ATTN GOP: “YOU BREAK IT, YOU OWN IT.” The Daily 202 applies “the Pottery Barn rule” to the news last night that the President will end CSR payments, but don’t forget: Republicans have been sabotaging the health insurance market for months. They’ve sowed uncertainty over cost-sharing payments, causing premiums to rise in a “vast majority” of states; ended bipartisan talks to lower costs in favor of partisan legislation; pulled out of open enrollment events in states; and Trump personally involved himself in efforts to undermine the law. Yesterday’s actions not only wreak havoc on the country’s health insurance system, but send a clear signal to voters that the GOP isn’t serious about keeping promises to cut costs and are doing the opposite for political reasons. In sum:
MCCONNELL BECOMES REPUBLICANS’ ENEMY NO. 1. The Republican base is angry at a Congress that has been incapable of delivering on the pie-in-the-sky promises they’ve made for the last decade, and are demanding that candidates choose sides between Mitch McConnell and the “anti-establishment” forces that have already taken down one Republican incumbent. As the AP reports, McConnell seems to be drawing the short straw: “Republicans know who to blame for inaction in Washington — Senate Republicans. The White House, hard-right conservatives and House GOP lawmakers all directed their ire at the Senate GOP this week.” Aside from throwing the GOP into further turmoil, it’s roiling already-nasty primaries:
AXIOS: “BANNON’S PLANS FOR A GOP CIVIL WAR.” As further proof that Republicans are squaring blame for their inability to govern on their own party, Bannon pledged this week that he will back primary challengers to almost every Republican Senator who runs for reelection next year, and a Bannon/Trump aligned group, Great America Alliance, has already endorsed anti-establishment candidates in Montana (Matt Rosendale), West Virginia (Patrick Morrisey), and Tennessee (Marsha Blackburn).
WV – Metro News: Jenkins and Morrisey “Take Shots at Each Other” Over Fundraising.
DEMS POST BIG Q3s.
Tammy Baldwin raised $2.4 million and has $5.3 million COH.
Sherrod Brown raised more than $2.6 million and has $8.3 million COH.
Bob Casey raised $2.2 million and has more than $7 million COH.
Joe Donnelly raised $1.3 million and has $4.6 million COH, with 84 percent of contributions coming in at $50 or less.
Heidi Heitkamp raised $1 million and has $3.8 million COH, continuing her “streak of outraising any North Dakota U.S. Senate candidate.” Contributions to her campaign came from 4,000 individuals.
Tim Kaine raised $1.8 million and has $8.4 million COH, receiving nearly 11,700 separate donations.
Joe Manchin raised $900,000 and has $4.1 million COH, outraising his two Republicans opponents combined.
Claire McCaskill raised $2.9 million and has $7.1 COH, and counts more than 90,000 donors to date.
Debbie Stabenow raised $1.7 million and $6.9 million COH.
Kyrsten Sinema raised more than $1 million in her first quarter as a candidate and has more than $4.1 million COH.
Jon Tester raised $1.2 million and has $5.4 million COH.
Elizabeth Warren raised just under $3 million and has an impressive $12.8 million COH.
MCCONNELL PICK ENTERS #MOSEN PRIMARY, “WON’T BE A CAKEWALK.” After months of misleading Missourians about his campaign for Senate, “establishment pick” Josh Hawley officially entered the Missouri Senate Republican primary. He may have hoped for a smoother campaign rollout, but the coverage surrounding Hawley’s entrance explored the tough road ahead as he confronts a crowded primary, with one opponent warning that the race “won’t be a cakewalk.”
MO – Springfield News-Leader: GOP Senate primary won’t be a cakewalk, Republican competitors tell Josh Hawley.
#MOOREFORHIMSELF. The Washington Post dropped a bombshell investigation piece on how Judge Roy Moore has collected more than a million dollars from the charity he set up. Here’s what Doug Jones had to say:
“Once again, we see that Roy Moore has put his own interests ahead of the people of Alabama. This time, Moore misled the public and charitable donors by arranging a secret deal where he pocketed more than $1 million from his charity for part-time work. Despite denying that he was taking a “regular salary,” Moore secretly arranged for payments to himself of $180,000 per year and is still owed extensive back pay. It’s just more proof that Alabamians can’t trust Moore to look out for anyone except himself and will not look out for the people of Alabama in the U.S. Senate.”
Washington Post: Undisclosed deal guaranteed Roy Moore $180,000 a year for part-time work at charity.
“Former Alabama judge Roy Moore, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, once said publicly that he did not take a ‘regular salary’ from the small charity he founded to promote Christian values because he did not want to be a financial burden. But privately, Moore had arranged to receive a salary of $180,000 a year for part-time work at the Foundation for Moral Law, internal charity documents show. He collected more than $1 million as president from 2007 to 2012, compensation that far surpassed what the group disclosed in its public tax filings most of those years.”
Alabama Public Radio: Roy Moore Criticized Over Payments from Charity
AL.com: Roy Moore’s salary from foundation draws scrutiny
Montgomery Advertiser: Report: Nonprofit underreported compensation for Roy Moore
SCOTT’S HURRICANE SCANDALS CONTINUE TO ESCALATE. This week, Floridians learned that an audit from Florida’s Division of Emergency Management – completed long before the 2017 hurricane season began – warned that the state’s hurricane response system was “ill-prepared” for a disaster and that he awarded a secret emergency contract to a hurricane-debris removal firm charging taxpayers exorbitant rates, breaking his promise “to stand on the side of taxpayers and consumers, not on the side of somebody who wants to make extra money after a disaster.” These reports come on the heels of additional stories about Scott’s scandals surrounding the disaster, including his decision to appoint a political crony to lead the Department of Emergency Management. From the DSCC on the latest revelations:
“This report is the latest demonstration of how Scott’s self-serving politics are hurting Floridians, and how the scandals surrounding his response to this terrible disaster are continuing to escalate. His secret contract is costing taxpayers up to 10 times more than they should be paying, breaking his promise to hold these costs down. At every turn, Scott is proving why Floridians cannot trust him to look out for anyone but himself.”
FAGG READIES FOR #MTSEN FACING ETHICAL QUESITONS. This week now-former Judge Russell Fagg vacated the bench – leaving behind 1,100 active cases without a replacement in place – as he prepares to run for the U.S. Senate in Montana. But Fagg’s decision to remain on the bench while he engaged in campaign activities has raised ethical questions, prompting the Billings Gazette editor to ask: “If we cannot trust what he says while he’s in a job that has a strict canon of ethics and rules, what is going to make Fagg more trustworthy when and if he moves from the bench to the U.S. Senate? Be a judge or be a senatorial candidate. But I am not sure you can be both, your honor.”
IN THE STATES.
AL – HuffPost: Doug Jones Releases First TV Ad In Alabama Senate Race
IN – WFYI: Donnelly Co-sponsors Bipartisan Legislation Targeting Opioid Crisis
OH – WHIZ: Senator Sherrod Brown met with local leaders
(MORE) OH – WYTV: Sen. Sherrod Brown visits MCCTC for National Manufacturing Day
MO – Vox: Sen. Claire McCaskill on the opioid epidemic: pharma “ought to begin looking over their shoulder”
(MORE) MO – KRCU: McCaskill offers Medicare option for middle-aged people at 46th town hall
MT – KULR: Military veterans honored by U.S. Senator Jon Tester
ND – KFYR: Sen. Heitkamp hosts tax reform listening session
TWEET OF THE WEEK.
An important reminder: