Republicans Concede Their Latest Trumpcare Bill is Dead

By Addy Baird and Amanda Michelle Gomez

A hastily written health bill — with deep cuts to Medicaid and major hits to patient regulatory protections — ran into the same political problems as bills before it, and failed to garner enough support in the Senate.

Republicans announced Tuesday the party does not have the votes to pass their latest health care bill, known as the Graham-Cassidy bill, and will forgo a vote this week. Instead they will move on to tax reform, reaching for at least one legislative win before midterm elections. Efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are not dead, but a “matter of when,” Republicans promised.

“We are going to fulfill our promise,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) during a press conference Tuesday. “Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson will be the alternative to Obamacare.”

The news came after Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) announced Monday that she will vote against the latest ACA-repeal bill, making her the third Republican to definitively oppose the bill.

Republicans in Congress were attempting to pass the latest repeal-and-replace bill through the reconciliation process, meaning it needed only a simple majority to pass the Senate. In order to have at least 50 votes, Republicans could safely lose just two members. Prior to Collins’ announcement, Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and John McCain (R-AZ) had already said they would vote against the bill.

The Graham-Cassidy bill — the fifth GOP health bill seeking to replace Obamacare — would have repealed the ACA subsidies and Medicaid expansion, then replaced previous federal funding with block grants. States — with waiver authority — could roll back essential health benefits and allow insurers to raise premiums for sick patients or those with pre-existing conditions. Additionally, the bill would make cuts to Medicaid overall, which provides care to low-income adults, children, elderly, and people with disabilities.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated millions more people would be uninsured under the Graham-Cassidy bill than under current law. Additionally, the CBO projected that federal spending on Medicaid would be reduced by about $1 trillion between 2017-2026.

But Monday’s score did not provide a comprehensive analysis because the nonpartisan government did not have enough time to review the bill. The legislative text was released just two weeks ago, leaving little time for thorough analysis from agencies and lawmakers. There was just one hearing on the legislation Monday afternoon, which was largely overtaken by protests.

The reconciliation deadline is September 30. In order to pass this version of repeal and replace through the reconciliation process, it needed to pass the Senate before Saturday.

Republicans can still bring back ACA repeal next year. Already, lawmakers are contemplating combining health with tax reform, a move that’s not impossible from a procedural perspective. What is clear, Republican voters overwhelmingly want lawmakers to repeal current health law.

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Reposted from ThinkProgress

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Failing Bridges Hold Public Hostage

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) gave the public just a few hours’ notice before closing a major bridge in March, citing significant safety concerns.

The West Seattle Bridge functioned as an essential component of  the city’s local and regional transportation network, carrying 125,000 travelers a day while serving Seattle’s critical maritime and freight industries. Closing it was a huge blow to the city and its citizens. 

Yet neither Seattle’s struggle with bridge maintenance nor the inconvenience now facing the city’s motorists is unusual. Decades of neglect left bridges across the country crumbling or near collapse, requiring a massive investment to keep traffic flowing safely.

When they opened it in 1984, officials predicted the West Seattle Bridge would last 75 years.

But in 2013, cracks started appearing in the center span’s box girders, the main horizontal support beams below the roadway. These cracks spread 2 feet in a little more than two weeks, prompting the bridge’s closure.

And it’s still at risk of falling.  

The city set up an emergency alert system so those in the “fall zone” could be quickly evacuated if the bridge deteriorates to the point of collapse.

More than one-third of U.S. bridges similarly need repair work or replacement, a reminder of America’s urgent need to invest in long-ignored infrastructure.

Fixing or replacing America’s bridges wouldn’t just keep Americans moving. It would also provide millions of family-supporting jobs for steel and cement workers, while also boosting the building trades and other industries.

With bridges across the country close to failure and millions unemployed, America needs a major infrastructure campaign now more than ever.

 

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work