Fighting Back: “Only those already well off are better off under this Republican economy”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.

(Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) on Kavanaugh nomination)

“From President Trump’s repeated campaign promises, we know that Judge Kavanaugh poses a grave threat to women’s health care and the weakening of Roe v. Wade. We know he will vote to effectively eliminate the Affordable Care Act and undermine protections for millions of Americans who suffer from pre-existing conditions, including more than 500,000 Connecticut residents,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). “My colleagues and I are often asked by constituents: what can we do? The answer is stand up and speak out. It’s a call to action. Mobilize your neighbors and galvanize the American public – just as we did during the health care debate, when they tried time and again to ram through Trumpcare. The risk to our healthcare system is just as great now as it was then.”

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Transcript not available.

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Leader Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference on Thursday:

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Leader Pelosi. Good morning.

This week the President announced his Supreme Court nominee, who will seek to reverse generations of progress for Americans’ health care and for Roe v. Wade.

Judge [Brett] Kavanaugh’s comments make abundantly clear that he will expansively rule against women’s reproductive rights and freedoms and move to destroy Roe v. Wade. A speech praising [Chief Justice William] Rehnquist for his dissent – he gave a speech, not probably well-known but praising Chief Justice Rehnquist for his dissent in Roe v. Wade.

Again, you all know he ruled against a young undocumented woman’s right to choose.

And, again, those two issues, I think, have such an impact on people’s personal lives that are imminently in danger, the Roe v. Wade and health care. But in addition to that, the over-arching concern about the separation of powers, checks and balances, his kow-towing to the President, effectively saying that the President is above the law.

The President has said, we will repeal Roe v Wade. It ‘will happen automatically.’ So we know what this is about. And it is a very dangerous, dangerous prospect.

So hopefully, the American people will make their voices heard to the Senate.

The [nominee] has given every indication that he would be receptive to the Republican campaign to destroy the health care law of the land, shattering protections, pre-existing conditions protections for over 130 million Americans and their families.

Judge Kavanaugh’s belief in vast presidential authority suggests he believes, again, that the President is above the law.

Democrats in the House and Senate will continue to drive home what’s at stake in the Supreme Court battle in the personal lives of Americans.

This week, the Republicans are saying that Americans are better off because of their House Republican policies, but it is only the well-off who are better off from the GOP’s special interest agenda.

The American people aren’t better off from their flat real wages, as CEOs and shareholders hoard their tax scam with windfalls and deny workers the bigger paychecks they deserve and by some, promised.

Families aren’t better off from the staggering debt burden on our children’s future from the GOP tax scam for the rich that added up to $2 trillion or more to the national debt, endangering, as they did with their follow up budget, cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security disability benefits. Very clear, they’ve endangered Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits because they have a big debt that was incurred by the tax scam.

And families are not better off from the GOP’s cruel, the cruelty of their health sabotage to drive up health insurance premiums while handing massive tax breaks to pharma companies hiking prescription drug prices.

What a joke. The President said he was going to move for negotiation, ‘I’m going to negotiate like crazy.’ And what did he do but give them license to continue, do some little anecdotal things. And don’t take it from me. Their stock prices went up as soon as he was finished with his statement.

In the courts and in the Congress and in the administration, Republicans are stacking the deck for their wealthy donors and special interests at the expense of the health and economic security of hard-working Americans.

For eighteen months, Americans have seen whose priorities really matter to Republicans in control of Congress, and it is not the priorities of consumers, children, seniors, families, middle class and those who aspire to it.

Families across America are getting a raw deal from the Republicans. Democrats are proposing A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Pay, Better Future.

Any questions?

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

Nancy Pelosi on Putin’s Puppet:

If the President leaves the Putin meeting without ironclad assurances and concrete steps towards a full cessation of Russian attacks on our democracy this meeting will not only be a failure, it will be a great step backward for the future of the international order and global security. A successful meeting means really action now.

But all of the behavior of the President this week, as a continuation of his behavior before, begs the question that I have asked for 18 months: What do the Russians have on Donald Trump, politically, financially and personally?

