Tuesday, May 16th, 2017 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues, Obamacare
NPR reported yesterday that a “secret” working group of 13 United States Senators has been meeting to hammer out the next steps in repealing Obamacare.
What do we know at this point?
One, the Senate is NOT taking up the House bill, but will likely use the framework that it was created in (a budget bill) so the reconciliation process can be used. Why is this important? Because to pass a budget reconciliation bill you only need 51 votes and there are 52 GOP Senators.
Two, Senator Ted Cruz is helping lead this working group. This is important because of this: Ted Cruz Shops One and Done Bill. HIs focus is on driving premiums down. That is a winning issue that crosses ideological lines.
Third, according to the NPR story:
Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Bill Cassidy, R-La., have introduced their own health care plan, and they have been prominent voices in the debate, but they were excluded from the health care working group.
If you recall, Bill Cassidy was floating his “Jimmy Kimmel Test” last week. He clearly has no intention of repealing Obamacare and its rising premiums. Susan Collins doesn’t either. The fact that neither are in the room bodes well for this process.
Four, Joe Manchin and other red state Democrats up in 2018 now face a tough decision: keep their Senate seats by voting with their constituents and driving premiums down or lose their seats by voting with the Washington, DC based leadership. They are literally between a rock and a hard place and our guess is 2-3 of them will buckle when the right bill is presented.
While a lot of other news has buried all this, keep an eye on Ted Cruz and this working group. We think something really good is going to come from it.
Monday, May 15th, 2017 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues
The headline today in Politico (“Reckless Stock Trading Leaves Congress Rife with Conflicts“) brought two reactions from the Madison Project staff this morning.
The first was, “Is the liberal media trying to smear Republican Congressmen?”
The second, after reading the story, was, “Come on, man, what are you guys thinking?!”
So we thought we would toss the question out to the broader readership.
Should Members of Congress be allowed to use their subcommittee and committee assignments and insider knowledge to purchase stock in companies that may be affected by the policies they are enacting?
Our view is that this is why Washington, DC is called The Swamp.
Friday, May 12th, 2017 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues, Obamacare
As House healthcare bill heads to the United States Senate, there has been a lot of jostling as to the best path forward now that the House has punted on a full repeal of Obamacare and tossed it to the Senate.
As the stage is set, let’s make sure everyone understands what exactly the state of play is.
The initial bill, one that we dubbed “Ryancare,” was the creation of healthcare lobbyists and the Tuesday Group (House liberals masquerading as Republicans) with no input from the House Freedom Caucus or the conservative movement as a whole.
It met the fate that was preordained for it the moment the process began sans conservatives.
Upon its demise, President Trump said, “That’s it, we tried, we couldn’t get Obamacare repealed.”
The House Freedom Caucus, eager to help Trump fulfill one of this three major campaign promises (The Wall, Repeal, Tax Reform), said, “Not so fast!”
Patching together a stage coalition, Mark Meadows and the House Freedom Caucus sent (as they acknowledged) an imperfect but improved version of a healthcare bill to the Senate. It’s still not reform, but neither is it the Frankenstein Ryancare was. Lost on many was and is the fact that the House bill was drafted as a budget reconciliation bill. This is a important component on which the entire process hinges (for more on budget reconciliation, read this.).
Enter Ted Cruz. Love him, hate him, disbelieve him-it doesn’t matter. He has been consistent on a host of issues, the foremost of which is the total repeal of Obamacare. Now that the House bill is in the Senate hands, it is going to be disassembled and patched back together, likely returning to a version closer to Ryancare than anything else.
Unless Ted Cruz has his way. With three election cycles worth of campaign promises resting on the full repeal of Obamacare, Cruz . . .
. . . said he has been working for weeks with the now-thirteen member group of GOP senators on an Obamacare repeal and replacement plan that would eliminate the need for a second phase of legislation to replace failing healthcare law. Instead of a limited repeal and replace bill followed by another bill later, the GOP wish-list for replacing Obamacare would be packed into a single budget resolution to repeal Obamacare that could pass with only GOP support using a tool called reconciliation.
“I believe the only meaningful healthcare reform will be through reconciliation,” Cruz told the Washington Examiner in an interview.
He is right. Why? Because through the reconciliation process, it only takes 51 votes to repeal Obamacare, not 60. Mitch McConnell and Senate leadership have already proven with the Grouch nomination fight that a 51 vote versus 60 vote threshold is perfectly acceptable on controversial issues like judges.
The current number of GOP Senators? 52.
With the clock ticking and premiums rising sky high, now is the time to act on the full repeal of Obamacare.
Thursday, April 20th, 2017 and is filed under Blog, Elections
Now that the dust has settled in the GA-6 primary, the choices are very clear as we head into a two month run-off.
On one side is Jon Ossoff, darling of the Left and Hollywood favorite. Not only are his politics out of step with GA-6, he doesn’t actually even live in the district.
Advancing in to the runoff against Ossoff is Karen Handel.
