The republicans are planning on live-streaming the opening session of Congress using Facebook. For those, (like me) that refuse to use Facebook, C-Span will also be covering the opening – hit the link here.
Tomorrow, House Republicans will live stream the opening session of the 112th Congress – including the swearing-in ceremony and remarks by Speaker-designate John Boehner (R-OH) – on the Pledge to America Facebook Page. The House will convene and the stream will go live at 12:00 p.m. ET.
This is the first time an opening session of Congress has been broadcast live on Facebook where visitors can interact and discuss the event with others, and offer feedback directly to elected representatives.
The new Republican majority has pledged to change the way Congress works – to lead by listening to and reflecting the will of the American people. Together with new rules demanding new levels of online disclosure and transparency (including requirements that all bills online at least three days before a vote and committees broadcast their hearings online), this event is another example of the new majority’s commitment to making Congress more open and accountable, and to finding new ways to connect with citizens online and off.
Click below to “Like” the Pledge on Facebook. And be sure to tune in tomorrow at noon and join the conversation.
What is normally a standard progress report on the Census Bureau’s 2010 census may turn into a hard examination of the Bureau’s decision to spend a reported $2.5 million to air an ad during the Super Bowl. Census officials are due to testify today before a Senate Homeland Security Subcmte. on Census Bureau’s 2010 data gathering. Length:
Published: Thursday at 2:30pm (ET)
It looks interesting, so I click and I get this page: I looked and looked and checked site after site, and it isn’t there.
Nothing special; just something that makes the Monster go hmmm…
Big Government has an article today about C-Span sending a letter to congressional leadership asking for cameras to be present during the meeting for the final healthcare bill. The response from Nancy and Chris, “We don’t know if there is going to be a conference.”
Just before New Year’s, C-SPAN Chairman and CEO Brian Lamb sent a letter to Congressional leadership, requesting permission to televise negotiations around the final health care reform legislation. The letter was addressed to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, GOP Leader Rep. John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell.
The letter notes:
Now that the process moves to the critical stage of reconciliation between the Chambers, we respectfully request that you all the public full access, through television, to legislation that will affect the lives of every American.
Congressional Democrats are embarking on an abbreviated negotiation to save Reid the hassle of overcoming more procedural hurdles, but that means the resulting negotiations will be held behind closed-doors as the various stakeholders push for final changes. Liberal Democrats in the House have taken exception with the revised process, but most aides argue a drawn-out conference negotiation would give Senate Republicans too many opportunities to derail the process.
We will be live blogging this insane event all day Saturday if I can actually stand it. Harry is expected to unveil his manager’s amendment sometime around 8 a.m. est. (Please be advised that with a 5 hour time difference – I will not be blogging until a reasonable hour.) Everyone is welcome to leave comments as Harry’s stupidity of humongous proportions is unveiled. Harry’s plan is to vote for cloture on whatever he unveils today at 1 a.m. Monday morning.
Live streaming coverage of the healthcare debate in the Senate is on C-Span’s Healthcare Hub on Saturday, and I will put up the link for that channel as it becomes available.
While you wait for the circus to start, TPM has a story that speaks directly to the snow and insanity in Washington, District of Criminals, and for those that want to check in on the livecam action of the snow falling on the Capitol Bldg., go here.
As if Democrats didn’t have enough to worry about. Overnight and into tomorrow, Washington, D.C. is preparing for a major snow storm, complete with thunder and high winds. A winter snowpocalypse.
On any other weekend, that would be no biggy for Senate Democrats, but tomorrow, they need all hands on deck if they hope to keep on track to pass their health care bill by Christmas. And remember, they can’t afford a single slip-up.
So here’s another wrinkle: Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) has skipped town.
Already, they’ve wheeled in the cots for members and staff who choose to slumber party the night away in the Capitol, or Senate offices. But tomorrow, bright and early, all of them could need to be on hand for procedural reasons. For instance, Democrats expect to have to waive a budget point of order they expect Republicans to raise against the defense appropriations bill. That requires 60 votes.
Potentially complicating matters, though is that Lieberman, who’s caused Democratic leadership no shortage of political heartburn on health care, isn’t even in town!
