#UnfollowMcCain: Senator’s plea for Twitter followers backfires

Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) lost thousands of followers after he tweeted asking for more in order to reach three million. Reactions to the call focused on his vote in favor of the tax reform bill, as well as the launch of the #UnfollowMcCain hashtag.

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“We’re only 74 Twitter followers away from 3M – spread the word & help us reach this big milestone,” the senator tweeted Monday afternoon.

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Within hours, however, McCain had lost thousands of followers. Many criticized him for voting in favor of the Republican tax plan, which Democrats say benefits the rich and harms the middle class. The plan sets aside the “individual mandate”of the American Care Act, which critics argued, would lead to a $25 billion cut to the program in 2018, citing a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the bill.

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“Over 5,000 people have unfollowed you since you sent this this two hours ago. One reason is you because you – a man undergoing cancer treatment – voted to strip $25 BILLION dollars from the part of Medicare which pays for CANCER TREATMENT,” said one prolific tweeter.

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McCain revealed in July that he had been diagnosed with brain cancer. He recovered well enough to continue his work in the Senate, despite a poor prognosis.

“Since this tweet, John’s losing followers quicker than Americans are losing healthcare and tax benefits,” a Texas film critic tweeted.

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 2.55.36 PM“I couldn’t click the unfollow button fast enough. Unless you are part of the 1%, there is no reason to help this man because he sure wouldn’t help you,” said another user.

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“.@SenJohnMcCain’s plea for help to reach 3M Twitter followers backfired big time yesterday when he lost 29K followers. Thanks mostly to Russian bots, he’s since gained 5K followers & is now 24,000 short of his goal. Who wants to play today?”

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It was unclear why ‘Russian bots’ would help McCain, one of the loudest anti-Russian voices in Congress. Though now reviled, he was considered a hero by many Democrats after voting against the GOP’s proposal to repeal Obamacare in July.

TAX BILL WIN: GOP REPEALS OBAMACARE MANDATE

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Senate Republicans have approved the repeal of ObamaCare’s individual mandate as part of their tax-cut bill, a major step toward ending an unpopular part of the health-care law.

“Families ought to be able to make decisions about what they want to buy and what works for them — not the government,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said, hailing the accomplishment.

“I believe if people don’t want to buy the ObamaCare insurance, they shouldn’t have to pay a tax penalty to the IRS.”

The Senate tax bill must still be reconciled with House legislation that does not include the mandate’s repeal. But that is unlikely to be a major issue, given support in the GOP conference for repealing the mandate.

No Democrats in either chamber voted for the GOP tax bills.

It’s unclear what repeal of the mandate will mean for ObamaCare.

Many experts and health-care groups warn that repeal will destabilize ObamaCare markets, leading to premium increases or insurers simply dropping out of certain areas. Without a financial penalty under the mandate for lacking health coverage, there is less incentive for healthy people to sign up and balance out the costs of the sick.

Some experts counter that the effects will not be as severe as others say, given that there are doubts the mandate had a strong effect on people to begin with.

Moderate Republicans are now pushing for bipartisan ObamaCare fixes to help stabilize insurance markets, setting up a showdown with conservatives.

The mandate’s repeal was not part of the original tax-reform measure released by the Senate Finance Committee, and Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) previously said he wanted to keep the divisive health-care issue separate from taxes.

But President Trump, along with Senate conservatives such as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), made a vocal public push for its inclusion.

Repealing the mandate also saves $300 billion over ten years in subsidies that otherwise would have been spent on consumers, according to the Congressional Budget Office, providing savings for the tax cuts.

The CBO estimates that 13 million fewer people will have health insurance over the next decade without the mandate, and it projects that premiums will rise 10 percent. But it also projects markets will remain stable in “almost all areas of the country.”

While three Republican senators, John McCain (R-Ariz.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) defeated an ObamaCare repeal bill over the summer that included mandate repeal, this time they put aside their concerns.

Murkowski wrote that repealing the mandate didn’t hurt the structure of the health-care law, but allowed people the “freedom” to choose whether to enroll.

