Inside the Beltway: Utah Republicans vote to censure Mitt Romney

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Last week, Sen. Mitt Romney was booed and heckled in an appearance before the 2021 Organizing Convention of the Utah Republican Party. The large and vocal audience was vexed at Mr. Romney over his vote to impeach former President Donald Trump earlier this year. A resolution to formally censure the lawmaker for his actions was voted down — but not by much.

Folks who belong to the Weber County GOP, however, had no reservations on the matter.

Republicans in the county, Utah’s fourth most populous, voted to censure Mr. Romney on Saturday, by a vote of 116-97. Their strongly worded resolution said the impeachment proceedings against Mr. Trump did not follow the Constitution and were unjust and unethical. The organization posted the censure to its website and to social media, and of course shared the news with local and national media.

The Weber County GOP is not alone in its dismay. Washington County Republicans in the southern corner of Utah also voted to censure Mr. Romney for his votes against Mr. Trump.

At least one analyst, however, says the lawmaker is not damaged politically, citing Mr. Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.

“When you lose a presidential race, you don’t care what people think about you. So he is unleashed,” said Mary Ann Marsh, a Democratic political analyst, during an appearance Sunday with WCVB, an ABC affiliate in Massachusetts, where Mr. Romney was once governor.

A DECADE FOR PRAGER U

It was founded by broadcast commentator Dennis Prager in 2011. That would be Prager U, a nonprofit organization which produces and distributes succinct educational videos heavy on conservative content and meant for a wide audience. The organization now reveals that its videos have received over 5 billion views across assorted digital platforms.

“We celebrate the 5 billion mark as proof that Prager U has become the trusted conservative media powerhouse at the forefront of proclaiming the truth of America’s founding ideas,” CEO Marissa Streit said.

The organization also says that 60% of its viewers are under age 35. So what are they watching? Prager U also reveals its top five most watched videos: “Do You Understand the Electoral College?” (64.9 million views); “Was the Civil War About Slavery?” (32.3 million views); “The War on Boys” (28.5 million); “Why I Left the Left” (28.5 million views); and “The Inconvenient Truth About the Democratic Party” (27.9 million views).

MEANWHILE AT THE SBA

The public may not know it, but the Small Business Administration began accepting applications for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund on May 3. Enthusiasm ensued. In the first two days of the application window, the federal agency received the following:

⦁ 186,200 applications from restaurants, bars, and other eligible businesses in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and five U.S. territories.

⦁ 97,600 of these applications came from restaurants, bars, and other eligible businesses owned and controlled by women (46,400), by veterans (4,200), by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals (30,800), or by some combination of the three (16,200).

⦁ 61,700 applications from businesses with under $500,000 in annual pre-pandemic revenue, representing some of the smallest restaurants and bars in America.  

Meanwhile, the agency is still accepting applications. For more information, visit SBA.gov/restaurants.

‘$1,000 A TEST’

COVID-19 testing has become a “financial windfall for hospitals and other providers,” reports Kaiser Health News in an extensive analysis of the marketplace.

“Hospitals are charging up to $650 for a simple, molecular COVID test that costs $50 or less to run, according to Medicare claims,” the report said, citing an analysis by Hospital Pricing Specialists, which provides pricing guidelines for hospitals and health care systems.

“Charges by large health systems range from $20 to $1,419 per test, and some free-standing emergency rooms are charging more than $1,000 per test,” the report continued, citing in-house findings from a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey.

“As the pandemic enters its second year, no procedure has been more frequent than tests for the virus causing it. Gargantuan volume — 400 million tests and counting, for one type — combined with loose rules on prices have made the service a bonanza for hospitals and clinics, new data shows,” the report noted.

“The data shows that covid tests continue to generate high charges from hospitals and clinics despite alarms raised by insurers, anecdotal reports of high prices and pushback from state regulators,” it continued.

“Sticker shock from COVID tests has gotten bad enough that Medicare set up a hotline for insurance companies to report bad actors, and states across the country are taking action,” the report said.

See KHN.org to read the complete report.

POLL DU JOUR

⦁ 57% of U.S. adults say people should be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to travel by airplane; 28% of Republicans, 47% of independents and 85% of Democrats agree.

⦁ 55% agree the proof should be needed to attend events with large crowds, such as sports or concerts; 25% of Republicans, 47% of independents and 82% of Democrats agree.

⦁ 45% agree proof should be needed to “go to your worksite to do your job”; 16% of Republicans, 38% of independents and 69% of Democrats agree.

⦁ 44% say proof should be needed to stay in a hotel; 22% of Republicans, 35% of independents and 66% of Democrats agree.

⦁ 40% say proof should be needed to dine in at a restaurant; 19% of Republicans, 30% of independents and 62% of Democrats agree.

Source: A Gallup poll of 3,731 U.S. adults conducted April 19-25 and released Friday.

⦁ Helpful information to [email protected]

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