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At 12:51 am CT, Vice President Pence announced that the Senate had passed the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act by a 51-49 vote. Shortly thereafter, President Trump “tweeted his reaction,” saying “We are one step closer to delivering MASSIVE tax cuts for working families across America,” the president wrote. “Special thanks to @SenateMajLdr Mitch McConnell and Chairman @SenOrrinHatch for shepherding our bill through the Senate. Look forward to signing a final bill before Christmas!”

Naturally, Democrats criticized the bill. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi chimed in, “calling the legislation a ‘betrayal of the American middle class.'” then adding that the “GOP tax scam is a product of haste, carelessness and cruelty,” Pelosi wrote. “It was written on Republicans’ trickle-down delusions, not analysis or facts. It was written first and foremost for the wealthiest one percent, not middle class families trying to get ahead.”

In a little over a year since getting elected, President Trump has earned the trust of the American people on the economy. As I’ve stated before, unemployment is dropping, consumer confidence is soaring and the economy is growing at a 3.3% annual rate, something that the Democrats said was impossible. Remember that when you read Ms. Pelosi’s statement:

Speaker Ryan issued this statement congratulating the Senate on passing the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act:

I commend my Senate colleagues for this historic action. For the first time since 1986, both the House and the Senate have passed a major overhaul of our nation’s tax code. Now we will move quickly to a conference committee so we can get a final bill to President Trump’s desk. The hardworking people of this country are counting on us to deliver real relief. That means more jobs, faster economic growth, bigger paychecks, and a tax cut for Americans from all walks of life. These opportunities only come around once in a generation, and now it is time for us to seize this moment.

Chuck Schumer preached doom and gloom on the Senate floor, saying that “Historians will mark today as one of the darkest, black letter days in the long history of this Senate.”

Let’s be clear about this. Not a single Democrat voted for the bill in the House or Senate. Further, when President Trump invited Ms. Pelosi, Sen. Schumer, Sen. McConnell and Speaker Ryan to negotiate a budget deal, Pelosi and Schumer were no-shows. Sen. Schumer has expressed a willingness to shut down the government if the bill to fund government operations includes funding for building Kate’s Wall along the U.S.-Mexican border.

Summarizing things, Democrats hate cutting taxes, want to shut down the government and oppose building a border wall that will keep illegal aliens, drug smugglers and human traffickers out of the United States. In other words, they don’t want to fund the government, protect the people or implement policies that grow the economy. Other than that, they’re great.

Tuesday night, Speaker Ryan was Bret Baier’s and Martha MacCallum’s guest for a townhall meeting in Herndon, Virginia. Specifically, the subject was the Tax Cut and Jobs Act. It would be fun watching him slice-and-dice Nancy Pelosi on the subject, though I’m certain she’d never participate in such a debate.

Ryan on how the tax cuts would help veterans:

Ryan on small business growth:

(Notice the specificity of his response.)
Ryan on the need to grow the economy:

Thus far, the Democrats’ economic plan is to criticize the Republican plan. That’s the plan offered by Pelosi and Schumer. That’s bad enough. The Bernie/Warren plan is even worse. They want to raise taxes and drive companies overseas.

Do we want a vibrant economy led by robust small business investment or do we want the pathetic economic growth we had during the Obama administration? That’s a pretty easy answer for most people.

Within minutes of the GOP rollout of their tax reform and simplification plan, Democrats like Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Chris van Hollen were criticizing the plan that they hadn’t seen. Ms. Pelosi called it a Ponzi Scheme, saying “Even after ransacking all the middle-class benefits, Republicans are still adding trillions to the deficit,’ she said, adding that the plan is a ‘scheme to use the debt they pile up today to obliterate Medicare and Medicaid tomorrow.'” Then she said “This is a shell game, a Ponzi scheme that corporate America will perpetrate on the American people. But if you’re the wealthiest 1 percent, Republicans will give you the sun, the moon, and the stars — all of that at the expense of the great middle class.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Schumer wrote this op-ed earlier this week, insisting that “Trump’s plan, by contrast, would slash taxes for the top tax bracket, repeal the estate tax, and create a huge new loophole…”

Sen. van Hollen issued a statement, saying “Ending the state income tax deduction for hardworking families in order to give a massive tax giveaway to big corporations and the very wealthy is sadly par for the course in this Republican tax plan. We will fight it tooth and nail.”