Collins said she had won a commitment from Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to pass two bipartisan ObamaCare fixes before the end of the year. She hopes those bills will counteract the increase in premiums from mandate repeal.

One of the bills, from Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray(D-Wash.) funds key payments to insurers, while the other measure provides funding known as reinsurance to pay for some sick people’s claims and help bring down premiums.

The Alexander-Murray bill does not directly deal with the effects of repealing the mandate, and some experts argue there would have to be more reinsurance funding than currently proposed to make up for mandate repeal.

It’s unclear if either fix will actually become law, as House conservatives oppose the measures as propping up ObamaCare.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), a member of the moderate Tuesday Group, said he supports passing Alexander-Murray to try to counteract the premium increases from mandate repeal. But he acknowledged conservatives oppose that move, meaning he thinks the initial House version of a government funding bill will not have the health fix attached.

He thinks the Senate will add it later, setting up a choice for the House.

“They’ll toss it back to us and either you take it like that or you shut the government down,” Upton said.

Trump appears eager to return to the full repeal-and-replace push after the final tax bill passes.

“We will Repeal & Replace and have great Healthcare soon after Tax Cuts!” he tweeted in late October.

GOP leaders have not committed to revisiting the issue in an election year, though Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said he thought mandate repeal brings full repeal and replacement a step closer.

“I think it’s going to make our third attempt at health-care reform easier,” Kennedy said.

 

SCHLICHTER: THE GOP ESTABLISHMENT WANTS TO BURN DOWN THE VILLAGE TO SAVE IT — FOR ITSELF

Is GOPe planning to throw 2018 elections to spite Trump voters?

Town Hall – NOVEMBER 13, 2017

We keep hearing about how angry Trump voters are destroying the Republican Party, but last week’s Schumer-show demonstrated that the people running it would rather run it into the ground than give up their grip on power. The Smart Set managed to get slaughtered on election night – let’s not sugarcoat it, we got creamed. And the dim bulbs in Congress seem determined to somehow turn tax cuts into something Republican voters hate. The GOPe makes everything worse, like pumpkin spice.

Oh, and then there’s Roy Freaking Moore, whose creepitude led to the inevitable lecture about conservative principles, which apparently now include accepting every accusation pushed by our media enemies at face value. We know the guy is guilty of being like Jerry Seinfeld, and he may be worse and actually criminal. If he is, Moore needs to drop and the Alabama legislature needs to redo the rules to get a viable Republican into the race. But we don’t know, and the voters have a right to wonder why the GOPe was so eager to embrace a shaky claim pushed by a media we have seen lie and lie again about Republicans to help their liberal masters. All this makes it hard to come to any conclusion but that the GOP establishment thinks that the only way to defeat the virus of conservatism is to set fire to the party and hope that a few elections from now their Boehner-based, crony trough-feeding paradigm will rise again from the ashes like a K Street phoenix. It’s as if they want to get wiped out in 2018, and that’s the one objective they actually seem capable of achieving.

Gillespie’s loss was no shock – Virginia is a blue state no matter what the hope-springs-eternal crowd keeps saying. What was a shock is that the GOP failed to anticipate the down ticket Democrat turn-out tsunami. A Frisco zillionaire targeted marginal GOP districts, pumped in money and support and caught the GOP napping. A bunch of Republican delegates lost their seats, and not by that much – but by enough. Yet, none of the GOP brain trust saw this coming, and the enemy stole a march on us. Who is getting fired for this screw-up? If the answer is “Nobody,” we might as well pack it in next year.

It’s never good to lose, but losing will teach you more important lessons than winning. We now know that not only are Dems motivated, but they’ll be playing – with money and data support – in every marginal race. We have a year to prepare – are we doing that? What’s our strategy? Who the hell is responsible for coordinating 2018 anyway?

Is the GOPe planning on throwing the mid-term election to teach us uppity rubes a lesson?

