Let’s tell him exactly what we think. Also, a dispiriting day at the Roundhouse yesterday (legal pot is dead; Pay Day Lending caps also dead, unless you think 175% is a cap). Also here, an update on Heinrich’s opposition to Canadian drug importation and what has resulted from it. It is good news. And after a dispiriting day at the Roundhouse, good news is good.
Opportunities and Events. There are a large number of important Round House hearings this week. For many bills this is crunch time — they must pass this week’s hearings and get a floor vote. Coming soon: ACLU Resistance Training, Rev Barber Book Group, Santa Fe early childhood hearing, and two volunteer opportunities. Click here for Events and Opportunities and a schedule of this week’s hearings.
A Dispiriting Day at the Roundhouse. I toggled back and forth between the Senate Corporations and Transportation Hearing on Predatory Lending and the House Business & Industry Hearing on legalizing marijuana. It was not pretty. I listened to cogent arguments for limiting Pay Day Loans to 36% and then to Rep. Bill McCamley lay out the rationale for legalizing marijuana. In each instance the reasons for advancing these bills were grounded in solid research and examples of how the legislation had worked in other states.
When it came time for our representatives to speak, both Democrats and Republicans stated personal opinions and rationales based on rumor, anecdote or clearly discredited information. At one point Rep. Youngblood smirked and said, “I got about 600 calls today and I am guessing three came from my district.” It was nauseating. I had to leave. But the experience crystalized the work ahead: We need to build strong bases in every community in the state so that Democrats and Republicans understand that we are paying attention and so that those 600 calls are all from people who identify the street on which they live: in Youngblood’s district. Click here for a report on the Predatory Lending hearing. The long and short of it: the 36% cap is dead and, if we’re lucky a 175% cap could reach the floor. Click here for a report on the hearing on legalizing marijuana. The long and the short of it: The bill is dead.
Donald Trump Wants to Hear from You. Donald Trump will speak to both chambers of Congress tonight and in preparation for this speech, his website posted a survey asking Americans what they are concerned about. Amidst plummeting polling and outraged Town Halls, the GOP must be feeling a bit less certain of America’s support. While Trump can deflect any evidence of opposition and turn it into an alternative fact, completing the survey will take only a minute and at least some of his advisors will see the truth: there are huge numbers of Americans who are vigorously opposed to all he is doing. Click here. And in the event you can stomach his speech, click here for an NPR article on what to watch for.
Sanders, Cummings, Booker, Casey, Doggett, Heinrich, and King will Unveil Drug Importation Bill to Help Lower Prescription Drug Costs for Middle Class Families. Members of Congress Have Reached Agreement on Language to Allow Importation While Maintaining Drug Safety
Some weeks ago, we had three reports on Sen. Heinrich’s initial vote against a Canadian drug reimportation bill. I tried to provide balance, reporting on Heinrich and Booker’s significant donations from pharma with their overall very high progressive ratings based on votes and their concerns that some protection needed to be provided to prevent fraudulent reimportation of tainted prescription drugs. Still, the vote against reimportation felt wrong. Many were ready to skewer Sen. Heinrich for betraying Bernie Sanders and a bill that would have opened the border to reimport drugs at great savings to Americans. Heinrich felt Americans could be preyed upon by malicious producers of prescriptions that were not subject to oversight. I was told then, that Sen. Heinrich would be working with Senators Sanders, Casey, Booker and others to create a bill that allowed for reimportation while incorporating the protections sought by Sen. Heinrich. And tomorrow there will be a press conference announcing the successful crafting of just such a bill. Click here for my first report on Heinrich’s vote. Click here for the follow-up report on Heinrich’s record. For more on the compromise bill read on.
Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Angus King (I-Maine), Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), and Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) will unveil new legislation today to allow the importation of prescription drugs into the U.S. while maintaining important safety standards. Press Conference Announcing Bill: Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. ET/10:30MT. To watch the press conference live, click here.
Paul & Roxanne