Today, voters in Alabama will decide who gets the privilege of representing them in the U.S. Senate. This election has become the center of attention for most of the country, and it’s sure to be a nail-biter as the votes begin to be counted tonight. If somehow you’ve managed to avoid any news over this wild Senate race, here’s what you need to know.
The Republican candidate, Roy Moore, has been accused by several women of sexual misconduct, including several girls who were under the age of 18 at the time of the incidents. Moore also has taken a range of radical views, from comparing pre-school to Nazi-style indoctrination to calling for all Constitutional amendments after the 10th be eliminated. Despite these allegations and extreme beliefs, President Trump and others within the Republican party have offered him their full support. Trump has played to his white supremacist base, stoking fears of gun control and immigrants committing crimes. He tweeted this morning, “The people of Alabama will do the right thing. Doug Jones is Pro-Abortion, weak on Crime, Military and Illegal Immigration, Bad for Gun Owners and Veterans and against the WALL.” The Republican National Committee is also still supporting Moore’s campaign, even after withdrawing support briefly in November.
Other sitting members of Congress – both Republicans and Democrats – are not so keen on having Moore join their ranks. Senator Jeff Flake has been one of Moore’s most outspoken opponents on the right, even going so far as to donate to Moore’s opponent, Doug Jones. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that he will open an ethics investigation into Moore if he is elected, and McConnell has predicted Moore would be expelled.
So now, it’s up to the voters of Alabama to make a choice. And whatever the outcome, it’s sure to shake up the state of Alabama and the political world.
ACTION OF THE DAY
#GOPTaxScam. Yesterday, the Treasury Department released a strange one-page document that it claimed was an analysis showing that the Trump-GOP tax plan can pay for itself. The problem? Well, for starters, the one-pager was not an analysis of the tax plan at all. The “analysis” simply assumed that the bogus economic growth assumptions behind the Trump budget were true, and then did some basic arithmetic on top of those bogus assumptions. That’s why many economists are calling the Treasury paper a joke. Meanwhile, all credible estimates of the tax plan find that it will cost more than $1 trillion, and possibly much more. And most Americans are not falling for the Trump administration’s desperate attempts to justify the bill. In fact, roughly two-thirds of Americans believe it will mostly help the wealthy (they’re right.) Join the fight against this awful bill at TrumpTaxToolkit.org.
Bargaining CHIP. While Congressional Republicans continue their quest to lower taxes on the wealthy and large corporations, other important pieces of legislation have fallen by the wayside. Among these is the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides healthcare for approximately 9 million American children. Congress allowed funding for the program to expire at the end of September – more than 70 days ago. Now, Republicans in Congress are using the lives of innocent children as bargaining chips to achieve their agenda. Many are even threatening a government shutdown if their goals are not met, which would further imperil the health of millions of children. CHIP was created by bipartisan legislators and has enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support since its inception. It is detestable that we have reached a point where even the lives of innocent children are used as bargaining chips for political agendas.
#MeToo. Today, the Democratic Women’s Working Group held a press conference calling for a Congressional investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations made against President Trump by at least 17 women. They also sent a letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform urging “a full inquiry into the truth of these allegations.” These calls for an investigation into Trump have been renewed as several members of Congress face allegations of sexual misconduct, and three members of Congress have already resigned. While Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders continues to claim that the allegations were “answered” after the 2016 presidential election, many women–especially Trump’s alleged victims–don’t feel that way. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has become the target of Trump’s anger over this issue after leading the calls for an investigation. She responded to his attacks: “It’s not going to silence me…It’s not going to silence the women who have stood up against him directly, and it’s not going to silence the millions of women out there who have been speaking out every day since his inauguration.”
Stand Up For Students. The reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965 is being rushed through the House, “without hearings and despite mounting pressure to give stakeholders more time for analysis and input.” The reauthorization bill, introduced by Representatives Virginia Foxx and Brett Guthrie, could have devastating impacts for students receiving federal financial aid. Specifically, it could undo the progress made under Title III and V programs, crucial for serving the country’s most vulnerable students. And new analysis shows that changes to income-driven repayment in the bill will mean borrowers could pay more on their loans and spend decades in repayment than under current law. The bill would also “allow colleges to refrain from investigating sexual assault allegations while a criminal inquiry is under way if police or prosecutors request such a delay.” The bottom line? The bad far outweighs the good in this bill, and it would leave many students with even more debt and less options for repayment.
Military Ban. Yesterday, a third federal court ruled against Trump’s ban on transgender service members–seemingly, a final nail in the coffin for the discriminatory policy. In the decision, the court wrote, “The ban arbitrarily flew in the face of the Pentagon’s own studies and conclusions, and unconstitutionally targeted transgender people without any credible reason.” Some members of Congress are not taking any chances that this ban returns from the dead, as the Department of Justice starts to appeal rulings. Four senators and six representatives have introduced bipartisan legislation to protect transgender individuals serving in the military from being fired due solely to their gender identity.