U.S. Politics

Here’s what Republicans voted for Wednesday night— $7 million for each of the 400 richest tax-payers

HOLLYWOOD, FL - APRIL 15:  Felue Chang who is newly insured under an insurance plan through the Affordable Care Act receives a checkup from Dr. Peria Del Pino-White at the South Broward Community Health Services clinic on April 15, 2014 in Hollywood, Florida. A report released by the Congressional Budget Office indicates that the Affordable Care Act will cost $5 billion less than originally projected for 2014.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

attribution: Getty Images

And so it begins… (ks)

DAILY KOS

Sure, repealing Obamacare is about bringing “choice” back to Americans when it comes to their health insurance. That’s what Republicans say, right? That it’ll cost consumers less and be better and that’s all they want for the nation. How do you know that’s bullshit? Because of what repeal will really mean: massive tax cuts for the wealthiest tax-payers.

Urged on by Trump, the Senate overnight adopted a budget resolution that clears a path for eliminating the tax-and-spending provisions of the Affordable Care Act by simple majority vote — no Democratic cooperation required. That means repeal of two provisions targeted at high-income households: a 0.9 percent hospital insurance tax on earnings above $250,000 for couples and a 3.8 percent tax on capital gains, dividends and other nonlabor income above that same threshold.That would provide a tax cut averaging $7 million for each of the 400 highest-earning taxpayers, according to new calculations by the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities using Internal Revenue Service data. That cut, the center estimated, would amount to $2.8 billion annually overall — or approximately the value of Obamacare subsidies for those with modest incomes in the 20 smallest states and the District of Columbia.

Overall, eliminating those two levies would represent a tax cut of roughly $346 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Households with million-dollar-plus incomes — a much larger group than the top 400 — would receive an average tax cut of $49,000 a year, the center says.

The only people Republicans are looking out for are the ones in Trump’s swamp.

Joan McCarter

U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: January 12, 2017

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

THE WEEK

1. Trump slams intelligence agencies, press over salacious report
President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday refuted an uncorroborated report that Russia had obtained salacious incriminating information about him. Speaking at his first news conference since July, Trump criticized intelligence agencies, saying they might have been the ones who leaked the information. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper later said he did not believe U.S. intelligence agents had anything to do with the leak, noting that the document containing the claims was put together by an independent source. Trump also slammed news outlets for reporting the details, refusing to call on a CNN correspondent and calling the cable network “fake news” for reporting on the salacious claims. Trump did, however, drop his rejection of intelligence agencies’ conclusion that Russia had hacked his election opponents, saying, “As far as hacking, I think it was Russia.”

Source: The New York Times, Reuters

2. Senate takes first step toward repealing ObamaCare
The Republican-led Senate took a first step toward repealing ObamaCare early Thursday, voting 51-48 to approve a budget resolution Republicans plan to use to start work on dismantling major portions of President Obama’s health care reform law. House leaders plan to take it up Friday. Democrats forced a series of symbolic votes on amendments over nearly seven hours in a bid to hold Republicans responsible for repealing ObamaCare too quickly, urging them to go slower. “Work with us Democrats on a way to improve health care in America, not put chaos in place of affordable care,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said. President-elect Donald Trump said at his Wednesday news conference that Republicans had a plan ready to put in place immediately after ObamaCare’s repeal.

Source: The Washington Post

3. Trump to hand businesses over to sons, ethics chief not impressed
President-elect Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he would not divest from his business empire after he is sworn in, but would turn over management to his adult sons. “They’re not going to discuss it with me,” Trump said at a long-awaited news conference. He also said his company would not strike any new deals abroad while he’s in office. The head of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, criticized Trump’s precedent-breaking plan to continue profiting from his business while president as “wholly inadequate,” saying that it is “meaningless from a conflict of interest perspective” to stop running the business without selling and putting assets in a blind trust. “We can’t risk the perception that government leaders would use their official positions for professional profit,” he said.