Meanwhile, this plan that the Democrats are criticizing without reading the bill (they have a habit of that, don’t they?) will likely get some Democrats’ votes:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on “The Daily Briefing” today that he expects to have some Senate Democrats support tax reform. He told Dana Perino that there are “at least three” Democrats in the Senate who have signaled they’re likely to be a “yes” on tax reform.

It’s clear that Sen. McConnell relishes the thought of blasting Ms. Pelosi’s statements. That’s the highlight of this video:

McConnell chuckled when Perino played House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Ca.) criticism of the proposal. Pelosi called it “deficit-exploding” and cast it as a “multi-trillion dollar giveaway to the wealthiest and corporations” at the expense of children, seniors and workers. McConnell said the Washington Post rated the claim as “four Pinocchios,” calling it “almost entirely inaccurate.”

McConnell said the bill unveiled today would reduce middle-class taxes and business taxes “to prevent our jobs from being exported to other countries. That’s the core of the bill.”

Let’s set something straight. Democrats are too invested in the Resistance to do the right thing. Telling the truth isn’t part of their action plan. With today’s Democratic Party, ideology trumps doing what’s right.

Later on the show, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), a member of the budget and appropriations committees, said the plan is a $2 trillion “windfall” for big corporations, insisting that middle-class families will see higher taxes. “There are millions of middle-class taxpayers who will see their taxes increase in order to provide tax breaks for multinational corporations,” said Van Hollen. He said there are a number of proposals from the Democratic caucus to help working and middle-class families, specifically with child care costs.

Notice van Hollen’s trickery? He isn’t interested in across-the-board tax cuts nor is he interested in tax simplification. He wants specific carve-outs for voting groups he wants to keep voting for Democrats. Further, van Hollen’s idea of tax policy keeps lawyers, lobbyists and accountants fully employed. The GOP plan hopes to limit complexities in the tax code, thereby reducing the cost of tax compliance.

Reducing the cost of tax compliance is a major reduction in expenses to small businesses. To entrepreneurs, cutting compliance costs is just as welcome as cutting tax rates. Either way, it’s more money in their pockets.

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This morning, Rep. Steve Scalise, (R-LA), made his first appearance on the House floor since his attack on a baseball diamond on June 14th. It was an emotional return. Upon his arrival on the House floor, Speaker Paul Ryan said “the Chair wishes to mark the return to the chamber of our dear friend and colleague from Louisiana, Mr. Steve Scalise. After another standing ovation, Speaker Ryan declared “Our prayers have been answered. His bravery and his family’s strength have been such an inspiration to this House and to the people it serves. America is grateful for this moment. The Chair now proudly asks ‘For what purpose does the gentleman from Louisiana seek recognition?'” Mr. Scalise’s reply was “To speak out of order, Mr. Speaker.” Upon hearing that, Speaker Ryan replied “The gentleman is recognized for as much time as he may consume.”

At the start of his speech, Rep. Scalise spoke about his faith, saying “It starts with God. When I was laying out on that ball field, the first thing I did when I was down and I couldn’t move anymore, I just started to pray. And I will tell you, it gave me an incredible sense of calm, knowing that, at that point, it was in God’s hands. But I prayed for very specific things and I will tell you pretty much every one of those prayers were answered. And they were some pretty challenging prayers that I was putting in God’s hands. But He really did deliver for me and my family.”

Suffice it to say there weren’t many dry eyes in the room at that point:

Later in his speech, he thanked David Bailey and Cristal Griner, his security detail that morning, for opening fire on the gunman even though they had both been hit, saying “David, you are my hero, you saved my life. Thank you so much.”

Scalise also made special mention of Rep. Brad Wenstrup, saying that without his tourniquet, he wouldn’t have lived. Scalise noted that Rep. Wenstrup is a doctor and a former combat surgeon who served in Iraq.

