Paul Ryan’s Chairmen Do End Run On 9/11 Responders

WASHINGTON — Two of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s( R-Wis .) newly empowered committee chairwomen took immediate advantage Thursday of the freshly elected leader’s pledge to give power back to committees — and may have handed him a 9/11 -related publicity disaster.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte( R-Va .), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Fred Upton( R-Mich .), the head of the Energy and Commerce Committee, both announced various measures to temporarily extend the expiring 9/11 health and compensation programs.

In the process, they appear to have ignored permanent 9/11 legislation that was already proposed and sponsored by a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and a majority of more than 240 members in the House.

That bill is universally backed by 9/11 responders and proponents, and the latter are furious the two chairpeople decided to ignore a measure that already has enough support to pass. They wanted to make sure Ryan heard that they were not pleased to see the first major legislation to be rolled out on the new speaker’s watch.

“On a day when Republicans voted for a new speaker of the House, and promised they are turning over a new leaf, the House Judiciary Congressman Bob Goodlatte recklessly and without regard for the actual needs of 9/11 responders introduced his own version of the James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act, ” told John Feal, the head of the FealGood Foundation advocacy group.

He left out Upton, because Upton’s bill dealing with health treatment was still in draft form. Goodlatte’s bill would provide compensation at a similar level to the current Zadroga act, which is estimated to meet less than half of the require identified by an independent evaluator.

“This bizarre act of unilateral action was ironically done the same day the James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act intersected the 60 -vote threshold to stimulate the bill filibuster proof, ” Feal said , noting that the existing, permanent bill would pass easily. “Even more bizarre, Chairman Goodlatte didnt consult with the House bill sponsors.”

“It’s an insult, is what it is, ” told Karrie Boswell, a Virginia firefighters’ union member with 27 years of service in Fairfax, Virginia, who thought Ryan might have to intervene.

“It might be the very first exam of his leadership, to see how he manages it, ” Boswell told The Huffington Post.

Ryan declared Thursday that he wanted the House to return to so-called regular order, where committees work on legislation before it goes to the House floor. If Goodlatte and Upton take up their only measures, the popular one backed by 9/11 proponents will never reach the floor.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand( D-N.Y .), the lead sponsor of the bill, told Friday if Ryan disregards the decision reached by House and Senate lawmakers, it would “show a grave lack of judgment to unwind the will of such a vast majority.”

“I hope the current speaker can analyze the issue on the facts and the merits of the communication and not make such a grave mistake in his first few weeks.”

A spokesman for Ryan did not immediately answer a request for comment.

Representatives for Goodlatte declined to speak on the record, but a committee staffer said the idea behind writing a new bill was to balance the needs of the victims with the money Congress could create to fund the compensation program. And since the present program sunsets in 2016 after five years on the books, Goodlatte thought a similar five-year period would be better than a permanent extension, devoting Congress a chance to re-evaluate in the future.

Goodlatte also wanted to use the bill to raise compensation for victims of Iranian terrorism, and other acts of terror that have been adjudicated in the courts, the aide told, adding that such amendments would not have been possible on the existing 9/11 bill.

Gillibrand, however, countered that she would have been happy to work with the House chairwomen but they never spoke to her. She said she was particularly peeved because she spoke to Upton simply a couple of days ago and asked if he supported her permanent bill.

“Im extremely disappointed that without calling me, without discussing with me, he then introduced a five-year bill, ” she told. “It feels to me like it was drafted by junior staff who dont know anything.”

Advocates for first responders did not raise objections to helping other victims of terrorism, but weren’t sure why that couldn’t be done in a separate bill.

And they were especially upset that both Goodlatte’s measure and Upton’s only last five years.

As a responder, that is like saying ‘I see you have a fire on the 10 th floor, but I am only going to the fifth floor, ‘” said Richard Alles, Deputy Chief of the FDNY and a board member of Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act. “Anyone else but Congress would fix the problem , not leave it hanging. Cancer does not last five years. This is basically telling we have to drag you all back here again and again to get the help we need.

When the original Zadroga Act passed, it was limited to five years, in part to show that it would not be subject to fraud and abuse. Since it has not been, responders say it’s day for Congress to stop constructing them arrive hat in hand to lawmakers, and let them simply worry about surviving.