Because there is no way to explain the disrespect that he’s demonstrating for our NATO alliance, just the lack of understanding of the threat that Russia is, not only to our democratic process, but to undermining NATO, which is a core security alliance.

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The Better Off Are Better Off Now

Today, House Republicans unveil their new slogan “Better Off Now” – trying to convince the American people they are better off now because of GOP policies.

But our question is… WHO is better off now?!

Under Republican leadership of the House, Senate and White House, hard-working families are being offered a raw deal from health care, to taxes, to gas prices and the economy, while the better off are better off now for sure.

Business Insider: Rising Gas Prices Are Taking A Big Chunk Out of People’s Disposable Income

U.S. gasoline prices are at a four-year-high this year as a result of the higher price of oil which has reached three-and-a-half-year high in recent weeks.

The increased pump prices are now eating into the disposable income of the average American household that will have a total of $440 less to spend this year on other goods and services because this money is expected to go for buying higher-priced gasoline.

The higher spending on gas could offset one-third of the gains from the tax cuts, with low- and middle-income families feeling the pinch much more than higher-income earners, according to S&P Global economists Beth Bovino and Satyam Panday.

New York Times: Health Insurers Warn of Market Turmoil as Trump Suspends Billions in Payments

The Trump administration said Saturday that it was suspending a program that pays billions of dollars to insurers to stabilize health insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act, a freeze that could increase uncertainty in the markets and drive up premiums this fall.

“Any action to stop disbursements under the risk adjustment program will significantly increase 2019 premiums for millions of individuals and small-business owners, and could result in far fewer health plan choices,” said Justine G. Handelman, a senior vice president of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. “It will undermine Americans’ access to affordable care, particularly for those who need medical care the most.”

“We are very discouraged by the new market disruption brought about by the decision to freeze risk adjustment payments,” said Matt Eyles, the president and chief executive of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group for insurers.

CNBC: US farmers could take a significant hit from trade war

“We can’t afford any increase in price,” Guernsey said on “Closing Bell” Thursday. “The difference between making money and losing money per head sometimes is just a couple of dollars. And whenever you’re looking at duties like this, it could make or break the operation.”

In fact, the tariffs might only make the situation worse for some farmers. The agricultural economy has been in a down slump for more than a decade. Profits from U.S. farms are forecast to reach a 12-year-low in 2018, according to the Department of Agriculture.

MarketWatch: Why the Trump tax cut may not boost the economy at all

The White House forecasts the tax cuts will lift growth to a 3% rate this year and it sees the economy remaining above that growth rate through 2025.

But Daniel Wilson, a vice president in the San Francisco Fed’s research department, and Tim Mahedy, a former associate economist at the regional bank, said these expectations may not be met.

Republicans’ big roll out this morning is just more smoke and mirrors and broken promises to the American people.

While the GOP Congress and Administration continues to take every opportunity to stack the deck for the wealthy and well-connected against hard-working families and seniors, Democrats are fighting for A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, and a Better Future for everyone.

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  6 comments for “Fighting Back: “Only those already well off are better off under this Republican economy”

  1. JanF
    July 14, 2018 at 7:25 am

    Monday was the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 14th Amendment.

    Pelosi Statement on the 150th Anniversary of the 14th Amendment

    Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement to mark the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 14th Amendment, which lays out the rights of citizenship, access to due process and guarantees equal protection under the law to all people in the United States:

    “One hundred and fifty years ago, with the ratification of the 14th Amendment, our nation took a monumental step forward in its ever-advancing march toward a more perfect union. By expanding the rights of citizenship and due process, and guaranteeing equal protection under law, the 14th Amendment righted historic wrongs by overturning the outrageous, immoral Dred Scott decision. This landmark amendment soon paved the way for many of our nation’s most important legal and legislative victories, including the desegregation of schools, a woman’s right to choose and marriage equality.

