Thursday, June 29, 2017

Attaway, Mike! Rounds Finally Shows Some Moxie

     Senator Mike Rounds has finally stepped up to the plate and taken a decent swing.  Our junior senator yesterday analyzed a proposed tax cut that's part of the Senate's healthcare bill and
Rounds Questions A Tax Cut
Will Wonders Never Cease?
questioned its reason for being.  The tax is a 3.8% surcharge on investment income that is currently in the Affordable Care Act (ACA, what we commonly call Obamacare).  Bloomberg analysts say that it applies to those earning over $200 thousand a year.  The Senate bill wants it removed.   Mike Rounds is saying "not so fast."  This is so uncharacteristic of Rounds that  New York Magazine took notice and commented that  "Mike Rounds of South Dakota" is a "solid member of the GOP conference who has not been on anybody's list of troublemakers" with respect to the Senate bill.  I'm impressed.

     This is actually bracing on two levels.  The first is that Rounds, who so far has been a reliable pitchman for the Trumphuggers in the GOP, has shown us some independence.  This is a rare moment among our trio of Republican congressional reps, who have a penchant for going along with their national party agenda without giving thought to consequences in South Dakota.  I recall when Congresswoman Noem voted to shut down the federal government, including our national parks (Badlands, Mt. Rushmore and Wind Cave), wiping out the 2013 autumn tourist season just so she could make an absurdly irrelevant political point. Then there's Senator Thune with his commitment to de-neutralize the internet, opening the door for our telecom providers to arbitrarily change costs and terms of service without federal oversight from the FCC.  That would leave us smaller market customers at the mercy of a limited number of ISPs, who wouldn't have to respond to competitive demands like those in urban areas, where the competition is much more intense. Rounds, relatively new as he is to Congress, has been mostly a "get-along and go-along" representative, his utterances generally limited to platitudinous recitations of Republican talking points.  Last April I noted  in my blog that he had so far mastered nothingness.  Rounds just gave me hope that my judgement was premature.
     That gets us to the second level of appreciation for Mike Rounds' sudden burst of independent thought.  Our junior senator not only questioned the tax cut, but offered up a compellingly practical way of using that money should a Senate bill actually materialize for a vote. He wants to convert the funds into a tax credit to Americans who don't get coverage if their spouses have employer-paid plans that don't cover dependents.  So Rounds has not only shown a streak of independence, he's actually put a pretty good idea on the table.  That he did so at the risk of isolating himself from his party's leaders shows some moxie that should cheer every South Dakotan who wants a representative who can think for himself.  It might also serve as a useful lesson to Noem and Thune, whose politically ingratiating styles could use a dose of intellectual self-reliance.  


  1. Let's thank Sen. Rounds for this in hopes that it will inspire him to further actions like this.

    1. Easy there. He hasn't "delivered" yet.
      Pus comes to shove, Mike will cave and do as he's told.

  2. I want to believe that Senator Rounds is after trying to do the right thing, even if his motive is politically self serving, viz., offering up a tax that might affect only a minority of his constituents. Senator Gerald Nye had no problem chairing the Special Committee on Investigation of the Munitions Industry because North Dakota had no such industries in 1934. Nevertheless, I swan it matters not why a person takes the side of the angels, only that they do so.

    Unfortunately, on further reflection, the thought occurred that the Senator's opposition might be an invitation for the Senate Majority Leader to offer up an incentive for him to get on board. It struck me that a dedicated trickle from McConnell's slush fund (also reported in New York Magazine) will let Rounds' pose as a modern Gracchi even as the tax is repealed.

    Please to note, this is yet another occasion on which I desperately want to be proven wrong.

  3. Finally a little Testicular Fortitude from one our erstwhile elected representatives in Washington! About time.

  4. Not so fast John, see Jerry Sweeny's last post on your previous blog on this thread. I too, am leery of his opposition, just like I am leery of the Koch brother's opposition. There is probably an ulterior motive that we cannot see.

  5. There is a report that Senator Murkowski (R,Alaska) has been 'bought off' with a provision that smacks of the infamous 'Nebraska Purchase' that surfaced during the ACA legislative process, viz., a funding provision that applies solely to her state. Will the GOP leadership deal with Senator Rounds in a similar manner? Film at 11:00.