cuts are humongous. And the corporations they own will also get a massive tax cut.

Republicans say economic “growth” will pay for the tax cuts, so there’s no need to cut social programs like Medicare and Medicaid.  

But Republicans have just passed a budget that would cut nearly $1.5 trillion from Medicare and Medicaid to pay for these tax cuts. Pell Grants[ grants for low-income college students], housing assistance, and even cancer research are also on the chopping block.

[. . . ]

. . . once these tax cuts are passed, the budget deficit will explode. The Tax Policy Center predicts that it will cut federal revenue by $2.4 trillion over the next 10 years.

When that happens, the only way out of the crisis will be something dramatic – exactly the cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, and maybe even Social Security – that Republicans have wanted for years.

[. . . ]

We must see the [Republican] strategy for what it is. And it must be stopped.
Link:  http://www.newsweek.com/robert-reich-hello-trump-tax-cuts-goodbye-medicare-medicaid-social-security-699501

Reuters wrote:
For U.S. Republicans, tax reform math hinges on cutting Medicare


November 9, 2017

. . . listen carefully and you can hear the whistle blowing on another train barreling down the tracks.

Call it the Slash Medicare Express. The whistle is still a bit faint, but it is sending a clear warning signal.

A 2018 budget blueprint approved by Congress late last month would reduce Medicare spending by $473 billion over 10 years compared with the current baseline projection, and proposes $1.3 trillion in cuts to Medicaid, various Affordable Care Act (ACA) tax credits and cost sharing subsidies and other health spending. Republicans need the spending reductions to make room for $1.5 trillion in tax cuts, mostly for corporations and wealthy households.

The budget plan does not include the specifics on how these cuts will be achieved. But previous Republican plans for Medicaid - the joint federal and state health insurance program for lower-income people and children - would have been disastrous for millions of older Americans.

How about Medicare? Republicans have repeatedly called for two Medicare “reforms” in the past that would be devastating for older Americans. They would raise the age of Medicare eligibility to 67 from 65, and shift Medicare to a flat premium-support payment, or voucher, that beneficiaries would use to help buy either private health insurance or a form of traditional Medicare.
Link:  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-column-miller-medicare/for-u-s-republicans-tax-reform-math-hinges-on-cutting-medicare-idUSKBN1D91LU

The Associated Press wrote:
Bipartisan analysis: Senate bill would hike taxes for 13.8 M

November 13, 2017

Promoted as needed relief for the middle class, the Senate Republican tax overhaul actually would increase taxes for some 13.8 million moderate-income American households, a bipartisan analysis showed Monday.

The assessment by Congress’ nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation emerged as the Senate’s tax-writing committee began wading through the measure, working toward the first major revamp of the tax system in some 30 years.

[. . . ]

Trump and the Republicans have promoted the legislation as a boon to the middle class, bringing tax relief to people with moderate incomes and boosting the economy to create new jobs.

[. .. ]

The [Senate Finance] committee’s senior Democrat, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, said the legislation has become “a massive handout to multinational corporations and a bonanza for tax cheats and powerful political donors.”

The analysis found that the Senate measure would actually increase taxes in 2019 for 13.8 million households earning less than $200,000 a year. That group, about 10 percent of all taxpayers, would face tax increases of $100 to $500 in 2019. There also would be increases greater than $500 for a number of taxpayers, especially those with incomes between $75,000 and $200,000.  By 2025, 21.4 million households would have steeper tax bills.

The analysts previously found a similar magnitude of tax increases under the House bill.

A group of more than 400 millionaires and billionaires, including prominent figures such as Ben and Jerry’s founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, designer Eileen Fisher and financier George Soros, asked Congress to reject the GOP tax plan and not give cuts to the super-wealthy like themselves.

“We urge you to oppose any legislation that further exacerbates inequality,” they said in a letter made public Monday.
Link:  https://wtop.com/congress/2017/11/chairman-house-wont-agree-to-nix-property-tax-deduction-2/

*  *  *
So please call your House of Representative, and please call your Senator -- especially if they are Republican -- and tell them to vote NO on the the Republican tax plan!

