HomeBernie Sanders4/29 News Roundup and Open Thread

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jcitybone

Good interview with Colbert.

Biden can propose legislation, but it’s Congress that actually writes and passes it.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2021/04/29/democrats-congress-biden-medicare/

Congressional Democrats are planning to pursue a massive expansion of Medicare as part of President Biden’s new $1.8 trillion economic relief package, defying the White House after it opted against including a major health overhaul as part of its plan.

The early pledges from some party lawmakers, led by prominent members of its liberal wing, threaten to create even more political tension around a package that is already facing no shortage of it. The expansion push comes as Biden on Wednesday stressed in his first address to Congress that he is still committed to making health care more affordable.

Democrats specifically aim to lower the eligibility age for Medicare to either 55 or 60, expand the range of health services the entitlement covers and grant the government new powers to negotiate prescription drug prices. Party lawmakers say their approach could offer new, improved or cheaper coverage to millions of older Americans nationwide.

Roughly 100 House and Senate Democrats led by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (Wash.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) publicly had encouraged Biden in recent days to include the overhaul as part of his latest package, known as the “American Families Plan,” which proposes major investments in the country’s safety net programs. Yet Biden opted only to propose additional subsidies for Americans who purchase their health insurance, disappointing many lawmakers who still otherwise support the White House’s blueprint.

Sanders said Wednesday he would “absolutely” pursue a Medicare expansion as lawmakers begin to translate Biden’s economic vision into legislation. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the chairman of the tax-focused Finance Committee, similarly pledged that he would “look at every possible vehicle, and that’s starting today,” to lower drug costs.

And Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), the Democrats’ vote-counter in the chamber, said he planned to push for Medicare reforms he saw as a “game changer.” Durbin said he didn’t know why the White House ultimately chose to exclude the policies, but he predicted tough work ahead for Democratic leaders in crafting a legislative package that has sufficient support.

“I don’t presume that we have a majority going in,” Durbin said. “I think we have to listen carefully to all the members and particularly those who have some problems, trying to resolve [them].”

The early efforts reflect a broader belief among congressional Democrats that they must more aggressively seize on their narrow but powerful majorities to push policies that long have been stalled in Washington — no matter their cost. Many party lawmakers have pushed Biden at times to spend sky-high sums, sometimes even more than the president himself says he supports, arguing that they have a political mandate to pursue vast economic change.

But health-care revisions are likely to present a significant challenge, threatening to open rifts not just between the two parties but within the Democratic caucus itself. In an early sign of trouble, Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) told The Washington Post on Wednesday that he opposes expanding Medicare eligibility even as he supports broader adjustments to the Affordable Care Act.

“No, I’m not for it, period,” Manchin said when asked about efforts to expand the health-care entitlement.

In the meantime, some Democrats pledged to address both priorities in tandem. Sanders, who had lobbied Biden before the release of his plan, said lawmakers are working “very hard” to ensure the inclusion of a Medicare expansion. His comment came just hours after he unveiled a government study that showed Americans pay between two and four times more for prescription drugs than citizens of other countries.

Citing the new data, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, also pledged to use his powerful gavel to turn to the issue in the coming weeks — stressing that tackling drug costs remains “one of my top priorities as we work to pass the American Families Plan.”

Jayapal, the leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said Democrats across the Capitol are likely to intensify their political push in the coming weeks out of a belief that the president’s families plan is the most efficient route to improve Medicare — given the shrinking congressional calendar and the growing need for an overhaul.

“If we have to spend all the way through August working on the jobs and families plan[s], I don’t think we have the time,” Jayapal said about calls to tackle Medicare independently. “Everything gets harder heading into the midterms.”

polarbear4

Durbin: ““I don’t presume that we have a majority going in,” Durbin said. “I think we have to listen carefully to all the members and particularly those who have some problems, trying to resolve [them].”

Read: we are not going in with a high ask. we’re going in already saying how meek we are and how we really really know we need the support of everyone’s donors.

jcitybone

🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪

https://www.newsweek.com/kevin-mccarthy-told-bernie-sanders-that-senator-more-conservative-joe-biden-1587317

Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California said that after Democratic President Joe Biden’s congressional address, McCarthy remarked to Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders that Sanders is “more conservative” than Biden.

Sanders is known as one of the most progressive Senators on the Democratic caucus’ left wing.

“There was Bernie Sanders,” McCarthy told Sean Hannity on the Wednesday night installment of the Fox News host program. “And I asked the senator, ‘Did you ever think you would be more conservative than the president?'”

When Hannity asked McCarthy about Sanders’ reaction, McCarthy responded, “He looked at me and laughed. But he understood what I was saying to him.”

McCarthy then said that Biden’s speech showed “just how far” the Democrats have come. “They demonize work so Americans will become dependent on government,” McCarthy said.

Despite McCarthy’s comparison, Sanders differed substantially from Biden in the policy proposals that each one presented when they ran as Democratic presidential candidates.