Source: Forbes, The Hill

4. Tillerson diverges from Trump in confirmation hearing
President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, broke with Trump on several key issues during his Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing. Tillerson said he did not oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement Trump has condemned, although Tillerson said he questioned “whether the agreement that was negotiated serves all of America’s interests the best.” Tillerson also called Russia’s Ukraine invasion “illegal,” which Trump has not done. Democrats criticized Tillerson for ExxonMobil’s Russia ties, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) criticized him for not condemning Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, and the Philippines for their human rights records.

Source: CNN, Reuters

5. BBC correspondent says multiple sources report Russia has dirt on Trump
BBC correspondent Paul Wood said Wednesday that multiple sources — not just one report by a former British intelligence officer — support the conclusion that Russia has potentially compromising material regarding President-elect Donald Trump. Wood said someone involved in U.S. intelligence told him that at least one Eastern European intelligence agency also knew that Russia had incriminating material on Trump. “I got a message back that there was allegedly more than one tape, not just video, but audio as well, on more than one date, in more than one place, in both Moscow and St. Petersburg,” Wood said, but “nobody should believe something just because an intelligence agent says it.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday called the reports “an absolute fiction,” and Trump dismissed them as “nonsense” during a news conference.

Source: CNN, Raw Story

6. Booker breaks precedent to testify against fellow senator’s confirmation
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) on Wednesday testified against Sen. Jeff Sessions’ nomination to be attorney general, becoming the first sitting senator to speak out as a witness against a colleague at a confirmation hearing for a Cabinet post. Booker said that Sessions, an Alabama Republican, has an extensive record that indicates he is not fit for the job. “If confirmed, Sen. Sessions will be required to pursue justice for women, but his record indicates that he won’t,” Booker said. “He will be expected to defend the equal rights of gay and lesbian and transgender Americans, but his record indicates that he won’t. He will be expected to defend voting rights, but his record indicates that he won’t.” African-American friends and former colleagues defended Sessions against charges of racial insensitivity on Tuesday, and said they believed he would defend laws whether he had voted for or against them.

Source: The Washington Post, The New York Times

7. Taliban releases video showing two Western captives
The Taliban on Wednesday released a video showing two American University of Afghanistan professors who were abducted at gunpoint in August. The video marked the first public confirmation that the Islamist extremist group was holding the professors, Australian Timothy Weeks and American Kevin King. “We ask you to put pressure on the American government and the university to talk more to the Taliban to arrange an exchange,” King, 60, said in the 13-minute clip. The video’s release came months after Navy SEALs tried to rescue the men in a raid in eastern Afghanistan.

Source: The New York Times

8. Germany says influx of asylum seekers slowed dramatically last year
Germany said Wednesday that 280,000 asylum seekers arrived in the country last year, a decline of more than 600,000 compared to 2015. Germany’s interior minister attributed the fall to the closure in the Balkan route that many migrants used on the final leg of their journeys from the Middle East and northern Africa to the heart of Europe. Germany took in the largest number of migrants after Chancellor Angela Merkel adopted a temporary open-door asylum policy in an attempt to accommodate a growing number of Syrians fleeing their war-torn country.

Source: BBC News

9. Prosecutors charge 6 VW executives over emissions scandal
Federal prosecutors on Wednesday announced criminal charges against six Volkswagen executives over the German automaker’s diesel emissions cheating scandal. The defendants include a former head of development for the VW brand and a former head of engine development. One of the executives, Oliver Schmidt, was arrested in Florida last week. The others are believed to be in Germany. The news came as the company struck a plea deal to pay $4.3 billion in criminal and civil penalties, bringing the total cost of settlements with car owners and the government to $20 billion.

Source: The New York Times, Bloomberg

10. Chargers owner reportedly moving team to L.A.
San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos reportedly told NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and some other team owners on Wednesday that he plans to move the franchise from its home of 56 years to Los Angeles, where it would share a futuristic new stadium with the Los Angeles Rams. A person with knowledge of the situation told USA Today that Spanos had not yet told the team’s staff about his decision, although a meeting was scheduled for early Thursday. The mayor of Inglewood, James Butts, said he had not “received 100-percent word they will be moving,” but that he expected to be told in a Thursday meeting. Butts has until Jan. 17 to formally announce his intentions. After that the Oakland Raiders will get the option to share the Inglewood stadium.

