Republican Budget Seriously Slashed Medicare by $4.73B

Medicare is a fundamental tool of economic security – a guarantee that seniors will not be denied health care just because they cannot afford it. But Republicans in the House, led by Paul Ryan, just voted for a budget plan (HR553) (Roll Call Vote 552) that would gut Medicare – slashing funding for the program by more than $473 billion.  (Note: Rep. Mark Amodei from NVCD2 was absent for the vote, as were all three Las Vegas Reps from CD1, CD3 and CD4.)

We Need to Protect Access to Medicare | Getty Images

Fresh off their failure to pass #TrumpedUpCare and take away health insurance for millions, cruel and heartless Republicans in Congress, led by Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, are desperate to tell their insurance industry donors that they have been able to do something to undermine the social safety net, and so they are sneaking this massive cut into their 2018 budget proposal.

More than 58 million seniors rely on Medicare, and the program is overwhelmingly popular. When we have collectively taken action to stop #TrumpedUpCare, we have been able to keep the Republicans from gutting health care. With Medicare now on the chopping block, we need to make it clear that any attempt to privatize, cut, weaken or damage Medicare is completely unacceptable.

Speaker Ryan has wanted to destroy Medicare for years. His ultimate goal is to end Medicare as we know it and replace it with a privatized program in which seniors would get federal vouchers to help offset the cost of premiums charged by commercial insurance plans. It’s a trick designed to create the appearance of cutting costs by shifting some of the financial burden from the federal government to America’s seniors. If Ryan gets his way, folks who have been working their whole lives counting on Medicare in their retirement won’t ever be able to enroll in Medicare – instead, they will get a check that might help cover their premium for private insurance, if they are lucky.

The devastating budget bill (HR553) that Ryan just pushed through the House would destroy the social safety net: slashing funding not just for Medicare, but also for Medicaid, affordable housing and Pell Grants. All so they can give the ultra-wealthy a 1.5 billion-dollar tax cut.5

During his campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly pledged that he would not attack Medicare, but since inauguration, he has only undermined the program. First he appointed Tom Price, who has a long history of opposing Medicare as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Price has since resigned over his use of tax payer-funded private jets, but another Trump appointee and fervent Medicare opponent, Mick Mulvaney, remains the budget director, where he has significant influence on social safety net spending.6 These attacks on Medicare are enormously unpopular, and if we speak up now, we can stop cruel and reckless Republicans from gutting this essential program just so they can give a massive tax hand out to corporations and the wealthiest Americans.

It’s time to lean on Senator Dean Heller  (who’ll likely be looking to vote “Aye” to please Trump) and Senator Catherine Masto  (pretty sure she’s all ready a “No”) to make sure these massive cuts don’t pass the Senate as currently written and sent to the White House for signature.

Resources:

Why It’s Important to Vote in Mid-Term Elections!

I don’t know what Sen. Dean Heller has done (or not done) in Washington, but clearly, he’s not just disliked at home in Nevada. On Sunday’s 60 Minutes, Breitbart’s Steve Bannon let the world know that he has put Heller first and foremost on his “Enemies List” pretty much making him the #1 most vulnerable Senator in the 2018 race for re-election.

While a number of Democrats are considering a run for the seat, including Rep. Dina Titus and Rep. Jacky Rosen, Nevada’s perennial candidate, Danny Tarkanian has stepped up to the plate yet again.  If anything, Tarkanian has proven yet again WHY it’s important that every single Democrat makes it to the polls in 2018 to vote for someone who will actually represent Nevadans, not every whim of President Trump.

Tarkanian appeared on “The Beat with Ari Melber” on MSNBC on Monday, 9/11/2017.  Take a moment to watch his performance.  I don’t know about you, but that’s NOT who I want representing my interests in the U.S. Senate:

2017 NV Legislative Report Card

Battle Born Progress just put out their report card for how legislators performed in the 2017 session.  Here’s what they had to say:

It wasn’t easy, but Nevada progressives had many victories during the 2017 Nevada Legislative Session and this report card is a small overview of what we were able to accomplish. Together, Nevadans showed the nation that the Silver State is determined to move forward and will not back down to extreme right-wing agendas. Vouchers was without a doubt, one of the biggest and most controversial issues this session, and it was the hardest to grade. Thanks to people making their voices heard; voucher bills and deals didn’t get to really see the light of day and did not get voted on the floors of the Senate or the Assembly. Although there was no voucher bill votes to grade, we can give an A for effort to the legislators and community members that fought day in and out to make sure the Trump/Koch/DeVos education agenda didn’t come to Nevada.