Crazy? Would you put it past them? According to some of the fanatic Never Trumpers – who overlap with much of the GOPe/Conservative Inc. crew – we have some sort of moral obligation to lose as penance for not adhering to their measured, sensible guidance. Make no mistake – some of them see a defeat in 2018 as the first step back to their former glory. Think of all the cruise cabins they can sell in 2019 to folks eager to hear from superstars like Vin Weber and Eric Cantor about the great stuff the GOP will do when it controls the House again!

One obvious answer to the 2018 problem, assuming the GOPe even feels that the fact we are on track to lose our House and maybe Senate majorities is a problem, is for our legislators to do the things they promised to do and thereby make us not hate them so much. But the big problem is that in election after election they promised us what they would do if given the chance, and then, when we gave them the chance, they revealed that they didn’t actually want to do what they promised. They are discovering that blatantly lying to your base’s collective face is a risky strategic choice.

The GOP congressjerks couldn’t manage to undo Obamacare, despite their unequivocal promises, and now they seem intent on passing some sort of tax reform that is worse than not passing any sort of tax reform. What is this insane “taxes on a postcard” fixation? What we care about is paying less – I want a fifty page return if it saves me money. You take away deductions and our tax bills go up – and this nonsense about lowering rates is not going to undo the damage to the kind of people who usually … wait for it… vote Republican. But hey, the corporate rate will drop. Let’s all chip in for that. I know I’m glad to lose key deductions so the big donors can keep more cash.

Now, we could always lower everyone’s rates, and “pay for it” by…brace yourself…cutting spending. Except apparently cutting the budget is off the table. Leave it to the GOPe to decide that the winning Republican message for 2018 is “Tax and Spend.”

But hey, who says Congress can’t deliver? They’ve already delivered a year of investigations into the Trump/Putin/Chet the Unicorn collusion conspiracy. I know investigating our president in line with a liberal election defeat excuse narrative was my second biggest GOP priority following the humiliation of Felonia von Pantsuit and her supporters in the conservative cruise industry.

My first priority, and yours, was always to give amnesty and citizenship to millions of illegal aliens, and the GOP caucus is chomping at the bit to do that. Apparently Dreamers’ dreams of taking advantage of violating our laws and eventually become loyal Democrat voters are much more important than our own conservative voters’ dreams of their mandatory crummy health insurance rates not doubling.

And then there is Roy Moore, an outsider who I would prefer was not the nominee but I am not an Alabamian and I don’t get a say. I don’t know whether he did something 40 years ago, nor do you, but was it a smart move by the GOPe to immediately jump on-board the tumbrel taking him to the guillotine and give up on a Senate seat based upon a mere accusation? We know the case against him – he may well have done it, and there may be more shoes to drop – but why might GOP voters view this ultra-convenient revelation with suspicion? Here are some reasons:

  • A critical Senate seat is at stake, and this ancient news only dropped after it became impossible to replace him.
  • Moore denies it.
  • It is a uniquely deadly charge that cannot be refuted (or proven) except by believing one of the alleged participants.
  • We’ve seen many false sex crimes accusations.
  • We’ve seen Fusion GPS paid by Never Trumpers and/or the Democrats manufacture a fake dossier to falsely accuse the President of sex weirdness.
  • The Washington Post is a rabidly partisan liberal paper and part of a mainstream media whose members have, in the era of Trump, decreed that they are no longer to be objective put instead advocate for their partisan agenda.
  • We have not heard directly from the woman. Yes, the WaPo article contains alleged quotes, but those quotes are processed through the paper (Raise your hand if you’ve ever been misquoted – yep, that’s everyone). Her claims have not been subject to cross-examination. That makes her WaPo statements hearsay, which is traditionally viewed skeptically if admitted at all.
  • The WaPo did not reveal that one of the (legal age) girls worked for Hillary. That seems like a potentially relevant fact, right?
  • The WaPo found this woman when no one else – either in Alabama’s media or among opposition researchers over decades of Moore’s political life – did, no doubt via the extensive web of contacts that WaPo maintains in rural Alabama. Doesn’t that seem…odd? What’s the real story about how this all came out?