Source: USA Today

U.S. Politics

Politicus USA Newsletter 1-12-17

POLITICUS USA

Republicans Pass Bill To Roll Back Key Environmental And Consumer Protections

The GOP move hampers the government’s ability to protect “public health and safety, the environment, workplace safety and consumer financial protections.”

Read more »

‘Not Negotiable’: Mexican President Again Says His Country Won’t Pay For Trump’s Wall

Peña Nieto’s remarks come the same day Trump repeated his promise to get Mexico to pay for the project.

Read more »

Federal Ethics Chief Slams Trump’s ‘Meaningless’ Conflict Of Interest Plan

The president-elect will likely spend much of the next four years distracted by controversy instead of addressing the multitude of challenges the country faces.

Read more »

GOP Prohibits CBO From Reporting How Much ACA Repeal Blows Up the Deficit

The new Republican rule implicitly instructs the CBO not to say how much it will cost taxpayers to repeal Obamacare, because it is frightening.

Read more »

Trump Busted Using Empty Fake Folders As Conflict Of Interest Docs At Press Conference

That big stack of papers and folders that Trump claimed were the documents he used to turn his business over to his sons turned out to be empty fakes.

Read more »

Law Firm Overseeing Trump’s Conflict Of Interest Is Russia’s Law Firm Of The Year

Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse: even the people dealing with Trump’s conflict of interest have a conflict of interest.

Read more »

Cory Booker Makes Democrats Proud With Testimony Against Trump AG Nominee Jeff Sessions

Senate Democrats have been going easy on Sen. Jeff Sessions because he is one of their own. Sen. Cory Booker broke with “senatorial courtesy,” by testifying and telling the truth about Sen. Sessions’ record on civil rights. Video of Sen. Booker’s testimony: Booker said, “I know that some of my colleagues are unhappy that I’m […]

Read more »

Trump Refuses To Answer Whether Or Not He Had Contact With Russia During Campaign

Donald Trump was asked point blank if he had any contact with Russia during the campaign, and the president-elect refused to answer the question.

Read more »

CNN Stands Up To Bully Trump And Dares Him To Point Out Inaccuracies In Russia Report

After Trump had called them “fake news” at his press conference, CNN fired back with a statement challenging Trump to point to the specific inaccuracies in their reporting.
 
Read more »

CNN Reporter Stands Up And Challenges Trump At Press Conference For Calling Them Fake News

As Trump was ranting about how it was “fake news” that he has connections and may have been compromised by Russia, CNN’s Jim Acosta stood up and directly challenged the president-elect’s claim that they are fake news. Trump refused to take a question from CNN.

Read more »

Birther Donald Trump Cracks And Can’t Handle Getting Back What He Dished Out

In a press conference Wednesday morning, the Trump entourage is outraged that the media would dare run stories about terrifying reports that might explain President-elect Donald Trump’s bizarre love for Putin. But this is Donald Trump, who spent eight years referencing non-credible sources to create a fake conspiracy about President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

Read more »

Trump Goes Conspiracy Crazy And Suspects The Intelligence Community Is Out To Get Him

Trump began his first press conference with a conspiratorial claim that the intelligence community leaked the info that he has been compromised by Russia.

Read more »

Al Franken’s Dramatic Exposure of Sessions’ Civil Rights Record Gets Crickets

Through his questioning, Senator Al Franken exposed Jeff Sessions’ lies about his civil rights record in his questionnaire to the committee.

Read more »

Increasingly Hysterical Trump Claims Intel Agencies Are Taking ‘One last shot at me’

In a frenzy of denials, Trump cried ‘fake news,’ accused intel agencies of taking a shot at him, and lied about his business ties to Russia

Read more »

PFAW Accuse Jeff Sessions of ‘Putting His Extreme Ideology Above the Constitution’

PFAW assert that “the burden was on Senator Sessions today to show that he’s fit to serve as attorney general. He failed miserably.”

Read more »

Witch-Hunter-in-Chief Trump Now Claims Russia Rumors Are a ‘Witch Hunt’ and ‘Unfair!’

The man who orchestrated witch-hunts against President Obama and Hillary Clinton now cries, ‘FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!’

Read more »