Bill Cassidy

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Editorial: Anybody here seen our old friend John (Kennedy)?

Posted By on Wed, May 24, 2017 at 2:20 PM

Sen. John Neely Kennedy. - CREATIVE COMMONS/TAMMY ANTHONY BAKER
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/TAMMY ANTHONY BAKER
  • Sen. John Neely Kennedy.

Shortly after taking office in January, U.S. Sen. John Neely Kennedy told The New York Times, “There’s this feeling among many in America that it’s harder than ever to get ahead in our country, that it’s easier than ever to do nothing. There’s a feeling that the people in Washington don’t listen and they don’t care. ... And they want something done about it. They’re entitled to be listened to and heard.”

We agree, which is why we’re puzzled that it’s so difficult for constituents to catch Kennedy’s ear these days. Consider this:
During Senate recesses in February and April, Kennedy held no town hall meetings in Louisiana — unlike Sen. Bill Cassidy, who met constituents (and braved some fury) in Metairie in February. Unhappy with Kennedy’s seeming unwillingness to meet the public, constituents held a protest on the steps of the Hale Boggs Federal Building in March (with Kennedy’s face on a “missing” milk carton) and another in April at the First Unitarian Universalist Church, where voters asked questions of an effigy of the senator. A similar gathering was held in Baton Rouge on the LSU campus that month.

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Monday, May 8, 2017

Sen. Bill Cassidy to appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live! tonight

Posted By on Mon, May 8, 2017 at 1:33 PM

At a Metairie town hall in February, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy faced a crowd of constituents angry about GOP health care proposals.
  • At a Metairie town hall in February, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy faced a crowd of constituents angry about GOP health care proposals.

Bill Cassidy, Louisiana's senior senator and a physician, will appear on tonight's Jimmy Kimmel Live! to discuss health care in America. The show airs at 10:35 p.m. on WGNO-TV.

After Kimmel's emotional monologue last week about the recent birth of his child Billy — who was born with heart disease — Cassidy on Friday coined the term "Kimmel Test" to describe what his standard would be to vote for a new health plan:
The Louisiana Republican cited Kimmel's passionate monologue on health care when responding to a question from CNN's John Berman on whether he could "support a bill that allows insurance companies to cap their payouts to customers."

"I ask does it pass the Jimmy Kimmel test," said Cassidy, who is also a physician. "Would the child born with a congenital heart disease be able to get everything she or he would need in that first year of life ... even if they go over a certain amount?"
While the House of Representatives last week voted for the American Health Care Act to replace the Affordable Care Act, the plan is considered DOA in the Senate in its current form. Cassidy has created his own Patient Freedom Act.

Other guests tonight on the Kimmel show: Zach Galifianaikis, Tracee Ellis Ross and Logic.


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Thursday, May 4, 2017

How Louisiana's members of Congress voted on GOP health care plan

Posted By on Thu, May 4, 2017 at 3:30 PM

In March, protesters in New Orleans rallied for better health care as Congress prepared to vote on devastating cuts to the Affordable Care Act. - KAT STROMQUIST
  • KAT STROMQUIST
  • In March, protesters in New Orleans rallied for better health care as Congress prepared to vote on devastating cuts to the Affordable Care Act.

Five of six Louisiana members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted in support of the American Health Care Act, which rolls back Medicaid benefits by nearly $900 billion over the next decade, allows companies to raise premiums for people with "pre-existing conditions" and ditch certain essential health benefits, blocks funding for Planned Parenthood and generally guts most of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Republicans failed to push through a repeal of the ACA in March, a bill the Congressional Budget Office estimated would result in the loss of coverage for 24 million people, a report that crippled the bill's chance of successful passage. The office didn't have enough time to score the latest bill before a vote.

All 193 House Democrats voted against the latest bill, including New Orleans Rep. Cedric Richmond, the only Louisiana Democrat in the House.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Editorial: These Louisiana politicians just sold out your online privacy

Posted By on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 12:28 PM

CREATIVE COMMONS/BLOGTREPRENEUR
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/BLOGTREPRENEUR

While the chatter in Washington D.C. last week focused on the failed GOP health care plan to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, a much quieter — but equally egregious — repeal-and-replace bill moved through the U.S. Senate along party lines. By a 50-48 vote, Senate Republicans overturned internet privacy laws adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the last days of President Barack Obama’s administration. On March 28, the House of Representatives voted 215-205 to follow the Senate’s lead, and President Donald Trump has indicated he will sign the measure.

What does this mean for you? Simply put, your internet service provider now may legally track your every online move, collect the data, and sell it — including financial and health information, location and other data.

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Friday, March 17, 2017

With vigil to save the Affordable Care Act, protesters send message to Sen. Bill Cassidy

Posted By on Fri, Mar 17, 2017 at 5:15 PM

Gambit editor Kevin Allman last photographed this 6-year-old at Cassidy's recent, disastrous town hall. His family wants answers from the senator on prospective health care cuts.
  • Gambit editor Kevin Allman last photographed this 6-year-old at Cassidy's recent, disastrous town hall. His family wants answers from the senator on prospective health care cuts.

The Causeway Boulevard building that houses Senator Bill Cassidy's office is private property. Or it's private property, unless you have an appointment. Or it's only people with appointments who can park in the parking lot. Or the problem is a small pile of signs, which needed to be moved from the sidewalk.

With increasing irritation that erupted into a testy exchange with protestors, a blue-shirted representative who seemed to work for building management company Select Properties tried out these potential deterrents. He was doing his best to shoo off a small group of activists attending a two-day "vigil" outside Cassidy's office in support of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). (Apparently, his efforts had been repeated throughout the day, to limited success.)

Around 2 p.m. Friday, about 10 people stood outside the Metairie high rise as traffic sped past them, making their signs whip in the wind. There was retired educator Mary Ryan and 12-year-old Journey Wills, who had come on a field trip of sorts; in a recent homeschool unit on the Constitution, Wills became a big fan of the First Amendment. There was the actor and artist Todd d'Amour, who rattled off a startling number of objections to individual Trump cabinet officials while praising the way "Obamacare" has helped him pursue his art; and Anne Davis, whose attendance at today's protest was her first appearance at a demonstration since protesting the Vietnam War at age 12.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Editorial: 'Obamacare sucks'? No, what really sucks is ...

Posted By on Wed, Mar 15, 2017 at 12:01 PM

At a town hall in Metairie last month, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy attempted to explain his proposed alternative to the Affordable Care Act, which he called the "Patient Freedom Act." This week, he expressed disappointment with the GOP's proposed American Health Care Act, which the Congressional Budget Office estimated would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 14 million next year. - CHERYL GERBER
  • CHERYL GERBER
  • At a town hall in Metairie last month, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy attempted to explain his proposed alternative to the Affordable Care Act, which he called the "Patient Freedom Act." This week, he expressed disappointment with the GOP's proposed American Health Care Act, which the Congressional Budget Office estimated would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 14 million next year.


“I don’t mean any disrespect, but Obamacare sucks,” said U.S. Sen. John Neely Kennedy last fall, back when he was making folksy commercials to promote his Senate candidacy.

Of course, not having health insurance sucks, too. Receiving health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Medicaid expansion, only to have it snatched away? Sucks. Massive premium hikes for the elderly? Sucks. Not getting the health care you need, being forced to use emergency rooms for basic treatment, and having to choose bankruptcy if you want to stay alive? Sucks. Sucks. Sucks.

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Sunday, March 5, 2017

At "milk carton" protest, constituents clamor for absent senator's response

Posted By on Sun, Mar 5, 2017 at 5:46 PM

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Senator John Neely Kennedy's photograph peered out sheepishly from the side of a super-sized cardboard milk carton in front of the Hale Boggs Federal Building Sunday afternoon. "MISSING," said the legend above the photo.

The milk carton was constructed by Step Up Louisiana, one of several progressive groups who co-organized the protest March 5 to highlight what they say has been a lack of communication and response from the just-elected senator, especially about his position on high-priority issues such as the protection of the Affordable Care Act and the Trump's administration's moves to restrict immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries.

"You are missing and you are making bad decisions while in office," Step Up Louisiana co-director Maria Harmon said, addressing the absent Kennedy. "We don't serve [legislators]. They serve us."

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall: Fractious and furious constituents shout down the senator

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 8:02 PM

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy at a fractious town hall today in Metairie. - CHERYL GERBER
  • CHERYL GERBER
  • U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy at a fractious town hall today in Metairie.

Town halls around the country are fractious affairs these days for Republican members of Congress, but the crowd of hundreds that showed up at the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library in Metairie today for a town hall with U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy was so raucous and furious that CNN began carrying it live.

People began arriving around noon to line up and hold a parking lot rally before the doors opened at 3 p.m., so attendees already were tired of waiting when Cassidy arrived 22 minutes late to the 3:30 p.m. town hall. The senator apologized, saying he was touring New Orleans tornado damage, an explanation that didn't go over well in the crowd of 200 or so who were allowed in, which jeered and booed him. And that was just the start.

"If all you want to do is vent," Cassidy said early on, "this will not be profitable."

They did. It wasn't.

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Slideshow: Protesters, supporters at Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall in Metairie

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 3:05 PM

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Congressional town hall meetings have become heaty affairs back home, and U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall today at the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Public Library is no exception. Several hundred people — mostly protesters — gathered outside starting at noon for the event, which was not scheduled to begin until 3:30 p.m.

Here are a few of the signs and people in the crowd.


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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Cassidy, Kennedy sworn in to 115th U.S. Congress; GOP announces committee assignments

Posted By on Tue, Jan 3, 2017 at 3:36 PM

U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (right) was sworn into the 115th U.S. Congress today by House Speaker Paul Ryan. - INSTAGRAM/STEVE SCALISE
  • INSTAGRAM/STEVE SCALISE
  • U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (right) was sworn into the 115th U.S. Congress today by House Speaker Paul Ryan.

The 115th U.S. Congress was sworn in today in Washington, D.C. — bringing with it the first day of work for newly minted U.S. Sen. John Neely Kennedy, the former Louisiana state treasurer who beat Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell in the December 2016 runoff.

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy — with two years of service under his belt — now is Louisiana's senior senator, and U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise of Metairie retains his title of Majority Whip of the House of Representatives. U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond — Louisiana's only Democratic member of Congress — was named chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

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