Diana DeGette Archives - Colorado Politics
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Ernest LuningErnest LuningJanuary 23, 201814min60

Enough Senate Democrats blinked Monday and voted with majority Republicans to fund the federal government for three more weeks — bringing an end to a three-day government shutdown — after receiving a commitment to vote on immigration legislation by early February, leading GOP lawmakers to declare grudging victory as divided Democrats endured stinging criticism from immigrant-rights supporters and other elements of the party's base. 


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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 20, 201810min444
When the federal government shut down after leaders in Washington couldn’t do their jobs and negotiate a deal on immigration Friday night, Colorado leaders were quick to point fingers and to their positions in the aftermath. Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican from Yuma, said he voted to keep the government open with a continuing resolution […]

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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJanuary 15, 20185min100691

… along comes 5th Congressional District Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn — that uber-Republican from ultra-GOP El Paso County — and he breaks ranks.

Days after other Republicans as well as Democrats in Colorado’s D.C. delegation had sounded off with varying degrees of outrage at the U.S. attorney general’s renewed offensive against legal recreational marijuana, Lamborn’s office issued a statement by the six-term congressman on Friday that read in part:

“The federal government has the right and responsibility to uphold federal laws. I am encouraged by Attorney General Sessions’ revision of the Cole Memo. The Cole Memo was an effort by the Obama Administration to create laws by executive action through the Department of Justice, as it did with immigration, rather than to enforce laws duly passed by the legislative branch. …

… If we’re honest with ourselves, legalizing marijuana has been bad for the state of Colorado. I applaud Attorney General Sessions for upholding the law and recognizing the serious and proven harms associated with marijuana.”

Sessions announced earlier this month he and the Trump administration were backing away from a federal policy developed under the Obama administration — enunciated in the Cole Memo — that in effect had let states blaze their own paths on marijuana.  As Colorado Politics’s Ernest Luning reported the other day, both of Colorado’s U.S. senators — Democrat Michael Bennet and Republican Cory Gardner — as well as U.S. House members from conservative Republican Scott Tipton on the Western Slope to liberal Democrat Diana DeGette in Denver bristled with indignation.

For the Colorado delegation’s Democrats, as well as Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and other party luminaries, pushing back is an easy call — another drum to beat in the “resistance” against Trump by the party that long has held a more tolerant view of pot anyway.

For Republicans, though, there are tradeoffs. The GOP for generations has been the real party of resistance when it comes to federal encroachment on state powers, a core value that dovetails with continued, broad public support for legalization.

And yet, the GOP is also historically the party of law and order, especially regarding the war on drugs — and the administration currently waging that war is Republican.

Which explains how Colorado’s Republican junior U.S. senator could be on one side, defending the “will of the voters” who legalized recreational pot:

…while Lamborn could be on the other, expressing not only support for the administration but also regret over Colorado’s voter-approved 2012 ballot issue. From his statement Friday:

The social costs of legalizing marijuana in Colorado have been steep, and the negative effects on children are particularly concerning. Since legalization, the number of calls to emergency poison control for children eight years and younger has tripled, thanks to the potency, attractiveness and availability of edibles. Youth arrests, particularly among minorities, have sharply increased. Homelessness is a rapidly growing concern. Rather than lessening criminal activity associated with marijuana, cartels have rushed into Colorado, resulting in 19 cartel operation busts in the last 18 months.

Of course, Lamborn doesn’t have to answer to all Colorado voters as Gardner must; the 5th district’s lopsidedly conservative, significantly military population is Lamborn’s constituency. And Colorado Springs itself is one Colorado city that has exercised its prerogative under the state  law to prohibit local retail marijuana sales.

Lamborn may be the odd man out in the state’s congressional delegation, but he’s hardly sticking his neck out back home.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningJanuary 8, 201817min41221

Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in House leadership, encouraged Democrat Levi Tillemann to end his primary campaign in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District during a December meeting at a Denver hotel, saying that state and national congressional and party leaders had decided “very early on” to consolidate their resources behind another Democrat, Jason Crow, to run against Republican incumbent Mike Coffman, according to detailed notes Tillemann wrote immediately after the meeting.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningJanuary 4, 20189min6680

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican, said on Twitter Thursday he's "prepared to take all steps necessary" to block a reported move by Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversing federal policy that has has let states legalize recreational marijuana. His Democratic counterpart, Michael Bennet, said the decision will "create unnecessary chaos and confusion."


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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyDecember 15, 20173min4600

With the most sweeping tax overhaul in decades moving through Congress, Denver City Council authored a letter this week contending the Republican-led tax reform effort would harm the city’s “financial integrity and economic development.”

In the letter addressed to Colorado U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet, and Rep. Diana DeGette, the 13-member Denver council argued both House and Senate versions of a $1.5 trillion tax bill would have a “devastating impact” on the city.

That impact would be felt through decreasing funds for affordable housing through elimination of tax credits and increasing the cost of financing for infrastructure projects, council members said. Furthermore, tax bill provisions ending the state and local tax deductions on an individual’s federal income tax return would be “detrimental to the financial well-being of our citizens.”

Characterized by the New York Times as the most sweeping tax overhaul in decades, the bill would sharply cut the corporate tax rate, reduce the top individual tax rate and scale back many popular tax breaks. The House and Senate have agreed in principle to merge two versions of the tax bill. The legislation is currently on track to reach President Donald Trump’s desk by Christmas.

In the letter, the Denver council urged members of Colorado’s congressional delegation to add policies beneficial to the city when vetting tax reform — policies like tax-exemption for municipal bonds and private activity bonds. Those are mechanisms cities like Denver often rely on to finance large projects or help spur affordable housing.

The council also pointed to state and local tax deductions that protect against double taxation or tax credits including “New Market Tax Credits and Historic Preservation Tax Credit which build and preserve affordable housing; and generate economic investments in our most vulnerable and underinvested communities.”

Read the council’s full letter here.