This report card is just a small glimpse of what we were able to accomplish this session. We hope this report card helps as you decide who deserves extra credit, and who needs a timeout. Keep in mind that these pass or fail grades do NOT reflect an endorsement of any of the legislators listed. They reflect the votes these legislators took on the issues BBP and you (our members) advocated for or against during the 2017 session.

WHY WE GRADED LEGISLATORS
Every legislative session there is a perceived notion that what happens in Carson City stays in Carson City, but we cannot continue to allow this lack of transparency to plague our legislative process. That is why we evaluate our legislators with a pass or fail mark based on their votes. Inside, you can see each of their votes on various pieces of legislation and decide for yourself whether the legislators deserve your stamp of approval or not.

METHODOLOGY
Legislation included in this report card was chosen based on the amount of time and resources invested into advocating for or against each bill by Battle Born Progress and our members. This is how we graded legislators:

More No votes: Fail
More Yes votes: Pass

NV Assembly Report Card:

NV Senate Report Card:

Note: Both Assemblyman Ira Hansen and Senator Don Gustavson, who supposedly represent Humboldt County citizens, are rated as across-the-board “fail.” 

Advocacy: The Conscience of the Government is at Stake

— by Katie O’Connell, PFAW Digital Communications Coordinator 

With three nominees stacked into one hearing today, it’s pretty clear that Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley doesn’t actually want us to know much if anything at all about the nominees for two lifetime court appointments and Eric Dreiband, who is being considered for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.

Because if we actually knew about what these nominees stand for, we wouldn’t want them in positions of power in the federal government.

Eric Dreiband has made a name for himself as the go-to lawyer for corporations accused of discrimination. But beyond that, he has devoted his personal time and energy to fighting against civil rights protections like fair pay for women and protections for older Americans challenging age discrimination in the workplace.

Simply put, Dreiband will actively work against the mission of the Civil Rights Division, which has been described as the conscience of the government.

The legacy of the Civil Rights Division must not be tarnished by a Trump/Sessions nominee who doesn’t believe in the mission of the job he was nominated for. This division has a truly remarkable history of seeking justice in the wake of violence and racism and protecting rights for vulnerable and marginalized communities.

Dreiband’s nomination to a division whose mission he has spent his career opposing isn’t an accident or oversight — it’s Trump’s STRATEGY to create an ineffective government that harms communities of color, women, LGBTQ persons, and other vulnerable communities.

Trump and the Republicans in Congress want to distract us with an onslaught of extreme nominees, damaging policy changes, and political drama. Let them know you’re paying attention and speak out!

Speak out and tell Nevada’s senators that they must oppose Dreiband for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.

Look Around: The Costs of Not Acting on Climate Are Adding Up Fast

From major hurricanes and flooding to droughts and fires, the refusal to accept the science of global warming is getting very expensive.

— by Common Dreams staff

The La Tuna fire that raged in Los Angeles over the weekend was the largest ever seen in the city. Wildfires in California have been tied to the effects of climate change. (Photo: @climatesignals/Twitter)

As Houston begins a recovery from Hurricane Harvey that is likely to last several years and cost many billions of dollars, the threat of extreme weather events around the country and the globe are illustrating the impact of climate change—and the damage being done by right-wing politicians including President Donald Trump who have refused to heed repeated warnings from scientists and other experts.

Author and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben summed up the current state of affairs in a number of major U.S. cities, juxtaposed with Trump’s decision earlier this year to withdraw from the 2016 Paris agreement on climate change:

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has warned that the damage done to the country’s fourth-largest city could cost the government $180 billion—more than Hurricane Katrina cost in 2005. Aside from rebuilding costs, Houston-area residents may pay in other ways as well: as Common Dreams reported, the Center for Biological Diversity finds that “Oil refineries and chemical plants across the Texas Gulf coast released more than 1 million pounds of dangerous air pollutants in the week after Harvey struck.

On Monday morning, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said there is an “increasing chance” that the Florida Peninsula and the Florida Keys will see “some impacts” from the rapidly-approaching Hurricane Irma, and that “rough surf and dangerous marine conditions will begin to affect the southeastern U.S. coast by later this week.”

In Los Angeles, meanwhile, firefighters spent the weekend fighting what Mayor Eric Garcetti called “the largest fire in the history of” the city, covering about 7,000 acres and forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate. The wildfire, known as the La Tuna fire, broke out amid temperatures in the hundreds, and the Union of Concerned Scientists has noted that climate change is “fueling the frequency of wildfires” throughout the state in recent years.

As Andy Rowell, writing for Oil Change Internationalwrote in a column on Monday, Harvey’s damage in Houston and across the region “should also be a wake-up call to the climate-denying president that unless he acts on climate, there will be more Harveys.”

Rowell continues:

It is a wake-up call to the media to accurately report the disaster, including how climate change fuelled its intensity. It is also a wake-up call to the oil industry in so many, many ways.

