I disagree with Daniel Cotter’s essay i The Des Moines Register urging our U.S. Senators to reject Steven Menashi’s nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals. (See link below to Register “Your Turn” essay.) What I’ve learned by watching Steven Menashi’s Senate testamony and reading his writings makes me think he would be a very good appellate judge.The fact that the two Democratic Senators from his home state of New York don’t support him should be considered irrelevant, regardless of precedent. The Senate “blue slip” tradition which permitted a Senator from the home state of the nominee to veto the nomination, is the remnant of a good-ol’-boy’s-club attitude that should be discarded.His opponents take his comments out of context and make them appear to have the opposite meaning of his actual position. For example, nine years ago he wrote that it was okay for Israel, a democratic country, to have an official state sanctioned dominant religion. The Left says this means he is a white supremacist. No, he is simply a defender of Israel’s right to exist, and of the right of the people of that nation to decide how they will be self-ruled. He testified before the Senate that the United States is not a country that is based on a single religious or ethnic tradition. He also testified that he values our, “…country’s tradition of tolerance and equality before the law…”So, I ask Senators Grassley and Ernst to support the nomination of Steven Menashi to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
I urge our elected federal representatives to oppose the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. (The Ex-Im Bank provides taxpayer guarantees to U.S. companies that export and sell products to international customers. Authorization is set to expire on 9/30.) This has been and continues to be a quintessential example of crony capitalism. If a U.S. exporter has customers who find it difficult to find financing, the seller can always guarantee a loan and get a security position to get the asset back in a worst case. If they still cannot get financing, the seller could provide direct financing. In any case, our government should not guarantee such loan private companies.
I’m sure that small and large Iowa export companies are heavily lobbying for reauthorize the Bank. I hope our representatives resist the pressure and vote against this bad policy where taxpayers are asked to take the risk and private companies reap the profits.
Recently, Gloria Mazza wrote, (and other Iowa Republicans signed), an essay in The Des Moines Register that urged President Trump and Iowa’s Republican Senators to oppose recent proposals by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Serivces (CMS) that would have taken reasonable steps to reign in increasing drug cost under Medicare Part D. It has now been reported that CMS and the Trump administration have backed off of important parts of the proposed changes.
Currently, Medicare Part D regulations require patient access to “all or substantially all” medications within “six protected classes” of drugs regardless of price. (Protected classes include drugs for HIV, mental illness, cancer, epilepsy, and organ transplants.)
Among other things, the proposed new rule would have allowed Medicare Part D plans to exclude a drug from coverage, 1) for an existing drug if the price increased more than the rate of inflation, or 2) for a new drug if it was simply a reformulation of an existing drug. Apparently, lobbying efforts were successful in getting these two provisions removed from the final new rule.
We don’t have a free market for prescription drugs under Medicare Part D. We should not allow drug makers to set their own price and still require coverage. It is unfortunate that the Trump administration caved-in to the lobbying pressure.
Link to Register essay by Gloria Mazza: https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/2019/05/16/pro-life-advocates-dont-reduce-medicare-part-d-protection-drugs-congress-chuck-grassley-joni-ernst/3685349002/