You can find your House of Representative’s number  by calling the Capitol's switchboard at 202-224-3121.   You also may find your House of Representative's phone number by going here: https://www.house.gov/representatives/

To find out how to contact your Senators, please go here:  https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm


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157default Re: General News You Want to Talk About Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:46 am



Well, surprise, surprise, the Senate announced today that it was including the repeal of the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act  (the part of the Affordable Care Act that required people to purchase health insurance each year, and if they do not, they will pay a penalty).  This is really bad, especially for seniors and persons with pre-existing conditions, because the cost of insurance will go up for these less-healthy, less-young patients.

CNN wrote:
Individual mandate repeal to be included in Senate’s tax bill

November 15, 2017

Republican senators will include a repeal of Obamacare's individual mandate in the revised version of the chamber's tax overhaul to be released by the Senate finance committee Tuesday afternoon, according to two GOP aides.
[. . . ]

Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, told reporters on Tuesday afternoon she has concerns about repealing the individual mandate in the tax bill.

"I personally think that it complicates tax reform," she said.

[ . . . ]

. . . The [nonpartisan] Congressional Budget Office has estimated that repealing the individual mandate could give tax writers an additional $338 billion to reduce taxes over the next decade. The CBO also projects a mandate repeal would lead to 13 million fewer people with health insurance -- a key Democratic attack line during the health care debate.

Link:  http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/14/politics/rand-paul-individual-mandate-tax-bill/index.html

So add "partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act" to the already long list of reasons why this Republican tax bill is  bad for many people!!

The House will vote this Thursday (in a couple of days, THIS week). 

It is vitally important that  you call your Republican Senators, as well as your Republican House of Representative THIS WEEK!

You can find your House of Representative’s number  by calling the Capitol's switchboard at 202-224-3121.   You also may find your House of Representative's phone number by going here: https://www.house.gov/representatives/

To find out how to contact your Senators, please go here:  https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

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158default Re: General News You Want to Talk About Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:04 pm



The Republican House AND the Senate Finance Committee both will be voting on their respective tax plans THIS WEEK! 

The House of Representatives is further along the process, having already passed their tax bill in their Ways and Means Committee.  The House will be voting on their tax plan TOMORROW, THURSDAY! 

Please call your House of Representative AND your Senator TODAY, especially if they are Republican, and tell them to VOTE NO on the Republican tax bill!

The Republican tax bill is a sneaky way to cut Medicare and kill the Affordable Care Act.
Vox wrote:
Republicans' tax bill could trigger a $25 billion cut to Medicare

Nov. 14, 2017

The Republican tax reform bill could trigger something President Donald Trump promised would never happen: an automatic $25 billion cut to Medicare.

Republicans are trying to pass a $1.5 trillion tax cut — which the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday could trigger a sequestration across some major mandatory spending programs, like Medicare, federal student loans, and agriculture subsidies, and even some funding for customs and border patrol.

... In other words, if Republicans want to pass a tax cut, they have to pay for it with mandatory spending cuts. . .

. . . the ensuing cuts would not only break the promises of President Trump, who has repeatedly insisted that his Republican-led administration would not make changes to the popular health insurance program for the elderly, but would also result in devastating cuts to programs millions of Americans rely on daily.

. . . Medicare, the Social Services Block Grant, student loans, and mandatory spending in the Affordable Care Act (other than exchange subsidies and Medicaid expansion), among others, would all be on the chopping block.

Cuts to Medicare are capped at 4 percent, about $25 billion per year, meaning cuts to the other mandatory spending programs would have to make up the difference.

[. . .]

“Paul Ryan has said as soon as taxes are done, he’s going to entitlement reform, which is code [for] putting Medicare and Medicaid and the social safety net on the table,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said Tuesday.

. . . Republicans have shown time and time again that reforming — and cutting — Medicaid and Medicare are among its priorities.

In June, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), who sits on the House Budget Committee and is the chair of the appropriations subcommittee that manages health spending, called Trump’s promise to leave Medicare and Social Security and balance the budget a “fantasy.”

“We have been talking about Medicare and Medicaid reform all the way through,” Cole told Vox then.

