The Senate appears to be gearing up for a vote on the Graham-Cassidy bill next week, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s spokeswoman. Even though the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has not yet scored the bill, numerous independent analyses have been released on Graham-Cassidy, and the results aren’t pretty. At least 32 million more people would be uninsured in 2027. All states would see funding loses over the long-term. Nearly 600,000 veterans stand to lose Medicaid. And people with pre-existing conditions would lose key protections. Not surprisingly, most Americans don’t support this harmful bill. A new survey from Public Policy Polling found that only 24 percent of voters support Graham-Cassidy.
One of the tactics used by the bill’s co-sponsors to try to sway Alaska’s senators to vote for the bill is a “deal” for Alaska that would allow them to continue receiving certain Affordable Care Act (ACA) funding. The question is: are Alaska’s senators for sale? If Senator Lisa Murkowski sticks to her word, she wouldn’t be. Earlier this year, Murkowski said, “Let’s just say that they do something that’s so Alaska-specific just to, quote, ‘get me.’ Then you have a nationwide system that doesn’t work.” Even one of the co-sponsors of the bill, Senator Lindsey Graham, criticized handouts for specific states in June, saying, “I worry cornhusker kickbacks & Louisiana purchases, and if they start doing that crap, they’re going to lose me.” So what’s changed?
Graham isn’t the only one who’s breaking promises. In September 2009, Senator Lamar Alexander said, “Ramming through a partisan bill would be the same thing as going to war without asking Congress’ permission.” Senator Mitch McConnell agreed at the time, arguing, “[Americans] are tired of giant bills negotiated in secret, jammed through on a party-line vote.” But if they vote for Graham-Cassidy, they will be supporting exactly what they spoke out against. The bill is likely to go to the Senate floor for a vote before it is fully scored by CBO, breaking with regular order. Since the beginning, Senate Democrats have been excluded from conversations surrounding the creation of the bill. And the bill’s co-sponsors knew they were rushing on a tight timeline when they started these efforts just a week ago.
ACTION OF THE DAY
#ProtectOurCare. Graham-Cassidy will be on the Senate floor next week for consideration. This means we could only have less than a week to stop Trumpcare (again)! We’ve updated our toolkit so you can reach senators in their local offices until they return to D.C. on Monday. Keep the phones ringing!
If you’re just catching up with the newest version of Trumpcare, learn about the bill’s impacts in the latest Thinking CAP podcast, with health care expert, Andy Slavitt. Share the graphic below with your social networks. Watch this moving video from ProgressNow Colorado about the devastating impact that Graham-Cassidy will have on people with disabilities who rely on Medicaid. Have a personal story about health care? Send your statement to GCHcomments@finance.senate.gov to have it entered into the record for Monday’s Graham-Cassidy hearing. And then, head to ResistanceNearMe.org to find events in your city that are happening this weekend!
Moving Backwards. The Department of Education, under Secretary Betsy DeVos’s order, announced today that it is rescinding Obama-era guidance on investigating campus sexual assault. In a Dear Colleague letter to states, DeVos stated that the current process favors students who accuse others of sexual misconduct and “lack[s] the most basic elements of fairness and due process, [and is] overwhelmingly stacked against the accused…” This is no surprise, as DeVos’s speech earlier this month signaled that such a move was coming. Nonetheless, any removal of key protections and rollback of Title IX guidance is a huge step backwards for our country, and a destruction of the significant progress made on this issue by the Obama administration. It is another “wildly misguided” step in the Trump Administration’s attempt to “continue to sow terrifying divisions in our country.”
High Price of Travel. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, has reportedly taken at least 24 individual private flights on official business since his tenure started. His predecessors, Sylvia Matthews Burwell and Kathleen Sebelius, however, flew commercially while travelling for domestic business. These lavish expenditures have reportedly cost taxpayers over $300,000 – a high price to be charged by someone who is supposedly a “fiscal conservative.”
Travel Ban 3.0. While a core provision of President Trump’s travel ban is set to expire on Sunday, the administration is reportedly weighing its options and considering enacting a broader policy. The decision will largely be influenced by a report from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), although it is unclear what exactly the contents of that report are. The new ban may target the 17 (unspecified) countries listed by DHS as not cooperating with U.S. mandates, adding 11 countries to the existing ban. This would be consistent with Trump’s repeated claims that the travel ban should be larger and less politically correct, even making these claims immediately following horrific terror attacks abroad. It is unclear what the fate of refugee resettlement will be going forward, but the provision that is expiring includes the hold on refugee resettlement. The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments regarding the remaining portions of the ban on October 10.
Historic Devastation. As Hurricane Maria continues its rampage, Puerto Rico is trying to recover after the devastation left in Maria’s wake. The largest concern is the island-wide power outage. All power in Puerto Rico is provided by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, and restoring power may not be possible for up to six months. While power does control things like lights and internet, it also “affects water supplies, sewage treatment and food preservation, creating serious health and nutritional concerns.” These problems seem increasingly insurmountable, especially considering Puerto Rico’s huge debt and crushed financial system. To demand relief for victims of Harvey, Irma, and Maria, check out this new tool from Generation Progress.
Equal Admissions. If you applied to a women’s college as a transgender woman just a few years ago, you probably would’ve been met with a “no”—or at the very least, a college admissions team who had no specific policy on the issue. That’s starting to change. Today, 26 of the 40 women’s colleges in the U.S. have policies that explicitly allow the admission of transgender students. While these changes represent a step in the right direction, the fight isn’t over until all colleges and universities are fully inclusive.