Elected Secretary of State in Georgia in 2006, Handel eventually ran and finished third in the 2014 United States Senate primary. But it was her work and the positions she took during her time at Susan G. Komen for the Cure that showed her mettle.
Hired by Komen in 2011 as senior vice president of public policy, Handel set in motion new policy efforts to change the way Komen made grants to affiliated groups. Her policy on grant making was approved by the board and because of it, Komen’s grants to Planned Parenthood ended. In the media driven backlash that followed, Komen reinstated its old policy and granted funds to Planned Parenthood. In the aftermath, Handel took the principled stand and resigned. That shows us a lot about the character of Karen Handel.
This is not going to be an easy run-off. Democrats nationwide are motivated to get a win before the 2018 election season begins in earnest. This runoff is happening because Ossoff missed winning it outright this past Tuesday by less than two points. This is an all hands on deck situation and we are excited to endorse Karen Handel in this important race!
Friday, April 14th, 2017 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues
There is a debate raging in Washington, DC as to why the GOP, holding the trifecta of the White House, the House and the Senate, cannot repeal Obamacare.
Simple answer? They don’t want to.
Or at least a lot of them don’t. The House Freedom Caucus does and is working overtime to make sure they put forward a bill that repeals Obamacare, fulfilling promises made by the GOP for the last three election cycles that if they won the House, Senate and White House, they would repeal Obamacare.
It now turns out that the Tuesday Group, the caucus of Republican liberals parading around as moderates, claims they will lose their seats if they actually vote to repeal Obamacare.
Many of them, led by Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, voted numerous times to repeal Obamacare. In fact, not only did Congressman Dent vote for the 2015 repeal bill (HR 3762) he voted to override President Obama’s veto of the bill. Why does this matter?
Because Charlie Dent and the Tuesday Group knew their votes to repeal Obamacare at the time were just show votes on legislation that would never come into affect. It is the height of duplicity, a political stunt pulled off brazenly in the light of day and the response from them is, “Move along, not a big deal” even as they work to scuttle plans to fully repeal Obamacare. The elitist nature of Dent and the Tuesday Group are what the American voters are fed up with. It’s time for the White House and GOP leadership to turn up the heat on Congressman Dent and others. Time for them to play
Thursday, March 30th, 2017 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues
Two pieces of news came out of Washington, DC this morning, neither of them good.
The first is based on a tweet from President Trump and it indicates that he wants to go to war with the House Freedom Caucus. A few thoughts on this. The same voters that elected the House Freedom Caucus Members are the same voters that elected Donald Trump. Both Trump and the Freedom Caucus Members were elected to drain the swamp, repeal Obamacare, bring whole scale change to Washington, DC and get the country back on track.
The simple lesson of, “You gotta dance with the one that brought you” applies here. We don’t know if Donald Trump thinks the Democrats or moderates are his base, but this is a tipping point for he and his Administration.
The second piece of news if from Axios. In a show of good faith, the House Freedom Caucus, the Republican Study Committee and the Tuesday Group (the GOP moderates) agreed to hash out a path forward last night on healthcare reform. We think it is simple: full repeal. But nonetheless, the conservatives in the House came to the table last night and at the 11th hour, the Tuesday Group pulled out. Why? Because they felt it was below them to have to negotiate with the conservatives.
How GOP leadership and the Trump White House respond to these two stories above are indicative of how the next four years will play out. This is a game of high stakes.
Tuesday, March 21st, 2017 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues
If you haven’t guessed it by now, House Republicans are slow walking themselves into the lions den. They are snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and they are doing so half-knowingly, hoping for a different outcome than what they have to know is coming. House Members who were at the White House a few days ago agreed to principles that they were promised would be in a mangers amendment offered at the Rules Committee. Here’s the problem. The bill that was “agreed to in principle” doesn’t exist.
If you are reading that and thinking, “There’s no way that happened!” think again. Members of the Republican Study Committee (RSC) showed up to the White House with a list of concerns, expressed their concerns and were told that they would get those concerns put into the managers amendment. They then agreed they would support that deal. They didn’t even ask to see it in writing first.
There is, however, another major problem. Throughout all of Trump’s campaign, everything
was subject to change. In light of a Politico piece
written this weekend, those who knew this was a bad idea are saying “told ya so.” A bad bill just got really bad.
But why would RSC members agree to anything without first seeing text? It seems like political malpractice to agree to something as significant as changing the American healthcare system (again) without seeing those changes in writing!
Moreover, those who step back can see what’s happening here. House Leadership is jamming conservatives, but not in the most obvious way. They are putting together a bill that moderates will be OK with, center right RSC members will want, and conservatives could be okay with given a couple more substantial changes.
Leadership will get Republican and even a few conservatives votes in support of a new entitlement program with potentially no life protections.
The bill will pass the House with a stamp of approval from liberal Republicans and head to the Senate where the Senate will not consider the bill. They’ll offer a substitute amendment that will pass the Senate and send it back to the House.