Link:  https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/11/14/16651184/gop-tax-bill-medicare-cut-paygo

Among the health care groups opposing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act individual mandate are:  The American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, the Federation of American Hospitals, and the American Academy of Family Physicians, along with AARP.

CNN wrote:
By combining Obamacare with taxes, GOP goes for it all

November 15, 2017

Senate Republicans plan to include a repeal of the individual mandate -- a key piece of the Affordable Care Act -- in their tax reform efforts.

[. . . ]

The mandate requires nearly all Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty. But getting rid of it has a cost.

Roughly 4 million fewer people . . .  [would lose health coverage] in the first year the repeal would take effect, the Congressional Budget Office said last week, rising to 13 million by 2027, as compared to current law.

Premiums would also rise by about 10% in most years of the decade, CBO said.

[. . .]

Re-introducing the repeal of the individual mandate also brings groups like AARP, doctors and major insurance companies out of the wood work to oppose the Republicans' plan. On Tuesday, just after Republicans announced they would include a repeal of the individual mandate, a number of health groups stated their united opposition in a letter to Congress.
Link:  http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/15/politics/individual-mandate-tax-reform/index.html

The Washington Post wrote:
In political gamble, GOP gives permanent tax cuts to corporations, but not people

November 15, 2017

The essential gamble of Republican plans to overhaul the tax code is now becoming clear: Big businesses get a large, permanent tax cut, while American families receive only temporary tax relief that expires as soon as 2023 in the House bill and 2026 in the Senate bill.

In the House bill, the tax increase would mostly hit moderate and middle-income families because a credit designed to help them expires after five years. But in the Senate plan, released late Tuesday, virtually all Americans would face higher tax rates because the individual income rate cuts go away entirely in 2026. The tax cuts for corporations do not expire.

Public opinion polls already show that many Americans believe the tax bills are designed to help the rich, not the middle class. In a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday, just 16 percent think the plan will reduce their personal taxes, and 61 percent think the wealthy will benefit the most, similar results to many other recent polls about taxes. On top of that, Democrats are trying to hammer the GOP for what they say are disproportionate benefits for businesses and the wealthy.

[. . . ]

To make the finances work, the Senate plan also includes the repeal of the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act, a change that saves the government money but would likely lead to 13 million Americans becoming uninsured, according to estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

[. . . ]

If the tax cuts do expire, many Americans might find themselves worse off than today. The rates would return to today's levels, and another provision — a less generous formula for calculating inflation — will remain as part of the law. That means people will enter higher-tax brackets faster.

According to initial analysis by Ernie Tedeschi, an economist at research firm Evercore ISI and a former Obama Treasury Department official, about 57 percent of Americans would be worse off 2027 under this revised Senate bill than they would have been under the original version. His calculations found that close to 80 percent would be worse off who earn $50,000 to $75,000.
As a result, about 57% of all filers are worse off in 2027 under the modification versus the original Senate TCJA, as written. In some income groups, like the $50K-$75K band, it's close to 80%. /7 pic.twitter.com/NfRuZIZp7N
— Ernie Tedeschi (@ernietedeschi) November 15, 2017
[. . . ]

In 1986, the last substantial overhaul of the U.S. tax code under President Ronald Reagan, Congress forced some businesses to pay more to fund a tax cut for individuals and families. In 2017, the reverse is happening: Individuals are being asked to potentially sacrifice so corporations can get a better deal.
Link:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/11/15/in-political-gamble-gop-gives-permanent-tax-cuts-to-corporations-but-not-people/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_wonk-taxplan-1130am%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.c894e2e232ae

This article foresaw the path that the Republican tax bills were leading to:

Forbes wrote:

Tax Reform: A Back Door to Killing Health Care, Medicare, And More


Nov 6, 2017

Unsurprisingly, the tax bill includes large tax cuts for the top 1% and for corporations—the "people" who count—again hurting the bulk of Americans. But that’s what this administration has been all about since Day One. Once again, the GOP is planning their tax reform without a hint of bipartisanship, behind closed doors, with zero public hearings or debate. Here’s the skinny on how the proposed tax bill will hurt us.

