Welcome to this week’s edition of the D.C. Memo. This week from Washington, what will happen to the Affordable Care Act, baseless conspiracy theories from Minnesota’s elected Republicans, and who is this Jake Sullivan guy? Let’s get on with this.
But first, a quick note: This is actually my final memo as a full-time staff writer at MinnPost. I’m moving over to be the Assistant Managing Editor at Votebeat, a pop-up newsroom covering voting and voter suppression. I’ve really enjoyed writing the memo each week and hearing back from you all. If you want to stay in touch, I’m always on Twitter @gabemschneider.
The fate of the ACA
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments that will determine the fate of the Affordable Care Act. The health care of around 300,000 Minnesotans hangs in the balance.
“The court has to take real stock of a dramatic impact this case would have on the country,” former Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Andy Slavitt, said this week. “I’d venture to say a near collapse from a health care and economic standpoint.”
Questioning integrity of elections
Fresh off of a commanding election victory, Congresswoman-elect Michelle Fischbach baselessly questioned the integrity of the U.S. election during a television interview.
“I pray that it will be handled correctly, and that President Donald Trump will win, because I believe he did win,” Fischbach said. “When they didn’t win the votes of the American people, they’re just finding votes at this point.”
Jessie Van Berkel at The Star Tribune covered the stances of Minnesota’s Republicans here. All of them seemed resigned to not challenging the president’s false claims of election fraud and further formenting distrust in the U.S. election system.
By the numbers
- 66%: In Roseau County, MN, more than half of the workforce has applied for unemployment.
- 290 to 217: Former Vice President Joe Biden maintains a commanding Electoral College lead of 290, which is why every major outlet has called the race. The next president will be Joe Biden.
- 7,228: Minnesota reported a bit more than 7,200 COVID-19 cases today. If you want a point of comparison, California, a state with about seven times the population of Minnesota, reported 7,464 cases.
Minnesota’s new budget chief
Peter Callaghan reports that action from Congress will be critical to resolving the state’s budget woes, according to Minnesota’s new budget chief, Jim Schowalter. He gave a bit of insight about how he intends to tackle the looming problems ahead:
“The playbook is the same but the question is what are you applying it to? Right now it is applying it minimizing impact, getting people better, stabilizing normal activities so that you can have the normal debate about taxes and spending.”
The Minnesotans following Biden
Jake Sullivan used to work for Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Now they both may end up working in the White House. Patrick Condon at the Star Tribune profiled Sullivan’s rise to the Biden administration.
After endorsing Biden early on and dropping out of the presidential race, there has long been speculation that Klobuchar may join the Biden administration. As a former prosecutor, Klobuchar could be Biden’s Attorney General, apart from two significant hiccups:
- Klobuchar’s presidential run ended on a sour note with Black activists in the Twin Cities, who charged her with failing to prosecute police officers in Minneapolis and prosecuting a teenage boy.
- If rumors are correct, outgoing Alabama Sen. Doug Jones would be the Attorney General. What position could Klobuchar be considering, then, if any at all?
In other news
- Greta Kaul for MinnPost:Minnesota is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases. Thanksgiving is not going to help
- Walker Orenstein for MinnPost: What the loss of two influential state legislators says about the DFL’s appeal in rural Minnesota
- C.J. Sinner and Zoë Jackson for the Strib: Wait, so where in Minnesota did Kanye get all his votes?
Quote of the week
“Our party is very diverse… you mention two people who are gonna join our party, and both of them have denounced QAnon… these are new members,” GOP Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said this week. The newly elected Republican members he’s referring to are Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene, neither of whom has denounced QAnon.
What I’m reading
Joey Peters for Sahan Journal: Latinos in Minnesota describe ‘informational desert’ for coronavirus info in Spanish
Minnesota spanish speakers looking for COVID-19 information aren’t getting it from public officials. Instead, they’re relying on their neighbors to translate critical information.
Hamilton Nolan for In These Times: Bernie Sanders Is Actively Running for Labor Secretary
The Vermont Senator (who you may have heard of) is jockeying for a high profile position in the Biden administration.
That’s all for this week and from me. Thanks for sticking around and thanks for reading each week. See you on Twitter.