"It’s a shame that fringe Republicans and special interests had the day," state Democratic Party Chairman Randy Voller said in a release. North Carolina Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, who also voted to end cloture, say Watt is very qualified for the housing post. "Mel deserves an up or down vote, and I will continue to advocate for his confirmation to this critical post," she said. U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., said Watt knows housing finance and has been on the House financial services committee for a long time. He was involved in the Dodd-Frank financial services regulation overhaul law. "There is no doubt" Watt is qualified for the post, Butterfield said.
Morning Memo: Democratic Party reaction to its new candidate
Jason Thigpen switched from Republican to Democrat in the 3rd District Congressional race, excoriating his party in the process. N.C. Democratic Party spokesman Micah Beasley’s reaction: “This is what happens when you cater to the political fringes. Whether it’s their looming divisive 2014 Senate primary or their own candidates running away from the General Assembly’s toxic agenda, there is deep unrest within the Republican ranks and North Carolina is getting a front row seat.”
The head of the North Carolina Democratic Party has come out today in favor of Val Applewhite in the Fayetteville mayoral race. Randy Voller, chairman of the state Democratic Party, issued this statement today: “Fayetteville has a unique opportunity to elect a proven leader as its next Mayor. At a time when Republicans have just shut down the federal government and furloughing thousands of Fort Bragg employees and contractors, gutted public education by almost half a billion dollars and overreached to snatch local control of municipal assets, Fayetteville needs a strong leader with a mainstream plan to create jobs and reduce crime with the will to get the job done," NCDP Chair Randy Voller said.
Marjorie Fields Harris, a veteran operative in party politics, has been hired as outreach coordinator for the North Carolina Democratic Party. In her new role, Harris will work with the eight auxiliary caucuses of the state party, county parties and congressional district parties to enhance their visibility in the upcoming 2014 elections. She also will help develop strategies for voter engagement and outreach, the NCDP said in a statement Wednesday.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ken Spaulding of Durham will be the keynote speaker Saturday at the African American Caucus’ 10th anniversary banquet. The event will be held at 6 p.m. at the Occasions Restaurant in Burlington. Spaulding, a former state legislator, is seeking the Democratic nomination in 2016, to challenge Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. Also expected to seek the Democratic nomination is Attorney General Roy Cooper.
Wood stuck by her audit, saying that the figures used in her report were official number submitted to the federal office that oversees Medicaid. Medicaid experts, including the former head of the Medicare and Medicaid office in Atlanta, determined how the figures should be reported in the audit, she said. "My findings are irrefutable," Wood said. The report on administrative spending that a former DHHS official used to try to counter the audit included unverifiable information on managed care expenses, Wood said. "Everyone is jumping up and down about this information that somebody pulled out of the sky," she said. North Carolina Health News is standing by its report. Gov. Pat McCrory and DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos appeared with Wood at a news conference to announce the audit findings. McCrory uses the audit to bolster his contention that Medicaid is "broken," and as a reason not to expand Medicaid to about 500,000 low-income people as allowed under the Affordable Care Act.
“Today I am making a 911 call to Gov. (Pat) McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly,” said state Rep. Carla Cunningham, a Mecklenburg County Democrat. She and fellow Democratic state Rep. Beverly Earle have asked McCrory to convene a special legislative session to reconsider the earlier decision to reject Medicaid expansion, which is the part of the Affordable Care Act that was intended to cover more of the working poor and uninsured. Mecklenburg County commissioners also approved a resolution recently urging the governor and the legislature to reverse course and accept the Medicaid expansion. “Expanding Medicaid and extending health coverage to thousands of North Carolinians is, in my opinion, a no-brainer,” Earle told the group. “The funds that would be coming to North Carolina are going to other states. These are your tax dollars.”
The holiday applies to Energy Star-labeled clothes washers, refrigerators and freezers, air conditioners, ceiling fans and programmable thermostats and other products. Business purchases don’t qualify. The General Assembly passed a tax overhaul law this year that repealed the sales tax weekends on Energy Star appliances and the one held every August for clothing, computers and school supplies and sports equipment. The holidays won’t occur in 2014 and beyond.
The governor’s remarks in defense of one of his signature priorities are the first since Good Jobs First, a Washington-based group, issued a report saying similar public-private partnerships have a mixed record. The organization – which is critical of such arrangements – argued in its report that such structures limit public accountability, present conflicts of interest and misuse taxpayer money.