“After being assured by Democratic and Republican leaders that his vote was not needed to pass the Defense Appropriations bill, Senator Lieberman went to Connecticut to spend the Sabbath and the last night of Hanukkah with his wife, Hadassah, and their children and grandchildren,” reads a statement to TPMDC from Lieberman’s spokesman Marshall Wittmann.
That means Democrats will be relying on at least one Republican to help them get the defense bill over a procedural bump in order to push them back on to health care. They’re crossing their fingers.
But assuming they can get one vote, what happens if the snow keeps other members away? It could be a big problem. Leadership seemed confident earlier today that everybody would be present and accounted for tomorrow, and a bit surprised to learn that Lieberman had flown the coop. With all these added complications, don’t be surprised to hear a new Republican talking point: Even Mother Nature hates health care reform.
You can find Reid’s manager’s amendment here, or just turn on C-Span2 to listen to the entire amendment being read aloud. Mitch McConnell requested the read and it is expected to go until 8pm est. tonight.
In addition to the Medicaid carve out, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) negotiated an exemption from the insurance tax for non-profit insurers based in his state.
The language was written in a way that only Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company, as well as Blue Cross Blue Shield nonprofit plans in Nebraska and Michigan, would qualify, according to a Democratic Senate aide.
POLITICO reported Friday that Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) had sought a similar exemption from the $6 billion annual fee, and was drawing opposition from progressives, who have tried to paint the bill as a giveaway to big insurers. Non-profit insurers in Levin’s state control 76 percent of industry profits — one of the highest percentages in the country.
Sen. Ben Nelson may have gotten a special deal — an agreement for the federal government to pick up the state’s Medicaid tab — but Sen. Tom Harkin suggests the Nebraska Democrat did the other 99 senators a favor.
The federal government is paying for the entire Medicaid expansion through 2017 for every state.
Bill Nelson Sells Out And Lies To America,Communists get a starter home for government health care. Nebraska will NEVER have to pay it’s share of Medicaid because of Nelson’s deal. This has prompted one republican to congratulate Nelson on playing the “Price Is Right”. Wow, Nelson just beat the hell outta Landrieu.
From Twitter: Sen. Ben Nelson can be reached at Tel: (402) 391-3411 or Fax: (402) 391-4725
Sen. Ben Nelson’s office no#s (402) 441-4600, 1-202-224-6551, (308) 631-7614, (308) 293-5818, (402) 209-3595
(Page numbers reference ORIGINAL REID-OBAMA BILL unless noted):
Individual Mandate Tax (Page 324/Sec. 1501/$15 bil/Jan 2014): Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance must pay an income surtax according to the higher of the following (page 71 of manager’s amendment updates Reid bill):
Exemptions for religious objectors, undocumented immigrants, prisoners, those earning less than the poverty line, members of Indian tribes, and hardship cases (determined by HHS).
Employer Mandate Tax (Page 348/Sec. 1513/$28 bil/Jan 2014): If an employer does not offer health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit, the employer must pay an additional non-deductible tax of $750 for all full-time employees. Applies to all employers with 50 or more employees.
If the employer requires a waiting period to enroll in coverage of 30-60 days, there is a $400 tax per employee ($600 if the period is 60 days or longer).
Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans (Page 1979/Sec. 9001/$149.1 bil/Jan 2011): Starting in 2013, new 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans ($8500 single/$23,000 family). Higher threshold ($9850 single/$26,000 family) for early retirees and high-risk professions. CPI +1 percentage point indexed. Longshoremen have been exempted (page 362 of the manager’s amendment)
From 2013-2015, the 17 highest-cost states are 120% of this level.
Employer Reporting of Insurance on W-2 (Page 1996/Sec. 9002/Min$/Jan 2011): Preamble to taxing health benefits on individual tax returns.
Medicine Cabinet Tax (Page 1997/Sec. 9003/$5 bil/Jan 2011): No longer allowable to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin)
HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike (Page 1998/Sec. 9004/$1.3 bil/Jan 2011): Increases additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent.