It’s time for the Democrats’ Resistance Movement to die. It’s time for the Evergreen College intolerance to stop. Both movements are built on intolerance and hostility. Bret Weinstein, the professor at the heart of the Evergreen protests, was reviled for telling Tucker Carlson “They imagine that I am a racist and that I am teaching racism in the classroom. And that has caused them to imagine that I have no right to speak, and that I am harming students by the very act of teaching them.”

The truth is that it’s time to set aside disagreements while elevating the debate on both sides. This is a teaching moment for both political parties. For instance, Republicans need to learn when to accept three-fourths of a loaf in negotiations rather than insisting on the entire loaf.

The Democrats have a tougher task. They’ve lost the ability to make rational policy arguments. The other problem that the Democratic Party has is that their most amped-up activists think people who don’t agree with them essentially as infidels. They don’t see conservatives as just wrong on policy. The hard left that James T. Hodgkinson was part of thinks of conservatives as evil. Hodgkinson himself was part of a far left organization that called for violence against Republicans, including President Trump.

These speeches, by Speaker Ryan and Minority Leader Pelosi need to be the starting point in changing the culture in DC:

This has to stop, too:

An upstate New York congresswoman already in shock at the shooting of her colleagues at a baseball practice also received a chilling email entitled “One down, 216 to go.” Claudia Tenney, a freshman representative from the Utica area, received the message Wednesday in the hours after her fellow House Republican Steve Scalise, from Louisiana, was shot in Alexandria, Va.

It’s time to declare a zero-tolerance policy on speech advocating violence. (Think hollering fire in a crowded theater.)

It’s apparent that Democrats are overplaying the CBO’s report on repealing the ACA. It’s apparent after reading this Washington Post article.

That’s apparent based on the opening paragraph of their article, which says “At least 18 million people would lose health insurance in the first year if Republicans move ahead with plans to repeal major portions of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement plan, estimates a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.”

The first telling part is when CBO says 18,000,000 “people would lose health insurance in the first year if Republicans move ahead with plans to repeal major portions of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement plan.” That sentence alone nullifies the importance of the CBO’s analysis. That’s because Republicans have consistently said that they’d pass the repeal and replace in the same piece of legislation. They’ve also promised to not let anyone get left hanging while transitioning from Obamacare to the new and improved health care system.

This doom and gloom is helping Democrats overplay their hand:

The number of people without insurance would grow to about 32 million within the first decade if congressional Republicans follow a 2015 plan to repeal the health-care law without an alternative, the new report says. It also estimates that health insurance premiums for people buying individual non-group coverage would double within a decade, further complicating GOP promises that people will not lose coverage under their plan.

It’s clear that the new plan to replace the ACA will be significantly different than anything that’s been used before. Further, Democrats are setting themselves up for failure. The only way that the Democrats’ strategy will work is if Republicans totally drop the ball. The chances of that happening with President Trump, Vice President Pence, HHS Secretary Price, Speaker Ryan and Sen. John Barrasso leading the push is virtually nonexistent.

Rest assured that President Trump’s first State of the Union Address will include details of what the replace plan will include. I’d expect that legislation will have been submitted by then. Further, I wouldn’t be surprised if the legislation will gotten its first hearings by then. Once President Trump blasts this information out to the nation, the Democrats’ handwringing and demagoguery will put them in God’s little acre — between a rock and a hard place.

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This article parrots Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel’s talking point that high risk pools “are prohibitively expensive.”

Bob Bryan wrote that “Ryan said Republicans planned to replace Obamacare with high-risk pools, which had been used by states before the ACA was passed, so that Jeans and others could continue to get coverage. Health-policy experts have been wary of this plan because of the low enrollment and prohibitively high costs in previous state-level pools.”

First, the “health policy experts” Bryan is talking about are from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a wildly pro-ACA organization. Trusting them isn’t entirely like trusting a used car salesman but I can’t say that I’d recommend trusting them without tons of verified information. Further, KFF apparently relies more on surveys than on research.

Second, Minnesota had a high risk pool before it was destroyed by the ACA. It wasn’t wildly expensive. It kept health insurance prices down for people who didn’t have pre-existing conditions. Finally, it helped Minnesota achieve an insured rate of 93% in 2007.

