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Senate Democrats blast GOP for voting against transparency, begin ‘midnight vigil’

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Senate Democrats on Monday blasted their Republican colleagues for voting against the DISCLOSE Act and plan to give speeches late into the night during a “midnight vigil.

“Democrats sought to require large political donors to disclose their identities so voters could judge their motivations for themselves,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said. “This wasn’t a new concept. In fact, many Republicans who blocked this bill today once supported it. But today those same Republicans chose to side with powerful, anonymous donors, who like their nominee Mitt Romney appear to believe they get to play by their own set of rules.”

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“Judging by Republicans’ vote today and Governor Romney’s refusal to release more tax returns, Republicans have clearly decided that secrecy is more important to them than being straight with the American people,” he added.

The DISCLOSE Act would prevent outside campaign groups from hiding their donors. The bill would require organizations that spend $10,000 or more during an election cycle to file a report with the Federal Election Commission within 24 hours and identify any donors who gave $10,000 or more.

It would also require the head of any organization that puts out a political ad on TV or radio to publicly state that he or she approves the message, similar to what candidates must do now.

The legislation would prevent partisan “social welfare” organizations like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS from being able to hide wealthy donors. The IRS requires that nonprofit “social welfare” organizations “operate primarily to further the common good.” The organizations are prohibited from running ads in support of or opposition to candidates for public office. But groups like Crossroads GPS have attempted to circumvent the ban on partisan activities by attacking Democratic candidates in ads without explicitly urging people to vote against them.

The DISCLOSE Act was killed in a 51 to 44 party-line vote on a procedural motion. The bill needed at least 60 votes to move forward.

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Republicans said the legislation was an attempt to intimidate wealthy donors and an attack on free speech rights.

“As a result of this legislation, advocacy groups ranging from the NAACP to the Sierra Club to the Chamber of Commerce — all of whom already disclose their donors to the IRS — would now be forced to subject their members to public intimidation and harassment,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said.

Democrats hope to force a second vote on the bill on Tuesday.

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“We recognize that you don’t win every fight in round one, and this is a fight worth continuing,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), the lead sponsor of the DISCLOSE Act.

“Putting an end to secret election spending by special interests is an essential step in protecting middle class priorities. For that reason, we are committed to continuing the debate on the DISCLOSE Act late into the night and asking for a second vote tomorrow if need be. We can’t let the special interests off the hook after just one round.”

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Navy captain fired by Trump over coronavirus letter tests positive for COVID-19: report

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According to a report from the New York Times, the Navy captain relieved of his duties by the Trump administration over a letter drawing attention to dangerous health conditions on his aircraft carrier has tested positive for COVID-19.

The report states, "Capt. Brett E. Crozier, the Navy captain who was removed from command of the coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, has tested positive for Covid-19, according to two Naval Academy classmates of Crozier’s who are close to him and his family."

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Georgia GOP governor orders several beaches to reopen days after acknowledging he’s woefully uneducated on coronavirus spread

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The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported today that Kemp is reopening Tybee Island and other beaches along the Georgia coast.

Local officials in several of Georgia’s coastal communities reacted with fury on Saturday after Gov. Brian Kemp’s shelter-in-place order simultaneously reopened several of the state’s most popular beaches.

The stupidity and lack of regard of human life on display in Republican-run states is beyond criminal and inhumane. In fact, there are no words to describe this. Because the longer these so-called “leaders” make decisions that are in the best interests of, I don’t know who, the longer it will take to come out of this pandemic that is claiming so many thousands of lives.

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Health care insurers expected to jack up premiums as much as 40 percent to recoup coronavirus losses

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Private health insurers are expected to raise premiums by as much as 40% to recoup the costs of coronavirus testing and treatment, according to a new analysis from Covered California, the state's health care marketplace.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Though it remains unclear how much the coronavirus crisis will ultimately cost in health care expenditures, insurers will be submitting their 2021 rates to state regulators next month. Analyzing a wide range of models, Covered California expects that this year's care associated with the virus will cost between $34 billion and $251 billion, or between 2% of premiums and 21% of premiums. The analysis estimates that insurers would price the costs at double the rate into their 2021 premiums, projecting increases that range from as little as 4% to more than 40% for the 170 million workers and individuals who have private plans.

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