On a national and international level it shows how our continuing dependence on fossil fuels will drive more extreme weather events. On a regional level it shows how ill-prepared the fossil fuel industry—and wider petrochemical industry—were to an event like this, despite decades of warnings.

Instead the fossil fuel industry’s complacency, malaise, self-regulation and capture of the political system are all to blame too. They have led to a system of peril.

Writing for Common Dreams on Monday, Randall Amster refers to it as the “new normal of destabilization”—a world in which climate-related disasters are happening more often and with escalating costs.

“In just the past week,” he writes, “we’ve seen record-breaking rainfall and wildfires plague parts of the United States. Globally, such extreme events appear to be increasing in frequency and magnitude. Droughts, floods, fires, and more can be seen as warning signs of impending ecosystem collapse at the planetary scale, with impacts felt in locales and regions around the world. While no single event may be able to draw a causal line directly from climate change, the cumulative correlation indicates escalating destabilization.”

Meanwhile, Trump and his cabinet remain reluctant to discuss the causes of disasters like Harvey as they strike. Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt declared it was “misplaced” to discuss the storm’s link to climate change last week.

But that view was specifically countered by journalist Naomi Klein who said that it is in the midst of these climate-related disasters when the conversation about global warming and its impacts is most important.

“Talking honestly about what is fueling this era of serial disasters—even while they’re playing out in real time—isn’t disrespectful to the people on the front lines,” argued Klein at The Intercept. “In fact, it is the only way to truly honor their losses, and our last hope for preventing a future littered with countless more victims.”


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DACA Under Siege by Trump and AG Jeff Sessions

Last week, Trump pardoned Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a notorious national symbol of racism who refused court orders to stop his racial profiling in his zealous multi-year campaign of persecution against Latino communities. Now, one week later, Trump is throwing MORE red meat to his anti-immigrant and white supremacist supporters by going after immigrant kids, once again undermining American values in order to feed the bigotry of his extreme base. 

This morning, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced to the world that we, as a nation, can no longer be trusted to keep its word, that our word is no longer our bond. You see, in a stunning act of cruelty even for Trump, he had Attorney General Jeff Sessions announce termination of key parts of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program effective six months from now, upending the lives of 800,000+ young people. That 

DACA recipients – often referred to as DREAMers — were brought to the US as children and for many of them this is the only country they’ve ever really known. Under the DACA program, they registered with the government and passed background checks in exchange for being able to work, pay taxes, and feel secure in their homes without the fear of deportation.

Many on the anti-immigrant Right who have been fighting against DACA since Day One have focused their criticism on the way in which it was done – with an executive order by President Obama. They have claimed that the real problem was just that Congress didn’t pass the law – so now it’s up to Congress to call their bluff and pass the DREAM Act.

Congress needs to act now to protect our investment in their education and assimilation before Trump releases his hordes of ICE thugs to begin deportation of DREAMers as their 2-yr authorizations come up for  renewals. And we even have a head start, because the bill already has bipartisan support!

Congress can undo this outrage by passing the DREAM Act of 2017, which would provide a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and other young undocumented immigrants who graduate from US high schools and attend college, enter the workforce, or enlist in a military program.

In the Senate, the DREAM Act is sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) … we need to demand that the Senate make this bipartisan bill a priority, to get relief to the DREAMers who need it.

Petition:  << Tell Congress to PASS the DREAM Act of 2017 without delay! >>

Or, better yet, take a moment from your day and call or write your members of Congress and ask them to expedite bringing the Dream Act of 2017 [ House bill#:  H.R.3440 / Senate bill#: S.1615 ] to the floor for a vote AND to vote for its passage:

Trump Set to Deport Dreamers to Appease His Supremacist Base

A Note from Senator Catherine Cortez Masto —

Last month, we celebrated the fifth anniversary of President Obama’s landmark Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This program granted hundreds of thousands of young people the opportunity to come out of the shadows and pursue the American Dream.

Dreamers are our soldiers, engineers, teachers and the future of this great nation. They embody everything we stand for as a country. But right now, DACA is under grave threat, and Dreamers are anxious about their future. Anti-immigrant attorneys general are threatening to sue the Trump administration if he doesn’t end DACA – and recent reports suggest Trump is finally about to follow through with his disgraceful campaign pledge to end the program. Now, more than ever, we need to stand up and defend these inspiring young men and women!

More than 12,000 DACA recipients call Nevada home, and I have been fortunate enough to spend time with many of them. They are fighters. They never give up. These young people were brought to our country as children, and for many of them, America is the only place they’ve ever called home. But now, they face constant uncertainty about their futures. This is wrong. We should be helping them live up to their full potential.

