Saturday, June 23, 2012


Unfortunately, I will be out of commission for the next week or so.  I had a feeling that the Supreme Court would not cooperate by issuing its opinion on U.S. v. Arizona this past week.  I was looking forward to reporting on the decision and the aftermath.  PLEASE, feel free to post your reports, opinions, questions about it in the comment section below.  (I have adjusted the comments settings to permit non-anonymous comments without moderation - please, keep it clean.)

I also have a hunch that there will be a lot of great Arizona political happenings while I am gone - feel free to post here on those.  And, as always, if you have any story ideas for me, please e-mail them to me or leave a voice mail.

Thanks to those of you who read (or, stumble upon) this little blog o' mine.  And, especially to those of you who have given me feedback (positive or negative).

See you in a week or two.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

WATCH: Club For Growth Support For Jeff Flake Surpasses $1.25 Million, Doubles Down On "Imposter" Ads Targeting Wil Cardon (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

Clarification, 5:50p.m.: Edited to reflect that Proposition 400 was to provide funding for a transportation plan, part of which included light rail.)

As promised, the Club For Growth dropped a second quarter-million-dollar ad buy this week on an increasingly-vitriolic GOP primary battle for Arizona's U.S. Senate seat.  That puts their support of Rep. Jeff Flake (R-CD6) - and/or opposition of opponent Wil Cardon - above the $1.25 Million mark.

The "Imposter" ads have been a fixture on Phoenix airwaves during the past couple of weeks, and will apparently continue for the next couple.

The pair of 15-second spots attack Cardon's conservative credentials, based upon his Executive Committee position with the group that campaigned for the transportation plan (which included funding for light rail) in 2004 and upon his participation in the Urban Land Institute.

The Club initially spent $290,258.62 on these ads (plus a 60-second radio spot).  Today's filing extends that campaign by spending an additional $280,963.43.  (By the way, the Club For Growth has a problem filling out the forms, not totaling "Total Expenditures This Period" and not indicating whether the expenditure is supporting or opposing the candidate; this makes it difficult for groups like the Center for Responsive Politics to properly monitor expenditures.)

Combined with the more than $22,000 which the Club For Growth spent on raising money for Flake after he announced his candidacy to replace the retiring Jon Kyl, and the $673,229.93 which Club members have contributed to Flake's campaign through the Club For Growth "conduit", and CFG has now provided at least $1,266,492.76 to the Flake effort.

As noted last year in Arizona's Politics, the ties between the Club For Growth and Rep. Flake have long been close, and that there is nothing nefarious in the relationship. "There is nothing nefarious either implicit or explicit in the Flake/CFG relationship - Rep. Flake has consistently been a fiscal conservative, even before he was in Congress.  However, it is of interest when one ideological organization provides such a large portion of a candidate's campaign fund."

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

WATCH: Rep. Quayle Questions Administration Re: $1billion National Network of Manufacturing Innovation Program

At Arizona's Politics, we like to try to provide insights into how our elected officials are handling their jobs when the spotlight is not necessarily shining on them.  In this instance, Rep. Ben Quayle (R-CD3) took about five minutes to question an Obama Administration witness about a $1 billion program called the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation.

Quayle started off reading his question of John Holdren, but later parried with him without notes.

Here is C-Span's description of Wednesday's hearing of the House Committee on Science and Technology:
John Holdren testified about programs administered by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), as well as its roles, responsibilities, operations, management and its function in shaping our national science policy. He said the United States continued to be a global leader in science and innovation, but admitted that a better job needs to be done with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education. He also spoke about the Obama administration's research and science policies, clean energy and green jobs initiatives, and the restructuring of the U.S. space program.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Not the Same Safeway, But Barber Makes Statement With First "Congress On Your Corner" ; Also Gets Website Up and Running, Other Developments

Newly sworn-in Rep. Ron Barber is certainly sending a message, ending his first week as Congressman with a "Congress On Your Corner" at a Tucson Safeway store.  It was at another such store that he and his predecessor, Gabrielle Giffords, were shot.  Thirteen others were killed in the mass shooting that followed the attempted assassination.

