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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

 

The one-eyed man is president

by Tom Sullivan

A "Listening to America" RNC survey signed by Donald J. Trump is going around via email. Example: "Are you concerned by the potential spread of Sharia Law?" Trump wants to hear from "the REAL America." (I'm guessing readers of this blog do not qualify.) He writes:

The mainstream media and Hollywood love to tell you “how America is feeling.” But they know nothing. They live in a world where you get to your keep job even if you fail to get anything done.
We are going to have to come up something better than "irony is dead" for the Trump presidency. There's no tread left on it.

With any luck, Senate Republicans and their twittering leader will fail again today at getting anything done regarding the Affordable Care Act. Afterwards, perhaps Trump will fire someone and blame Hillary Clinton.

The scary part is they just might pull off something, whatever that is. Sam Baker writes at Axios:
* Stranger things have happened, but Sen. John McCain probably isn't taking a break from his brain-cancer treatments to travel 2,300 miles across the country so he can torpedo a bill about an issue he's never been especially invested in, which he could have torpedoed just as easily by staying in Arizona.

* If McCain is a "yes" on today's motion to proceed — and, sure, take nothing for granted, but if — then Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is in a considerably better position.

* Sen. Susan Collins is a "no." But it sounds like Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee will get their request to begin the voting with a modified version of the 2015 straight-repeal vote. If those two support the motion to proceed, it would take two more moderates to join Collins and prevent a vote-a-rama.
If Sen. Mitch McConnell gets his motion to proceed, the legislative show will probably begin with a substitute amendment. Senate aides believe it would be the 2015 repeal-only bill. A version of the Republican repeal-and-replace scheme could come as an amendment to the amendment. Clear? After 20 hours of debate have expired, the Congressional Budget Office will not have time to score the final bill before voting occurs.

But to get there, McConnell will have to break out the big carrots and sticks on holdouts like Sens. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Trump appeared yesterday at a national Boy Scouts gathering in Capito's West Virginia and told Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on stage that he'd better get Capito's vote. Talking Points Memo reports that Murkowski told reporters last week, “I have said all along that I felt that the Medicaid reforms should have been separate from the effort that we were undertaking with the ACA fixes.” There is no indication yet this morning on whether they are still no votes.

Others in the caucus are finding McConnell's closed-doors horse-trading offensive:
“It’s starting to feel like a bazaar, $50 billion here, $100 billion there, and I feel like it’s losing coherency so I hope that somehow or another it can move in a different direction,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) told reporters last week.

And then there’s the biggest question: will the replacement legislation be the actual final bill the Senate votes on, or will McConnell put forward a bill modeled after 2015 legislation that repealed Obamacare without a replacement, but with a two-year delay.

As of Monday evening, Republicans weren’t sure exactly which bill they’d be moving forward after Tuesday’s procedural vote.
Trump's incoherence is rubbing off.

UPDATE:
McConnell and his leadership team are throwing everything they have at wavering senators: the threat of political disaster if they fail, an open amendment process to allow their ideas to be debated — and the argument that a flawed Senate bill can be fixed later in conference negotiations with the House. Administration officials and senators are discussing adding as much as $100 billion more to earlier drafts to help low-income people with premiums, Republicans said, while senators also may consider a scaled back version of Obamacare repeal that would allow them to at least pass something in the Senate and get to conference, Republicans said.

[...]

Republicans are strongly considering a strategy that would tee up two separate votes — one on the repeal only and another on the plan the Senate has been working on to repeal and replace Obamacare.