New version of health care bill will help Alaska, Maine — home of two holdout senators

 

WASHINGTON — The Republican senators at the forefront of the latest effort to undo the Affordable Care Act plan to release a revised version of their bill Monday sending more health care dollars to the states of key holdouts, as hardening resistance from several GOP senators left their proposal on the verge of collapse.

According to a summary obtained by The Washington Post, Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, will propose giving Alaska and Maine get more funding than initially offered. Those states are represented by Republican senators Lisa Murkowski, Alaska, and Susan CollinsMaine, who have expressed concerns about the bill but have yet to say how they would vote.

The Cassidy-Graham legislation would overhaul the ACA by lumping together the current law’s spending on insurance subsidies and expanded Medicaid and redistributing it to states in the form of block grants. Alaska would get 3 percent more funding between 2020 and 2026 than under current law, and Maine would get 43 percent more funding during that time period, according to a summary obtained by The Post.

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Why we all love Senator John McCain

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On Capitol Hill, Republican lawmakers are scrambling to save their latest effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, after it looks like they will again fail to secure enough votes to pass the legislation. On Friday, Republican Arizona Senator John McCain announced he will not support the Graham-Cassidy bill. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul also opposes the legislation, and Maine Senator Susan Collins, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and Texas Senator Ted Cruz have all indicated they may vote against the bill. Top Republicans have revised the legislation to add additional benefits for Alaska and Maine in efforts to woo Senators Murkowski’s and Collins’s votes.

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Portland changes Columbus Day to ‘Indigenous Peoples’ Day’

PORTLAND (WGME) — Columbus Day for Portland and Brunswick will also now be known as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”

City and town councilors voted in favor of that change Monday night.

Columbus Day is a federal holiday which Portland city councilors have no control over.

Monday night’s public comment on changing Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day stirred up conversation.

Some were against the change, claiming Christopher Columbus is a part of America’s history.

Others disagreed, claiming it was the indigenous people who found our county, and the change would be an outlet to reveal the truth.

Federally, America has celebrated Columbus Day since the 1930s. Some residents recommended councilors chose a different date, but councilors voted unanimously for Indigenous Peoples’ Day, claiming Portland residents have the opportunity to celebrate which ever they’d like.

The resolution was sponsored by City Councilor Pious Ali. He says he’s very pleased with the outcome.

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Senate Approves Record-Shattering $700 Billion Pentagon Spending Bill! War pays.

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Trump’s U.N. speech came a day after the U.S. Senate voted 89 to 8 to approve a $700 billion bill to fund U.S. wars and the Pentagon. The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2018 would boost military spending by $80 billion annually—far more than the $54 billion increase President Trump asked for. Critics note the spending boost is nearly double the cost of a bill sponsored by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders that would make public colleges and universities in the U.S. tuition-free.

Health groups condemn new Republican Obamacare repeal plan

Chuck Schumer with protesters in WashingtonImage copyrightEUROPEAN PHOTOPRESS AGENCY
Image captionDemocrats have rallied against the bill

Sixteen patient and provider groups have opposed the latest healthcare plan put forward by Republican senators as a replacement for Obamacare.

In a joint statement, they said the proposal would endanger access to care for millions of Americans.

For years, Republicans have pushed to abolish President Barack Obama’s law, which expanded health insurance but failed to curb rising medical costs.

The bill will need 50 votes to pass the Senate before going to the House.

It would then go to the White House for the president’s signature.

Despite their longstanding opposition to Obamacare, Republicans have so far been unable to agree on a replacement.

Since taking control of the White House, several attempts to rally around a new plan have collapsed.

Now they have only until the end of the month to pass this bill.

Union officials accuse Bath Iron Works of unfair labor practices

As leaders of the draftsmen’s union at Bath Iron Works met again Tuesday with company officials in an attempt to reach agreement on a new four-year contract, local union officials released a statement warning of a strike and accusing the company of engaging in “unfair labor practice issues.”

A key issue is BIW’s proposal to eliminate most of the flexible schedule benefit, which union leaders say has benefitted members, Trent Velella, vice president of the union, said in a release Tuesday.

“Flexibility in the workplace has allowed members to balance the needs of their families including children, aging [parents], and personal medical and health issues while designing some of the world’s finest Navy ships,” UAW Region 9A director Julie Kushner said in the release, adding that the UAW International fully supports the local Bath union.

New surge in migrants crossing US-Canada border

A cab drops off a couple of asylum seekers at the US/Canada border near Champlain, New York cabs regularly drop off asylum seekers on the US side of the border

More than 5,700 asylum seekers crossed illegally from the US into Canada last month, a rise of almost 80 percent on July, government figures show.

Canada has seen a surge of refugee claimants in recent months, especially into the province of Quebec.

Crossings have increased relatively steadily since January.

There were 5,712 people intercepted by the Mounties last month at the Canada-US border, bringing this year’s total to 13,211.

In Manitoba, 80 people were intercepted after crossing the border. In British Columbia, 102 people were stopped.

But the vast majority – 5,530 – crossed into Quebec in the first part of the month, where people can easily cross a ditch at the end of a rural New York state road into Canada.

The influx into the predominantly French-speaking province was led by Haitians who had been living legally in the US, protected by a programme that extended temporary protection from deportation to Haitian citizens after the devastating 2010 earthquake.

The Trump administration has hinted it will not extend that protection when it expires in January 2018.