Barber will listen to and speak with constituents at the Safeway at Grant and Craycroft (one of my favorite Tucson Safeways) from 9:00-10:30 Saturday morning.  While his office's press release does not mention the symbolism - Giffords also completed that tragic 2011 constituent event shortly before she retired to focus on her recovery - it certainly sends a message that he does not intend to be cowed from outreach.

“This event is the first of many I will hold so that I can be accessible to all of my constituents throughout Southern Arizona,” Barber said today. “I will not become isolated in Washington. My work at the Capitol will be influenced by what I hear and learn here in Arizona.”

Another news release from the Congressional office touts how Barber "cross(ed) party lines" in his first day votes, in order to increase border security.  Arizona's Politics earlier noted his series of votes which went against House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the majority of fellow Democrats. 

In other developments, the House finally got Barber's official website up and running within the past 24 hours.  During the period that the seat was vacant, CD8 constituents had no website to access resources, even though the office remained running for such matters.  The website did not "go live" until late yesterday or early today, even though he was sworn in on Tuesday.  The office also has Twitter and Facebook up and running.

Finally, accentuating the nature of this strenuous Special Election/Re-election situation to replace Giffords, shortly after Barber's Congressional office sent out the news release, the Barber re-election campaign sent out a fundraising letter (under the title "What a Week!").  As noted earlier, no rest.  

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

House Overwhelmingly Votes To Block Tohono O'odham From Building Glendale Casino

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to approve a bill sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-CD2) to prevent the Tohono O'odham from building a casino in Glendale.  Arizona's Politics posted the debate - and the text of the bill - earlier today.

The vote was 343-78.  Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD7) and 1st day Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD8) were the only two members of the Arizona delegation to vote against it.

The measure now moves to the Senate.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Grijalva Fails To Get House To Remove 100-Mile Border Control Zone From Bill

Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD7) brought an amendment to the House floor this afternoon to fight Republican efforts to waive environmental restrictions in a zone extending 100 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.  It was voted down on largely party lines, 177-247.

Here are comments Grijalva made before the short debate on the House floor: 

Here is the news release from Grijalva's office:

Grijalva Speaks Against Republican Attempt to Roll Back Environmental Laws Within 100 Miles of U.S. Borders – GOP House Approves Washington, D.C. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today spoke out against a Republican attempt – formally known as Title XIV of H.R. 2578 – to allow Department of Homeland Security personnel to waive three dozen environmental laws within 100 miles of any U.S. border. A video of his remarks at this morning’s press conference outside the U.S. Capitol is available at
 An amendment to the overall bill that Grijalva introduced to eliminate Title XIV was voted down by the Republican House majority. H.R. 2578 is an omnibus public lands measure Republicans voted to pass a few minutes ago on the House floor. Title XIV was formerly H.R. 1505, a standalone bill introduced by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), who chairs the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. Rep. Grijalva is the ranking member of the subcommittee. The measure gives the Secretary of Homeland Security, through the authority of Customs and Border Protection, the power to claim control of “all land under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture within 100 miles of the international land borders of the United States.” Homeland Security officials have repeatedly testified to Congress under oath that environmental laws pose no security threat and that the bill is not necessary. In a 2010 report by the Government Accountability Office, an overwhelming majority of Border Patrol agents “reported that the overall security status of their jurisdiction is not affected by land management laws.”
 Bishop’s effort allows CBP officials to waive, among other laws, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979, the Antiquities Act of 1906, the National Historic Preservation Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and the Wilderness Act. The measure does nothing to protect Tribal sovereignty in the affected areas and has led to widespread concern about protecting the territorial integrity of native land.
 “This is theater of the absurd,” Grijalva said. “Republicans have wanted to gut these laws for decades, and each excuse seems to get a little flimsier. They’re not afraid to invent new reasons to get their way, and when those run out they just use the old ones again. The days of scaring everyone by shouting ‘national security’ are long over, and Republicans would do everyone a favor by recognizing that this is a big waste of time.” A coalition of Congressional lawmakers and groups representing Hispanics, environmentalists, sportsmen, Native American tribes, and others held this morning’s press conference outside the U.S. Capitol to express their united objections to Bishop’s power grab. “Opposition to this useless bill is universal and goes way beyond partisan politics,” Grijalva said. “Instead of marginalizing border communities, reducing their legal protections and making them less livable, let’s strengthen our borders by creating jobs and stopping the free flow of guns from the U.S. to Mexico and back again. Wiping out environmental laws has nothing to do with safety or making peoples’ lives better, and I think Rep. Bishop knows that.”