Medicare, Student Loans, and Farm Subsidies
The pay-as-you-go rule, also known as PAYGO, passed in 2010, means mandatory cuts elsewhere—in this case, $28 billion would get automatically slashed from Medicare early next year (and be ongoing), and student loans and farm subsidies would be slashed.

Medicaid would be cut by more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years in the current tax plan, a 20% cut, and more than that proposed under Graham-Cassidy or the AHCA.

Medical deductions
This provision in the proposed bill should be a deal breaker, if nothing else is. The plan is to eliminate the ability to itemize and deduct medical costs that are more than 10% of out-of-pocket health costs. This deduction is critically helpful for those with catastrophic illnesses or requiring long-term care and nursing home residents.

Need a handicap ramp or similar modification? In a small and needlessly petty provision, the GOP also will cut deductions for improvements for disability access.
No one should face a large tax increase simply because they have high medical costs. But that's what the Health Tax does. pic.twitter.com/K1pDX7J6U8
— AARP Advocates (@AARPadvocates) November 2, 2017
Good luck fighting the AARP on this, @GOP!

[. . . ]

But if you are already a child in need? You are out of luck. More than a month after it expired, the House still has not renewed Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). They are trying to link funding CHIP and community health centers (which provide health care for more than 27 million people) by cutting insurance for almost 700,000 people who miss a premium payment.

Having failed in repealing health care, now the GOP and Trump administration are trying to sabotage the ACA by slashing outreach and the Open Enrollment period, as I explained. While this House bill does not have a provision to repeal the Obamacare’s individual mandate, it is still being considered.

[Note:  The Senate bill now includes repealing the individual mandate of the ACA, and news media are reporting the House will include the repeal of the individual mandate of the ACA if the Senate passes their bill.]

Municipal Bonds
Tax-exempt borrowing by state and local governments for a variety of hospital, health care, education and affordable housing projects would be eliminated.

Miscellaneous provisions

[. . . ]

First, the GOP plans to tax interest payments on student loans. . .
Here's a bunch of deductions getting repealed: medical, alimony, dependent care, moving expenses, adoptions.... pic.twitter.com/bu2kZalpxC
— Lisa Mascaro (@LisaMascaro) November 2, 2017
[. . .]

As Andy Slavitt aptly noted, "One Senator said to me tonight: the health care bill was about hidden tax cuts. Now the tax bill is about hidden health care cuts." Since the FDR days, when President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act in 1935 to protect citizens from the “hazards and vicissitudes of life,” especially seniors and disabled people, our country has had a social compact, to protect the most vulnerable. The GOP tax proposal, as its health plan before, violates that trust.

To act:
Handy numbers to keep on hand:

House Representative:  http://www.house.gov/representatives/ or your

Senator  http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
Link:  https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2017/11/06/tax-reform-a-back-door-to-killing-health-care-medicare-and-more/#2d55407b7b1b

The Republicans are hitting the American public in more ways than one:  Tax increases to people who are not wealthy, and tax cuts to the very wealthy and businesses, which will result in:

-CUTS to many important social programs that help millions of people, including cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, health insurance through the ACA (the repeal of part of the ACA will cause 13 million people to lose their healthcare and will cause rises in premiums of 10%), and students loans;

-REPEALING TAX DEDUCTIONS FOR (which will increase taxes for these segments of Americans):  Teachers who spend their own money on school supplies; property losses that people suffer from due to natural disasters; high medical costs (such as will be incurred by people in nursing homes, parents with children with special needs, and people with various medical conditions such as cancer), interest on students' loans, and the State and Local taxes for high tax states. 

--Any tax new cuts under the Republican tax bill are TEMPORARY FOR INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES, with experts predicting 50% of Americans ultimately will be getting tax INCREASES, while corporations will get a PERMANENT tax CUT.

Again, PLEASE CALL YOUR HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE TODAY --especially if they are REPUBLICAN--AND TELL THEM TO VOTE NO ON THE REPUBLICAN TAX BILL!  The House is voting TOMORROW, THURSDAY!  You can find your House of Representative’s number  by calling the Capitol's switchboard at 202-224-3121.   You also may find your House of Representative's phone number by going here: https://www.house.gov/representatives/

Also, PLEASE CALL YOUR SENATORS TODAY --especially if they are [b]REPUBLICAN--AND TELL THEM[/b] TO VOTE NO ON THE REPUBLICAN TAX BILL! .  The Senate Finance Committee is voting on their tax bill THIS WEEK! 