I don’t know if Moore is guilty – if he is, the hell with him and let’s replace him on the ballot a la Robert Torricelli – but I know that the facts around this claim should make any reasonable person want to know more before they judge. Except not among the GOPe. In 2017’s least surprising development, John McCain demanded Moore drop out simply because he was accused. Yet when the New York Times accused McCain – he says falsely – of an affair, well, the Blue Falcon didn’t drop out of anything. And Mitt Romney, who always reminds me of a talking weasel wearing a $5,000 suit, had to pipe up and do the same. This was the same Mitt who Harry Reid lied about regarding his taxes so effectively. You’d think they’d both be sensitive to the potential for left wing smears, but no. We have two Republicans who were both falsely accused demanding that we give up a Senate seat because of an accusation the accused says is false – an accusation made on the pages of one of our greatest enemies no less. Does that seem legit?

So what are GOP voters supposed to think when they note how these paragons of virtue signaling have not been demanding the resignation of Democrat Senator Bob Menendez, who is in the midst of a federal corruption trial – a case where there are hints their pal The Distinguished Gentleman from New Jersey cavorted with underage hookers? And the Adults In The Room wonder why their voters have nothing but contempt for them.

As for Moore, it is properly the people of Alabama who will pass judgment. My guess is the voters of Alabama will believe Moore and choose him over the guy who wants to kill babies. I suspect that part of the reason will be to tell the GOPe that Alabamians will decide for themselves who represents them.

What a mess. The Republican Party seems to have no interest in addressing its electile dysfunction. The Democrats are preparing for battle; the Professional Republicans are sulking because their voters won’t obey. They seem not just unable but unwilling to pass the agenda they promised the base. And whenever there’s a narrative damaging to the party to be hopped on, despite reasonable grounds for skepticism, hop on they do. If the GOP establishment wanted to lose, what would it do differently?

REPUBLICAN WINTER OF DISCONTENT DELAY TAX CUTS?

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By Lisa Mascaro and Jim Puzzanghera

As they prepare to unveil their own sweeping tax plan, SenateRepublicans are revisiting key provisions of the GOP House proposal, including possibly eliminating property tax deductions as well as state income tax deductions, increasing the size of child-care credits, offering more help to small businesses and having corporate tax cuts phase in or expire, according to those familiar with the negotiations.

The final outline of the Senate plan, scheduled to be released Thursday, remained a work in progress, officials cautioned.

“Everything is on the table,” said one Republican official Tuesday evening, who did not want to be identified discussing the talks.

House and Senate Republicans agreed on an early framework for the tax overhaul — lowering corporate rates to 20% and consolidating individual brackets.

But as House Republicans push ahead with a vote next week on their bill, Senate Republicans are constrained by Senate rules that require their package not increase the federal deficit by more than $1.5 trillion over a decade.

Core to the Senate’s dilemma is how to make the corporate tax rates immediate and permanent — as President Trump wants — which has left them searching for revenue streams so they don’t add to the deficit.

They are considering various options: Fully repealing state and local tax deductions that are important to California and other high-tax states, including property taxes; adjusting individual tax brackets so higher-income households that earn less than $1 million fall in the top 39.6% rate; retaining some type of estate tax; or repealing parts of Obamacare.

They are also considering simply allowing the corporate rate to expire at the end of the decade, sources said.

At the same time, senators are trying to make the bill more beneficial to small businesses and middle-income households, in response to Democratic complaints that the bill mostly aids corporations and the wealthy. President Trump interrupted his Asian trip Tuesday to dial in to a meeting of 12 Democratic senators he is hoping to win over, telling them it was an “awful” bill for rich people, according to a source familiar with the call.

Senators in recent days have responded to concerns raised by the National Federation of Independent Businesses that few small-business owners would benefit from a provision in the House plan to lower the tax rate on so-called pass-through businesses to 25%. Currently such businesses pay at the individual rate, topping at 39.6%

But the vast majority of small businesses already pay about 25%, the NFIB complained.

Some senators are talking about raising the House bill’s 30% cap on business income that can receive the 25% rate to 50% or more, to allow a greater number of small-business owners to benefit.

