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DSCC FRIDAY TAKEAWAYS – GOP AGENDA: MORE MONEY IN EXECUTIVES’ POCKETS, HIGHER HEALTH CARE COSTS – WHY FLORIDIANS DON’T TRUST RICK SCOTT – #NVSEN & #AZSEN CNN’S MOST LIKELY TO FLIP (AGAIN) – HAWLEY GIVES GREITENS A PASS

GOP AGENDA: MORE MONEY IN EXECUTIVES’ POCKETS, HIGHER HEALTH CARE COSTS.The GOP tax scam is benefiting exactly who it was intended to: corporate executives, Wall Street, and the wealthiest few. And while health care and pharmaceutical industries pocket a huge tax windfall, Americans’ health care costs will rise by double-digits as a result of Republican efforts to loosen health insurance rules, according to a new analysis.

From the New York Times: “Companies are using much of the money [from the GOP tax plan] for something with a more narrow benefit: buying their own shares… at the expense of investments in things like hiring, research and development and building new plants — the sort of investments that directly help the overall economy.”

From the Wall Street Journal: “Who wins” from a tax cut that has led to a “boom in share buybacks?”

*NEW* FROM CNN: PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS COULD FACE TOUGH TIMES AHEAD.

  • President Donald Trump and his administration are taking steps to lower premiums, increase choice and foster competition in the health insurance market. All of that sounds good — until one realizes that the changes are coming largely at the expense of millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions.
  • The proposed regulations, combined with Congress’ elimination of the individual mandate next year, will whittle away at Obamacare’s sweeping protections for those with pre-existing conditions. This will leave those who are or who have been sick at risk of paying higher premiums, losing their comprehensive coverage or being left without an insurer on the Affordable Care Act exchanges.
  • The [first] proposal would… provide fewer benefits — which could leave sicker and older workers out in the cold. Also, the offerings could be less attractive to young women if they don’t cover maternity benefits. The proposed regulation would also allow associations to base rates on gender and age, which could leave younger men paying less but older workers and women saddled with higher rates.

CASH PRICE OF DRUGS STILL RISING ABOVE INFLATION. Axios details a new report that prescription drug costs continue to rise: “If prices continue to increase at this rate, we could be seeing more people unable to care for their illness.”

BOTTOM LINE. We’ve said it once, we’ll say it again: the Republican Congress is happy to sacrifice middle class families for special interests and every single Republican Senate candidate will be held accountable.

WHY FLORIDIANS DO NOT TRUST RICK SCOTT. Rick Scott’s long record of opposing common sense gun safety measures is continuing to dog him. As Politico points out, “the Florida governor once signed every NRA gun bill he could,” but after being roundly criticized for his “woefully inadequate” response to this – and past – tragedies, Scott is “trying to erase the memories of everybody on the stances he’s taken on guns for the past eight years.” But Scott’s record speaks for itself:

WTSP: Former state rep says requests for SRO funding 5 years ago ignored by governor.

  • While these safety measure proposals are coming up now, some are calling out Scott for not making changes before the Parkland shooting… A former state representative says the governor’s push to add funding for school resource officers is not a new idea, but one that was proposed to the governor five years ago when it received a much different response.
  • “For whatever reason we never got a response,” Fasano told 10News. “However, five years later, now we see the governor is making it sound like it’s a new idea—his idea—when there were other calls for doing it five years ago.”
  • “But I want everyone to understand that sometimes people do things not based on what has happened or may happen, but based on what’s politically correct at the time,” said Fasano.
  • Fasano’s request followed several similar requests from across the state, The Miami Herald reported at the time. David Golt, chief of Broward School’s Special Investigative Unit, Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell and the county superintendent of schools all called for funding for more resource officers.

TPM: Rick Scott, Sanctions, And A Shady Gun Maker With Russian Ties.

  • Kalashnikov USA first announced its plan to make AK-47s in the U.S. — using the slogan “Russian Innovation, American Heritage” — as a way to get around sanctions, which forced it to stop importing the weapons from a Russian gunmaker with whom it had close ties.
  • To lure the company to Florida, Gov. Rick Scott’s administration pledged to give the firm $162,000 in tax breaks, but the tax deal fell through when the gunmaker failed to provide the required paperwork.
  • Kalashnikov USA isn’t the only gun company that Scott has rolled out the red carpet for. The number of gun manufacturers in the state has ballooned from 232 when Scott took office in 2011 to 764 today, according to statistics from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

*NEW* Orlando Sentinel: Democratic billboard in Orlando hits Gov. Scott on guns

  • The billboard on East Colonial Drive and Commerce Boulevard in east Orlando references the 2016 Pulse nightclub shootings in Orlando and the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, stating, “612 Days between Pulse & Parkland. Rick Scott did nothing. – The Sun Sentinel.” A second billboard will go up in Tallahassee on Sunday.

HERE ARE THE FACTS: Scott “signed a bill that barred doctors from asking patients whether they had access to guns;” “did not propose new gun laws or seek significant mental health funding increases after the Pulse nightclub massacre;” slashed millions in funding for school safety; ended $20 million in funding for mental health care despite Florida already ranking at the bottom of the nation for mental health funding; has “long resisted gun control efforts” including refusing to support expanded background checks; and under Scott Florida has “some of weakest gun laws in [the] nation.”