Boswell remembered how she joined a group of responders earlier this month who came to Washington to lobby their cause, after having already done so the month before when Jon Stewart visited Congress.

It was obvious to her why lawmakers should stop involving responders to trek to D.C. with their wheelchairs and oxygen tanks. And one firefighter offered an especially poignant example.

“He was standing down in the Metro tunnel, and he explained to me that he hadn’t been down in the subway in a long time, ” Boswell told. “And as the subway develop went rumbling into the station, in advance there was a loud rumble and a big rush of air. He said it took him right back, because he was in the second tower[ of the World Trade Center] as it collapsed.”

Some 4,000 responders have been diagnosed with 9/11 -related cancer, and about 33,000 people are currently get treatment in the medical program. It expired last month, but has enough cash to keep operating into next year. There are 470 Virginians in the medical program, and 85 who are eligible for compensation. In Michigan, Upton’s state, there are about 80 9/11 responders, including 16 who are eligible for compensation.

“I’m merely sitting here wondering how people continue to function if they have to deal with this stuff arbitrarily in “peoples lives”, ” said Boswell, who has been directing other responders to the Facebook pages of Goodlatte and other Virginia lawmakers. “It’s absolutely time to lift this burden off their backs. They should not have to come back down here and fight again in five years.”

Alles’ group also preserves a site that lets people track and contact lawmakers who are in favour of and resist the permanent Zadroga bill.

Michael McAuliff encompass Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.

Read more: www.huffingtonpost.com

House chaplain virtually ousted by Paul Ryan repeals abdication

Paul Ryan responded by saying he accepted the decision by the Rev Patrick Conroy following an effort to oust him in April

The chaplain of the House of Representatives, the Rev Patrick Conroy, revoked his resignation on Thursday, forcing the House speaker, Paul Ryan, to back down from an effort to oust him.

In a letter, the Jesuit priest said that a top Ryan aide told him” maybe it’s time that we had a chaplain that wasn’t a Catholic” while asking for his resignation. Conroy also said that the Ryan aide, Jonathan Burks, mentioned a prayer that Conroy gave in November 2017 that the tax bill have no” wins or losers” as well as an interview he gave to National Journal.

Conroy’s ousting in April elicited a political crisis for Ryan after it was reported that the House chaplain was not leaving of his own volition but instead was being forced out. Ryan told lawmakers last week that Conroy was pushed out because he was not satisfying the” pastoral requires” of members.

However, Conroy insisted to the New York Times that Ryan told him after the 2017 prayer:” Padre, you’ve got to stay out of politics .” Conroy was of the view that the prayer didn’t” sound political to him” and added:” If you are hospital chaplain, “youre willing to” pray about health. If you are a chaplain of Congress, “youre willing to” pray about what Congress is doing .”

In his letter, Conroy pushed back against Ryan’s statements about the qualifications of his” pastoral services” and” spiritual advise “. He wrote:” This is not the reason that Mr Burks gave me when asking for my’ resignation ‘.” Conroy went on to state vehemently:” In fact , no such criticism has ever been filed against me during my tenure as a House chaplain. At the very least, if it were, I could have attempted to correct such’ faultings ‘. In retracting my abdication I wish to do only that .”

Ryan responded in a statement saying that” I have accepted Father Conroy’s letter and decided that he will remain in his position as chaplain of the House “. The Wisconsin Republican insisted” my original decision was induced in what I believed to be the best interest of this institution. To be clear, that decision was based on my duty to ensure that the House has the kind of pastoral services that it deserves. It is my job as speaker to do what is best for this body, and I know that this body is not well served by a protracted fight over such an important post .”

Burks also denied Conroy’s allegations in his own statement.” I strongly disagree with Father Conroy’s recollection of our conversation ,” said the Republican staffer.” I am disappointed by the misunderstanding, but wish him the best as he continues to serve the House .”