Others want to increase the child tax credit to help families. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, working with Ivanka Trump, wants the credit increased to $2,000. The House bill, which would boost the credit from $1,000 to $1,600, “falls short,” he said.

Senators are also hearing from lobbyists who want to reverse certain provisions in the House bill, such as restoring an adoption tax credit supported by evangelical Christians.

“This is just like Republicans not to think this through and put it on the backs of orphaned kids,” said Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family. “Can we just have a little bit of heart?”

Representatives for the Koch brothers are planning to target a complicated excise tax in the House bill that affects foreign transactions of multinational companies.

But such changes will increase costs substantially, forcing senators to search for new ways to raise revenue, such as delaying the corporate tax cut, which takes place immediately under the House version.

Senators are also likely to give up hopes of a full repeal of the estate tax, paid mostly by the wealthy. The House plan doubles the exemption to $22 million for couples and eventually repeals it fully after six years.

Senators may also propose a full repeal of state and local income taxes, including property taxes, according to those close to the talks. That idea would hit high-cost states like California hard and pose political challenges for many GOP House members from high-tax states.

The House bill caps property tax deductions at $10,000, but eliminates deductions for state and local income or sales taxes. That compromise arose after Republican lawmakers from New York and New Jersey threatened to withhold their support for the GOP plan.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz came out against the House plan to restrict state and local tax deductions, calling it unfair.

“There are some taxpayers who are losing exemptions — particularly in some high-tax states like New York or California — that could conceivably be paying higher taxes,” Cruz said. “I think that is a mistake. I think tax reform needs to cut taxes for everybody.”

But his solution may only complicate the tax bill’s path to passage. Cruz on Tuesday threw his support behind an idea already endorsed by Trump and others to pay for the tax cuts by repealing parts of the Affordable Care Act, particularly the mandate that all Americans have health insurance.

Doing away with the mandate would cut federal spending on subsidies that help lower-income Americans buy insurance under the law.

Tacking an Obamacare repeal onto the tax overhaul has been panned by House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. They worry it would complicate passage and risk derailing a year-end legislative accomplishment.

But even with Trump’s backing, repealing parts of Obamacare is unlikely to find much support in the Senate, especially from those Republicans, including Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who voted earlier this year against GOP proposals to scrap the law.

“You’ve already got a lot of weighty and considerable issues on the tax side, so when you mix healthcare in, you may unnecessarily complicate it,” she said.

Meanwhile, lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Committee continued debating their bill Tuesday.

It aims to simplify the tax code by closing many common deductions, replacing them with a standard deduction of $12,000 for individuals, or $24,000 for couples. It would also limit mortgage loan deductions to $500,000, and end mortgage deductions for second homes.

The House bill also eliminates the deduction for personal losses from wildfires, earthquakes and other natural disasters, but keeps the break for victims of the recent severe hurricanes, another blow to California, where fires last month destroyed nearly 8,800 structures and killed 43 people.

Outside analysts warn against GOP claims that tax cuts will spur economic growth, covering the $1.5 trillion in additional deficit spending.

On Tuesday, Fitch Ratings said the proposal would likely deliver “a modest and temporary spur to growth,” but result in a federal deficit that hits 4% of GDP by next year, up from 3.5% in fiscal 2017.

“Tax cuts may lead to a short-lived boost to output, but Fitch believes that they will not pay for themselves or lead to a permanently higher growth rate,” the ratings agency said.

Similarly, the nonpartisan Tax Foundation found that while the plan would generate nearly 1 million new jobs, the economic growth would not be sufficient to cover the $1.5 trillion cost of lost revenue.

In the Senate, Republicans including Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), among others, have raised concerns about relying on deficit spending to pay for tax breaks.

Make it stop: GOP quietly hands Dems EVERYTHING they want on CHIP

THE FAILED BIG GOV CYCLE: CREATE A NEW PROGRAM AFTER FIRST ONE FAILS … BUT NEVER ABOLISH THE ORIGINAL ONE.

by Daniel Horowitz

“Leave no government-run health care program and handout to the insurance cartel behind.” That is the guiding principle of the unibrow party in Washington.

