You could be forgiven for not noticing what Donnie Trump was up to this week, amid all the news of the coronavirus spiking, Trump’s embarrassing rally in Tulsa, his asinine comments in Phoenix, and the GOP barking about it’s police reform bill that was not much more than some mumbo jumbo that would have changed not a damn thing.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump was once again trying to repeal ACA, this time filing a legal brief urging the Supreme Court to strike down The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, even as coronavirus cases climb across the U.S. and soaring unemployment forces millions off employer-based health plans.
Yo!!! Republicans!!! Are you listening? Do you understand what it will mean if the Supreme Court lets your beloved Trump have his way? More than 2.3 million cases of the coronavirus, and meanwhile some 27 million people have lost their health insurance due to loss of employment, and Trump wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act … now. Says Trump …
“… just so you understand, ObamaCare is a disaster. What we want to do is terminate it.”
I guess whether it is a disaster or a life-saver depends on which side of the wealth divide you stand on. For some 99% of us, it is potentially a life-saver, but for those like Trump who have no financial worries, perhaps it is seen as a disaster, for it costs them a few bucks, and those guys are tight with a nickel.
Even Senator John Cornyn, a republican from Texas, who has voted against ACA numerous times, is now urging people to take advantage of it …
“The good news is that if you lose your employer-provided coverage, which covers about 180 million Americans, then that is a significant life event, which makes you then eligible to sign up for the Affordable Care Act — and as you know, it has a sliding scale of subsidies up to 400 percent of poverty.”
The Court will not hear the arguments until the next term which begins in October, and a decision is unlikely before the November 3rd election.
In other news … remember those $1,200 stimulus checks that were paid out in April as part of the $2.3 trillion stimulus bill passed by Congress? Well, the implementation of the disbursements covered under that bill has been a nightmare, just as we all figured it would. Trump refused any oversight of how the money going to help businesses would be allocated, and the bulk of it has gone to big businesses, rather than the small businesses that most needed it. But about those $1,200 checks … turns out the IRS sent more than one million of those checks to … dead people. Yep, leave it to our federal government to royally screw up anything they are tasked with.The cost to We the Taxpayer for their screwup? Potentially as much as $1.4 billion … yes, billion! So how did this happen? Well, to distribute the money, the Treasury Department used 2019 tax return records, but it did not use “third-party data,” such as the death records maintained by the Social Security Administration (SSA), to determine whether the person was still alive. The IRS is in the process of trying to get the money back, but they admit that they do not have plans to actively pursue it. Ah well, what’s $1.4 billion of our hard-earned tax dollars, eh?
But that’s not all! About those loans to small businesses … we who funded this project might want to know where the money went … not too much to ask, is it? But, according to Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin, it is. By the end of May, we had spent more than $500 billion on some 4.5 million loans, but … to whom? Mnuchin told a Senate committee earlier this week …
“As it relates to the names and amounts of specific PPP loans, we believe that that’s proprietary information.”
Even the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which is charged with oversight of the program, has struggled to get information from the administration. Several media outlets have filed a joint Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking the identities of businesses that received loans through the PPP program. The Project on Government Oversight plans to file a separate FOIA request seeking the data.
So much for transparency and accountability in our government.
And another tidbit you might have missed … Trump & Co have decided they no longer want to apprise Congress in advance when they sell arms to foreign countries. The reason? According to Foreign Policy magazine, administration officials say they are tired of regular efforts by Capitol Hill to review arms exports to Saudi Arabia and other nations.
Lawmakers have tried to block weapons sales to countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates because of concerns about human rights issues and the prospect of civilian casualties, particularly with the Saudi-led coalition’s war against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen. It seems to be mostly Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who is tired of not being able to do as he wishes without having to seek the approval of Congress.
There will still be formal notification to Congress, but in many cases the formal notification does not give Congress sufficient time to assess the potential sale and put forth objections or concerns. Again … Trump seems to chafe at the reins of congressional oversight, thinking he should be able to do as he wishes without the consent and advice of Congress. Another corner of the Constitution lit afire.
And on that note, have a nice day!