To find out how to contact your Senators, please go here:    https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

If you live in California, New York, New Jersey, Arizona, Alaska, Maine, West Virginia and Tennessee, it is especially important that you call your Republican House of Representative and Senator. 

House of Representatives:

Dana Rohrbacher (CA)  (202) 225-2415
Tom McClintock (CA)  (202) 225-2511
Darrell Issa (CA)  (202.225.3906
Lee Zeldin (NY)  (202) 225-3826
Elise Stefanik (NY)  (202) 225-4611
Pete King (NY)  (202) 225-7896
Dan Donovan (NY) (202) 225-3371
John Faso (NY)  (202) 225-5614
Chris Smith (NJ)  (202) 225-3765
Leonard Lance (NJ)  (202) 225-5361
Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ)  (202) 225-5034
Ryan Costello (PA)  (202) 225-4315


John McCain (AZ)  (202) 224-2235
Jeff Flake (Arizona) (202-224-4521 
Susan Collins (Maine)  (202) 224-2523 
Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)  (202) 224-6665
Bob Corker (TN)  (202) 224-3344

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159default Re: General News You Want to Talk About Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:31 pm



I am disappointed to say that this week the House passed their tax bill, and the Senate Finance Committee passed their tax bill. 

The week after Thanksgiving (week of November 27), the full Senate will return and try to pass their bill.

Under the Republican tax bill, low-income and middle-income persons eventually  will suffer higher taxes (after these temporary tax cuts expire).  In addition, persons with high medical costs, undergraduate and graduate students, teachers, persons who suffered property losses due to natural disasters, and others will suffer significant financial burdens as a result of the Republican tax bill.  Just as importantly, if the Republican tax bill passes, important domestic programs that were set up as social safety nets for millions of people will be cut by the Republican Congress:  programs like Medicare, Medicaid, student financial assistance, and more.

A couple of days ago on Thursday, a new report by a non-partisan committee, the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, stated that under the Republican tax bill,both low-income and middle-income persons eventually will receive tax increases.

New York Times wrote:
House Passes Tax Bill, as Does Senate Panel

Nov 16, 2017

A new analysis of the Senate bill by the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation could further complicate the bill’s trajectory. The committee said on Thursday that in 2021, the legislation would increase taxes for those earning $10,000 to $30,000. In 2027, after the individual tax cuts expire, the committee projected that those earning $75,000 or less would face higher taxes.

Link:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/16/us/politics/house-tax-overhaul-bill.html

Why should  people earning between $10,000 and $30,000, as well as people earning less than $75,000, pay higher taxes merely to give tax cuts to the very wealthy and to corporations?!

In addition, the media is combing through the Republican tax bills and finding language in the bills that indicate that the very wealthy and corporations will be receiving more cuts than the $1.5 trillion in cuts  that the Republicans claim will result from their tax bill.

New York Times wrote:
Accounting ‘Gimmicks’ n G.O.P.’s Tax Overhaul Mask Higher Cost, Deficit Hawks Say

Nov 17, 2017
As Republicans march forward with their $1.5 trillion tax bill, budget experts are warning about what they say are an alarming array of accounting gimmicks intended to mask the true cost of the tax cuts.

[. . .]

“In some ways, this whole bill is a gimmick,” Stan Collender, a former staff member for Democrats on the House and Senate Budget Committees, said of the Senate tax bill. “Rather than just do a tax cut that costs $1.5 trillion, they decided to do a $2 trillion-plus tax cut and lie about it costing $1.5 trillion.”

Some experts say the cuts, if accurately accounted for, could translate into slower economic growth and bigger budget deficits in the long run. If the cuts are not temporary, they will have to be paid for with additional debt, which will add to the federal deficit and increase the interest costs the United States must pay when it borrows money.

The budget maneuvers are meant to help Republicans stay within the $1.5 trillion box they created that allows them to pass a tax bill without Democratic votes. Under budget reconciliation rules that allow for a party-line vote, Republicans can add no more than $1.5 trillion to the budget deficit over 10 years and cannot add to the deficit at all beyond that period.

