Can You Believe?
Can you believe Rep. Mimi Walters claiming she improved the GOP tax bill? The bill cut her constituents off at the knees with its frontal assault on state and local tax deductions. Walters got the leadership to provide “minuscule” relief to only about half of the people in her district, then declared victory and voted for this heinous bill. To see how her constituents might feel, check out my “Scrooge” ad here.
Can you believe the Trump administration nominating such grossly unqualified, unprepared people to the federal bench? You’d think they could find a few more right-wing ideologues with trial court experience! As Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) said after one nominee’s appalling Judiciary Committee hearing, “Just because you’ve seen My Cousin Vinny doesn’t qualify you to be a federal judge.”
Can you believe the EPA hiring an ultraconservative opposition research firm to spy on its employees and make sure no one said anything critical of the administration? Kudos to Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Kamala Harris for blowing the whistle on this police-state move and embarrassing EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt into terminating the $120,000 contract.
Hits and Misses – the week’s best and worst moves
Hit of the Week: Ady Barkan, terminally ill with ALS, moved millions to tears and outrage with his heroic fight against the GOP tax bill and its underhanded attack on the Affordable Care Act.
Miss of the Week: No contest. The GOP tax bill is the miss of the year in a year full of misses.
Hot House Race of the Week
Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA39) has been elected to the House 13 times, usually by wide margins against unknown, unfunded opponents. That’s about to change. After Hillary won Royce’s district by 8.6%, Democrats lined up to run against him. And no wonder: Royce is a hard-core conservative with extreme positions on civil rights, human rights, health care, gun control, and economic and environmental issues. He has voted with Trump 96.6% of the time, including this week’s big tax vote. That’s not going to sit well with his constituents, who Royce chose to harm with his vote: Last year 66.3% of them took the mortgage interest deduction, and 74.7% took the property tax deduction – both of which are eviscerated by the GOP tax bill.
Today’s Republican party exists for two principal reasons: to cut taxes on the rich and shred the social safety net. The tax bill does both with cruel efficiency. The tax cut part is clear: 83% of the bill’s benefits go to the top 1% of taxpayers. As for the safety net, we already see Trump crowing about destroying Obamacare, and we know the GOP wants to make huge cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security to narrow the massive deficits they just created.