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

WATCH: Ron Barber's "Most Amazing", Most Independent Day

Here is a link to the 12 minute swearing in ceremony with speeches:

Here, provided by Rep. Barber's office, is the text of his remarks in the above clip:

I would like to thank the Arizona delegation for that warm welcome. And I would like to thank Speaker Boehner for his long and dedicated public service and for swearing me in today. And to my family – in the gallery and my grandchildren here on the floor – thank you for your support and love without which I would not be here today.  They are the most amazing family and I am blessed to have them in my life. To my high school sweetheart and wife Nancy, I love you dearly and look forward to celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary tomorrow. Mr. Speaker, I stand here on the floor of the House in the very spot where five months ago my friend, and my predecessor, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, bravely delivered her resignation from Congress.  I want to thank the congresswoman for her vision, leadership and the inspiration she gives to the country. Gabby, Southern Arizona misses you and can’t wait to have you home. Today, as I begin my service in this, the people’s house, I am mindful that the stakes for our nation are very high. ·        They are too high to not set aside political division in favor of seeking common ground.
 ·        Too high to use our words as weapons.
 ·        Too high to think of those with whom we disagree as villains.
 As an Arizonan, I look to the example of Congressman Mo Udall and Senator Barry Goldwater, two leaders in their respective parties who disagreed on much, but did so without being disagreeable. They came together many times to do what was right for their state and their country. I’m going to approach my work for the people of Southern Arizona with an eye not toward partisan victory, but toward American achievement. Because we as a country have much to achieve: ·        We must protect middle class families at a time when our middle class is slowly disappearing.
 ·        We must ensure the dignity and health of every American senior in retirement.
 ·        We must honor our veterans and military families – by ensuring that the more than 100,000 veterans I represent in Southern Arizona and every other American veteran and service member receives the services and benefits they’ve earned.
 ·        We must secure our border so that border residents are safe and we impede the flow of drugs into our communities and illegal drug money out of our country.
 ·        And we must create jobs with innovative energy technologies, improvements in our essential infrastructure, and by supporting local small businesses to grow.
I look forward to working across party lines to achieve these goals for the good of my constituents and for all Americans. Thank you. I yield back.

As noted earlier, Ron Barber's first day of voting was noteworthy for voting the opposite way that the majority of his fellow Democrats voted.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Barber Asserts Independence On Day One

Anyone who expected new Congressman Ron Barber to be a "rubber stamp" for Democratic leadership was proven wrong on Barber's first day.  In a series of votes, including two Arizona-related measures, Barber was more likely to vote against the majority of his own party and with a majority of Republican lawmakers.

Barber's first roll call vote was on an amendment, and he did not buck the party line.  However, he then voted "nay" with all Republicans (but one) to vote down a Democratic-sponsored amendment to authorize a "pilot project to test a small increase in federal grazing fees."  It failed by a 156-258 vote. 

Things got more interesting on the next vote.  Fellow southern Arizona Democrat Raul Grijalva brought forth an amendment to strike from the bill "a 100-mile operation control zone for the Department of Homeland Security along the northern and southern borders of the United States."  Barber was one of only 14 Democrats to join the GOP in voting it down, 177-247.  

