Spotted: Susan Collins very far from Maine

Many U.S. Senators use recess to go home to their states and hold events with their constituents. But this week instead of hopping a flight north to Maine, Susan Collins headed in the opposite direction: to a luxe resort in sunny Palm Beach, Florida.

This morning Politico Playbook reported Collins was spotted very far from Maine:

Palm Beach does sound nice this time of year. But it doesn’t seem wise to ditch Maine voters with less than two years to go until an election. What was Collins doing? Fundraising? Vacationing? Casual hobnobbing? The world may never know.

Read more after the jump.

Senate Republicans’ wall votes could cost their states millions

Senators Thom Tillis, David Perdue, Cory Gardner and Martha McSally cast embarrassingly transparent votes in favor of their political careers President Trump’s fake national emergency last week.

This week, their votes are coming back to haunt them in the form of millions of dollars in military construction funding that could be culled from their states to fund Trump’s wall.

Here’s a glimpse of early coverage of the potential damage to military facilities and families in North Carolina, Georgia, Colorado and Arizona.

AP: Military construction in Ga., Carolinas among possible projects cut to fund border wall
By AP | March 19, 2019

“The list included more than $100 million for water treatment plant improvements at Camp Lejeune and airfield security and other work at Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station in North Carolina. That is the home state to Republican Sen. Thom Tillis, who initially said he opposed Trump’s emergency but voted for it.”
“Also […]

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Tillis’s vote sold out North Carolina

Thom Tillis made headlines around the country last week when he abandoned his “constitutional conservatism” to cast a vote in favor of President Trump raiding military construction funding to pay for his border wall.

But that vote wasn’t just an embarrassing display of political cowardice. A new list of military construction projects potentially put at risk by Trump’s border wall includes millions of dollars for North Carolina military facilities, including “more than $100 million for water treatment plant improvements at Camp Lejeune.”

With one vote, Tillis managed to deal a serious blow both to his political career and to North Carolina military families.

AP: Military construction in Ga., Carolinas among possible projects cut to fund border wall
By AP | March 19, 2019

“The Pentagon sent a 20-page list of military construction projects to Congress on Monday that might be slashed to pay for President Donald Trump’s wall along the Mexican […]

Read more after the jump.

QUICK CLIP: Joni Ernst doubles down on her sham “paid family leave” plan

Joni Ernst is doubling down on her “paid family leave” plan — panned as a “sham that would wreck your retirement” — even as one of her own GOP colleagues came out against the proposal as a “raid” on Social Security.

WHO-DM reported on Friday that Ernst was “hearing the criticism about a paid leave act she introduced this week, but she says still believes in it.”

Ernst criticized “others that would just simply rather throw a tax out there,” while acknowledging the bill “isn’t perfect.” Ernst is right– possibly destroying Social Security as we know it isn’t what we’d call “perfect.”

Watch WHO-DM’s reporting here:

Watch the full clip here.

Read more after the jump.

Tillis slammed for “very public 180” on national emergency disapproval

What North Carolinians are seeing about Tillis’s “switcheroo”

 

Robesonian: Tillis flips, backs Trump’s declaration

“Tillis was among a group of GOP senators who had wavered amid concerns that Trump’s die-hard loyalty from millions of conservative voters could lead them to punish defecting lawmakers in next year’s elections.”

NC Policy Watch: Tillis flips back to Trump camp on national emergency

“‘I suspect that maybe some people had signaled that behavior like this may lead to being primaried,’ [Andrew Taylor, a political science professor at North Carolina State University] said. ‘He was in damage control.’”

Washington Post: Tillis’s reversal sums up state of Senate Republicans — few willing to cross Trump

“Tillis’s actions highlighted a hardening reality in Washington: Republicans who have real near-term political skin in the game are not willing to stand up to him.”

CBC: Editorial: Sen. Tillis delivers flip-flop for the ages

“What Tillis says he […]

Read more after the jump.