    “On this historic day, the protections guaranteed in the 14th Amendment are under dire threat from a Republican Administration and Congress determined to undermine the health, safety, civil rights and financial security of hard-working Americans. President Trump’s nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy places a generation of progress for women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, voting rights, workers’ rights and health care in peril. All of President Trump’s potential nominees are prepared to dismantle our nation’s promise of liberty, equality and opportunity for all, and to radically alter the course of American justice for decades to come.

    “The rights enumerated in the 14th Amendment are fundamental to our democracy and to our values as a nation where all are created equal. While Republicans work to undermine these values and weaken our democracy, Democrats will stand firm against these outrageous attacks as we continue our work to build a freer, fairer and more just future for everyone.

    Vote, resist, and save our democracy.

  2. July 14, 2018 at 8:35 am

    Thank you, Jan. The Fourteenth Amendment rights of college students are already under attack in New Hampshire. They won’t be able to vote in situ. They’ll have to be motivated enough to ask for absentee ballots.

    We’re now a third-world country.

  3. JanF
    July 14, 2018 at 8:48 am

    In my opinion, the interrogation of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsucks by then Senator Al Franken was Al’s finest moment. He has some advice for his former colleagues when Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh comes before them:

    When Judge Brett Kavanaugh appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senators will have an opportunity to examine his record, his judicial philosophy, and his qualifications for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.

    I wish I could be there. Because I have some questions I’d love to see him answer.

    1. Judge Kavanaugh, welcome. I’d like to start with a series of yes or no questions. The first one is a gimme. Do you think it’s proper for judges to make determinations based on their ideological preconceptions or their personal biases?

    He’ll say no, of course.

    2. Good. Would you agree that judges should make determinations based on their understanding of the facts?

    3. And would you agree that it’s important for a judge to obtain a full and fair understanding of the facts before making a determination?

    This is all pretty standard stuff. Then, however, I’d turn to an issue that’s received a bit of attention—but not nearly enough.
    4. When you were introduced by President Trump, you spoke to the American people for the very first time as a nominee for the Supreme Court. That is a very important moment in this process, wouldn’t you agree?

    5. And one of the very first things that came out of your mouth as a nominee for the Supreme Court was the following assertion: “No president has ever consulted more widely, or talked with more people from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination.” Did I quote you correctly?

    This claim, of course, was not just false, but ridiculous. The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake (a Minnesota native) called it “a thoroughly inauspicious way to begin your application to the nation’s highest court, where you will be deciding the merits of the country’s most important legal and factual claims.”

    It would be only fair to give Kavanaugh a chance to retract that weirdly specific bit of bullshit.

    6. Do you stand by those words today? Yes or no?
    If he says that he doesn’t, I’d skip down to Question 22. But, if he won’t take it back, I’d want to pin him down.

    7. I just want to be clear. You are under oath today, correct?

    8. So, today, you are telling the American people—under oath—that it is your determination that “[n]o president has ever consulted more widely, or talked with more people from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination.”

    9. And that determination—it wouldn’t be based on your ideological preconceptions, would it?

    10. And it’s not based on any personal bias, is it?

    11. No, of course not. That would be improper. Instead, it is based on your understanding of the facts, right?

    12. Was it a “full and fair” understanding of the facts?
    Again, if he decided here to fold his hand and admit that he was full of it, I’d skip down to Question 22. But if not, I’d continue with…

    13. Great. Judge Kavanaugh, are you aware that there have been 162 nominations to the Supreme Court over the past 229 years?

    14. And do you have a full and fair understanding of the circumstances surrounding each nomination?
    Of course he doesn’t.

    15. Of course you don’t. So, in actuality, your statement at that press conference did not reflect a full and fair understanding of the facts—isn’t that right?

    16. This was one of the very first public statements you made to the American people as a nominee for the Supreme Court. A factual assertion you have repeated here under oath. And it did not meet your standard for how a judge should make determinations about issues of national importance.

    17. Let me ask you about some widely-reported facts. Are you aware of the widely-reported fact that President Trump selected you from a list of 25 jurists provided by the conservative Federalist Society?

    18. Are you aware of any other case in which a President has selected a nominee from a list provided to him by a partisan advocacy group?

