AZ-Sen: MSNBC, “McSally (R), Trump haunted by their records on pre-existing conditions”

She can’t stop getting caught lying:

Sen. Martha McSally released a TV ad for her campaign in which she says, “Of course I will always protect those with preexisting conditions. Always.”

Well …

It boils down to this: McSally has been a proponent of abolishing the Affordable Care Act, which is the only federal law that protects those with preexisting conditions.

She has supported a Republican alternative to that law, which includes no guarantees that those with such conditions will be able to afford health care.

She has tied herself to President Donald Trump.

The Poynter Institute’s PolitiFact took an in-depth look at McSally’s history when it comes to health care and calls her claim the she will “always protect those with preexisting conditions” to be “False.”

From Steven Benen at MSNBC:

In 2017, at Trump's behest, House Republicans pushed a far-right “repeal-and-replace” plan, intended to scrap the Affordable Care Act and impose a regressive alternative. As regular readers may recall, it was controversial and wildly unpopular for a reason: the GOP plan, among other things, was designed to allow private insurers to punish Americans with pre-existing conditions, charging them much higher premiums.

But some in the GOP ranks demanded the party press on anyway. According to some accounts, then-Rep. Martha McSally told her partisan allies ahead of the vote, “Let's get this f**king thing done!” She proceeded to vote for her party's scheme.

It ended up failing anyway — even the White House distanced itself from the far-right proposal that McSally supported — leaving its supporters high and dry. The next year, House Republicans lost their majority altogether, and plenty of campaign analysts agree that the GOP's health-care gambit had a lot to do with their electoral failure.

Indeed, during her 2018 Senate candidacy, McSally tried to pretend she was vaguely progressive on health care, but she lost the race after Democrats focused heavily on the Republican plan she voted for.

And now, it's déjà vu all over again. McSally is again vowing to look out for those with pre-existing conditions — a claim that's drawn fire from fact-checkers before — despite having supported a plan that would've hurt those with pre-existing conditions — as Donald Trump does largely the same thing.

McSally knows she can’t run on her record so she’s tying her fate to Trump even with the coronavirus pandemic spiking heavily in Arizona:

With Arizona’s coronavirus outbreak—combined with its high population of at-risk elderly, uninsured and Latinx residents—making it one of the hottest spots in the nation, McSally has been similarly steadfast in her counterfactual insistence that the state is ready for business.

“We’re coming out of it,” McSally said in a livestream held by the Mesa Chamber of Commerce, adding that the coronavirus outbreak in Arizona “wasn’t as dire as a lot of other places.”

“We didn’t go like this, like a lot of places in the shutdown,” McSally said in the video, driving her hand down like a plane in freefall. “I think we went more like this,” the former Air Force pilot added, her hand at a less steep angle, “and so hopefully we can… have that V-shaped recovery.”

The issue of the president’s upcoming rally, however, is one that the senator can’t deny. The outbreak in Arizona is so severe that the state is running out of hospital beds, and local epidemiologists warn that the community spread from an indoor rally could exacerbate the situation—particularly as the cultural divide on wearing masks and social distancing has become a political one.

On June 15, more than 900 medical providers sent a signed letter to Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, urging him to require the wearing of masks in public to prevent the spread of the virus, which he has so far refused to do.

“Since the reopening of Arizona’s economy, our health risk has drastically increased,” the letter stated. “The sad fact is that nothing has changed regarding COVID-19 since the Stay at Home Executive Order was put into effect on March 31. Since the Executive Order was lifted, many Arizonans believe something has changed, and it is somehow now safe to resume normal life. Sadly, this is far from the truth.”

The governor’s office responded to the letter by urging Arizonans to wear face coverings in public, but has not made such coverings required.

One Phoenix-based nurse practitioner treating COVID-19 cases told The Daily Beast that she’s “dreading” the two-week mark after Trump’s rally.

“Arizona is already a complete nightmare,” the nurse practitioner, who requested anonymity because medical staff at her hospital have been asked not to speak to the media about the outbreak, told The Daily Beast. “We don’t need any help from Trump.”

Meanwhile, McSally’s general election opponent is subtly highlighting his own scientific bona fides as an indication that he is prepared to deal with the pandemic—and with an administration that has insisted that the worst of the virus is over.

“When you’re commanding the space shuttle orbiting the earth at 25 times the speed of sound, you don‘t mess around when a problem comes up,” said Captain Mark Kelly, a former astronaut, in his latest online advertisement in response to the coronavirus pandemic and its aftermath. “You work together to solve it, because lives are on the line.”

Part of not messing around, his campaign said, is not holding in-person events until the state is safe.

“Our number-one priority is the health and safety of the public,” said campaign spokesperson Jacob Peters. “Mark has been connecting with Arizonans virtually and through volunteering over the last few months. The campaign doesn’t currently have plans for in-person events in the near future.”

American Bridge, a Democratic-aligned PAC, will attack McSally with an ad criticizing the Arizona senator for promoting her book during numerous media appearances in recent weeks while the coronavirus crisis raged across the U.S.

“Martha McSally: She only cares about herself,” text in the ad reads. “Is Martha McSally focused on helping Arizona or selling books?”