Senate leader Phil Berger’s office on Wednesday cited a request for volunteers at one Raleigh elementary school to substitute for teachers briefly while they meet Monday morning as proof of a "politically-motivated one-hour strike." "Schools have a duty to educate and protect our children, not serve as marching grounds for political protests orchestrated by unions," Berger and Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake, said in a prepared statement. The NCAE is affiliated with the National Education Association but doesn’t haven’t collective bargaining powers for North Carolina teachers.
News & Observer: Phil Berger, Neal Hunt push back against teacher ‘walk-in’
Senate leader Phil Berger, a Rockingham County Republican, and Sen. Neal Hunt, a Raleigh Republican, accused teachers of putting children at Lacy at risk for political purposes. Both lawmakers called on state Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, to investigate the situation.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Lindsay Wagner’s excellent story on North Carolina’s increasingly demoralized public school teachers over on the main PW site. You’ll also get to read about the over-the-top reaction from state senators Phil Berger and Neal Hunt to the tepid efforts by some in the education community to at least raise awareness of how bad things have gotten. Indeed, Berger and Hunt’s response is so remarkably heavy-handed that it calls to mind some verses from Dr. Seuss’ classic story about another big shot who thought he was entitled to rule over the masses
Florida Courier: GOP official ousted for ‘lazy Blacks’ comment on the ‘Daily Show’
From there he continued to dig an even deeper hole, telling Mandvi “one of my best friends is Black,” repeatedly using the N-word and saying he favored the state’s new laws because “if it hurts the Whites, so be it. If it hurts lazy Black people that wants the government to give them everything, so be it.” (He also admitted the new regulations were politically motivated — or, as he put it, “The law is going to kick the Democrats in the butt.”) So unguarded were Yelton’s ramblings that Mandvi asked Yelton, “You know that we can hear you, right?” The segment quickly went viral on Oct. 24, with New York Magazine calling it “the most baldly racist ‘Daily Show’ interview of all time.” Yelton did not do much to help his case, telling the Mountain Xpress in a follow-up interview that “the comments that were made, that I said, I stand behind them. I believe them.”
Mel Watt can put this distinction next to his congressional biography — with Republicans’ successful blocking of his nomination to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, he appears to be the first sitting member of Congress whose nomination has been defeated by filibuster since 1843. The North Carolina Democrat joins Rep. Caleb Cushing of Massachusetts. Two days before Cushing left office, having pledged not to run again, President John Tyler nominated him to become his Treasury secretary in a lame-duck session of Congress. But he was blocked twice, according to the House Historian’s office.
New York Times: G.O.P. Filibuster of 2 Obama Picks Sets Up Fight
In a series of swift back-to-back votes, Republicans first blocked the nomination of Representative Melvin Watt, Democrat of North Carolina, to become the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency — a rare affront to a sitting member of Congress who has an extensive record of public service. Next Republicans, who have accused the president of trying to tip the court’s ideological balance in Democrats’ favor, quickly dispensed with the nomination of Patricia Ann Millett to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. A former government lawyer whose husband serves in the military, she has worked in both Republican and Democratic administrations. The White House chose her as a test of how far Republicans would go to derail a qualified nominee.
Just minutes after the swearing-in of New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker, the Senate dove headfirst back into a standoff over executive and judicial branch nominations. “I think it’s worth considering it,” Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., said of changing Senate rules on nominees after Republicans filibustered two nominees. Republicans blocked President Barack Obama’s pick of Rep. Melvin Watt, D-N.C., to become the top housing finance regulator, and Patricia Ann Millett’s nomination to fill one of three vacant seats on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals. Watt was blocked on a 56-42 vote for cloture, while Millett failed on a 55-38 vote. Sixty votes are needed to avoid a filibuster. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid voted “no” to preserve his right to reconsider the vote.
It didn’t take long for the “nuclear option” to come back to the Senate. In quick succession, Senate Republicans held together Thursday to block two of President Barack Obama’s nominations to both the executive and judicial branches. The votes threatened to upend the relative peace that has taken hold in the Senate over the past few months since leaders agreed in July to not change the chamber’s rules by a majority vote — the “nuclear option” — to make it harder for the minority to block executive nominations.