Such sleights of hand in accounting are more prevalent in the Senate plan, which makes many of its cuts temporary or delays their enforcement. For instance, the Senate bill delays the corporate tax cut, which will fall to 20 percent from 35 percent, by one year for savings of about $100 billion. It also saves about $240 billion by making the individual income tax cuts [for non-wealthy individuals] “temporary” and setting them to expire in 2025.

[. . .]

According the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the real cost of the Senate legislation that the Joint Committee on Taxation says will cost $1.41 trillion over a decade would be $2.2 trillion if all the temporary changes were made permanent. The group estimates that the nation’s debt, which has surpassed $20 trillion, would exceed the size of the economy by 2028 under the plan — a level the United States has not reached since World War II.

Link:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/17/us/politics/accounting-manuevers-republican-tax-overhaul.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region®️ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

This calendar year has been awful in terms of the number and severity of natural disasters that have hit the U.S:  Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, and multiple wild fires in California.  Disaster relief costs billions of dollars this year, and critics are saying that much more aid is needed.  So why are the Republicans deciding to give a tax cut for the very wealthy and corporations, but at the same time, Republicans have been ungenerous to Americans who desperately need further federal assistance for disaster relief?!  In addition, why are Republicans planning to make cuts to  domestic programs that help millions of people, in order to offset the costs of disaster relief, but yet give away trillions of dollars in PERMANENT tax cuts to the very wealthy and corporations?  *Cough*  Just do not give trillions of dollars in tax cuts to the very wealthy and corporations, especially during a time when so many Americans desperately need help!  Problem solved!

New York Times wrote:
White House Requests More Disaster Aid but Also Seeks Cuts as Deficits Rise

Nov 17, 2017

The White House asked Congress on Friday for $44 billion in additional relief in response to this year’s devastating hurricanes, but facing rising budget deficits and pushing a tax cut that could cost $1.5 trillion, the administration also suggested that lawmakers make spending cuts to offset disaster costs.

Republicans have been conspicuously quiet about the ballooning national debt as they press to enact deep tax cuts before the end of the year. The deficit for the 2017 fiscal year totaled $666 billion, an increase of $80 billion from the previous year. And spending continues to climb.

Disaster relief costs are now approaching $100 billion, with more likely to come. And congressional leaders are eyeing a deal that would allow nondefense and military spending to burst through strict caps put in place in 2011, . . .

. . . Administration officials laid out a menu of options for budget cutting, totaling $59 billion, from small nicks like $8 million from a rural energy program to far larger options, such as $3.9 billion from student financial aid and $1 billion from transportation infrastructure funds.

Some of those proposals were sure to raise eyebrows. To pay for hurricane reconstruction, the White House suggested cutting nearly $520 million from the Army Corps of Engineers’ flood control and coastal emergencies account, which the White House identified as excess money from Hurricane Sandy relief.

[. . . ]

It was not lost on Democrats that the administration suggested offsetting the cost of disaster relief but has offered no such concern for the far larger cost of the proposed tax cuts.

“Just one day after pushing the House to pass a massive tax cut for corporations and the wealthy that would add $1.5 trillion to the debt, it is galling that the administration is requesting offsets in exchange for helping Americans rebuild their lives,” said Representative Nita M. Lowey of New York, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee.

[. . . ]

Representatives Mike Thompson and Jared Huffman, both Democrats of California, were incensed that the request specified no money for Northern California, which was ravaged last month by wildfires.

“This is a new low for this administration,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement. “Either they have forgotten about the thousands of American citizens who’ve lost everything in the California fires, or they just don’t care.”

Link:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/17/us/politics/trump-disaster-relief-hurricanes-wildfire-tax-cuts.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region®️ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news


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160default Re: General News You Want to Talk About Mon Nov 27, 2017 1:24 am



Well, the full Senate is expected to vote on their tax bill THIS WEEK ON TUESDAY!  Please contact your Senator NOW--especially if he/she is a Republican--and urge them to vote NO on the tax bill!

