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The Left Column

Miles Archer

Mnuchin "can't guarantee" Trump tax plan wont raise taxes on middle class

(Raw Story) President Donald Trump unveiled his tax reform plan this week, and it included a lot of big giveaways for high-income earners, including the elimination of both the inheritance tax and the alternative minimum tax.

Despite this, the administration has tried to pitch the plan as a boon for the middle class, as it proposes doubling the standard deduction for all earners. However, the plan will also likely get rid of several popular deductions, including the deduction for state and local taxes and for student loan payments, meaning some middle income earners might end up paying more than they do right now.

During an interview on ABC News on Thursday, George Stephanopoulos asked Trump Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin if he could guarantee that middle-class families wouldn’t pay any additional taxes under the administration’s plan — and Mnuchin replied that he couldn’t.

“I can’t make any guarantees until this thing is done and it’s on the president’s desk,” Mnuchin said. “But I can tell you, that’s our number one objective in this.”

SecularMotion

House Democrats to force vote on bill requiring Trump to release his taxes, visitor logs

(WaPo) House Democrats plan to force a floor fight with Republicans on Thursday over legislation that would require President Trump to disclose information about his personal taxes, business holdings, ethics waivers, and visitors to the White House and his vacation properties.

Knowing that the legislation will be blocked by Republicans who control the House, Democrats are hoping to squeeze the majority party so they can claim that GOP incumbents in competitive reelection fights are standing with a president who remains deeply unpopular. The move comes as Trump nears the 100th day of his presidency on Saturday, a milestone that he has mocked but that his administration has used as an opportunity to tout early accomplishments.

workinclasszero

New Trumpcare plan 'makes bad bill worse,' AARP says

(Orlando Sentenel) Under Trumpcare 2.0 — the GOP’s revised plan to replace Obamacare — older low-income Floridians would face “prohibitively expensive” health insurance premiums, even if they’re healthy, AARP Florida warned Wednesday in what leaders said should be a wake-up call to the state’s residents.

“If this passes, it’s going to push a lot of older Floridians back into the ranks of the uninsured,” said AARP Florida director Jeff Johnson. “And that will have dire consequences for their health, for their personal finances, for the finances of the health care system in Florida and for our public health.”

TheFerret

Still More Madness

Oh wow. I don't usually do these on back-to-back days, but the news kept coming at me today like a tommy gun full of bat guano, so let's all tear our clothes off and run naked through the poppy field that is the news these days.

We started with the national media picking up last night's story about the Marmalade Shartcannon seeking a review of the last 21 years' worth of national park designations, with an eye on reversing a few. Seriously, he wants to UN-DESIGNATE SOME FUCKING NATIONAL PARKS. Oddly, rather than being the plot of a Muppet film, this turned out to be objective reporting on the actions of the President of the United States. Hey, maybe you want to preserve our nation's natural beauty for your kids and grandkids, but the dudes in Rex Tillerson's poker game don't have quite enough mad money for recreational space travel, so FUCK YOU...

RKP5637

Senator who attended Trumps North Korea briefing confirms it was all for optics

(Raw Story) Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who attended a White House meeting on North Korea Wednesday, all-but-verified that the gathering was for show. On CNN’s “Erin Burnett Out Front,” the Democratic senator told the host that lawmakers “learned nothing you couldn’t read in the newspaper.”

Donald Trump invited 100 senators to attend a classified briefing at 3p.m. today, bussing in the lawmakers from Capitol Hill to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building auditorium. Several senators who attended said the president discussed issues they were already aware of from the press.

“Why do you think he had you come to the White House for this?” Burnett asked.

“Oh, complete optics,” Merkley said. “Giving him a chance to say he considers it important enough to have us come to the White house.”

DonViejo

White House to continue Obamacare payments

(Politico) The White House has told lawmakers that it will continue paying Affordable Care Act cost-sharing subsidies, removing the biggest remaining hurdle in the negotiations to avoid a government shutdown.

A congressional source said Wednesday the administration was spreading the word among lawmakers. It was not immediately clear how long the White House planned to keep the money flowing.

manchu

Republicans exempt their own insurance from their latest health care proposal

House Republicans appear to have included a provision that exempts Members of Congress and their staff from their latest health care plan.

The new Republican amendment, introduced Tuesday night, would allow states to waive out of Obamacare’s ban on pre-existing conditions. This means that insurers could once again, under certain circumstances, charge sick people higher premiums than healthy people.

Republican legislators liked this policy well enough to offer it in a new amendment. They do not, however, seem to like it enough to have it apply to themselves and their staff. A spokesperson for Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) who authored this amendment confirmed this was the case: members of Congress and their staff would get the guarantee of keeping this Obamacare regulations.

still_one

Not Trumps fault: Chaffetz blames Obama adminstration for failing to vet Flynn

(Raw Story) The latest Flynn scandal concerns potential violations of federal law by not disclosing payments from Russia while seeking a security clearance to work in the Trump White House.

“It was the Obama White House that this would have fallen under,” Chaffetz claimed. “I don’t think what happened here is really the fault of Donald Trump.”

The deflection of blame away from Trump by the Republican Chair of the House Oversight Committee referred to Obama appointing Flynn as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. However, as the New York Times explained about this developing scandal, “it was only after Mr. Flynn was forced out as national security adviser that his dealings in Russia came into sharper focus.”

boston bean

Chobani Yogurt Sues Alex Jones Over Sexual Assault Report

(NYT) Chobani, the yogurt company, has filed a lawsuit against Alex Jones, the high-profile conspiracy theorist and the host of a popular right-wing radio show, for posting what it called false news reports about the company and its owner.

The suit, filed on Monday in district court in Twin Falls County, Idaho, named Mr. Jones and the media companies InfoWars and Free Speech Systems as defendants. It called “false” and “defamatory” several reports that appeared on InfoWars alleging that the company’s factory in Idaho, which employs refugees, was connected to a 2016 child sexual assault and a rise in tuberculosis cases.

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