New York Magazine: The Republican Health-Care Plan: Repeal and Cackle
But conservatives want this moment to represent something more than a political victory. They sense an ideological victory: the discrediting of the Affordable Care Act as a policy model, a new opportunity for them to substitute their own vision. And there they are not only mistaken but deluding themselves in the fundamental way they have deluded themselves all along. The single most salient fact about Obamacare to conservatives is that it is unpopular. This is true. What conservatives have never fully acknowledged is that its lack of popularity reflects not a broad agreement with the right’s ideological critique but a deep aversion to change. The paradox of health-care policy is that the failures of the system — its ever-rising costs, its complexity, the constant lurking fear of losing insurance and risking catastrophe — makes people more resistant to change it, because they associate change with risk.
RealClearPolitics: In Pelosi, Obama Sees Vital Ally for Securing Legacy
While raising money for House Democrats in Boston Wednesday night, the president said the minority leader from California “has just constantly surprised me by just how good, how tough, how visionary and how committed she is, and dedicated to the well-being of not just her own constituents but the American people.” Less publicly he’s described Pelosi as “tough as nails,” confiding his respect for her ability to corral votes in her conference, even when some of her Democratic members initially feel less than united.
Ellmers is correct to observe that human males don’t gestate human children. Likewise, no human female, to the best of my knowledge, has ever developed testicular or prostate cancer. A big part of what the Affordable Care Act does is to recognize that treating cancer and bearing children are expensive but common things our society places a great deal of value on, and to defray the costs of doing them broadly, even if they’re sex-specific. It establishes the principle hat women shouldn’t be financially penalized, by accident of birth, for having wombs. Perhaps if human fetuses were incubated in nests like birds, Ellmers would see the value in socializing the costs of advancing the species.
At a private lunch briefing Thursday in the Capitol, senior administration officials heard concerns over the law’s new website, frustration about the cancellation of some insurance policies and fears that the White House’s poor messaging failed to convey how Obamacare will actually work. While the mood was cordial, senators said, the questions were pointed and the anxiety was palpable.
Bloomberg: Wal-Mart to Widows Will Feel U.S. Food Stamp Cuts
Food-stamp spending reached a record $78.4 billion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, due in part to a temporary boost in benefits passed as part of the 2009 economic stimulus that expires today. Lawmakers battling over U.S. farm and budget policy are looking to cut deeper by tightening eligibility rules that could drop as many as 3 million people from the program. With an estimated 8 percent of shoppers using food stamps, the impact will probably be felt most acutely by discount retailers such as Dollar General Corp., Family Dollar Stores Inc. and Wal-Mart, said Bryan Gildenberg, chief knowledge officer of Kantar Retail. “You’ll find the effects will happen quite quickly,” Gildenberg said. “These are shoppers that have probably already allocated their spending down to the dollar.”
On Monday, Reid announced on the Senate floor that ENDA would be considered during this work session, which is scheduled to end by Thanksgiving. Reid also discussed the importance of pending judicial nominations, specifically for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, as a priority for this work session. Later Monday, he filed cloture on the nomination of Patricia Millett to the prominent appeals court. Currently, advocates claim support from 59 senators, including Wednesday’s announcement by Sen. Joe Manchin’s office that the West Virginia Democrat will support the bill and Thursday’s planned swearing-in of Sen.-elect Cory Booker, who backs the bill. All 54 Democrats in the Senate currently co-sponsor or at least have said they will vote for the bill. Four Republicans have signaled support for the legislation through co-sponsorships or votes: Sens. Susan Collins and Mark Kirk co-sponsor the legislation and Sens. Orrin Hatch and Lisa Murkowski voted for the bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Sen. Jeff Flake backed the House’s 2007 bill to extend workplace protections to gays and lesbians. Sen. John McCain’s wife, Cindy, signed a gay-rights petition to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. And when another gay-rights measure came up in 2010 — repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on LGBT individuals from serving openly in the military — North Carolina GOP Sen. Richard Burr joined Democrats to kill the long-standing policy. But when it comes to the ENDA bill heading to the Senate floor as soon as next week, those GOP senators aren’t so sure. They are balancing growing public acceptance of gay rights against concerns that the bill — which includes provisions addressing gender identity — is too expansive and doesn’t do enough to protect religious institutions. “I said when I did ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ don’t misinterpret this as a blank check on issues that relate to same-sex anything,” Burr told POLITICO.
He noted that he and Cannon differed on the 2011 incentives granted to Chiquita Brands International. Peacock voted against the incentive package, which helped cover the company’s moving expenses. Cannon said he is in favor of offering incentives to land companies, and cited examples such as the city landing Electrolux, Chiquita and MetLife. “People are hurting,” Cannon said, arguing that the city needs as many jobs as it can produce.
