Today's Fair Shots - July 7th, 2017
1-With Congress in Recess, Time to Keep Fighting TrumpCare
2-Justice Department Flip-Flops on 'Voter ID,' Attacking Voting Rights
1) Members of the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans joined a protest at the Austin office of U.S. Sen. John Cornyn against efforts to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act with TrumpCare.
Seven were arrested at the event, the Austin American-Statesman reports, though we are told that number did not include union retirees. The Austin American-Statesman posted a video on the action:
Meanwhile, Texas AFT offers an opportunity to Do Something!:
They Can Run, But They Can't Hide-Call Your U.S. Senators This Week About a Bad Health-Care Bill
Senators are home for July Fourth recess this week, and many Republican senators are refusing to hold town halls because they know voters are outraged over the cruel health-care bill their party leaders are trying to ram through the Senate.
They can run, but they can't hide. Call your senators' state offices now and demand they oppose Trumpcare. (http://bit.ly/2uwaKKT)
Even though Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delayed the vote on the Senate bill, he is still moving it through the process-and we must be ready. On Monday, McConnell sent revised bills to the Congressional Budget Office, which means he's preparing for a vote, as early as next week, when senators get back to town.
If your senators don't hear from you this week, they'll use that as an excuse to justify voting for this bad bill. Make sure you call their state offices right now.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the current Senate bill will cause 22 million people to lose health-care coverage, including 15 million in just the next year. For people with pre-existing conditions-such as diabetes, asthma, cancer or arthritis, to name just a few-this legislation would leave them one illness away from bankruptcy and could even be a matter of life and death. The proposed massive Medicaid cuts hit low-income families, children and seniors-the most vulnerable populations-the hardest. And the complete list of the bill's callous provisions is much longer.
Why does Trumpcare do all of this? To give the wealthiest Americans more tax breaks. While kicking 22 million off their insurance, the Senate bill would give the wealthiest one-tenth of 1 percent-those who make more than $3.75 million a year-an average annual tax cut of $200,000. For example, Trump's billionaire friend and megadonor Sheldon Adelson would see his taxes cut by an extra $43 million.
This is an unpopular bill-every major consumer and retiree organization, and every nursing, physician, public health, and hospital organization, including the American Medical Association, opposes it.
We only need three Republican senators to stand strong. Now is the time to raise your voice. Make sure you are seen and heard this week opposing this heartless bill.
It's time our senators stand with the people they were elected to represent and not the wealthy few. Call their state offices now. (http://bit.ly/2uwaKKT)
You can view the online version of this item and share it from: http://www.texasaft.org/can-run-cant-hide-call-u-s-senators-week-bad-health-care-bill/
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that a GOP stunt aimed at buttressing chances for repeal of the Affordable Care Act backfired in a big way:
With the Republican campaign to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act now set to enter its final, frenzied push, the Indianapolis Star reports that the Indiana GOP attempted a stunt that was supposed to provide Republicans with more ammunition against the law. But the stunt went awry:
The Indiana Republican Party posed a question to Facebook on Monday: "What's your Obamacare horror story? Let us know."
The responses were unexpected.
"My sister finally has access to affordable quality care and treatment for her diabetes."
"My father's small business was able to insure its employees for the first time ever. #thanksObama"
"The only horror in the story is that Republicans might take it away."...
By 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Indiana GOP's post collected more than 1,500 comments, the vast majority in support of Obamacare.
As David Nather points out, this reveals that the energy in this battle right now is on the side of those who want to save the Affordable Care Act. But, while the rate of pro-ACA postings should obviously not be taken as a scientific indicator of public opinion, this episode also neatly captures another larger truth about why it is proving so hard for Republicans to repeal the law: It has helped untold numbers of people, and the GOP bill would largely reverse that.
Read more: http://wapo.st/2tO4XmJ
2) The White House has flipped its position on "voter ID" litigation, claiming the Legislature's changes have cured the law of intentional discrimination against minority voters, the Texas Tribune reports.
Opponents of the "voter ID" law, including the Texas AFL-CIO, aren't having any of it, nor should we. The latest version of the law, a response to a federal court ruling, allows some non-photo voter IDs for people who do not have access to the previous list of photo IDs.
But the new law also threatens a state jail felony charge against anyone who intentionally uses a non-photo ID when they have one available. That could easily become a new source of voter intimidation.
The change misses the point, which is that "voter ID" appears designed to take a targeted slice of voters out of the electorate even though cases of in-person voter fraud in the entire nation, much less Texas, are extraordinarily rare. In the real world, the measure is an attack on voting rights, pure and simple. From the Tribune:
Chad Dunn, a lawyer representing some of the challengers, said the reversal shows the Justice Department "simply has no more credibility in this litigation."
"For six years, the Department of Justice stood on the side of voters arguing that Texas' unnecessary voter photo ID law was enacted with discriminatory intent, then after the new administration was sworn in, one of DOJ's first acts was to back out of the case," Dunn said. "Every court to rule on the subject found Texas' law to be discriminatory, and Supreme Court precedent, which binds us all, including DOJ, requires Texas to go back to the drawing board in a non-discriminatory process if it wishes to mess with the right to vote."
In February, lawyers for U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ditched the Justice Department's longstanding position that Texas lawmakers purposefully discriminated in 2011, but did not change its position that the law had a "discriminatory effect."
Now, the Justice Department argues Texas' new ID law "eradicates any discriminatory effect or intent" in the old law.