Though it isn’t in this video, Speaker Ryan told a townhall audience that President Obama and Democrats should’ve fixed the parts that were broken and left alone the parts that were working:

Instead, driven by partisan ideology, President Obama and the Democrats destroyed a health care system that 85% of the people liked and thought was working. While shoving this 2,700-page monstrosity down our throats, they didn’t have the decency to let the American people, or Republican representatives, read the bill. Only a handful of Democrats knew what was in the bill when it was passed. Now we’re supposed to trust Democrats when they tell us what won’t work?

That’s insulting and I won’t tolerate it.

One of the major highlights of CNN’s townhall meeting with Speaker Ryan at George Washington University came during the question of the night. That’s when Speaker Ryan announced that the House would repeal the ACA and pass the Republican replacement “at the same time, and in some cases in the same bill.” Speaker Ryan continued, saying “So we want to advance repealing this law with its replacement at the same time.”

The first person to ask a question of Speaker Ryan was a small business owner named Jeff Jeans, who identified himself as a former Republican and a cancer survivor. Jeans told Speaker Ryan “Just like you, I was opposed to the Affordable Care Act. When it was passed, I told my wife we would close our business before I’d comply with this law. Then, at 49, I was given 6 weeks to live and with a very curable type of cancer. We offered 3 times the cost of my treatments, which was rejected. They required an insurance card. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I’m standing here alive. Being both a small business person and a person with pre-existing conditions, I rely on the Affordable Care Act to purchase my own insurance. Why would you repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement?”

Ryan replied “We wouldn’t do that. We want to replace it with something better. … We believe that state high risk pools are a smarter way of guaranteeing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. We had a really good one in Wisconsin. Utah had a really great one. I was talking with a congresswoman from Washington today who was telling me how good their high risk pool is. What I mean when I say this is that about 8% of all the people less than 65 years of age have that type of pre-existing condition. … We don’t want people to go poor or go bankrupt because this thing happens to them so we obviously want a system where they can get affordable coverage without going bankrupt when they get sick. But we can do that without destroying the rest of the health care system for everybody else. That’s the point I’m trying to make. What we should have done is fix what was broken in health care without breaking what was working with health care and that’s what Obamacare unfortunately did.”

Here’s the video of that exchange:

It’s worth noting that Minnesota had a high risk pool, too, which was also working well until the ACA destroyed it. In 2007, before then-Sen. Obama was elected president, Minnesota boasted that 92.8% of its citizens were insured. Of those that didn’t have health insurance, more than half were eligible for some sort of taxpayer-subsidized health insurance. Had those people gotten signed up, Minnesota’s insured rate would’ve exceeded 97%, which would’ve been better than anything that the ACA could ever hope to accomplish.

What’s particularly insulting and infuriating is the fact that Democrats know the Republicans’ plans. It’s infuriating because Ryan’s plan has been out there for months. If there’s anything certain about Speaker Ryan, it’s that he’s a policy junkie in the best sense of the word. He lives to write great legislation.

Speaker Ryan said that he didn’t have a specific date that he’d put on repealing and replacing the ACA, though he told Jake Tapper that he thinks it will happen in President Trump’s first 100 days.

If that happens, you’ll see the economy take off because Obamacare is sucking the incentive out of growing small businesses. Watch the entire video. It’s educational and enlightening.

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Salena Zito’s article about Wisconsin becoming a red state is must reading for Minnesota conservatives. That’s because it provides the blueprint for turning Minnesota red.

Salena’s article starts by saying “Eight years ago, Wisconsin Democrats were in the catbird seat; they held the Governor’s office, the majority in both chambers of the state legislature, two U.S. Senate seats, five of the state’s eight congressional seats and handed Barack Obama a rousing victory in the presidential election.” That’s the Wisconsin of 2008. That isn’t the Wisconsin of 2016.

What changed in that time? Since the 2008 election, “Republican Gov. Scott Walker has won his seat three times (there was a recall election in between his two outright wins) and Republicans have twice taken the state attorney general’s office, won control of both state legislative chambers (and retained them twice) and won a bruising state Supreme Court race.”