Political Wire: Seniors Could Be the Swing Vote in 2014
Democracy Corps: "Seniors broke heavily for Republicans in 2010, and they are a disproportionate voice in off-year elections. In the Republican battleground, the vote is tied among seniors and the Democratic candidate has gained 5 points among this group since June. In the Democratic battleground, Democratic incumbents lead by 14 points (51% to 37%) among seniors. This trend has also emerged in the last three national Democracy Corps surveys – which is a sea change."
After the 2008 elections, the pundits were certain: the GOP was in danger of being a rump party, one that only had power and influence in the South and a few older, whiter precincts in the Plains and mountain states. The cry was heard again in 2012, louder. But as 2014 approaches, a quirk of the calendar has meant that Democrats, forced to defend the majority in the U.S. Senate they have consolidated over the last several election cycles, will need to hold on to a couple of key seats in Dixie, a land where Democrats were supposed to be banished. If they hope to have any kind of cushion against losses elsewhere, Democrats may even need to steal a couple of seats now held by Republicans in the region. And they just might do it. “The Democratic Party is a lot stronger in the South than many people believe,” said Ronnie Musgrove, governor of Mississippi from 2000 to 2004. “If Democrats start focusing on the South the way they have focused nationally, then you will start to see some big gains here.”
RealClearPolitics: Factors That Will Determine the Va. Governor’s Race
I have expected the Republican attorney general to lose this race since May, and it certainly hasn’t developed in a way that would cause me to reassess. But we have elections for a reason. How could he win? Three things would have to happen. Right now, in the RealClearPolitics Average, Democrat Terry McAuliffe has 45.4 percent of the vote, Cuccinelli receives 37.1 percent, and Libertarian Rob Sarvis gets 10 percent.
This time out, Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s campaign strategy came down to three points: dramatically outspend the opponent, take advantage of outside factors and keep his outsized persona to himself. If he wins the Virginia governor’s race on Tuesday, McAuliffe will achieve what eluded him four years ago: his first elected position after a political career marked by a stint as a national Democratic Party chairman and the distinction of being a Clinton family confidant. McAuliffe lost the Democratic primary for governor in 2009 after getting tagged early on as a fast-talking, partisan, carpet-bagging campaign operative who didn’t really match up to Virginians’ priorities.
NBC News: Off to the races: A closer race in Virginia
A Quinnipiac poll shows a tightening race in the governor’s contest, with Terry McAuliffe (D) now holding just a 4-point edge, 45%-41%, a week before the election. Libertarian Robert Sarvis gets 9% and with him out of the race, it is even tighter with McAuliffe leading just 47%-45%. National Journal argues with itself saying Ken Cuccinelli shouldn’t worry the GOP and at the same time that he should “terrify” it.
A new Public Policy Polling survey in Minnesota finds Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) with a 51% approval rating and leading each of his possible Republican opponents by anywhere from 10 to 13 points. Franken tops Chris Dahlberg (R), 49% to 39%, beats Mike McFadden (R), 49% to 38%, is ahead of Jim Abeler (R),m 50% to 39%, and leads Monti Moreno (R), 49% to 36%.
National Journal: The Right to Vote
It is becoming increasingly obvious that the Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which eviscerated the Voting Rights Act, is leading to a new era of voter suppression that parallels the pre-1960s era—this time affecting not just African-Americans but also Hispanic-Americans, women, and students, among others. The reasoning employed by Chief Justice John Roberts in Shelby County—that Section 5 of the act was such a spectacular success that it is no longer necessary—was the equivalent of taking down speed cameras and traffic lights and removing speed limits from a dangerous intersection because they had combined to reduce accidents and traffic deaths. In North Carolina, a post-Shelby County law not only includes one of the most restrictive and punitive vote-ID laws anywhere but also restricts early voting, eliminates same-day voting registration, ends pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds, and bans many provisional ballots. Whatever flimsy voter-fraud excuse exists for requiring voter ID disappears when it comes to these other obstacles to voting.