McSally's campaign did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill.

An American Bridge spokesman told The Hill that the ad would target “thousands” of independent and nonpartisan voters while the president was in town to headline a convention of Trump-supporting students at a Phoenix megachurch.

She’s also trying to pay people to go on vacation during a pandemic:

In an attempt to help kickstart the recovery of the tourism and lodging industries, U.S. Sen. Martha McSally has introduced a bill that would give tax credits to people who spend money on travel.

McSally, an Arizona Republican, released the details of the “American Tax Rebate and Incentive Program Act” or the “American TRIP Act” this week.

In broad strokes, the bill would give each person a tax credit up to $4,000 for travel-related expenses. For couples that file jointly. they can get a tax credit up to $8,000 and each child can get up to $500.

And people on both sides of the aisle hate her shame plan. From Vox:

To quality for TRIP money, as it’s called, you would need to be taking a trip to somewhere within the United States that is at least 50 miles from your main residence. Lodging, travel, and entertainment costs would all qualify. What’s more, if you own a second home, “expenses related to live entertainment, food and beverage, and transportation qualify, but expenses related to the dwelling would not qualify.”

In other words, if you drive out to your vacation house, you can use the tax credit to cover the cost of your food but not to cover expenses associated with the house itself.

The implications of this are somewhat bizarre. The stated intention is to encourage vacation travel. But the way the bill is written, an affluent white-collar professional who’s working remotely during the pandemic and owns a vacation house could simply relocate for a while and get thousands of dollars in tax credits for meals they would have bought anyway. Conversely, a service-sector worker with limited vacation time would, in fact, have a strong incentive to take a brief but very pricey vacation.

But there are two catches.

One is that this is a tax credit, not the government sending you a gift card in the mail. If you have $4,000 (or $8,000 for a couple, and potentially more for a family with kids) in the bank to blow on a vacation, you’ll end up getting your money back when you file your taxes next year. But if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, McSally isn’t actually providing you with any additional money. So the people most likely to be incentivized to actually undertake travel they wouldn’t have otherwise are actually least likely to be able to use the program.

That’s further exacerbated by the reality that the tax credit is nonrefundable. A refundable tax credit lets people owe less than zero income tax (in effect offsetting their payroll-tax burden), while a nonrefundable one applies only to people who have a positive income-tax burden. Thanks to an aging population and a proliferation of other tax credits over the years — including the expansion of the child tax credit in the GOP tax bill passed in 2019 — about 45 percent of the population pays no income taxes, meaning the vast majority of people in the bottom half of the income distribution would get no help at all from McSally’s program.

Deficit hawks, meanwhile, should oppose a massive new tax credit that comes with no spending offsets, given the trillions in new spending Congress has already approved to combat the economic impact of COVID-19.

Public health scolds would be on solid ground when criticizing the TRIP Act for subsidizing non-essential travel in the middle of a deadly pandemic.

Critics of crony capitalism should be aghast at the idea that McSally's travel tax credit is double what the travel industry itself has proposed.

While libertarians might like the idea of a tax cut in the middle of a recession, the TRIP Act contains too much behavioral micromanagement: Taxpayers could only reclaim some of the money they owe the federal government if they take a vacation before January 2022, and if that vacation takes them farther than 50 miles from their home but not outside the U.S.

No matter your politics, McSally's TRIP Act is a terrible idea. Taxpayers should tell her to take a hike.

As McSally continues to trail heavily in the polls against Mark Kelly (D. AZ), she’s resorted to this weak line of attack:



To hear Republican Sen. Martha McSally tell it, Democrat Mark Kelly has troubling ties to China at a time when she says Americans should be especially wary of the nation where the coronavirus apparently started.

McSally’s intense focus on China is part of a national GOP strategy that is being used against Democrats in one of the most closely watched Senate races across the country.

It builds on the hostility toward China that President Donald Trump has held from the outset of his administration, principally over trade issues. And, in McSally’s case, it tries to change a conversation that polls show she is currently losing to Kelly, who has previously called China an adversary.

A 57-page memo sent to campaigns in April by the National Republican Senatorial Committee and obtained by Politico advises candidates to blame China for the pandemic, cast the country as an adversary and depict Democratic opponents as “soft on China.”

“From the very beginning of this pandemic, we knew the Chinese government was covering up the origins of it,” McSally told 16,000 Arizonans in a tele-town hall Monday.

“We still don’t know who patient zero is, they blame the U.S. Army. They silence doctors. They destroyed samples and they’ve lied to the world in this elaborate coverup scheme and they’re still issuing massive propaganda and disinformation campaigns in order to continue the coverup. … They must be held accountable.”

Kelly’s business background includes indirect ties to Chinese investors friendly with the ruling Communist Party in Beijing, giving the GOP narrative special relevance. It is a part of his portfolio Republicans intend to tell Arizona voters from now to November.

But McSally’s one to talk:

According to her most recent financial disclosure form, which she filed with the U.S. Senate in August 2019, McSally was invested in mutual funds that invest in Chinese companies or bonds issued by China’s communist government. Among those companies is the technology company Tencent, which invested in Kelly’s World View Enterprises and has become the focal point of GOP attacks against the presumptive Democratic nominee.