That bill, with the 100-mile control zone waiving environmental regulations, was then passed by the House, with Barber joining 15 other Democrats and 216 Republicans in voting "aye".  Final vote: 232-188.

The next measure was the one put forward by Arizona Republican Trent Franks (R-CD2), discussed earlier on this blog, to prevent the Tohono O'odham Nation from building a casino in Glendale.   It passed easily, with almost all Republicans voting for it (232-4) and a sizable majority of Democrats (111-74) also approving it.  Representatives Grijalva and Barber were the only two Arizona Congressmen to vote against it.  So, Barber voted against the majority of his party - including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi - but voted with his southern Arizona colleague.  (That bill will now go to the Senate.)

Of course, this pattern of voting contrary to the majority of Democrats follows closely the precedent established by retired Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.  She was the 8th most rebellious Democrat before the assassination attempt.  Barber was Giffords' District Director.  (To a lesser extent, it follows Giffords' predecessor, Republican Jim Kolbe, who was not afraid to buck his party when he deemed it necessary.)

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

WATCH, LIVE: Ron Barber Swearing In At Capitol

UPDATE (10:51a.m., Arizona Time):  Speaker John Boehner has taken the podium, presumably to handle the swearing-in.

UPDATE (11:16a.m., Arizona Time): Swearing in went smoothly, Barber given one minute to speak, spoke for about 5.  Thanks House for "amazing welcome", "amazing family".  To Giffords: "Southern Arizona misses you dearly, and we cannot wait to welcome you home."

The House of Representatives is about to swear in Arizona's newest member.  Ron Barber (D-CD8) won the Special Election last week to replace retired Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

I was not able to embed the C-Span player, but here is a link:

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

WATCH: Arizona Tribal Casinos Take Congressional Stage During Debate Last Night; Vote On Glendale Casino Today; Casino Would "Destroy The Nature Of My State"

Most of Arizona's delegation took to the House floor last night to debate a bill that would prohibit the Tohono O'odham Indian Nation from proceeding to build its controversial casino in Glendale.  The vote on the bill sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-CD2) is likely to be held sometime today.

Franks believes that the new casino would be "illegal" because it would violate the gaming compacts entered into by Native American Nations in Arizona and the state of Arizona.  He introduced the bill to amend the Congressional act passed in 1986 that permitted the Tohono O'odham nation to purchase the non-adjacent land in Glendale as a settlement after the nation had lost agricultural lands due to flooding from federal dam projects.

The Tohono O'odham nation used the act to purchase the lands, and later announced that they intended to build a casino on it.  They are opposed by the other Arizona tribes, including the tribes that currently have casinos in the Phoenix metropolitan area.  Litigation has failed to stop the proposed casino.

The debate was passionate, with Republicans Franks, Paul Gosar (R-CD1) and David Schweikert (R-CD5) arguing in favor of the bill, and Democrat Raul Grijalva (D-CD7) arguing against.  A few other Representatives also chimed in, with one Democrat arguing that this measure is too controversial to be voted on under a parliamentary procedure generally reserved for mostly-unanimous resolutions.

Rep. Schweikert added a warning to colleagues across the nation:  "If this happens, it's going to destroy the nature of my state," said Schweikert.  He noted that the gaming compacts would go "kaboom", that Arizona will then become a "statewide gaming state", and that that would serve as a precedent for the rest of the country. (At about 1:05.30 in the debate, which lasted about 40 minutes.)

Schweikert added that he was in a unique position to assess this situation because he was involved in the negotiations of the gaming compacts when he was Arizona House Minority Leader.

Grijalva noted that the claim that the Native American nations had agreed to not build further casinos around Phoenix was not in the compact agreements, and that this bill would breach the settlement with the Tohono O'odham Nation and set a precedent for other settlements to be amended.

Needless to say, if the House approves this bill today, it would then need to be approved by the Senate and signed by the President to take effect.

(Here is an article that ran in the Arizona Republic when Rep. Franks introduced the bill, and one from the Cronkite News Service on last night's debate.)