New York Times: Voters’ Anger Over Shutdown Is Inspiring Democrats to Run
Nebraska has not elected a Democrat to the House of Representatives since 1994, and until this month, prospects for changing that were dim at best. Of the state’s three House seats, a Democrat has a fighting chance only in the district encompassing Omaha and its suburbs. And the party’s sole hope there, Omaha’s popular City Council president, had declared that he was not going to run. But suddenly, the Council president, Pete Festersen, has jumped into the 2014 race against an eight-term incumbent Republican. And a Lincoln lawyer, Dennis Crawford, declared his candidacy in a second Nebraska district where the Republican incumbent also had been unopposed. Both say their moves are fueled by popular anger over the 16-day Republican-led shutdown of the federal government. “If I ever see Ted Cruz, all I’m going to say is ‘Thank you, thank you,’ ” Vince Powers, Nebraska’s Democratic Party chairman, said in an interview. “I would’ve been in witness protection, because I didn’t have anybody to run.” Here and nationally, the Democratic Party is enjoying something of a boomlet in newly declared candidacies for the House. Since Oct. 1, five candidates have lined up to contest Republican-held seats, with at least four more in the wings, Democratic officials say. Almost all say they are driven to run — ostensibly, at least — by disgust over the shutdown, first espoused by Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, and embraced by Tea Party Republicans in the House and, eventually, most others as well.
Educators prepare for a walk-in; others seek greener pastures. On Monday, November 4, many teachers and support staff across North Carolina plan to take part in a “walk-in” to encourage a richer dialogue between community members and educators about what is happening in the state’s public schools. Trish Lowe, a sixth grade social studies teacher at Durant Road Middle School in Wake Forest, won’t be one of them. That’s because Lowe is leaving the teaching profession tomorrow, November 1. “I have found that the working conditions have become untenable. The needs of our students are so great now, and coupled with no pay raises, we are going backwards financially and professionally,” Lowe told N.C. Policy Watch. Lowe came to North Carolina seven years ago after having taught in upstate New York for several years. During her time in Wake County Public Schools, she has seen educators overwhelmed with the increasing number of students.
PoliticsNC: Wrong messengers
Score one for the teachers. This week, teachers plan a “walk-in” inviting parents and others to schools to discuss the education budget. Predictably, the GOP howled. Senators Phil Berger and Neal Hunt protested the move as putting politics in the classroom and pointed the finger at the North Carolina Association of Educators. A Civitas blogger chimed in. The Chairwoman of the Wake County Republican Party accused them of promoting unions.
To a large extent, lawmakers have been electing themselves in many states, including our own North Carolina. How have they managed this feat? After each census, the party in power manipulates the boundaries of the districts from which legislators are elected so that members of their party will be elected from as many districts as possible.This kind of gerrymandering contributed to Democratic control of our General Assembly for decades and then, after the Republicans gained power in 2010, to a dramatic reversal. With their newly drawn districts, Republicans won nine of 13 congressional seats in 2012 even though most people voted for Democrats, and the Republicans triumphed in the General Assembly as well.
Conservatives are expressing shock and outrage that the Obama administration knew that many people in the individual insurance market would not be able to keep their plans once the Affordable Care Act took effect. Such shock is not surprising; overblown outrage is the stock and trade of conservative politics these days. But here’s what conservatives won’t tell you, lest it undermine their theatrics: Many insurance plans are shutting down because they don’t meet the higher bar of quality benefits required under Obamacare, and of those people who lose access to their plans, many will pay less and all will have better and more comprehensive options.
Republicans in leadership positions try to modulate their language a bit, but it’s a matter more of tone than substance. They’re still clearly passionate about making sure that the poor and unlucky get as little help as possible, that — as Representative Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, put it — the safety net is becoming “a hammock that lulls able-bodied people to lives of dependency and complacency.” And Mr. Ryan’s budget proposals involve savage cuts in safety-net programs such as food stamps and Medicaid.
Washington Post: Kathleen Sebelius vs. a party without a brain
Like the Scarecrow, whoever came up with House Republicans’ plan to deal with Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday didn’t have a brain. It was their big chance to flambé the secretary of health and human services and the person who has overseen the disastrous launch of Obamacare. Instead, they wound up casting her as Judy Garland’s Dorothy. “In ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ there is a great line,” Barton, one of the first Republican questioners, informed Sebelius, a former two-term governor of Kansas. “Dorothy at some point in the movie turns to her little dog, Toto, and says, ‘Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.’ Well, Madam Secretary, while you’re from Kansas, we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
If Democrats want to come back in North Carolina, they need to avoid their usual mistake of thinking it’s all about the issues. It’s in Democrats’ DNA to do that. We’re issues people. We care a lot about things like Medicaid expansion, Common Core curriculum, growth strategies and infrastructure. It’s not that voters don’t care. But they easily figure out which party is with them on issues. What swings swing voters is character. That’s why negative ads and mailers work. They raise questions about politicians’ character, credibility, judgment and honesty. Swing voters ultimately vote for the candidate they trust most – or against the candidate they trust least. Democrats will not beat Governor McCrory on Medicaid expansion. They can beat him for saying one thing and doing another. Like promising to do away with cronyism, then setting up a political patronage system. Like promising to cut “waste and fraud” in Medicaid, then paying two 24-year-olds $87,000 to help run Medicaid. That’s about character, integrity and trust.
