#NCGA Republicans step into political ‘minefield’ on plan to tax Social Security, McCrory quietly signs Racial Justice Act Repeal, Inequality threatens access to the American dream, 3rd sitting Republican Senator backs same-sex marriage, Hill Democrats eye 2016
CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: Bill that would tax Social Security could be political minefield for NC Republicans
Even the possibility is raising alarms among seniors and the AARP, one of the leading opponents to the current tax overhaul efforts. The group is running advertisements and mobilizing its members to block the bill. The state Democratic Party joined the action Wednesday in a blast message to its activists.
CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: Nonprofits say Senate tax plan will hurt the needy
Nonprofits have vowed to fight a Senate plan that would eliminate incentives for individuals to donate and put a cap on the amount that charities can receive in sales tax refunds. “The nonprofit sector is unified in its belief that the Senate tax plan will result in substantial program cuts, reduced services, and job loss in nonprofits, which will be felt in communities across the entire state,” said David Heinen of the Center for Nonprofits.
NEWS & OBSERVER: McCrory signs repeal of Racial Justice Act
“The Racial Justice Act brought to light undeniable proof that North Carolina’s death penalty system is plagued by racial bias,” Policy Director Sarah Preston said. “By repealing this law barely four years into its existence, North Carolina’s leadership has willfully turned its back on widespread evidence of systemic racial bias that needs to be addressed – not ignored.”
DOME: Insurance claims cleairinghouse worries new Medicaid system not ready
An insurance claims clearinghouse that works with North Carolina healthcare providers is worried about the state’s new Medicaid payment system. The state Department of Health and Human Services will switch to the new system July 1. DHHS and CSC are readying a ‘war room’ for July 1, where problems with payments can be handled quickly, Diaz said.
Charlotte Observer: Smooth launch unsure for health care
Having failed to get the Supreme Court to strike down "Obamacare" last year, Republicans in Congress have kept trying to repeal it, managing to block administration requests for additional implementation funds. In the states – with some notable exceptions – Republican governors and legislatures have generally refused to set up state-run exchanges or expand Medicaid.
POLITICO: Senate nearing border deal
The emerging deal would soften Republican requests for a strict requirement that 90 percent of illegal border crossers be apprehended to hit a “trigger” toward a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, but would provide an unprecedented increase in border security funding and officers and a guarantee on finishing the fence along the Southern border, sources said.
HUFFINGTON POST: Immigration Bill Authors Scramble to Find Border Alternatives
Members of the Senate immigration reform "gang of eight" worked furiously behind the scenes on Wednesday to come up with an amendment that would assuage Republican concerns about border security without driving away Democrats, a difficult balance that will prove pivotal to the success of the bill.
POLITICO: Mary Landrieu: ‘Obnoxious’ prevails in Senate
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) took to the floor late Wednesday to vent about the slow speed of floor activity on the landmark bill, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he may file to cut off debate as early as Thursday – a day earlier than previously threatened. The crux of Landrieu’s irritation: that senators – she won’t name names – who cause the most ruckus and grab the most attention get votes on their amendments, even if they are clearly headed nowhere. That mucks up the Senate floor and sucks up time away from amendments that aren’t contentious and could be easily dispensed with.
DOME: Lt. Gove Forest opposed to major immigration bill
Forest’s stance makes him the most prominent opposition to date on the immigration bill, dubbed the RECLAIM NC Act, which would also allow immigrants to be jailed while police check their immigration status. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Harry Warren, considers it a compromise measure to make roads safer and free police to focus on criminals. The legislation is stuck in the House Finance Committee, where it has sat since early May.
U.S. SUPREME COURT
NPR: SCOTUS Watch: High Court Could Decide Four Major Cases
At around 10 a.m. ET, the Supreme Court will begin handing down some of the final opinions of their 2012 term. The court usually sets out for its summer recess at the end of June, which means we’re quickly running out of time for the justices to issue their opinion on four major cases argued earlier in the term.
BLOOMBERG: Voter Proof-of-Citizenship Law Voided by Supreme Court
The U.S. Supreme Court threw out an Arizona law requiring evidence of citizenship when people register to vote, in a victory for minority-rights advocates and the Obama administration.
THE ATLANTIC: RIP, American Dream? Why It’s So Hard for the Poor to Get Ahead Today
Ask anyone about inequality, and you’re likely to hear three words in response: education, education, education. Oh, and education. And it’s true: school should be the ladder out of poverty. But too often it’s not; if anything, the reverse. We need to stop failing early and failing late. In other words, we need to reach kids during those formative years before school begins, and to keep kids who are thriving in high school to keep thriving in the right college.
POLITICO: The Democrats’ lost decade?
The GOP effectiveness in erecting a gerrymandered fortress has created a paradox: Even in a fast-changing electorate, with many demographic trends favoring Democrats, the part of the national government that the Founders imagined would be most responsive to shifts in public opinion and voter behavior may actually be the least responsive. If Democrats are discouraged, they’re putting on a brave public face. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee frequently out-performs its GOP counterpart in monthly fundraising, and the party’s leaders maintain a sunny outlook about their prospects. In the final days leading up to the 2012 election, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told aides she was convinced her party could win control.
HUFFINGTON POST: Lisa Murkowski Backs Gay Marriage
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) expressed support for gay marriage Wednesday, becoming the third sitting Republican senator to do so. “Senator Murkowski’s courageous and principled announcement today sends a clear message that marriage equality must come to all 50 states in this country," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "As the Supreme Court prepares to rule in two landmark marriage cases this month, a growing bipartisan coalition is standing up for the right of all couples to marry—and there is no turning back that tide."
THE HILL: Democrats start transition from President Obama to Hillary Clinton
Democrats in Washington are starting to shift from the Obamas to the Clintons. Hillary Clinton has already racked up a couple of endorsements for the 2016 presidential race — and she hasn’t even announced she’s running yet. Requests are flooding in for the former secretary of State to campaign for candidates.
POLITICO: Claire McCaskill reveals Hillary Clinton called her
McCaskill, who in 2008 was an early supporter of then-Sen. Barack Obama over Clinton, officially announced her support for a Clinton presidency earlier this week at ReadyforHillary.com, a super PAC that McCaskill also endorsed. “It was interesting how this kind of blew up the other day,” McCaskill said of her endorsement. “It doesn’t seem complicated to me. She is by far the strongest, most capable, most qualified candidate for President of the United States and I am part of a …big huge group of people that really wants her to run and it seemed that coming out publicly and stating the obvious, that we all want her to run, was an important thing to do right now.”
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party