At this point, those who voted for the bill that passed the House, will be so sold down the river and the only option they will have is to support what the Senate sent back to them. There will be such ginned up panic to get the Senate passed legislation out of the House, leadership will demand they support it.
If conservatives in the House cannot see this coming, there is little one can do for them. There will be, however, substantial and very real political consequences for supporting a bill that might be an okay Medicaid reform package, but is not a repeal of Obamacare.
Tuesday, March 14th, 2017 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues
It’s time for a “try again” on the Republican plan to repeal Obamacare. In reality, it’s very simple.
Fully repeal Obamacare and let marketplaces create incentives for insurers to compete. Competition will drive down healthcare costs.
That’s it. It’s that simple.
And it looks like the party of limited government, the free markets and individual liberty just got its hat handed to it by its base (in other words, the ones that voted them into power) and the Congressional Budget Office, which released its numbers on Ryancare yesterday.
Called “scorching,” the CBO’s scoring prompted reactions like this one.
“Can’t sugarcoat it. Doesn’t look good,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.). “The CBO score was, shall we say, an eye-popper.”
And this one from Virginia Rep. Rob Wittmann.
“After reviewing this legislation and receiving the Congressional Budget Office score today, it is clear that this bill is not consistent with the repeal and replace principles for which I stand,” he said in a statement. “I do not think this bill will do what is necessary for the short and long-term best interests of Virginians and therefore, I must oppose it.”
Ryancare is DOA. And that’s a good thing.
Tuesday, March 7th, 2017 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues, Policy
Those of us who have watched the Republican party (and challenged it) over the last few years had a sneaking suspicion that whatever “repeal” of Obamacare that was going to be put forward by Republican leadership in the House likely wasn’t going to be a repeal bill. It might tweak the edges of it, but it wasn’t going to repeal Obamacare.
It turns out we were wrong.
It’s far worse.
The bill put forward yesterday (among other things) does the following:
*Does not repeal Obamacare.
*Mandates continuous insurance coverage at the risk of a new 30% penalty for people who drop their coverage.
*Creates a new subsidy in the form of tax credits even for those who do not pay income taxes.
*Keeps various Obamacare mandates in place until 2020. In essence, until the next Presidential election.
Wednesday, March 1st, 2017 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues
The great running coach and physiologist, Dr. Jack Daniels (yes, that’s his real name) has a saying when it comes to training: What is the purpose of this workout? It’s a great question because to become a great runner or athlete, or great at anything, you have to have a purpose. You have to have goals.
Our purpose here at the Madison Project has always been to identify, recruit and fund great conservative candidates. We also challenge the Washington, DC Establishment, holding them accountable for the campaign promises they have made over multiple election cycles and have no intention of fulfilling. The repeal of Obamacare is now at the forefront of these broken GOP promises.
The other day we posted exactly what the GOP Establishment is hoping to do with what is being termed “RINOCare.” Not only is it not a repeal of Obamacare, it locks in the more onerous elements of Obamacare, the very things we as conservatives are hoping to repeal and House leadership is not taking kindly to the pushback they are getting from conservatives in the House.
For instance, this story that ran in Politico yesterday about Congressman Mark Meadows’ wife sending what appears to be an email to friends about how House leadership is attempting to mislead the very voters that gave Trump the White House and the Republicans majorities in the House and Senate.
We know exactly how this went down. A communications staffer in one of the leadership offices got wind of the email and quickly leaked it to the press in hopes of shaming Congressman Meadows and his wife into silence (“How dare the rank and file disagree with us!”).
The reverse has happened. Instead of shaming House conservatives into silence, stories like this one have only emboldened them to continue to do the right thing. They ran and won on the promise to repeal Obamacare. They will work towards that end. Not towards a partial repeal. Or a repeal in name only that only adds more subsidies and more debt to our already massive national debt.
Which brings us to the purpose of the Madison Project. There are a host of great conservative groups out there. We are fans of the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund. They, like us, work tirelessly to look for and elect great conservatives. Where they tactically spend more time on the “air way” with TV and radio ads, we spend more time on the ground with voter ID and Get Out The Vote Work. While working towards a common goal, we all do things a little differently and because we all make decisions independent of each other, we went out on a limb in 2012 and were the first PAC to endorse Mark Meadows in his initial run for Congress. There was just something about him and the way he handled his candidate interview with us. While some tried to label him as a stealth Establishment candidate, we were confident from the start that Mark would be a conservative stalwart in the House and he has been exactly that. Has he been perfect? No. But no elected official ever is. But there’s a reason Mark has scored and continues to score well on the official (and unofficial, behind the scenes) conservative scorecards-because his instincts are conservative.
Our work is clearly not finished. Every election cycle gives us more chances to elect more Mark Meadows, more Jim Bridestines, more Ted Cruzs and Mike Lees.
This is our purpose. This is why we exist and we are glad to see our candidates like Mark Meadows not only fulfill his campaign promises but stand on principle in Washington, DC.