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Friday, June 15, 2012

WATCH: McCain Speech On Farm Bill

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) spoke on the Senate floor yesterday morning about the farm subsidy bill.  The speech is 18 minutes (no, we're not going to transcribe it).  (Only watch if you are tired of entertaining or exciting viral videos.)

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

No Resting On Laurels For Barber; READ: Statements From Ron Barber's New Opponents

As expected all along, the winner of this week's Special Election to finish the term of retired Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8) was not going to have any time to get out of campaign mode.  Ron Barber, Giffords' District Director, won the election on Tuesday, and though he won't have the prospect of a third (counting the 2010 nail-biter) campaign against Jesse Kelly, he faces both a primary fight and what will be a tough campaign against likely GOP nominee Martha McSally.

Jesse Kelly thanked "our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, my wife Aubrey, and our supporters for their unwavering commitment to the values that make America great".*  Then he withdrew from re-fighting for those values in the November election for the newly-drawn 2nd Congressional District.

Breathing a sigh of relief and ready to kick it back in campaign mode is the spokesman for Martha McSally.  She finished second to Kelly in the hotly-contested GOP primary for the Special Election.  Spokesman Sam Stone said “It would obviously benefit us quite a bit if we had the opportunity to run straight for November.” As of this writing, however, McSally's website has not been updated( since April).  However, she has sent out a release/letter to Republicans, reaching out to those who worked for Kelly in the Special Election.  "I know many of you put a lot of time and effort into helping Jesse Kelly get elected, and we're all disappointed in the result. But now we have to refocus our efforts once again and start preparing for November."

Former State Rep. Matt Heinz does have his website up-to-date, and he is (still*) all in for battling Barber in the Democratic primary in August.  "With considerable relief, I congratulate Ron Barber on his victory today. I wish Ron the best as he completes Gabby’s term in Congress over the next few months.  Now that the special election has concluded, I want to reaffirm my candidacy for Arizona’s newly drawn 2nd Congressional District."

For his part, Barber has not yet commented on the upcoming campaign challenges.  He did post a thank you message on his website today.  Full statement after the jump.  

Barber gets "to work to serve the people..." right away, when he is sworn in next week.  He also gets to start campaigning right away.  (Which is probably okay, because it is unlikely that Congress is doing much other than campaigning - in and out of Washington - between now and November, unlikely.

* Heinz pulled out of the Special Election primary fight within a few days of announcing, after Barber announced his candidacy and was unclear on whether he would also run in November.  This was the apparent prompt for Heinz to commit (back then) to running in the November election.

FACT CHECK: Cong. Candidate Vernon Parker and Waivers In Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") (TWITTER THIS)

Twitter has become a significant resource to learn how candidates (and office-holders, etc.) think.  Many use it similarly to ordinary, non-candidate Twitter-users (Twits?): riffing on the day's news or items they heard/read/saw elsewhere.  Often - either by choice or inadvertently - the complexities of issues get lost in the 140 character messages, and the Tweets are inaccurate or misleading.

Arizona's Politics has occasionally responded to some of these.  Congressional candidate Vernon Parker prompted one of those responses yesterday, and someone who Parker replied to prompted a follow-up today.  However, since it is hard to fact check in 140 characters, we are bringing the Tweets and the fact check to this format.  (Hopefully, in relatively brief form.)

Parker - who is among a bunch of Republicans running for that party's nomination in new CD9 -  riffed yesterday on "Obamacare" (Affordable Care Act).  His tweet echoes a popular topic among Obama opponents:

I asked him "Which waivers are you speaking of? The ones that allow employers to temporarily keep lower benefit cap on employees' bene's?" Parker did not answer, but he did respond to a Chicagoan who pointed out that it many of them "went to" (House Minority Leader Nancy) Pelosi's district.  That "law kid" later replied to me that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also got his entire state of Nevada waived.

