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Thread: Neutered Dems are all bark, no bite on Trump's nominees

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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Neutered Dems are all bark, no bite on Trump's nominees

    By PETE KASPEROWICZ 12/1/16 12:01 AM

    Senate Democrats are as furious with President-elect Trump's Cabinet picks as they are powerless to stop them.

    Thanks to a change to Senate rules that Democrats forced on Republicans in 2013, it only takes 51 votes to confirm a nominee, except for Supreme Court nominees, which will still require 60 votes. Republicans will have 51 or 52 seats in the Senate next year, which means the GOP can approve anyone they want to Trump's team as long as they all agree.

    Without the rule change, Trump's team might very well be carefully weighing whether it can scrounge up the eight Senate Democrats needed to secure a confirmation. But the simple majority vote is significantly reducing the value of statements like the one Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., made this week about Trump's choice to have Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., lead the Department of Health and Human Services.

    "Tom Price has led the charge to privatize Medicare, and for this reason, I cannot support his nomination," he said.

    Thanks to the rule change, Donnelly's "no" vote on Price will hardly matter, something that other Democrats seemed to acknowledge this week.

    Democrats like Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., oppose Price because of his opposition to Obamacare. But even she was left to admit that Democrats' only resort is to "fight back" by asking "tough questions in the committee."

    Murray also said the Democrats may only be left with the option of trying to influence public opinion by making Trump's nominees look bad during their hearing. She talked about putting a "spotlight" on Price's plans.

    Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., seemed to have the same idea. He said Price would "get a lot of very strong and very thorough questions," and said he hopes public pressure will give Democrats a "chance" to scuttle the nomination.

    Trump's move to make Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., his attorney general is also drawing opposition from Democrats, who again are pushing for a drawn out confirmation hearing in order to make Sessions look as bad as they can.

    Former House Dem explains how his party 'gave it all away'

    Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., seemed to acknowledge that the only real weapon for Democrats is to try to make a good public case against Sessions, and hope the public starts calling for a new nominee.

    "We'll be as persuasive as possible in what we say about it, hoping to reach and arouse as many people as possible," he told the Associated Press.

    Democrats have also criticized Trump's decision to make Steven Mnuchin his treasury secretary, but in response, Democrats were again left with the option of asking him tough questions.

    "I look forward to asking him how his Treasury Department would work for Americans who are still waiting for the economic recovery to show up in their communities," said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

    But it seems little more than a hope for Democrats, as Republicans are likely to quickly approve all of the nominees Trump has chosen so far.

    And even the press at this point seems to be admitting that there's not much drama to a story about the Democratic minority trying to stop Trump's nominees.

    "Dems to unload on Mnuchin," said a headline in Politico. The story said Democratic questions will "make for some uncomfortable hearings and negative headlines," but aside from that possible discomfort, the story said nothing about actually blocking the nominee.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    Congressman Tom Price, please review this link of Social Security and Medicare Payroll Tax Rates in the United States since 1937 and please realize that the ONLY problem with Social Security and Medicare is the loss of good manufacturing jobs and the fact that the US Congress has not raised payroll tax rates in 30 years for Medicare and 26 years for Social Security. If they are running low on funds or not building up the Trust Fund to the degree necessary to keep it solvent then it is the absolute responsibility of the US Congress to raise the rates to solve the problem. You do not raise the retirement age to avoid a simple rate increase, you do not strip benefits, you do not privatize, you do not change two of the best run government programs in US history. You just don't try to run a con to fix something that isn't broken. I hope we can raise the benefits for SS after we have fixed our country and perhaps before that increase the Medicare 80/20 to 100/0 at some point and adjust the premium charge for beneficiaries to pay for it.

    I've noticed with a family member who has employer supplemental that the paperwork expense of this current arrangement is just not worth it, especially for elderly and sick people and exhausted families. This would also streamline the whole thing and get rid of the duplicity of seniors who are on both Medicare and Medicaid. This would also eliminate the reluctance of Doctors to take Medicare patients, they know they would get paid with simpler paperwork and fewer accountants, and this would also relieve pension and retirement funds which would reduce the cost of employer funded retirement programs and encourage more of them.

    So I want Paul Ryan out of the Congress, I think he is a total and complete Goof Ball and have for awhile now. Having him as your speaker does not reflect well on the members of Congress who voted for him.

    Now I want Trump's team, Congressman Price and every member of Congress to look at the chart below and explain to me how any of you can be whining about Social Security and Medicare "going broke" when you haven't passed a Payroll Tax Rate for Social Security in 26 years and haven't passed a Payroll Tax Rate for Medicare in 30 years. How is that possible? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?

    This citizen wants to give a big THANK YOU to the employees and managers of the Social Security Administration, who have proven decade after decade, that it is without question the best run, best managed most responsible agency in the United States Government. How any agency could have managed to meet its obligations without a tax rate increase in 30 years especially one that involves medical care is to me just unbelievable. WELL DONE! That said, to expect them to continue on this without a rate increase while claiming Medicare is going to be "broke" by 2028 is a fraud on the part of Paul Ryan.

    I'm not saying there may not be better ways to improve both systems, which would be more benefits at a lower cost NOT less benefits at a higher cost (that is the opposite of responsible governance), but neither one of these is broken, neither one of these needs to be "fixed", and yes they both may require a tax rate increase, but that is your responsibility to do under the Social Security Administration Act whenever it is needed or required. When Trump brings all of our jobs back and fixes the jobs and wages disaster we're in, you may not even need rate increases at all and if you pass the FairTax, I know you won't need to increase anything except benefits.

    So SHUT UP ABOUT MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY. Neither one are problems. We have real problems for you to fix which is to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a great private interstate system for individuals and employers. Our health insurance industry will take care of the health insurance problem when Trump takes care of our economic, border, trade, and immigration problems.
    Last edited by Judy; 12-02-2016 at 07:29 AM.
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