GOP tax bill adds big nix in Bamcare
IF AT FIRST you don’t succeed, try to cram Obamacare repeal into your tax plan.
Senate Republicans announced Tuesday that they will add language to their tax reform bill that will repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, eliminating the penalty on those who don’t buy health insurance.
GOP leaders believe the repeal, which President Trump pushed for, will give them enough votes to pass their tax bill.
“We’re optimistic that inserting the individual mandate repeal would be helpful,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the repeal will lead to 4 million more uninsured people by 2019 and 13 million more by 2027.
A nonpartisan analysis of the Senate bill determined it would increase taxes for roughly 13.8 million moderate-income American households even though Republicans claim it will help the middle class. The bill provides deep cuts to corporate taxes, doubles the standard deduction used by most Americans and repeals the federal deduction for state and local property, income and sales taxes.
“They’re so determined to provide tax giveaways to the rich that they’re willing to raise premiums on millions of middle-class Americans and kick 13 million people off their health care,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). A TESTY Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended himself on Tuesday, denying that he lied to Congress about his knowledge of Trump campaign contacts with Russian operatives.
“I will not accept, and reject accusations that I have ever lied. That is a lie,” Sessions told the House Judiciary Committee before being grilled by members of both parties on a variety of topics.
“My story has never changed. I’ve always told the truth,” Sessions said, despite repeatedly amending his previous testimony.
Sessions, dogged by his own foreign contacts during the campaign, testified that he now recalls a meeting at which a Trump campaign adviser proposed a face-toface between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin after talking with a Kremlin-connected professor.
Sessions, at the time an Alabama senator, previously said he had no recollection of the March 2016 meeting he chaired as the head of President Trump’s foreign policy advisory council.
Court records related to the guilty plea of campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, since unsealed, revealed that he proposed Trump and Putin meet during the sitdown.
It was reported that Sessions shot down the proposal, something he claimed he had no recollection of until it was reported in the media.
“After reading his account, and to the best of my recollection, I believe that I wanted to make clear to him that he was not authorized to represent the campaign with the Russian government, or any other foreign government, for that matter,” Sessions said.
When pressed to explain why he never thought to bring up Papadopoulos’ offer when asked about Russian contacts in past testimony Sessions said it slipped his mind.
“I did not recall this event, which occurred 18 months before my testimony of a few weeks ago, and would gladly have reported it had I remembered it, because I pushed back against his suggestion,” he said.
Sessions blamed his hazy memory on his time with the Trump campaign itself, calling it a chaotic journey that afforded little time for sleep.
“It was a brilliant campaign, I think in many ways. But it was a form of chaos every day from day one,” he said.
Despite his newfound recollections, Sessions insisted that he has been consistent and straightforward in his answers in the past.
Sessions was asked about Russia during his January confirmation hearing, in which he responded that he was “not aware” of any communications by anyone in the campaign with Russians.
Sessions angrily denounced accusations that he intentionally misled members of Congress.
“Nobody, not you or anyone else, should be prosecuted . . . nor accused of perjury for answering the questions the way I did in that hearing,” Sessions said after Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn, photo inset) reminded him that he had once bragged of prosecuting a police officer for making false statements that he later corrected.
Republicans peppered Sessions with questions about the Justice Department’s handling of an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email practices, as well as an Obama-era uranium deal, and asked why a special prosecutor hadn’t been appointed for those.
It would take “a factual basis that meets the standard of a special counsel” for the Department of Justice to make such an appointment, he said during a heated exchange with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).
He also sidestepped questions about Trump’s influence on the Justice Department’s review of AT&T’s $85 billion attempt to buy Time Warner Inc., which owns CNN.
The Justice Department reportedly demanded CNN — a favorite target of Trump’s — be sold off for the deal to be completed.
“The Justice Department does not reveal privileged conversations or conversations with the White House,” Sessions said.