Snapshots from the GOP’s national emergency dumpster fire

In case you missed it– Yesterday 12 Republican Senators sided with Democrats to vote against President Trump’s fake national emergency. But five of the most vulnerable 2020 Senate Republicans put their constituents and their constitutional principles on the back burner in an attempt to preserve their political careers.

The verdict from across the country? Dumpster fire.

Roll Call: These GOP senators voted to potentially let Trump pull funds from military projects back home

“Some Republican senators who voted Thursday against terminating the President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration may face backlash for risking military projects in their home states.”

Bloomberg (Opinion): The Dysfunctional Republican Party Strikes Again

“It seems likely that electoral incentives pushed McSally, Gardner and Tillis away from the center because Republicans politicians have learned to be more afraid of primary challenges and threats of withholding party resources for disloyalty than they are afraid of swing voters in their districts.”

The Denver […]

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American Bridge Statement on National Emergency Disapproval Resolution

American Bridge released the following statement after Senators Tillis, Gardner, Perdue, McSally, and Ernst sided with President Trump to vote against the disapproval resolution blocking Trump’s national emergency. The resolution passed the Senate 59-41.

“It’s crystal clear that Republican Senators are more scared of a primary challenge than they are loyal to their principles or to their constituents,” said American Bridge spokesperson Amelia Penniman. “It’s another example in a long list of Republicans abandoning conservative principles in the interest of political power, and another reason they are wholly unfit to lead.”

Read more after the jump.

Ernst’s “paid family leave” plan gets dragged

In case you missed it– Iowa Senator Joni Ernst unveiled a new “paid family leave” plan this week that 1) isn’t paid, and 2) could destroy Social Security as we know it.

The proposal has been roundly criticized by a group that includes one of Ernst’s Republican colleagues, and applauded by Koch allies and public policy wonk Ivanka Trump. For more on Ernst’s insidious CRADLE Act, read on:

LA Times: The Republican proposal for paid family leave is a sham that would wreck your retirement
By Michael Hiltzik | March 13, 2019

“Republican Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Mike Lee of Utah have been beating the drums for their ‘Cradle Act,’ a proposal to institute up to 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents.”
“But they’ve concealed the chief drawbacks of their plan, which are the same features that make it palatable to a GOP constituency: It would undermine Social Security, […]

Read more after the jump.

Where does Martha McSally stand on Arizona’s new junk insurance plans?

Arizona’s Republican governor signed a bill into law this week allowing insurance companies to offer plans exempt from the ACA’s pre-existing condition protections — which could lead Arizonans suffering from cancer or diabetes to be dropped by their insurance at a moment’s notice. Watch one Arizona mother talk about her daughter’s pre-existing condition here.

As a failed Senate candidate in 2018, Martha McSally falsely claimed she was “leading the fight” to force insurers to cover pre-existing conditions — then turned around and voted to confirm Chad Readler, a key player in Trump’s efforts to gut the ACA, to the Circuit Court.

McSally is no stranger to flip-flopping, but Arizonans deserve to know what their Senator is doing to keep her campaign promises on pre-existing conditions. Where does Martha McSally stand on Arizona’s new junk insurance plans?

Read more after the jump.

Joni Ernst’s “paid family leave” proposal is a slap in the face to working Americans

Joni Ernst unveiled a “paid family leave” proposal yesterday that would force new parents to pay for their own parental leave by looting their Social Security benefits.

Ernst admitted her plan would force Americans to defer their retirement in exchange for parental leave, but that doesn’t concern her: she said she “wouldn’t describe it as any sort of loss”:

“This is a plan to weaken Social Security masquerading as paid family leave, minus the paid part,”said American Bridge spokesperson Amelia Penniman. “Working families deserve both paid family leave and to retire with dignity, but Joni Ernst wants them to choose one or the other. She’s clearly missed the memo on what matters for American families.”

Watch the full press conference here.

Read more after the jump.