#NVSEN & #AZSEN TOP CNN’S MOST LIKELY TO FLIP LIST. Here we are again. Senator Heller of Nevada and the Arizona Senate race have once again topped CNN’s monthly ranking of seats most likely to switch parties. In Nevada, Heller faces “dangerous one-on-one matchups in both the primary… and the general election.” In Arizona, the Republican primary is turning out to be “the nation’s most chaotic.”

SIREN: HAWLEY GIVES GREITENS A PASS.  The Springfield News-Leader reports that Hawley cleared Governor Greitens after a sham investigation. Hawley didn’t even release the report to the public but sent it directly to the governor’s office. Don’t forget: Hawley took $50,000 from the governor as a candidate for Attorney General. Doesn’t sound like he’s cleaning anything up but his friends’ messes.

HAWLEY ON HAWLEY. Josh Hawley officially filed for the GOP primary – just barely more than one year since being sworn in as Missouri’s Attorney General – an office he won by campaigning on a promise not to be another ladder-climbing politician. But the new website, HawleyonHawley.com, reminds Missouri voters of that broken promise, as well as others. Watch the video:

STABENOW AIMS TO IMPROVE WORKFORCE WITH BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION. Senator Debbie Stabenow unveiled new, bipartisan workforce legislation this week that aims to “expose young people to options for training, apprenticeships and technical education to fill high-paying jobs in manufacturing, technology and other growing sectors” and to hire more career counselors for high schools.

MARSHA BLACKBURN GETS AN EARFUL (OR WOULD, IF SHE WAS LISTENING). A group of concerned constituents gathered outside Representative Blackburn’s Tennessee office yesterday to ask her to listen to their stance on gun safety – something they charge she has yet to do: “She values the NRA money more than she values the school children,” she said. “I feel very forgotten. She doesn’t care what the constituents say, think or feel. She has never replied to any of my emails, letters or phone calls. Nothing.”

Tennessean: Franklin protesters ask Blackburn to listen to them on gun control.
Fox17 Nashville: Moms upset with Marsha Blackburn over NRA money host rally in downtown Franklin.
Williamston Herald: Activist groups gather on Franklin square to protest NRA campaign contributions.

#INSEN REPUBLICANS AIR IRRESPONSIBLE ADS. Two Indiana Republican Senate candidates released television ads this week that go beyond the pale of decency:

Indy Star: Rokita Senate campaign ad uses military cemetery footage despite VA rules against partisan use.

  • Rep. Todd Rokita packed plenty of red meat into his first Senate campaign ad. But he appears to have improperly included footage of a military cemetery.
  • The problem with showing rows of headstones as an announcer accuses “liberal elites” of disrespecting “the sacrifices of our soldiers” is that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs does not allow campaign ads to be filmed in national cemeteries.
  • “To maintain the sanctity and decorum of VA National Cemeteries as national shrines, our filming policy states that filming may not be used for the expression of partisan or political viewpoints,” said VA spokesman James Hutton.

Associated Press: Widow upset by Indiana political TV ad featuring husband.

  • The widow of an Uber driver killed in a suspected drunken driving crash said her family has been “devastated” by a political ad featuring her deceased husband, an Indianapolis Colts player who was also killed and the Guatemalan man who was charged with their deaths.
  • Deb Monroe, the widow of driver Jeffrey Monroe, told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday that Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Braun should take his ad off the TV airwaves. “Why would you do this? He has not even been in the ground two weeks,” said Monroe. “You could have had the decency to wait and let us deal with our loss.”
  • The ad by Braun, who has yet to address Monroe’s concerns, comes in the midst of a heated GOP Senate primary… Deb Monroe said calls for a crackdown on immigrants are beside the point.
  • Immigration has been a hot-button issue in Indiana’s Republican Senate primary… But the ad by Braun, a businessman and former state lawmaker, takes it to a new level.

DID JIM RENACCI VOTE TODAY? His constituents are right to ask after Cleveland.com found that Congressman Renacci “missed the highest percentage of votes of any Ohio member of Congress” while he campaigns for higher office. To help Ohioans keep track of whether Renacci is doing his current job or too busy campaigning for the next, the Ohio Democratic Party launched “DidJimRenacciVoteToday.com.” Check it out.

IN THE STATES.
IN – WSBT: Donnelly in South Bend talking mental health help for officers
MN – Duluth News: Klobuchar hosts discussion on restoring net neutrality
MO – KMBZ: McCaskill co-sponsors bill to improve reporting process for sexual assault
(MORE) MO – St. Louis Post-Dispatch: McCaskill introduces legislation stopping drugmakers from getting tax-reduction benefits for advertising
MN – KEYC: Senator Tina Smith Introduces “Expanding Access to Low Cost Generic Drugs Act”
MT – Missoula Current: Tester urges colleagues to fully fund grants aimed at high-school counseling services
NV – Patch: Nevada Educations Pros Backing Jacky Rosen In Senate Race
OH – Columbus Dispatch: Sherrod Brown named co-chair of commission on pensions
TX – Texas Tribune: Report: O’Rourke stomps Cruz in latest round of fundraising
WI – WKBT: Tammy Baldwin introduces America’s College Promise Act to legislation
WV – Metro News: Manchin named to pension committee

TWEET OF THE WEEK. Something light for your weekend —

Lauren Passalacqua
@laurenvpass

Ben Ray
@BenRay

David Bergstein
@DavidABergstein

Courtney Rice
@Court_Rice

Justin Lavoie
@je_lavoie

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