McSally had between $18,000 and $95,000 invested in the four mutual funds. Those funds have investments in a handful of of Chinese companies: e-commerce giant Alibaba; entertainment and technology conglomerate Tencent; Ping An Insurance; AIA Group, a Hong Kong-based life insurance company; JD.com, an e-commerce company; NetEase, a technology company; China Construction Bank Corp; China Mengniu Dairy; and Chinese government bonds.

The Senate’s financial disclosure rules require only that candidates report which of several dollar ranges their investments fall into, not specific amounts.

McSally sold off those investments last year, campaign manager Dylan Lefler told the Mirror.

And staying loyal to Trump certainly isn’t helping her poll numbers:

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However, by aligning themselves so closely with Mr. Trump, Senate Republicans now risk the same fate that could await the president without a drastic change in fortune.

“I really resent when I see in the newspaper that Trump is supported by all these Republicans,” said Fern Fousse, an 84-year-old Tucson, Ariz., resident who said she would vote for a Democrat for president for the first time this year. “Well, I’m a Republican! I have a voice! And I am not a Trump Republican.”

Ms. McSally, who was appointed last year to the seat previously held by the late Senator John McCain, “became a Trump lackey,” Ms. Fousse continued. “I would have never thought that of her.”

Ms. Fousse said she had also become disillusioned with Ms. McSally after watching her unsuccessful Senate campaign in 2018.

“Martha McSally’s campaign has been so negative,” Ms. Fousse said. “Mark Kelly sounds like a nice person, a winner and someone who can work with both parties.”

And Kelly’s fellow combat pilots aren’t tolerating McSally and the GOP’s bull shit attacks on his patriotism:

Recently we’ve been seeing these attack ads against Mark Kelly from Sen. Martha McSally and the groups that support her. We’ve seen Martha McSally smear her opponents before, and now she has gone as far as to say that Mark is weak on China or beholden to them.

That’s ridiculous. We know Mark Kelly. Like Mark, we took an oath to support and defend the Constitution, and we served with him in the same squadron in the U.S. Navy and flew into combat together during Operation Desert Storm.

Questioning Mark Kelly’s patriotism and loyalty to this country is completely out of bounds, and downright shameful.

We were stationed together with Mark in Japan aboard the USS Midway. Why do we station an aircraft carrier on the other side of the world? To counter China’s growing influence in the region and ensure that, if the need arises, we can go to war and protect our allies and interests. We saw this firsthand. We trained to go to war against China if necessary.

We didn’t go to war against China, but we did go to war against Saddam Hussein’s brutal dictatorship in Iraq after he invaded Kuwait. Mark flew combat missions off of the deck of the USS Midway in the Gulf to deliver payloads on targets in Iraq and Kuwait with us.

Many of these missions, especially early on, involved flying through intense Iraqi anti-aircraft fire and a significant surface-to-air missile threat.  

On his first combat mission, Mark was twice targeted by surface-to-air missiles. Twice, he performed a last-ditch maneuver to avoid those missiles with one exploding next to his plane. Despite the threat, he delivered his ordnance on target at a heavily defended Iraqi military base.

That’s the Mark Kelly we know. He’s fearless, he’s a leader, and he spent 25 years in the Navy and at NASA putting his life on the line repeatedly for our country.

And Kelly’s twin brother and fellow astronaut, Scott Kelly, isn’t going to let Trump attack his brother. Received this e-mail today from Scott Kelly in support of his brother’s U.S. Senate campaign:

Kelly_Brothers-1_hrvrtcc-600x360.jpg
Mark & Scott Kelly

Hi, it’s Scott Kelly, Mark’s twin brother.

You don’t hear from me too often, so when I reach out you know it’s because of something important.

I’m reaching out today because Mark has a public fundraising deadline coming up on Tuesday, and he has a huge goal of 75,000 donations to reach.

This is one of Mark’s biggest goals yet, and it’s important that we help him hit it, because Donald Trump was just in Arizona and called Mark weak.

Seriously? Weak? You’ve got to be freaking kidding me.

Career military officer, combat pilot, four space flights, and possibly more impressive than all that is how Mark stood by Gabby’s side and managed her care during one of the most significant crises anyone could ever had to deal with.

Mark did this with a clear, objective mind trusting in science and data and making thoughtful and informed decisions.

This is the person you will elect as a United States Senator. I’ve known him my entire life. Weak? Not now, not ever.

So I’m here to help him knock this deadline out of the park and show Donald Trump just how strong Mark's campaign really is.

I’m not going to ask you for a specific amount, but if you’re able to pitch in a few bucks, I know it’ll go a long way towards achieving this goal.

You can use the link below to donate anything you can afford:

https://go.markkelly.com/June-FEC-Deadline

I know Mark pretty well, better than most.

He’s a real leader and exactly the type of person that Arizona and our country needs in the Senate right now.

That’s why over the course of this campaign I’ll be doing everything I can to help my brother win this race.

So thank you for being a part of this team!

All my best,

Scott Kelly

Click here to donate to Kelly’s campaign.