Sanders favored a “Medicare for All” healthcare plan that would cover citizens through the federal government rather than private insurers. However, Biden promoted a more modest expansion of the 2009 Affordable Care Act.

Sanders wanted to cancel all $1.4 trillion of U.S. student loan debts. Biden has only suggested canceling $10,000 of individual student loan debt.

Sanders has also remained a full-throated supporter of the Green New Deal (GND). The GND is a proposed package of laws focused on creating new jobs to meet all the nation’s energy needs and virtually eliminate U.S. greenhouse gas pollution by 2030.

jcitybone

jcitybone

https://www.citizensforethics.org/reports-investigations/crew-investigations/senator-who-benefited-from-secret-money-suggests-fec-failure-to-enforce-the-law-is-good/

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), one of the senior Republicans on the Senate Rules and Administration Committee that will mark up legislation next month that aims to overhaul America’s campaign finance, voting, and government ethics systems, has made it clear he is not a fan of the effort. It’s probably no coincidence that Shelby himself, whose last re-election campaign was boosted by hundreds of thousands in undisclosed money, has benefited from loopholes in the law that the legislation seeks to close.

In comments to the New York Times, Shelby took aim at the bill’s proposed changes to the regularly gridlocked Federal Election Commission, calling it a “mistake” that would trigger further partisan warfare. But Shelby didn’t just attack what he believes the consequences would be of the For The People Act’s reforms to the FEC, which includes lowering the number of commissioners from six to five in order to prevent tie votes. He defended the status quo, suggesting it might actually be a good thing that the commission frequently is unable to agree on the enforcement of campaign finance rules. “Maybe they don’t need to,” Shelby said. “Most things are disclosed, and you all are sure watching,” referring to news outlets like the New York Times

Except, of course, there’s a whole lot that isn’t disclosed. As OpenSecrets reported last month, more than $1 billion in dark money — spending aimed at influencing political outcomes where the true source of the funds is kept secret — was spent on the federal level during the 2020 election. As CREW, which has regularly sued the FEC in order to spur action against dark money groups, knows all too well, questions about whether to investigate anonymous political spending represent one of the primary areas where the FEC regularly deadlocks.

Shelby should know full well that large sums of campaign funds go undisclosed. When he was last re-elected in 2016 he benefited from hundreds of thousands spent by nonprofit organizations that are not required to disclose who is funding them. The lack of disclosure was noted at the time, with the headline on HuffPo’s story about the pro-Shelby dark money declaring, “No One Knows Who’s Behind This Senator’s Re-Election Campaign.”

jcitybone

This is important. It’s becoming the health care and insurance industries against everybody else.

https://www.axios.com/busines-leaders-ceos-health-care-cost-regulations-28760f01-7edd-4aac-ad5d-7284f1c126f2.html

Corporate leaders are warming up to the idea of government-led efforts to control health care costs — a major shift for the historically conservative, anti-regulation business world.

Why it matters: Businesses’ health care costs continue to climb, year after year. If they’re actually ready to turn to the government for help, the health care industry will have a much harder time fending off new regulations.

Details: KFF, along with the Purchaser Business Group on Health and supported by the West Health Institute, surveyed corporate leaders from 300 private employees, all with at least 5,000 workers. The survey included 40 CEOs.

87% of the corporate officers we surveyed said they believe the cost of health benefits will become unsustainable over the next 5-10 years, and

85% said the government needs to take on a bigger role in controlling costs and providing coverage.

78% expressed some level of support for government action on hospital prices, in areas where there is limited competition. And perhaps more significantly, coming from what has always been an anti-regulatory crowd, less than 5% opposed such regulations.

The numbers were similar for government limits on drug prices.

65% expressed some level of support for a public insurance option for their workers, and a large majority also supported lowering the age for Medicare eligibility.

polarbear4

https://twitter.com/Gabriele_Corno/status/1387774525010546700?s=20

my son and dil went to this for her birthday. 🤩

jcitybone

We are going to see that in August

Six or so years ago we saw a similar show in France in an abandoned limestone underground mine in Les Baux de Provence near Arles (Les Carrieres des Lumieres). We actually saw Gustav Klimt and Vienna but here’s their Van Gogh show. Amazing venue

polarbear4

an artist could be immersed in the paint strokes and colors and return a changed artist!

you luckies. :o)

orlbucfan

Just …awesome.😊

orlbucfan

Wow, simply wow! 👍

Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death

Astounding! It’s coming to the ATL this summer. I’ve reserved for me and my twin granddaughters in August for their birthday. They are budding artists. Mostly Anime. Here I am in Anime.

20201014_164237_resized.jpg
jcitybone

That’s cool!

magsview

I love it! Precious 😍❤️🥰

polarbear4

WOW! please tell her to keep drawing from one who is more sporadic.

polarbear4

of course, the Netherlands has to outdo everyone.

polarbear4

polarbear4

now that it’s quitting time, if you haven’t clicked on this, please do.:)