Monday, November 20, 2017
Politics

In Pinellas, Bill Nelson doesn't shy away from health care vote

RECOMMENDED READING


PINELLAS PARK ­­— Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson faces one of the toughest re-election fights of his career, with outside groups having already spent roughly $10 million attacking him as a liberal and for supporting the Affordable Care Act.

Campaigning in Pinellas County on Monday, Nelson made no apologies for that vote while acknowledging he has taken plenty of criticism for it. He recounted one town hall meeting in rural North Florida, where a man wagged his finger at Nelson and demanded that he repeal "Obamacare."

"Would you like me to repeal the part where you can keep your kid on your family policy until age 26? Would you like me to repeal that part that says that the insurance company can't cancel you when you're in the middle of treatment?" Nelson said.

"What about the part that says . . . if you have a large group health insurance policy that the insurance company now, in law, is going to have to give you 85 cents of health care for your premium dollar?"

Nelson's remarks to about 250 people at a Greater Pinellas Democratic Club dinner in Pinellas followed a fundraiser at the St. Petersburg home of Scott Wagman and Beth Houghton, where Nelson raised an estimated $30,000 for his campaign against Republican nominee Rep. Connie Mack IV of Fort Myers.

Nelson, 69, never mentioned Mack by name, but in decrying what he called false attacks on him by independent Republican groups, he noted that entitlements have become a front-burner issue with Paul Ryan picked as Mitt Romney's running mate.

"My opponent co-sponsored a bill with none other than congressman Paul Ryan, a bill to privatize Social Security. Specifically what they did was they were going take a third of the Social Security Trust Fund and they were going to give it in individual accounts to the senior citizens who then were to invest in the stock market," Nelson said.

Mack campaign spokesman David James responded: "Liberal Bill Nelson is the only one in this race who has cut over $700 billion from current Medicare recipients by placing the burden of Obamacare on seniors and has offered no plan to balance the budget or even passed a budget on the Senate Budget Committee in three years; he is a failed senator."

Nelson noted that that $700 billion did not come from beneficiaries but from reductions in how much Medicare reimburses hospitals and from private Medicare Advantage plans that threatened to "bankrupt Medicare."

In 1986, Nelson flew aboard the space shuttle, and rarely misses an opportunity to bring that up. Monday, he recounted peering from space at "colorful, beautiful, but fragile" Earth.

"I looked and I did not see racial divisions. I did not see political divisions, I did not see ethnic divisions, I did not see religious divisions," Nelson said. "From that perspective in space, looking back at our home planet, I saw that we were all in this together."

Comments
Before budget ax fell, Visit Florida executives ran up hefty travel bills

Before budget ax fell, Visit Florida executives ran up hefty travel bills

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott’s tourism chiefs at Visit Florida spend a lot of public money taking trips to exotic places to promote Florida as a top worldwide destination.Four former top-level staff members at the state’s tourism promotion and its c...
Updated: 10 hours ago
As clock ticks on tax bill, White House signals a compromise

As clock ticks on tax bill, White House signals a compromise

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, said Sunday that the White House is willing to remove a contentious provision taking aim at the Affordable Care Act from the GOP tax overhaul plan if politically necessary, a move ...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Many Christian conservatives are backing Alabama’s Roy Moore

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Alabama’s Christian conservatives see Roy Moore as their champion. He has battled federal judges and castigated liberals, big government, gun control, Muslims, homosexuality and anything else that doesn’t fit the evangelical mold. ...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Senate ethics, relatively silent, could face busy year

Senate ethics, relatively silent, could face busy year

WASHINGTON — It’s been nearly six years since the Senate Ethics Committee conducted a major investigation of a sitting senator. Next year, the panel could be working nonstop, deciding the fate of up to three lawmakers, including two facing allegation...
Published: 11/18/17
Hillsborough seeks payback for ethics complaint but history shows that could be pricey

Hillsborough seeks payback for ethics complaint but history shows that could be pricey

TAMPA — Hillsborough County commissioners recently decided to go after the pocketbooks of several residents who filed unsuccessful ethics complaints against one of their colleagues.If history is any indicator, the maneuver is more likely to cost taxp...
Updated: 11 hours ago
In struggling upstate New York cities, refugees vital to rebirth

In struggling upstate New York cities, refugees vital to rebirth

UTICA, N.Y.Pat Marino pulled into the shop on a cold, wet Thursday and stood close as a young mechanic with gelled-up hair and earrings lifted the truck and ducked underneath."You need a little bit more oil," the mechanic said."Five quarts wasn’t eno...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/18/17
As sex scandals topple the powerful: Why not Trump?

As sex scandals topple the powerful: Why not Trump?

WASHINGTON — "You can do anything," Donald Trump once boasted, speaking of groping and kissing unsuspecting women. Maybe he could, but not everyone can. The man who openly bragged about grabbing women’s private parts — but denied he really did so — w...
Published: 11/17/17
Allegations against Alabama’s Roy Moore dividing GOP women

Allegations against Alabama’s Roy Moore dividing GOP women

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Standing on the white marble steps of Alabama’s Capitol, Kayla Moore surrounded herself with two dozen other women Friday to defend husband Roy Moore against accusations of sexual misconduct that are dividing Republicans, and women...
Published: 11/17/17
Franken apologizes to woman who says he kissed, groped her

Franken apologizes to woman who says he kissed, groped her

WASHINGTON — Minnesota Sen. Al Franken personally apologized to the woman who has accused him of forcibly kissing her and groping her during a 2006 USO tour, saying he remembers their encounter differently but is "ashamed that my actions ruined that ...
Published: 11/17/17
Negative mailers trace back to campaign of state House candidate who denies them

Negative mailers trace back to campaign of state House candidate who denies them

An 87-year-old widow from Melbourne, a mysterious direct mail company in tiny Buffalo, Wyo., and a tangled web of political committees all were linked to the onslaught of negative mailers that helped Lawrence McClure win the Republican primary in Pla...
Published: 11/17/17