FSA Cap (Page 1999/Sec. 9005/$13.3 bil/Jan 2011): Imposes cap on FSAs of $2500 (now unlimited). Indexed to inflation after 2011 (added on page 363 of manager’s amendment)
Corporate 1099-MISC Information Reporting (Page 1999/Sec. 9006/$17.1 bil/Jan 2012): Requires businesses to send 1099-MISC information tax forms to corporations (currently limited to individuals), a huge compliance burden for small employers
Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals (page 2001/Sec. 9007/Min$/immediate): $50,000 per hospital if they fail to meet new “community health assessment needs,” “financial assistance,” and “billing and collection” rules set by HHS (updated on page 364 of manager’s amendment).
Tax on Innovator Drug Companies (Page 2010/Sec. 9008/ $22.2 bil/Jan 2010): $2.3 billion annual tax on the industry imposed relative to share of sales made that year.
Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers (Page 2020/Sec. 9009/$19.2 bil/Jan 2010): $2 billion annual tax on the industry imposed relative to shares of sales made that year. Exempts items retailing for <$100. Rises to $3 billion annually in 2017 (updated by page 364 of manager’s amendment).
Tax on Health Insurers (Page 2026/Sec. 9010/$59.6 bil/Jan 2011): $10 billion annual tax on the industry imposed relative to health insurance premiums collected that year. Phases in gradually until 2017. Fully-imposed on firms with $50 million in profits (updated on page 365 of manager’s amendment)
Eliminate tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D (Page 2034/Sec. 9012/$5.4 bil/Jan 2011)
Raise “Haircut” for Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5% to 10% of AGI (Page 2034/Sec. 9013/$15.2 bil/Jan 2013): Waived for 65+ taxpayers in 2013-2016 only
$500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives (Page 2035/Sec. 9014/$0.6 bil/Jan 2013)
Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax (Page 2040/Sec. 9015/$86.8 bil/Jan 2013): Current law and changes:
First $200,000 ($250,000 Married) Employer/Employee
All Remaining Wages Employer/Employee
1.45%/1.45% 2.9% self-employed
1.45%/1.45% 2.9% self-employed
Reid-Obama Tax Hike
1.45%/1.45% 2.9% self-employed
1.45%/2.35% 3.8% self-employed
The 0.9% new rate addition is not deductible for the self-employment tax adjustment. Updated by page 372 of manager’s amendment.
Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike (Page 2044/Sec. 9016/$0.4 bil/Jan 2010): The special tax deduction in current law for Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies would only be allowed if 85 percent or more of premium revenues are spent on clinical services
STRICKEN: Tax on Cosmetic Medical Procedures (Page 2045/Sec. 9017/$5.8 bil/Jan 2010): New 5% excise tax on elective cosmetic surgery to be paid by the surgery patient.
REPLACED BY: Tax on Indoor Tanning Services (Page 373 of Manager’s amendment/$2.7 billion/July 1, 2010): New 10% excise tax on indoor tanning salons.
After months in which the Senate health care bill was held up over efforts to find some form in which she would agree to sign on to it, Sen. Snowe (R-ME) now says she will oppose it because it is being “rushed.”
Starting Monday, you need to get your butt off your couch and head down to your Senators’ field offices if there is any way you possibly can. Get as many people as possible to go with you.
Go Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
SCREAM at the staff there that you are organizing as many people as you know to defeat every single person voting to enact socialism in this country by passing the Utopiacare bill.
We have been told by people who’ve worked for Senators that so few people show up at field offices that every one of them is treated like 10,000 people’s opinions. Some field offices go WEEKS without a single person showing up and crossing the threshold.
These people work for YOU. They have a legal obligation to take a meeting with you. Someone on that staff HAS to talk to you, because you pay their salaries. Bring your kids, bring your parents, bring your neighbors, bring everyone you can.
Scare the living Hell out of these people.
It doesn’t matter if your Senator is a Republican or Democrat, scare all of them. They all talk to one another. They need to know how angry the public is about this.
Go to your Congressional reps’ offices too. They will make sure the message gets to Washington as well. Scream at all of these people.