    19. Are you aware of the widely-reported fact that President Trump spent just two weeks mulling over his selection—whereas, for example, President Obama spent roughly a month before making each of his two Supreme Court nominations?

    20. Let me ask you this. Are you aware of any facts that support your assertion that—and I’ll quote it again—“No president has ever consulted more widely, or talked with more people from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination”?

    21. And yet, you still believe that your assertion was based on a full and fair understanding of the facts?
    Then I’d try to sum it up.

    22. Judge Kavanaugh, do you believe that intellectual honesty and a scrupulous adherence to the facts are important characteristics in a Supreme Court Justice?

    23: And would you say that you displayed those characteristics to your own satisfaction when you made in your very first public remarks (and reiterated here today under oath) your assertion that, “No president has ever consulted more widely, or talked with more people from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination”?
    By the way: Once I had him pinned down on his ridiculous lie, I’d ask where it came from.

    24: Let me ask you about something else. Did President Trump, or anyone in his administration, have any input on your remarks at that press conference?

    25: Did President Trump, or anyone in his administration, instruct, ask, or suggest that you make that assertion?

    I know this might seem like a long chase. Senators have a lot of ground they want to cover in these hearings: health care, choice, net neutrality, and a long list of incredibly important issues on which Kavanaugh has been, and would continue to be, terrible. After all, he was chosen through a shoddy, disgraceful process overseen by the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation.

    And, of course, Kavanaugh is a smart guy. He and his team no doubt know that his easily provable lie is a potential problem, and I’m sure they’re workshopping answers at this very moment.

    But pinning him down on this is important, for a couple of reasons.

    First of all, it was exactly the kind of lie that has been plaguing our discourse for a generation, the kind that has become prevalent under the Trump administration. It’s just a totally made-up assertion that is exactly the opposite of the truth, flowing out of the mouth of a committed partisan who doesn’t care that it’s false. And if you’re sick of people doing that and getting away with it, at some point someone is going to have to start using a prominent stage to bust these lies. If they go unchallenged, then why would any of these guys stop lying, ever?

    More to the point: This episode is a perfect illustration of what the conservative movement has been doing to the Supreme Court nomination and confirmation process specifically, and the judicial system generally, for a generation now.

    In theory, judges are supposed to be above partisan politics. They don’t make law, they interpret it. They don’t create the strike zone, they just call balls and strikes. You know the routine.

    The truth is, for the last generation, conservatives have politicized the Court, and the courts. Kavanaugh is the very model of a young, arch-conservative judge who has been groomed for moments like this one precisely because conservative activists know that he will issue expansive, activist rulings to further their agenda. He has spent his whole career carefully cultivating a reputation as a serious and thoughtful legal scholar—but he wouldn’t have been on that list if he weren’t committed to the right-wing cause.

    That’s why it’s critical to recognize that the very first thing he did as a Supreme Court nominee was to parrot a false, partisan talking point. Of course that’s what he did. Advancing the goals of the Republican Party and the conservative movement is what he’s there to do.

    When the Kavanaugh nomination was announced, I saw a lot of statements from Senators saying they looked forward to carefully evaluating his credentials and asking him questions about his judicial philosophy. But anyone who ignores the obvious fact that this nomination, and the judicial nomination process in general, has become a partisan exercise for Republicans is just playing along with the farce.

    Instead, we ought to be having a real conversation about what conservatives have done to the principle of judicial independence—and what progressives can do to correct it. I can think of no better example of the problem than Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination and the bizarre lie he uttered moments after it was made official. And I can think of no better opportunity to start turning the tide than Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing—even if it means going down a rabbit hole for a few uncomfortable minutes.

  4. bfitzinAR
    July 14, 2018 at 10:56 am

    Holding the Good Thought for blocking the SCOTUS thing as long as possible. But Goddess Above and Below are we going to have a mess to clean up when we get gov’t back in our hands.

  5. JanF
    July 14, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    Running in the Democratic primary in CT CD-05

  6. JanF
    July 14, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    Running in KS-03.

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