It seems that there is a significant amount of confusion about the waivers are, and how they reflect on whether Obamacare is good or bad.  Here are the results of my research conducted on and off over the past 24 hours.

There are (at least) two different types of waivers permitted under the 2010 law.  They are to allow employers (and others) to ease into the requirements set out by the law.  The type that Parker apparently referred to is the type that temporarily permits companies which believed that their employees premiums would skyrocket IF they have to find a plan which has a higher annual limit on how much the insurance company has to pay out for essential benefits for an insured.  In other words, if your company's plan had a $250,000/yr limit on how much it would pay out for your hospitalization/treatment, and the company (or, its representative) could show that switching to a plan with a higher limit would result in a huge increase in the employees' premiums, then the government would grant a one-year waiver to keep the less-desirable* plan. 

When the Republicans first raised this waiver issue last year, after the first batch of one-year waivers were granted, they required that the Government Accountability Office ("GAO") do an audit of how and to whom these waivers were granted.  Besides having a very good explanation of these waivers, the audit found that the waivers were fairly granted or denied to those who had applied for them.  (There is a good table in the middle of the report.) 

Here is The Hill's report on the audit.  It notes that the applications were approved if they showed that premiums would go up by more than 10%, and that they denied applications that showed an increase of less than 6%.  (Presumably, when these waivers expire, the companies will have to find plans without the caps, and premiums might then jump;  however, proponents of the law would likely suggest that the jump will not be as severe because all insurance plans will have to remove the benefit caps.

Parker's Tweet does not seem to make sense in light of the GAO audit, because granting the waivers is not a knock on the law or its eventual objectives.  Even if you think that low caps on benefits are okay because it is a private marketplace, the waivers just show that Congress and HHS realized the need to gradually work towards eliminating the low caps.  That would seem to be responsible governance.

By the way, about the implication that there was some sort of funny stuff going on because a bunch of the waivers were from Pelosi's district, a article provided the simple explanation for that: a company that administers health plans for restaurants and other businesses had submitted waiver requests for a bunch of its clients.

The second type of waivers that Parker's supporter referred to - the one which Nevada (and several other states received - has to do with medical-loss ratios and the rebates that policyholders around the country are going to receive this summer.  Here - on the right side of the page, in a sidebar - is a very good explanation of the medical loss ratios that Obamacare aims to improve.  A health plan needs to spend 80% of its money on health-related expenses; if it spends too much on salaries, administration, etc., it must provide rebates to its customers.  Arizonans and Arizona employers will receive millions of dollars in rebates in August because Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona and several other large health insurers do not yet meet that ratio.

Nevada's Insurance Division requested a waiver because it did not believe that its insurers would be able to meet the 80% MLR and that would destabilize its market.  It is one of several states that asked for temporary waivers.  Nevadans - and residents in the several other states that requested and received waivers - will receive less money rebated than Arizonans insured by some of the very same companies, as shown in this table from the HHS division that is in charge of the program.  (That table also shows that 17 states plus Guam requested and received similar waivers, demonstrating that implications that Sen. Reid pulled a quick one are a bit too conspiracy-minded.)

Here are a couple of more interesting articles and sites that were used in the research for this article: article from 12/10 answering question: "Has the Obama administration allowed corporations to "opt out" of the new health care law?"
--Washington Post article from 3/11 : "Maine gets waiver from health premium rules"
 Bottom line is that Parker - like many - seems to not understand what these temporary waivers mean.  The common usage of the term gives people the impression that companies and states are sneaking out of the requirements of the law and that the law must therefore be too onerous.  And, that if it is too onerous, it must be bad. Add a dash of political conspiracy theory (which quite often has some basis in reality).  Spice it with inadequate explanations, and garnish it with today's political divisiveness, and you have a recipe for misleading and inaccurate information. 

It is one thing when private citizens put forward such informaton.  But, it becomes quite another thing when elected officials and candidates make such Tweets/comments without evidencing an understanding of the complexities of the issues.

