Small “d” democracy
By Mark Lurinsky
Earlier in the year I wrote a post on why we shouldn’t expect particularly good things from William Barr as attorney general -- while allowing that “the jury is still out.”
It looks like that jury is back now, and it’s not good.
No, I’m not talking about Barr’s role as the gatekeeper to the Mueller report. I’m referring to the attorney general’s complete public silence when in late March the Justice Department’s lawyers, following President Trump, sent a letter to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals stating that DOJ fully supports a recent district court ruling striking down the Affordable Care Act in all respects -- and intends to file a brief with that position in the pending appeal.
BlueWaveNJ Condemns Trump Administration's Renewed Drive To Void the ACA; Applauds House Bill to Strengthen the Law
The Trump administration's recent shift to full support of a lawsuit filed by 20 Republican attorneys general and governors seeking to have the entire Affordable Care Act declared unconstitutional is a legal absurdity and a wantonly cruel and reckless policy decision. The plaintiffs argue, and the Trump administration now agrees, that the entire ACA became unconstitutional when Congress reduced the individual mandate penalty to zero in late 2017, because the Supreme Court in 2012 held that the mandate was Constitutional only as an exercise of Congress's taxing power. That is rank sophistry rejected by attorneys and legal scholars across the political spectrum -- suggesting in effect that the Republican Congress repealed the ACA by accident when it zeroed out the mandate penalty as part of the tax package passed in December 2017 after failing in multiple attempts to repeal the law's core programs earlier that year.
Medicare for All (who want or need it): A path for presidential candidates?
By Andrew Sprung
Commitment to "Medicare for All" or something like has become something of a litmus test for Democratic candidates. There are real perils for a candidate, however, in committing to transitioning the U.S. to a single payer healthcare system in one leap. *
The tax hikes would be double-digit in a tax-averse country. Some 156 million Americans are insured through employers, and while out-of-pocket costs in employer coverage have been rising swiftly, tens of millions are wary of losing the plans they have. In Kaiser Family Foundation polling, support for "Medicare for All" collapses, from 56% in favor to 37%, when people are asked if they would support a program that raises taxes or eliminates private health insurance companies. In contrast, creating "a federal program similar to Medicare open to anyone" that would allow people to keep their current coverage is supported by 74%.
Small “d” democracy
Setting the Bar(r) Too Low
As I pen this blog, William Barr has just been confirmed as the second attorney general of the Trump/Pence administration, on a mainly party line Senate vote, just as most of Trump’s other judiciary and Department of Justice appointments have been.
There are a couple of arguments why, despite what we already know about Mr. Barr (and what we don’t know), a long-time corporate lawyer and former attorney general for President George H. W. Bush, even liberals and progressives might be tempted to acquiesce in this action.
DC Trip to meet with NJ's Congressional Delegation
BlueWaveNJ went to Washington D.C. on Jan. 29 to meet with the members of the New Jersey Congressional delegation to discuss our national agenda as well as listen to their priorities. In addition to the members of our health care, environment, economic security and election reform committees, we also had a number of young people on the bus concerned about college affordability and the staggering level of student debt they and their friends have accumulated.
BlueWaveNJ went to Washington D.C. on Jan. 29 to meet with the members of the New Jersey Congressional delegation to discuss our national agenda as well as listen to their priorities. In addition to the members of our health care, environment, economic security and election reform committees, we also had a number of young people on the bus concerned about college affordability and the staggering level of student debt they and their friends have accumulated. In each of our meetings, we gave the representative and staff a list of BlueWaveNJ’s 2019 national priorities and thanked for their support of progressive legislation. In particular, we thanked our entire house delegation for co-sponsoring the symbolic, but extremely important, For the People Act (H.R. 1) which tackles money in politics, ethics, voting rights and non-partisan redistricting, and for co-sponsoring the Bipartisan Background Check bill (H.R. 8), as well as their multiple actions to force a reopening of our federal agencies after President Trump’s unprecedented 35-day shutdown. During an extremely busy day, we met with 11 NJ members and their staff, including our two senators and 9 members of the House of Representatives.
One of the takeaways from the visit is how fortunate we are to have such a large number of thoughtful, knowledgeable and progressive Democrats. We were impressed with the quality of leadership as well as their willingness to meet and exchange ideas. Despite limited time, we were able to have a number of substantive conversations on the issues. A brief overview of each meeting is below.
If you have particular questions or would like a more in depth summary of a particular meeting, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Perhaps you wouldn’t know it with all the turmoil surrounding Donald Trump’s government shutdown, but congressional Democrats are quietly going on the offensive to strengthen our democracy.
On the third day of the new Congress, Representative John Sarbanes of Maryland and Speaker Pelosi introduced H.R.1, the “For the People Act of 2019”, “to expand Americans' access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, and strengthen ethics rules for public servants, and for other purposes.”
As we celebrate the New Year and head into 2019 we want to thank you for making BlueWaveNJ's 2018 accomplishments possible.
BlueWaveNJ members participated in over 1,700 canvassing shifts, that resulted in knocking on over 51,000 doors. We handed out over 20,000 postcards at train stations and canvassing events comparing the candidates positions on healthcare and the environment. The blue wave swept through New Jersey and we are proud that almost our entire congressional delegation is blue.
BlueWaveNJ commends the legislature for listening and responding to the chorus of concerned voters and experts who testified against the redistricting resolution. We thank the leadership for pulling the resolution from this Monday’s agenda and for agreeing to respond to the testimony presented.
Dear Chair and Members of the Committee,
This redistricting amendment to the New Jersey Constitution does not represent a better plan to
draw our legislative districts. Instead, if adopted, the plan would leave New Jersey vulnerable to
abuse and gerrymandering. If our state’s citizens are going to have confidence in our
democratic systems, we must ensure that these systems are fair, transparent, representative