It has come to this: that we are encouraging people to go out in public and scream and yell. But that’s what needs to be done.
It is our great hope that those of you who read us and read other sites too will encourage all other places you read to encourage their readers to do the same thing.
Melting the phone lines is not enough. You need to go in person to your elected officials’ offices, demand to be heard, and scream in their faces that you will not sit idly by while socialists take over this country. You need to tell them you are mad as hell and are not going to take it anymore.
For all those of you who didn’t want to vote for John McCain because he was not conservative enough and sat out the 2008 election letting Dr. Utopia win — this is your fault, this is what we warned everyone would happen if he won, and so Republicans who didn’t vote for McCain, in particular, need to really raise their voices and get off their butts now.
We will be harassing the offices of the entire Illinois Congressional delegation next week…Monday through Thursday. We are bringing as many people as we can.
You need to do your part too.
UPDATE: To be 100% clear, every single member of the House and Senate needs to be screamed at next week. EVERY one of them. Republican and Democrat. They need to see firsthand how angry the American people are. Even the ones who are voting NO need to be screamed at too, so that they get a little extra fire in them too. They need to know the people are behind them in voting NO. People need to scream their heads off all next week. Make it cathartic. We will be screaming at Senators Durkin and Burris, and will take great joy in screaming at Jan Schakowsky, our Congressional rep…the worst member of Congress after Pelosi herself. We will scream ourselves hoarse, and go to these offices Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
And then, if this bill really does pass, everyone who votes for it needs to be defeated in their next election.
This will mean, for us, working against people we have long supported. That’s going to be tough. But, here’s what it boils down to for us:
This vote is a Before/After moment in our history. When the vote is made, all the things we thought about people before the vote will be muted by what we think of them post-vote. This bill has not been read by anyone. It’s purpose is to takeover 1/6 of the economy. It is being rammed through at lightspeed without proper consideration or debate. This is reckless legislation and anyone not standing in its way is in gross dereliction of duty. Anyone voting for a bill this large, this expensive, and this nation-changing without fully understanding every word written in it should not be in Congress because they are incompetent.
And we hope all 60 Democrats eventually lose their seats if they vote YES on this, as expected.
We will work to defeat all of them, even those we consider friends.
If Hillary Clinton was in the Senate today, and she voted Yes on this, we would work to defeat her too.
Read that again a few times so we are clear — this is such a travesty, that we would WORK AGAINST Hillary Clinton and defeat her re-election if she voted for this monstrosity.
To us, more than anything, this is a test of competence:
* the bill is not even written and they are voting on it, which should be unconstitutional
* no one has read the bill, and they are voting on it, which should be illegal
* no one understands what’s in the bill or how much it will cost but they are voting on it anyway, which should be grounds for their removal under the umbrella of incompetence to the point of being unable to discharge their elected duties
If you vote for this bill, you are a buffoon who does not belong in Congress because you cannot meet the minimum job requirements for your office.
It is that simple.
Whatever we thought of you before, after you do this, you prove to us you should not be a Senator.
UPDATE: 11.21.09 3:24 pm. – I’m not watching this circus until later because I KNEW that they would have enough votes to obtain cloture and shove this through to the floor. Politico is reporting that Landreiu and Lincoln are now on board (frakkin’ surprise that) and that they have 60 votes. I’m not wasting my time on this right now, but I will tell you that this morning I read on RedState that the American public has completely crashed the entire senate phone system – not just the switchboard. Good Going Guys!!!
On Saturday, 11.21.09, the Senate will be convening one of those not so rare weekend sessions to try and shove through healthcare reform on a test vote. Please be advised that this vote is to decide whether or not to bring this bill to the floor for debate, but if the required 60 votes are obtained, this mutant will hit the floor and become even worse than it is now.
Senate Health Care Debate Continues, Cloture Vote Tonight
The Senate continues debate on health care reform legislation. Tonight at 8pm a cloture vote will take place on the motion to proceed on the bill. Sixty votes are needed and if cloture passes, debate on the bill will occur after the Thanksgiving recess.
Additional Links of interest pertaining to the bill: