A Cincinnati Republican Urges GOP to Find Its Consciences as Trumps Loot Country, Putin Erodes Democracy
Phil Heimlich is a Republican who served on Cincinnati City Council and the Hamilton County Commission. He offers his perspective on today’s politics. Heimlich says “I’m organizing a search party. We’re looking for Congressmen Steve Chabot and Brad Wenstrup, and Senator Rob Portman. We know where they are – they live in Ohio and work in Washington. But we can’t find a trace of their consciences.”
Heimlich waxes poetic saying:
“Remember the impeachment of President Bill Clinton for lying about sex in the Oval Office? Rep. Chabot prosecuted that case in the House but says he’s unconcerned that the FBI, CIA and NSA concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign to help Donald Trump win the 2016 election. After all, what’s the big deal about a foreign adversary undermining the democratic process?
We conservatives rightly fault the Clintons for using their foundation and Wall Street connections to enrich themselves. But they’re pikers compared to the Trumps, who are looting the country at public expense. Do our congressional representatives care that the Trump organization received expedited approval from China for 38 trademarks covering everything from hotels to escort services? Or that Ivanka got three – for jewelry, spa services and bags – on the same day she met with Chinese President Xi Jinping? No, they’re sitting this one out.
When Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, Portman said, ‘The White House should provide a fuller explanation.’ Wenstrup declared, ‘The public deserves clarity.’ If our founding fathers had that kind of boldness, we’d still be a British colony.
Here’s the reason for their reticence, and it has nothing to do with principle: it’s the Republican base. They’re scared spitless of it. Their greatest fear is to be challenged from the right in the next primary. What would it take for these ‘statesmen’ to speak out? Jailing members of the press? (To Chabot’s credit, he criticized Trump for describing the news media as ‘the enemy.’) Firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller? Putting the Trump brand in neon over the White House?
Rob Portman, Steve Chabot and Brad Wenstrup are good men. Rob generously helped me in my political career and graciously reached out to my family when my father passed away. But if he and other Republican leaders don’t stand up to protect Mueller, we’ll have another ‘Saturday Night Massacre’ (when President Nixon fired a special prosecutor investigating him), and our republic will be in jeopardy. Portman needs to remember Edmund Burke’s statement that, ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’”
After Losing Steel, Coal and Retail Jobs, Ohio Fights to Keep Good-Paying Health Care Jobs
In Jefferson County, where steel jobs were once plentiful, health care has overtaken manufacturing as the county’s main economic driver. According to a recent report from NPR, one in four private sector jobs in the county are now in the field of health care. Trinity Health System provides about 2000 jobs. This is more than Jefferson County’s top 10 manufacturing companies combined.
Trinity’s acting CEO, Joe Tasse, warns that cuts to Medicaid could cost jobs as well, saying, “If Trinity Hospital were to fail, this region economically would fail.”
Tasse says under the House-passed health care bill, would lose $60 million over 10 years. He says that’s the equivalent of a thousand or more hospital jobs.
Wait, our elected leaders wouldn’t support a bill that costs jobs, would they?
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman Comes Out Against Senate Health Care Bill – Only After It’s Clear Senate Lacks the Votes to Pass it
Universal Health Care Action Network (UHCAN) Ohio acknowledged that President Donald Trump was right when he called the House-passed health care bill “mean’’ and said the Senate bill is even worse.
Many others agree. A recent NPR/ PBS Newshour/Marist poll found that only 17% approve of the health care bill proposed by the Ohio Senate Republicans.
From Planned Parenthood, who hosted its own committee hearing, to the AARP, advocacy groups decried the U.S. Senate’s health care proposal for its devastating impacts to women, the poor, the elderly and the disabled.
Governor John Kasich, who opposes the Senate repeal bill, told Sen. Rob Portman that even if Senate leaders offer him “a few billion dollars on opioids” in exchange for his support for the healthcare bill, “that’s like spitting in the ocean” compared with the much bigger losses that Medicaid’s expansion would take. Read the full story here.
Finally, after it was clear the healthcare bill wasn’t moving, Sen. Portman opposed the bill in its current form.
Democratic Party Slate for 2018 Adds Candidates for Auditor and Treasurer; DeWine Enters GOP Contest for Governor
This week Rob Richardson Jr. filed paperwork to run for state treasurer and former U.S. Rep. Zack Space announced his run for auditor.
Richardson is a labor lawyer from Cincinnati and the son of NAACP President Robert Richardson Sr. He will go on to face either Republican State Rep. Robert Sprague or Franklin County Auditor Clarence Mingo depending on the results of the GOP primary.
Space will likely face ultra conservative State Rep. Keith Faber in the general election.
Attorney General Mike DeWine officially launched his campaign for Governor, joining U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, Secretary of State Jon Husted and likely candidate Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor.
Renacci continues to flaunt his support from the Trump administration. He hitched a ride on Air Force 2 with Vice President Mike Pence and used his ties to Pence in a fundraising email.
In an interview on the topic, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper said, “I think Mike DeWine will be stuck basically as the status quo candidate. And, as we’ve all learned, in a year where voters want change, if you are the status quo candidate versus the change candidate, you don’t do very well.”
Kasich Urged by Many to Veto Parts of State Budget that Proposes Medicaid Freeze Destined to Hurt Ohio’s Most Vulnerable Citizens
Republican state lawmakers literally passed a budget people that will lead to people dying preventable deaths. Legislators proposed a freeze in Medicaid-expansion enrollment starting in July 2018, which would cutting off health-care coverage for hundreds of thousands of people. No new enrollees would be allowed after July 1, 2018.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, those covered by the Medicaid expansion as of that date would continue to be covered, but only if they don’t drop off the Medicaid rolls, which happens regularly. But those who leave Medicaid, perhaps after finding better employment, could not return later even if they lose their job, unless they are getting mental-health or drug treatment. No new enrollees from the expansion population can be added after July 1, 2018, even if their lives depend on it.
Governor Kasich, a staunch supporter of Medicaid Expansion, is being encouraged by advocates to veto this amendment. However, Republicans hold a super-majority in both chambers of the state legislature and could override the Governor’s veto.
State Auditor and GOP Candidate for AG Orders ECOT to Stop Spending Tax Money on False Advertising
While pleading poverty, Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) is spending an unknown amount of public funds on advertising. Lobbyists for the troubled charter school who both drafted and placed the ad at taxpayer expense have come under fire from the state’s Republican Auditor. Ohio Auditor Dave Yost has ordered ECOT to stop using taxpayers’ dollars on television ads attacking the state Department of Education’s decision to seek repayment of $60.4 million, saying the commercials are not proper expenditures “and are impermissible.”
ProgressOhio Asks TV Stations to Pull ECOT Ad Because It Contains a Big Lie; As ECOT Fights in Court, Dems Spotlight Donations to Justices
The ECOT, the charter school that owes the state $60 million for education it can’t prove it provided, is taking its plight to the Ohio Supreme Court. The court has seven justices, three of whom have received campaign contributions from ECOT’s founder, William Lager.
Justice Terrence O’Donnell, Justice Judith French and Justice Pat DeWine received campaign donations from Lager and in 2013, Justice O’Donnell was the commencement speaker for ECOT’s graduation.
Here are Lager’s contributions to current Ohio Supreme Court justices:
While no one believes sports teams should be able to give money to referees in the middle of the game, in Ohio, there are no rules prohibiting judges from hearing the cases of their campaign contributors.
City Workers in Cleveland to Finally Get a Living Wage
Despite the City of Cleveland’s efforts to thwart an initiative to raise wages for all Clevelanders, city officials have allowed city employees to earn $15 an hour. We’ll call it a step in the right direction.
Speaking of Frank Jackson, the Mayor of Cleveland, encountered a group of protestors at his high-dollar fundraiser earlier this week. Juxtaposing a “fat cat” with his wealthy donors, citizen activists confronted Jackson and his supporters about his positions on a city-wide minimum wage and the controversial “Q Deal.”
Ohio ‘Handmaids’ Return to Watch Statehouse Amid Cries of ‘Shame’ as Senate Passes Another Unconstitutional Abortion Ban
The “handmaids” returned to the Statehouse this week as the legislature passed its most recent restriction on women’s reproductive rights.
“Dressing up as a handmaid gives a clear message to our administration and the Senate about how seriously we take their decisions and how radically it can affect our lives,” said Elena Lipsiea, one of the handmaids.
Senate Committee Lifts Unconstitutional Policy That Once Let Anti-Choice Group, but Not Pro-Choice One, Film Hearings
The Ohio Senate reversed course and created a policy allowing fair access to public testimony and committee hearings after increased pressure from open-government groups. Leading the charge was ProgressOhio, ensuring the public can watch and participate remotely in state government.
Progressive Action Calendar Alerts:
July 2: Impeachment March in Cleveland