* Everything else - including premiums - being equal, would you prefer a plan with a lower cap on benefits, or one with a higher (or, no) cap?

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

READ: Were Jesse Kelly/Republicans Right? Pelosi Takes "Great Pleasure" In Arizona Special Election Results

As noted here and elsewhere, the main theme of the Jesse Kelly/Republican campaign in the Special Election to replace Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8) was to paint Democratic nominee Ron Barber as a "rubber stamp" for President Barack Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.  Early votes are still being counted, and Pelosi is touting her "great pleasure" at yesterday's results in favor of Barber.

Here's the e-mail she just sent out, through the DCCC:

Mitch --
It is my great pleasure to report that Democrat Ron Barber won a tremendous victory in yesterday’s special election for Gabby Giffords’ seat in Congress!
I am so grateful for all you did to help make this possible. Your donations helped the DCCC put ads on the air, and your phone calls helped get out the Democratic votes we needed to win.
I do have one more favor to ask: Will you sign our card thanking Gabby Giffords for her service and congratulating Congressman-elect Ron Barber on his victory?
This election proved that when we stand up for Social Security, Medicare and the middle class, we can defeat the corporate special interests that are trying to buy our elections.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you again for your unwavering support and determination.
P.S. You can sign our card to Gabby and Ron at

Here's the suggested text of the thank-you card:

Thank you Gabby! You have left a legacy of strength and resolve that inspires us all.
I’d also like to pass along my congratulations to Ron Barber on a tremendous Democratic victory!

Does this mean that Barber should get the ink pad ready?

By the way, the DCCC spent about $460,000 on the race.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Friday, June 8, 2012

WATCH: Schweikert "Embrace(s) the Irony" On House Floor; Flake Votes No On DHS Appropriations Bill

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert (R-CD5) took to the House Floor for a minute yesterday to "embrace the irony" of a proposed amendment dealing with the funding of so-called "sanctuary cities".

Here is the (Arizona's Politics) transcription of Schweikert's brief speech:

Thank you for yielding me some time.   This is one of those moments  where you get to stand up behind the microphone and being from Arizona, embrace the irony.  Think of this: this federal government sues my state for actually enforcing federal immigration law.  But yet – in this particular case, in is this amendment – as my friend was just pointing out, we hand money to communities that are walking away from enforcing the very law.  Does anyone see the irony of you sue us for doing it, but yet we reward municipalities for becoming a sanctuary city and not living up to their obligations.  And with that, I yield back to the gentleman.

The amendment which Rep. Schweikert spoke in favor of passed by a voice vote moments later.

Several members of Arizona's delegation proposed amendments to the Homeland Security appropriations bill, and Arizona's Politics will attempt to detail those efforts later.  The bill did eventually pass by a 234-182 party line vote.  Rep. Jeff Flake was one of only 16 Republicans to vote "nay".

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, 
please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Rep. Franks' Response To Unsuccessful Vote On His Sex Selection Abortion Bill

We received the following statement from Rep. Trent Franks (R-CD2) on today's unsuccessful vote on his bill to restrict sex selection abortions:

"I am heartened that so many of my colleagues came together to, in an overwhelming majority, support the Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act. Though it did not secure the two-thirds majority necessary to pass under suspension rules, I am confident that this is not the end, but merely the opening salvo in ensuring the words, 'It's a girl,' are no longer a death sentence for so many unborn girls. "I also note the sad and bitter irony that President Obama, who has disingenuously accused Republicans of a so-called 'war on women,' mustered a truly breathtaking display of hypocrisy in opposing a bill that would prevent aborting those little babies who have the 'nerve' to be little girls. "Indeed, the same Democrats who are so frequently heralded as 'progressives' today refused to make the United States the very last civilized nation on Earth to outlaw aborting a little girl simply for being a little girl, even as the human family on Earth is today missing 200 million baby girls, thanks to the grisly practice the majority of my colleagues across the aisle couldn't find it in their hearts to condemn."

We have asked several other questions of the Congressman, and will update once we receive answers.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.