The Washington Post wrote:
GOP leaders in advanced talks to change tax plan in bid to win over holdouts

November 26, 2107

Senate Republicans have received criticism because their tax plan does not allow individuals, families, . . .  to deduct their state and local taxes from their taxable income. The tax plan does allow firms that pay corporate income taxes to deduct their state and local taxes.

[. . . ]

Voting on the tax measure is scheduled to begin Tuesday, as the Senate Budget Committee plans to take a procedural step that afternoon that would effectively send the tax bill to the Senate floor.
Link:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2017/11/26/gop-leaders-in-advanced-talks-to-change-tax-plan-in-bid-to-win-over-holdouts/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_goptax-230pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.382539365dc7

The Washington Post wrote:
Senate GOP tax bill hurts the poor more than originally thought, CBO finds

November 26, 2017

The Senate Republican tax plan gives substantial tax cuts and benefits to Americans earning more than $100,000 a year, while the nation’s poorest would be worse off, according to a report released Sunday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Republicans are aiming to have the full Senate vote on the tax plan as early as this week, but the new CBO analysis showing large, harmful effects on the poor may complicate those plans. The CBO also said the bill would add $1.4 trillion to the deficit over the next decade, a potential problem for Republican lawmakers worried about America’s growing debt.

Democrats have repeatedly slammed the bill as a giveaway to the rich at the expense of the poor. In addition to lowering taxes for businesses and many individuals, the Senate bill also makes a major change to health insurance that the CBO projects would have a harsh impact on lower-income families.

By 2019, Americans earning less than $30,000 a year would be worse off under the Senate bill, CBO found. By 2021, Americans earning $40,000 or less would be net losers, and by 2027, most people earning less than $75,000 a year would be worse off. On the flip side, millionaires and those earning $100,000 to $500,000 would be big beneficiaries, according to the CBO’s calculations. (In the CBO table below, negative signs mean people in those income brackets pay less in taxes).

General News You Want to Talk About - Page 8 Congressional-Budget-Office

[. . . ]

The Senate Republican tax bill eliminates the requirement that almost all Americans purchase health insurance or else pay a penalty. The CBO has calculated that health insurance premiums would rise if this bill becomes law, leading 4 million Americans to lose health insurance by 2019 and 13 million to lose insurance by 2027.

. . . The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), the other official nonpartisan group that analyzes tax bills, put out a similar report showing how lower-income families are hurt by the loss of the health-care tax credits. But the CBO goes a step further than the JCT. The CBO also calculates what would happen to Medicaid, Medicare and the Basic Health Program if the Senate GOP plan became law. The CBO is showing even worse impacts on poor families than the JCT did.

[. . . ]

The JCT sent the table below to Senate Republicans. It shows that all income groups — including people earning less than $30,000 — receive a tax cut.

But that changes in 2027 because the Senate GOP bill currently allows the individual tax cuts to expire in 2026. In 2027, people earning less than $75,000 would end up paying more, according to the JCT.

Link:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/11/26/senate-gop-tax-bill-hurts-the-poor-more-than-originally-thought-cbo-finds/?utm_term=.e0c8b8380aa2

Also, PLEASE CALL YOUR SENATORS TODAY --especially if they are REPUBLICAN--AND TELL THEM TO VOTE NO ON THE REPUBLICAN TAX BILL! .  The full Senate  is voting on their tax bill THIS WEEK on TUESDAY! 

To find out how to contact your Senators, please go here:    https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

In particular, if you live in these states, please call your Senators TODAY--BEFORE the vote on TUESDAY:

John McCain (AZ)  (202) 224-2235
Jeff Flake (Arizona) (202-224-4521 
Susan Collins (Maine)  (202) 224-2523 
Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)  (202) 224-6665
Bob Corker (TN)  (202) 224-3344

Remember what is at stake:  low- and middle income persons and families will pay higher taxes while the very wealthy and corporations will get permanent tax cuts, AND domestic programs designed to help low- and middle-income folks like Medicare, Medicaid and the federal student loan program and more will be cut if the Republican tax bills are passed!  In addition, the partial REPEAL OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT will result in 13 million to become uninsured and will RAISE health care premiums!


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