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Another eventful week! The Senate passed a major spending bill. President Biden has finally tested negative for COVID-19 after a tumultuous journey through Paxlovid and Paxlovid rebound. COVID and monkeypox continue their spread across the country. Alex Jones appears to have perjured himself. And the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was a predictable horror show featuring a January 6 prisoner exhibit and guest appearance by Hungary’s autocratic ruler, Viktor Orban.

Another big story was insulin—specifically, the failure of the Senate to cap the price of the lifesaving stuff.

Here’s what happened. The Senate parliamentarian struck again, this time telling Senate Democrats that a proposal by Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) to cap the out-of-pocket cost of insulin at $35 a month would not fly.

The parliamentarian ruled that such a proposal could not be passed by a simple majority vote via budget reconciliation because it would violate the so-called Byrd Rule, which prohibits provisions that are deemed outside the budget from passing this way. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) sought to enforce the ruling.

This was not the Democrats' first rodeo with the parliamentarian. Back in February, the party leadership, including Vice President Kamala Harris, came under fire after accepting the Senate official’s ruling that a $15 minimum wage could not be passed via reconciliation.

This time, Dems would not simply go along with the decision. Instead, they would force a vote to overrule the parliamentarian, knowing that it was doomed to fail. But that was the point. As a Democratic senator put it before the vote, “We’re going to force them to vote no and put them on the record.”

Predictably, when the vote failed to win enough Republican support, Democrats and their allies were off to the races, accusing the GOP of killing the insulin cap.

But that’s not the full story. Democrats had another option available to them to pass the provision lowering the cost of the life-saving drug: They could have fired the parliamentarian, as the Senate Republicans did back in 2001 to secure passage of President George W. Bush’s budget and tax cuts. But they didn't.

OptOut is committed to keeping you informed with the latest, most accurate information we can provide. Please enjoy this week’s selection of content from the independent outlets in our news network.

Your Independent News Roundup

MEANS MORNING NEWS covered some disturbing news: The United Nations has issued a dire warning about the status of two of the United States’ largest water reservoirs.

THE DAVID FELDMAN SHOW did a great rundown of the highlights of Alex Jones trial.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently suspended a locally-elected prosecutor who refused to prosecute abortion cases and cases involving violations of Florida’s anti-trans laws. BOLTS has more.

Florida Governor Suspends Tampa Prosecutor in Latest Attack on Abortion and Trans Rights
“He’s not only stripping away our personal liberties, but he is removing those who have the guts to stand up to him,” responded a Democratic lawmaker.
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DeSantis, who is known for his laissez-faire attitude towards COVID-19 spread, also made headlines recently for dismissing the idea of monkeypox as a crisis. The FLORIDA PHOENIX explains.

DeSantis scorns idea of monkeypox emergency; sees other states’ declarations as power plays - Florida Phoenix
Gov. Ron DeSantis lashed out at big blue-state governors who’ve declared emergencies over monkeypox, accusing them and the news media of attempting to stoke fear as a way of controlling people. The governor was asked about the matter during a news conference he called in Brevard County to announce a…
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CPAC wraps up today in Texas, and the latest edition to the OptOut roster, the TEXAS OBSERVER, covered opening night of the fascist circus.

The Fascist Circus Comes to CPAC Texas
Republican politicians joined Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for speeches laced with antisemitism and overt Christian nationalism.
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Do you ever wonder how the hell we got here? How is it that American politics became so toxic and destructive? Well, THE AMERICAN PROSPECT has a great article exploring that very question.

How American Politics Turned Deadly
The explosive consequences of the realignment of the two major parties
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Part of the problem in American politics is surely Big Money corrupting our electoral system. The CENTER FOR MEDIA AND DEMOCRACY published a new investigation exploring dark money in Wisconsin’s Senate race.

Billionaires Hendricks and Uihlein Have Already Spent $9.5 Million for Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson’s Reelection Campaign - EXPOSEDbyCMD
A pro-Johnson super PAC raked in another $3.5M from Diane Hendricks in July, one of two billionaires who reaped tens of millions in savings from a tax loophole Johnson pushed through in 2017.
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In BAD NEWS, Ryan Grim analyzed the merits of Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act, which passed the Senate today.

Why the Manchin deal is good
With Kyrsten Sinema having carved her $14 billion dollars worth of private equity flesh out of the Manchin-Schumer climate-tax bill, it’s now headed for passage. The left in Congress has put up very little stink, a function of their (justified) belief that Manchin has effectively demonstrated that t…
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As the Senate debated the new reconciliation package, one of corporate lobbyists’ favorite members of Congress, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), was once again in the spotlight, as STATES NEWSROOM reports.

Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema again pivotal as U.S. Senate Democrats scramble for 50 votes - Minnesota Reformer
Sinema faced a pressure campaign from business groups in Arizona who wanted her to kill the tax provisions, if not the bill itself.
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After she convinced her colleagues to preserve the carried interest tax loophole for money managers, Sinema decided to support the legislation. A media panel on YOUR CALL discussed the developments.

Media Roundtable: Sinema supports Democrats’ health & climate bill as long as they preserve tax benefits for the wealthy
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HEATED’s Emily Atkin exposes a GOP-linked dark money group posing as a progressive advocacy organization concerned with climate change. The group advertised in corporate media, attacking the reconciliation bill, which includes $369 billion in incentives for renewable energy.

Beware of this fake pro-climate group
A GOP-linked dark money organization is running deceptive ads on Google and other platforms in an attempt to kill historic climate legislation.
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