Trump Angers Republicans By Calling Healthcare Bill “Mean”

When Donald Trump and House Republicans celebrated passing a horrendous healthcare replacement for the Affordable Care Act, very few of them acted as if they knew exactly how bad for the people the bill really was. Obviously Trump would have celebrated anything, but without any typical Congressional Budget Office (CBO) assessment of either the benefits or damage to the economy or the people, he and the GOP were celebrating a veritable mystery to the public. Now that everyone and their brother is cognizant of the draconian nature of the House Republican bill, even Trump can no longer pretend he doesn’t know it is just “mean, mean, mean.”

That the House GOP bill is mean is what Trump told Republican Senators working on their own mean, and highly secretive, version of a repeal-and-replace healthcare bill. However, House Republicans heard that the Trump’s “inconveniently candid” assessment of their replacement healthcare bill is now public and they are not happy with the cheerful fascist in the Oval Office. They also are aware that he called on Senate Republicans to make their version “more generous” than the “mean” House version.

The Associated Press reported that Trump told Senate Republicans behind closed-doors that they had to revise the “the House repeal-and-replace bill to make it more generous;” the version he praised to high heaven and celebrated in the Rose Garden as “a great plan” is just too “mean, mean, mean.” When the Trump’s comments leaked, House Republicans felt “undercut” politically and are not happy with their fearless leader for expressing out loud what Democrats have been screaming relentlessly about.

Over at Politico there was a fairly accurate assessment of exactly how “thrown under the bus” House Republicans must feel after Trump’s criticism of a bill he pushed them vigorously to pass. They write:

Now you hear the president has gone behind closed doors and told senators the House bill is “mean” and says it doesn’t do enough to cover people. Wouldn’t that anger you? Well, it’s angering a lot of House Republicans, who believe their president put them at political risk with that comment … If you’re a House Republican, are you going to help the White House next time after the president privately just dumped all over you after you cast a vote for him? A lot of GOP lawmakers are buzzing about it, and many are none too pleased with the president right now.”

Of course House Republicans are irritated and most likely all of them feel justified at being disgusted with Trump on some level. Either they voted for a bill that they believed was too harsh or not harsh enough just to sate Trump’s lust for some kind of legislative accomplishment. However, no-one should believe for a second that Trump is gaining a measure of humanitarianism or regard for the people; he wants a bill that only makes him appear reasonable or he wouldn’t have profusely praised the “mean” House bill in the first place. It was the negative media attention and reporting from the CBO’s assessment that tens-of-millions of Americans will be harmed that put pressure on the Trump he’s passing off on House Republicans who believed they were doing him a favor.

As Greg Sargent at the Washington Post noted, just because Trump admitted he knows the House version of healthcare reform is mean, “it should not be taken seriously as an actual statement of [his] values.” He did, after all, champion and celebrate the ‘mean’ bill publicly until news of the CBO assessment became well-reported. What that means for the Senate version is that Republicans will have to devise some clever buzzword or flashy meme to “pretend the final product is more generous than it will surely end up.”

Look, most House Republicans knew exactly how mean their bill was and it is exactly why their version, and now the Senate version, was crafted in “secret” and passed hastily before the CBO could assess its damages. That lack of transparency is a concession that Republicans know just how mean their “final product” is really going to be and why Senate Republicans are crafting their own draconian measure in total secrecy.

House Republicans are slightly more than just “miffed” that their hero Trump admitted in a way that was guaranteed to leak that he knows there will be millions upon millions of people who will be hurt by any Republican “Obamacare” replacement. As the WaPo piece noted, Trump’s primary sin was giving the American people a preview of an impending disaster that Republicans “have gone to extraordinary lengths to keep hidden,” even from Senate Democrats.

Maybe now Republicans in the House will realize that they can’t trust Trump any more than any other American can, and that he will hurt them with the same disregard and contempt as the Republican healthcare bill is going to hurt tens-of-millions of Americans.

 

Republicans Want To Tax 177 Million Americans’ Healthcare

 

Despite their stated hatred of taxation on general principles, Republicans always find a means of raising taxes on the poor and middle class. And they always find some absurd justification for doing so that typically translates into funding tax cuts for the rich and corporations according to their trickle down economic scam.

