Left Justified


Paul Ryan Explains the Basics of Tax Reform

October 2, 2017 by Gail Nussbaum in Politics

Paul Ryan speaking at CPAC 2014 in Washington, DC. Courtesy Gage Skidmore.

Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, outlined the main points of the Republican proposal for tax reform, saying that if the Republican plan passes through Congress, taxpayers will be able to file their tax returns on a postcard.

“We’re going to double your standard deductions so you can file your taxes on a postcard,” the Wisconsin Republican said.

Ryan was delineating the plan for tax reform on “Face the Nation,” a CBS political news program. Ryan said that the middle class will be the main beneficiaries of the legislation, in addition to corporations.

“We’re going to take people who are in the 10 percent bracket and put a lot of that money in a zero percent tax bracket. We’re taking the 15 percent bracket down to 12 percent. We’re going to get rid of the marriage penalty. We’re going to increase the child tax credit.”

He added that incentives for buying a home, giving charity, and education will be maintained in the new tax code.

The plan will not increase the national debt, insisted Ryan.

“This will have to be a deficit-neutral tax bill,” he said, adding that “this tax code and this tax reform will give us faster economic growth. Faster economic growth helps raise the economy, which raises revenues. And that helps us tackle the deficit.”

McConnell Resurrecting the Otherwise Dead Repeal and Replace Issue?

September 18, 2017 by Gail Nussbaum in Health Care, Politics

Mich McConnell. Photo by Gage Skidmore

The fight over the Affordable Care Act might see one more chapter until it will be forever put to rest on September 30.

The Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell and those colleagues on his leadership team, are once again seriously considering a desperate last effort to repeal Obamacare. The bill McConnell is considering bringing to a vote would limit the role of the federal government in the health care system by substituting its involvement with block grants to states.

The final decision on whether to hold a vote has not yet happened, but McConell told his caucus that if he can get 50 of the 52 Republican senators to support the bill, written by Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy, he will bring it to the Senate for a vote.

At the moment, the bill does not have the minimum of 50 supporters among the 52 Republican senators. The bill, if passed, would replace the tax subsidies that are the basis of the ACA with block grants; curtail the individual insurance mandate, and reduce the Medicaid expansion. Nevertheless, McConell and his team will take the pulse of the senate this week during private meetings arranged with President Trump’s assistance.

“McConnell and his team are engaged and serious about the vote and working with the conference to build support for Graham-Cassidy,” a source said Sunday. The “White House is also operating with all hands on deck.”

Congress Demands Trump Take a Stand on Violence and Bigotry in America

September 13, 2017 by Gail Nussbaum in Politics

Tom Garrett official photo, 115th Congress.

Congressmen on both sides of the aisle have joined together to force President Trump to take a side on the issue of racism in America.

First the Senate came together to easily pass legislation in condemnation of the violence perpetrated by white supremacists last month in Charlottesville, Virginia, leaving one women dead and many others injured.

The next day, on Tuesday evening, the House stepped up to the bat and supported the House’s version of the law with a voice vote. That legislation was introduced by conservative freshman Representative Tom Garrett, Republican of Virginia, representing Charlottesville, and Rep. Gerald Connolly

, Democrat of Virginia. The entire Virginia delegation was behind the law; seven Republicans and four Democrats.

It is not unusual for resolutions to be passed which announce sentiments held by Congress. However, in this case, those backing the law created it to be a “joint resolution,” requiring the President to express his opinion on the issue; an issue that has been daunting and haunting Trump for several weeks.

The resolution asks Trump to “speak out against hate groups that espouse racism, extremism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and White supremacy.” It also calls on the administration to “use all resources available to the President and the President’s Cabinet to address the growing prevalence of those hate groups in the United States.”

Also included in the law is the request that Attorney General Jeff Sessions examine any violence and/or domestic terrorism which white supremacists undertake as part of their ideology of hate.

The resolution takes aim at Trump’s obtuse statement in response to the Charlottesville rally violence which condemned “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” instead of simply condemning the white supremacists explicitly and simply. Trump also said that there were some “very fine people” among the white nationalist protestors. The statements caused an uproar and concern that President Trump somehow agrees and/or supports white supremacy in America.