Richard Hasen is the nation’s leading scholar on elections law as political weapons and constitutional fights. A University of California-Irvine political scientist and law professor, Hasen was in Raleigh last week speaking at N.C. State University. His topic: "Race, Party and Politics: North Carolin’s New Front in the Voting Wars." Naturally, I thought of our Attorney General Roy Cooper, who wants to be governor. Cooper has a constitutional problem. I’ll get to it shortly. But first, as Hasen did, consider the case of a political party that—under the guise of "reform"—passes election laws designed to cripple the rival party by disenfranchising African-American voters. North Carolina, 2013? Not yet: Hasen started with North Carolina in 1898, when the all-white Democratic Party ousted the fusionist Republicans (blacks and some whites) who’d governed after the Civil War. "Reforms" then prevented most blacks from voting, and the Republican Party ceased to be a force. In 2013, the parties have flipped, but the situation is familiar. The Republican Party, virtually all-white, is in charge. This year’s Republican "reforms"—the infamous House Bill 589, which critics term a voter-suppression law and which, Hasen said, is the most restrictive set of voting requirements passed by any state since the civil rights era—will hurt the Democrats, now the party supported by almost every African-American voter. So, Hasen asked: Was 1898 about race? Or party? And is 2013 about party? Or race? Unless you’re a constitutional lawyer, he said, the answer in each case is both. Because in America you can’t disentangle race and politics.
Star News Online: Editorial – Use caution before embracing public-private ‘partnership’ on job development
Gov. Pat McCrory thinks the state’s economic recruiting process is broken, and he pledges to fix it by putting the function – and the taxpayer dollars that pay for it – in the hands of a nonprofit corporation, a step removed from government and the people who pay the bill. Previous disasters involving gross overpayments to mental health contractors providing services to mental health clients have not deterred this governor from his privatization mission. A recent study by Good Jobs First, which promotes economic development policies that are both effective and transparent, should give him pause. The group paints a troubling picture of public-private economic development ventures in other states, including Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida, Indiana and Arizona: secrecy, lack of accountability that in some cases led to corruption, cronyism and pay-to-play politics, exorbitant salaries to the administrators of these agencies, failure to submit to state audits and overexaggeration of the number of jobs created.
Nurses at Southeastern Regional Medical Center in Lumberton will soon lose some compensation for weekend work as the hospital strains to cut costs without eliminating services or resorting to layoffs. Southeastern’s predicament isn’t unique. Cape Fear Valley Health System knows the strain, too – but it’s different. Medicare, the program for the elderly, reimburses at 91 cents on the dollar. Not good, but not horrendous. But almost a quarter of Southeastern’s business is with Medicaid, the healthcare program for the poor, in sharp contrast to the statewide average of 16 percent. Medicaid reimburses only 73 cents on the dollar. Care provided to the uninsured gets reimbursement of 32 cents. Last year the hospital swallowed more than $30 million in costs incurred treating uninsured patients. Got it? The poorer the patient mix, the farther the hospital falls short of meeting its costs. It gets worse and will continue to do so. In fact, one of the most disturbing things about this is that there’s no endpoint.
At a time when almost all new income created is going to the top 1% and when the gap between the very rich and everybody else is growing wider, we must not balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable people in our country: working families, the elderly, children, the sick and the poor. We must not cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.
Top Obama aides Jim Messina, David Plouffe and then-White House chief of staff Bill Daley all used Obama campaign focus and polling groups to determine whether there was any political advantage to replacing Biden with Clinton. Daley, in particular, was a major proponent of the idea, and in an interview with the The New York Times he confirmed that he had considered the idea. A copy of the book was obtained by the Times, which reported the news first on Thursday.
The source behind Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) bold claim that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had paid "basically" no taxes for a decade was Jon Huntsman Sr., a new book on the 2012 campaign claims. The New York Times on Thursday offered details from "Double Down: Game Change 2012," a behind-the-scenes account of the election by political reporters Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. Among the nuggets in the book is the reveal that Reid’s source was Huntsman, a longtime backer of Romney. In a July 2012 interview with The Huffington Post, Reid said a Bain Capital investor had told him that the former Massachusetts governor "didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years."
A lot of things change over four years.
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
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