This decision avoids what would have been an unprecedented showdown between the House chaplain and speaker . Congress elects the position every two years although it has traditionally been uncontested. Conroy was elected to his position in May 2011 after his predecessor the Rev Daniel Coughlin retired. Coughlin was the first House chaplain to be a Roman Catholic.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Slate sees it eerie that Paul Ryan can smile while describing a future without the Obamacare mandate

Ben Shapiro perhaps said it best Monday in a piece published in Daily Wire entitled,” Why Republicans Lose No Matter What With Trumpcare .” The whole thing’s worth a read, but Shapiro pulled out his own excerpt to serve as” the short version .”

Read more:

The Guardian view on Trump and Obamacare: a welcome failure for a damaging scheme | Editorial

Editorial: In spite of controlling the White House and both wings of Congress, the Republicans let ideological obsessions to derail a scheme they have been trumpeting for years

President Donald Trumps failure to repeal Barack Obamas Affordable Care Act is a huge event. It may even eventually be an epochal one. It is huge for the United States, which expends much more on healthcare than most advanced nations( 17.1% of US GDP, compared with 9.1% for the UK ), but where healthcare was profoundly expensive and unequal until the occur of Obamacare seven years ago brought more than 22 million of Americas poorer citizens under its umbrella. It is huge for Americas politics, because Mr Trump had staked his blowhard presidency on his supposedly exceptional ability to do deals my art sort, as he sets it. One of the first and most important of these would be a replacement of Obamacare by a Republican party that controls both houses of Congress and the White House, a scheme now in tatters. It also has implications for Mr Trumps America and its standing in the world, as if Mr Trump becomes a wounded chairwoman domestically which is still not the case, in spite of Fridays failure it will shape the style that the president and other countries decide to play international relations too.

Ever since Mr Obamas Affordable Care Act was signed into statute in 2010, the Republican party has remained obsessed with its supposedly evil repercussions. Unlike the Conservative party in Britain, which chose after the creation of this countrys very differently constructed NHS that it would work with the new state system , not seek to undo it, the Republicans have constructed no endeavour whatever to create a historic compromise with Obamacare. Driven in big portion by their extreme rightwing anti-government activist base and conservative funders who loathe the federal governments involvement in almost anything except military spending, Republicans have instead vied with one another to pledge to kill the ACA and replace it with a cost-cutting alternative. Repeal and replace was Mr Trumps motto on the campaign trail. It was to be the new administrations domestic priority. It would show that Mr Trump can get things done.

Yet on Friday, Mr Trump and the congressional Republican had to admit that their scheme had comprehensively made the wall. It is dead and will not be quickly revived in any form. The failure casts a shadow over the administrations future tax and spending programs too. This is the most serious shame yet for Mr Trumps battered nine-week-old presidency. At this stage it outranks even the courts rejection of his migration forbidding, the resignation of national security adviser General Mike Flynn, the spiralling arguments over campaign links to Russia, the allegations about wiretapping against Mr Obama, and members of the general air of administrative chaos that has now descended over a US government in which only 21 out of 553 key administration postures have yet gone through the confirmation process.

The most important practical reason that the bill failed was because the Republican could not get the scheme that had been cobbled together between the Trump White House and House speaker Paul Ryan through the Congress. That is a striking enough failing. But the deeper reasons for it also matter. Mr Trump had not set enough supposed into the bill. He had also put Tom Price, a Georgia congressman who opposed not just the ACA but also the federal Medicare insurance programme for over-6 5s, in charge of federal health policy, sending a reckless signal. Mr Trump also absence the political skill to build the inevitable political trades that would give him a majority.

But the fundamental reason why the Trump-Ryan package failed was simply that it was a bad scheme about a key programme that would have stimulated things worse for a lot of voters. Repeal and replace was a mottoes , not a policy. If it had become the policy, which hardline Republicans wanted, it would in fact have injury their constituents, many of whom have benefited from the ACA and depend upon its provisions. Many budget hawks in the Republican party, of whom Mr Ryan is often the spokesman, dont care too much about that. They care more about a small country and low taxes for business than about decent healthcare for the poor. Yet they are also clearly happier in opposition than with the responsibilities of government. Even Mr Ryan was not able to persuade some conservative hardliners, while what remains of the moderate wing of the party excavate its heels in too, particularly in those districts that voted for Hillary Clinton last November. Both Mr Ryan and Mr Trump look like damaged goods right now and a good thing too.

Read more: www.theguardian.com