Based on the past 8 years, it has become glaringly evident that Republicans also detest the idea of all Americans having access to healthcare, so they are conniving to punish Americans who do have healthcare through their employer by taxing them for having a job with a healthcare benefit. As if the Republican healthcare replacement plan wasn’t detrimental and unpopular enough, Senate Republicans are embracing a Paul Ryan idea to raise taxes on the poor and middle class for having healthcare benefits as part of their employment compensation package.

Most Americans likely couldn’t imagine how Republicans could possibly punish more than the estimated 23 to 24 million Americans who would lose access to medical care under their “Obamacare” replacement plan, but Republicans found a means of punishing over half the American population; tax the over 177-million Americans who have health plans through their employer. Such an obscene idea was offered in the House version of the “Obamacare” replacement, but for some reason it wasn’t adopted. However, Ryan’s draconian plan is gaining traction in the GOP-controlled Senate and is being considered by a growing number of Republicans.

According to Republican senators’ aides, there are already a number of GOP Senators open to Ryan’s idea of taxing 177 million Americans’ healthcare, including teabagger and Mormon from Utah Senator Mike Lee. Thus far there is no consensus on whether such a draconian measure would ultimately be included in the Senate Republicans’ draft bill of a healthcare replacement plan, but they are considering writing it into the plan during their next week-long paid congressional vacation.

According to the Ayn Rand acolyte Paul Ryan, taxing an additional 177 million Americans because they have healthcare plans through their employer is only fair because the current tax code is unfair. It is curious that Republicans love the idea of institutionalized discrimination founded on religious dogmata, but where employer’s health plans are concerned, Ryan insists Republicans’ duty is to “stop  discrimination in the tax code” against people who “want to buy healthcare in the open market of their own choosing.”

His assertion is that favoring people who get healthcare insurance through their work, even though they pay for it, is cheating the people who want to go buy a healthcare insurance “plan of their choosing.”  It sounds as if Ryan’s plan has an ulterior motive of killing the idea of employer healthcare plans so all American have to seek out private insurance plans that are significantly more expensive than a “group” type policy.

What Ryan or his Republican barbarians won’t tell their stupid constituents is that the argument that employer plans aren’t fair for private buyers is precisely what the Affordable Care Act’s healthcare exchanges provided all Americans; the ability to buy the healthcare plan “of their choosing” as a member of a large group with smaller premiums.

Republicans can no longer claim they are averse to taxation, or give any kind of shit that all Americans have access to medical care. They like the idea of raising taxes on 177 million people because they have health care, even though employees and their employers alike are already paying for premiums, co-pays and other substantial out-of-pocket expenses. And, they are already being taxed on those benefits as part of their employment compensation package. There are also strong rumors that in the Trump-Republican tax reform plan, deducting the expense of healthcare is going to be abolished resulting in yet another tax hike on the middle class – because they have healthcare insurance.

It seems there is no end to the ways Republicans intend on punishing Americans to provide more tax cuts for the rich. It is bad enough they celebrated openly and reveled in the prospect of taking healthcare away from 23 to 24 million Americans to partially fund tax cuts for the rich. Now they want to punish 177 million more Americans by taxing them simply because they have healthcare that wasn’t purchased individually in the private healthcare marketplace.

No human being can say Republicans aren’t evil for evil’s sake, or are not going to be content until they take everything away from the poor and middle class to sate the greed of the richest one-percent; because that is the only reason they want to tax 177 million Americans for having healthcare, or stripping medical care from 23 million poor Americans. All told, this latest revelation means that Republicans are content, and likely pleased with themselves, at the prospect of punishing over two-thirds of the American population just to reward approximately 400 uber-wealthy families with more tax cuts.

 

 

 

Republicans Enact a Rule to Punish and Fire Civil Servants

Republicans are renowned for condemning regulations and rules as federal government tyranny because they protect the population from the GOP’s corporate and religious supporters. However, they have little issue making rules that allow their supporters to tyrannize the rest of the citizenry.

House Republicans took a little constituent heat last week when, while making rules to benefit the GOP, they tried to abolish the independent congressional ethics office; an office dirty Donald Trump claimed was “unfair to Republicans.” It was a revealing statement and is reminiscent of every career criminal in history saying the police, the courts, and prisons are unfair to criminals; but that is another story.