After fully capitulating to the Democrats on the debt ceiling, everything in the budget bill, an insidiously bloated disaster-relief bill attached to the package, and the promise for amnesty and insurance bailouts, the GOP is quietly giving Democrats everything they want on Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) reauthorization.

The question nobody is asking in Washington, or even cares to ask, is: Why should we even have CHIP at this point, now that Obamacare isn’t going anywhere?

In 1997, rather than dealing with the root cause of price inflation in health careand health insurance — namely, government handouts to the insurance cartel — Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, created yet another government-run program funneled through the insurance cartel.

The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), now simply called CHIP, was designed as a shared federal-state insurance program for children and pregnant women in families whose incomes are too high to be eligible for Medicaid.

Like every other entitlement program, SCHIP started off modestly but rapidly mushroomed into a permanent dependency program. There are now 8.9 million individuals enrolled at a cost of $15 billion, with the federal government picking up three-quarters of the tab.

Much of the expansion occurred during the Pelosi reign of terror in 2009 when the funding, eligibility, and benefit requirements of the program were dramatically increased. As a result, 12 states don’t contribute a penny to the program. I guess that’s why they cropped off the “S” from SCHIP.

By now, some of you might be wondering why we still have the program. We destroyed the entire health care system in order to massively expand Medicaid, mandated everyone purchase insurance, we subsidize everyone else’s insurance up through 400 percent of the poverty rate and leave those above that level in the lurch. Why do we need CHIP after enactment of Obamacare?

Even the drafters of Obamacare essentially envisioned the end of CHIP, which is why they had funding for the program expire in 2015. Between the massive expansion of eligibility for Medicaid and the dependency-driven subsidies under Obamacare, there was no longer a legitimate rationale for the existence of CHIP – even from a liberal perspective. Liberals cannot argue that Obamacare was the end-all for universal coverage and then demand reauthorization of CHIP.

Yet, rather than pocket the one ancillary benefit of Obamacare and let a smaller program expire simply by doing nothing, Republicans agreed in 2015 to a two-year reauthorization of the program as part of a massive $400 billion Medicaid doc fix bill, which created nightmare red tape on doctors (the MACRA payment system). Not only did the Republicans reauthorize CHIP, they expanded funding for the program by as much as $6 billion a year. (Conservative Review included that vote in our Liberty Score.)

This was done with GOP control of the House and Senate. Yet, two years later, with control of all branches of government, rather than letting a government program expire simply by doing nothing, Republicans have once again agreed to reauthorize the program for another five years!

There wasn’t even a battle over the program. Any GOP official committed to their party’s platform would make it clear that CHIP is unnecessary when coupled with Obamacare, and would demand that Democrats pick one or the other. The country could then use the $15 billion in savings for missile defense or border security. But don’t hold your breath.

Some in the “Big Government conservative intelligentsia” are enamored with the CHIP program and will claim that it is less costly and more efficient than the Obamacare exchanges. But if that’s the case, Republicans should hold back on reauthorization of CHIP until they secure concessions from Democrats on Obamacare.

Instead, they are preemptively admitting that CHIP reauthorization is must-pass legislation and are agreeing to fully reauthorize it without any reforms to Obamacare, Medicaid, or broader supply-side health care reforms.

While this all is not making waves in the media, it is perhaps the superlative example of the failed cycle of government.

They create a new program because the first one failed … but then never abolish the original one. But again, this is not about helping the poor; this is about using dependency to create more votes and lining the pockets of the insurance cartel that administers the programs. Thus, government can only add programs but not rescind or even replace them.

This is why our politicians subscribe to the rules of the ancient Persian government described in the book of Esther (9:8), “For a writ that is written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s ring cannot be rescinded.”

Look no further than the top lobbyists for 2017, almost all of them are part of the health care cartel:

This is why the voters are no longer presented with a choice. Because the special interests are in lockstep with endless growth of government, the options we are presented operate exclusively within the confines of the Democrat premise on any given issue. And that premise is “Leave no wasteful government program behind.”