In short, Reince Priebus and Paul Ryan put together a blueprint that’s caught fire:

House Speaker Paul Ryan has played a big role in the redirection traditional Democrats towards the Republican Party with his stabilizing, responsible economic message; while his district voted for Barack Obama in 2008, it supported Mitt Romney in 2012 when he was on the ticket as the vice-presidential nominee.

The Cheeseheads’ Three Amigos turned the Republican Party of Wisconsin into winners on a mission:

What’s possible in Wisconsin is possible in Minnesota, too. The thing that Gov. Walker, Chairman Priebus and Speaker Ryan have in common is that they’re principled leaders. That means this trio isn’t afraid to push conservative initiatives. More than any other trio in US state governance, this trio has created a reform movement that’s attracting erstwhile Democrats into their movement:

And despite the news media nationalizing the raucous 2011 state capitol protests in Madison when Walker passed Act 10, which curtailed collective bargaining for most public employees, the conservative movement stubbornly continued to attract independent and Democratic voters to their message and their candidates. Walker won the recall election the unions forced with more votes than he did when he ran the first time. He won reelection in 2014 even as experts also predicted he would lose.

That led to this:

Folks have altered their allegiances politically said Todd. “The government sector unions broke the bank and forced a reckoning that surprisingly found trade union members on the taxpayer’s side,” he said.

Minnesotans don’t need another Scott Walker, Paul Ryan or Reince Priebus. Minnesotans just need principled leaders who are conservatives, too.

The one remaining state-wide elected Democrat in Wisconsin is U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who will have to try to defend her seat in 2018, the same year that Walker will likely seek a third term as governor. Those two races will be a true test to see if the Democrats understand their faults and display a willingness to comprehend and reconnect with their electorate.

If not, they risk placing Wisconsin on the battleground map in 2020 alongside Ohio.

It’s too early to predict a Republican winning the governorship in Minnesota in 2018. Still, with Republicans flipping Minnesota’s State Senate, it isn’t unreasonable to think it’s a possibility. Already, things are starting to look like it will be a good year for Republicans in 2018. Democrats will be defending 10 red-state seats in the US Senate. Once President Obama leaves office, Democrats won’t really have a national spokesperson. Meanwhile, Donald Trump will be the Republicans’ chief spokesman. He’ll be touting the many popular accomplishments of his administration, including tax simplification, returning to the rule of law and replacing Obamacare with something that’s actually affordable.

It’s time to make Minnesota a red state.

Thursday night, Megyn Kelly interviewed Ezekiel Emanuel, whom she called “the architect of Obamacare.” Dr. Emanuel told several untruths, starting with his saying that “The Republicans keep talking about ‘repeal and replace’ but they’ve never given a credible bill that gets everyone insurance, including people who have pre-existing conditions at an affordable price.”

Based on a quote from this article, that’s BS. In the MPR article, University of Minnesota health policy expert Steve Parente is quoted as saying ” Rather than flat-out abolishing Obamacare, Parente thinks it’s more likely that Congress will lean toward House Speaker Paul Ryan’s reform proposal. That uses tax credits to help people cover the cost of their insurance. Under the Ryan proposal, Parente says it’s possible MNsure could survive because that plan allows for more state experimentation.”

That sounds like a proposal that would help people with pre-existing conditions get insured. While Emanuel apparently doesn’t like it, it’s certainly a credible plan. Later in the interview, Emanuel said “What they’re proposing are these high-risk pools, not just to have a number of people who are older or sicker, but to super-concentrate them to give them subsidized coverage at the state level. It’s about the most inefficient way of giving people insurance for just those 3,000,000 people in those high risk pools that costs $25,000,000,000 to pay for them. That is not a good proposal.”

Apparently, Dr. Parente thinks differently:

Another option would be to return to Minnesota’s insurance system prior to the ACA, he said, which includes the Minnesota Comprehensive Insurance Association. That program guaranteed coverage to people with expensive pre-existing conditions who were turned down in the private insurance market.

Let’s be clear about this. The architect of the ACA is lecturing us about what’s efficient and what isn’t. Dr. Emanuel’s credibility on this issue doesn’t exist.

Let’s stipulate that anyone who helped put the ACA together should be ignored in replacing the ACA. It’s the sane thing to do.

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