While they were rolling back the effort to protect and defend unethical Republican lawmakers, they were making other rules that will have a significant impact across the government. And, it is noteworthy that none of the Republican rules was created to help even one American private citizen. In fact, one rule was enacted to tyrannize individual American workers.

One of the “new rules” in the Republican-dominated Congress expands Republicans’ power to terrorize individual federal employees who run afoul of the Koch and religious right agenda. In resurrecting a rule first introduced in 1876, Republicans granted themselves unchallenged authority to target and force private American citizens to Capitol Hill to be “interrogated” by Republicans in the House. That obscure rule also allows Congress to slash the pay of any government worker, or eliminate a program that doesn’t fit the Koch or religious right agenda.

The so-called “Holman rule” was first proposed in 1876 by a House representative that stayed in play until 1983. That was the year when a Democratic-controlled House put an end to the Holman rule for the obvious reason; it gives far too much power to an individual or party to either tyrannize federal employees or unilaterally do away with entire programs they happen to despise or disagree with.

The new iteration of the Holman rule was reinstated by a House Republican, Morgan Griffith (R-VA), who is also a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus (teabagger). Griffith championed the “arcane provision” as a tool to allow either an individual legislator or a group of lawmakers to make targeted cuts to the federal workforce depending on who may have disagreed openly with Republicans.

The 2017 version gives any lawmaker the power to insert an amendment to any appropriations bills that allows them, by virtue of Republican whim, to unilaterally fire any federal employee or cut their pay down to $1 dollar; depending on how vengeful the individual lawmaker or group happens to feel on a given day.

Democrats in the House, particularly those representing districts with large numbers of federal employees, said the rule was reinstated for malicious reasons. For example, Representative Gerry Connolly (D-VA) said that Republicans revived the rule solely to “undermine civil service employee protections by stripping away necessary [workplace and employment] safeguards.

Connolly rightly labeled the measure “the Armageddon Rule,” and revealed the real reason Republicans unilaterally revived a rule for their campaign donors’ benefit. Mr. Connolly stated the obvious that it’s “a backdoor way for Republicans to dismantle the federal workforce.” One would add that it is also a backdoor way to eviscerate federal workplace protections the Holman rule supersedes.

The national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, J. David Cox Sr., condemned the Republicans’ move saying:

The so-called Holman Rule undermines civil service protections for the millions of working people who process our Social Security checks, safeguard our borders, support our military, research cures for deadly diseases, and carry out programs and services that are vital to our nation. Reviving this rule means lawmakers will be able to cut the pay and jobs of individual workers or groups of workers without getting input from the agencies where these employees work.”

Democrats also said they feared the rule gives Republicans the tools to root out individual federal workers who hold views or perform work that is not favored by the Trump, the Kochs or the religious right. Remember that a couple of weeks ago Trump’s transition team demanded the names of any Department of Energy employee who worked on the Paris climate accord. Trump’s people also wanted the names of individual State Department employees who worked on gender equality or proposals to advance women’s right around the world.

Representative Connolly actually got around to citing precisely what the teabagger-incited Holman resurrection is meant to achieve for the Koch brothers and their partners in government ownership, the religious right. He said:

The Republican Rules package provides them with the surgical tools necessary to reach into the inner workings of the federal government and cut away each part and employee that runs afoul of their ideological agenda. This, coupled with the President-elect’s proposed federal hiring freeze and the nomination of individuals to head agencies they openly oppose, could be devastating to the critical mission of the federal government.”

It is important to note, for the ten-thousandth time, that “devastating the mission of the federal government” is now, and has always been, the overarching goal of the Koch brothers. That religious Republicans can reach in and “cut away” employees that dare “run afoul of their ‘religious’ agenda” is a value-added bonus and yet another religious threat to Americans’ freedoms. What the new rule means is that no civil servant’s job is secure unless they agree with the current majority in Congress, the religious right, the Koch brothers and the tyrant Trump’s nasty agenda.

This “new rule” for Republicans serves a purpose that is beyond what they need to slash government to death. Since they control all three branches and have Trump appointing department heads with a view toward destroying them, this particular rule is meant to terrorize and intimidate civil servants who may disagree with a Republican or religious agenda. That any individual lawmaker can drag a private citizen before Congress to be interrogated like a common criminal is beyond tyranny. That they can summarily fire a civil servant on a whim, or cut their pay to $1 is more than tyranny; it is forcing them to work under duress or what normal people call blackmail.