Not only is rescinding this program un-American, it is economically unsound. Deporting nearly 800,000 DACA beneficiaries would cost our economy at least $433 billion over the next 10 years. That’s not an economic policy we should embrace.

Welcoming immigrants is an American tradition. We should not be tearing families apart and inciting fear and discrimination. Dreamers are our loved ones, our friends, our neighbors, and we must protect them.

Thank you for standing up for these extraordinary young people.

¡La lucha sigue! 
The fight continues!


Got a Twitter account?  Tweet your demands to respect and protect DACA to: @POTUS, @realDonaldTrump, @VP, @MarkAmodeiNV2, @SenDeanHeller

City Govts are Raising Standards for Working People—GOP State Legislators are Reversing Them

A new EPI report analyzes the recent wave of preemption laws passed by state legislatures to undercut local labor standards. EPI associate labor counsel Marni von Wilpert shows that preemption activity has increased dramatically since 2010, as Republican-controlled state legislatures have repeatedly struck down local government efforts to improve the working conditions of their residents. Just last week the minimum wage in St. Louis was lowered from $10 per hour back down to $7.70 per hour because of a preemption law passed in Missouri. Von Wilpert provides an overview of five areas affected by preemption—minimum wage, paid leave, fair work scheduling, prevailing wage, and project labor agreements—and details the impact of preemption throughout the United States.  Read the Full Report.

NV GOP Apparently Believes — When You Can’t Win, Stoop to Gutter Politics!

— An “ask” from Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto

What Nevada Republicans are doing right now is disgusting. Truly an all-time low.

The people of Nevada made their voices heard loud and clear last November. In fact, Nevada was one of the few bright spots on Election Day. Because of your hard work, you sent me to the U.S. Senate – which I am eternally grateful for – and you also flipped both chambers in the state legislature back to a Democratic majority, including winning key battleground districts.

But right now, Republicans in Nevada are so desperate to gain control back, they have stooped to an all-time low by completely disregarding the will of Nevada’s hardworking families. Republicans have filed recall petitions against three women in the Senate Democratic caucus: Joyce Woodhouse, Nicole Cannizzaro, and Patricia Farley – all in extremely competitive districts. And now, I need your help to fight back.

At this very moment, right-wing special interests are funneling incredible amounts of money into Nevada to pay folks to collect the petition signatures they need to get these recalls on the ballot.

Let me be clear: This recall effort is a scam. It is pathetic and it is wrong. The election was nearly 10 months ago, and the people of Nevada have spoken. They want a Democratic majority in the state legislature.

If Nevada Republicans get the number of signatures they need, Democrats will have a tiny window to challenge it in court. This is not good. And we’re running out of time. Please consider stepping up and giving $25 or more to the Nevada State Democratic Party right now so we can fight back against this Republican scam to roll back our Democratic majority?  If you can’t afford giving funds, consider calling NSDP headquarters (702-737-8683) and giving of your time to participate in phone-banking southern Nevada residents in the affected districts and asking them NOT to sign the GOP’s recall petitions.

Thank you for your support and for standing up for our hard-fought Democratic majorities. We will not let Nevada’s Republicans fool us.

¡La lucha sigue!
The fight continues!


Note: The citizens of Nevada are granted the authority to perform a recall election by Section 9 of Article II of the Nevada Constitution, which says:

“Every public officer in the State of Nevada is subject, as herein provided, to recall from office by the registered voters of the state, or of the county, district, or municipality which he represents.”

This broad right of recall in Nevada applies to all elective “State” officers (not Members of Congress, as they’re Federal officers) after the first six months of the term to which the incumbent was elected and does not require a “reason” in order to start a recall petition. For the GOP to get to a recall election, they need gather signatures from 25% of those people who actually voted in the election for that member of the legislature.

  • For Farley — Need to gather more than 7,100 signatures from people who voted in Nevada’s 8th Senate district in 2014 (a low turnout mid-term election) by Nov. 9.
  • For Woodhouse — Need to gather more than 13,000 signatures from people who voted last year in the Senate District 5 race by Oct. 31.
  • For Cannizzaro — Need to gather more than 14,975 of the people who voted in District 6 in 2016 by Nov. 14.

You should also note that GOP “conservatives” are attempting force the State to pay for a repeat election at taxpayer expense for “no stated good reason.” It is NOT “conservative” to force an election just because they don’t like the fact that the voters chose Democrats to represent them in the State Legislature.  Such actions consume vital tax dollars that should be spent on vital infrastructure, education, healthcare, etc.

Also worthy of noting is that should the GOP be successful in a recall, it would shake up the powerful Nevada Legislative Commission. That commission handles the Legislature’s business when it is not in session and when constituents have little input into decisions being made.