Lawmakers Want Funds for Personal Security

“House of Representatives lawmakers want $25,000 each to hire private security right away to protect them in their home districts, an unusually quick, bipartisan response to the shooting of a Republican House leader and others at a baseball practice,” McClatchy reports.

“A House panel has approved providing an immediate $10 million for the rest of fiscal 2017, which runs through Sept. 30, for that purpose. Representatives could use the money to pay for an off-duty police officer or private security guard at town halls, fish fries, meet-and-greets or other public events in their districts.”

How TMZ Became the Most Potent Pro-Trump Outlet

Judd Legum: “Trump was the ideal vehicle for TMZ to break into political coverage. A reality TV host and a creature of celebrity culture pursues the most powerful position in the world — all while dishing out TMZ-friendly sound bites on a daily basis.”

“As Trump has risen, TMZ has quietly emerged as, arguably, the most important pro-Trump outlet in America. Fox News is the largest and best known, but its audience is older and already inclined to support Trump. Breitbart is the most aggressive and strident, but its connection to white nationalism limits its appeal. TMZ attracts a large and diverse audience — precisely the folks Trump needed to reach to stitch together a winning coalition.”

“Stories on TMZ not only gain a wide audience online but also appear on two nationally syndicated daily television shows (TMZ and TMZ Live) that, in most markets, are aired multiple times each day.”

Quote of the Day

“You talk to these jackasses behind closed doors and you go ‘what are you doing’ and they go ‘we’ve got to get to the tax bill so we’ve got to do this first.'”

— “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough, quoted by The Week, marveling at the fact GOP lawmakers were willing to change “one-sixth of the economy so we can get to a tax bill.”

Gorsuch Is the New Scalia

Rick Hasen: “Whatever else comes of the Donald J. Trump presidency, already he has perfectly fulfilled one campaign pledge in a way that will affect the entire United States for a generation or more: putting another Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. The early signs from Justice Neil Gorsuch, who joined the Court in April, show that he will hew to the late Justice Scalia’s brand of jurisprudence, both in his conservatism and his boldness.”

“Usually it takes a few years to get the full sense of a new justice. The job provides awesome power, and new justices often are reluctant to issue stark opinions or stake out strong positions early on… Not so with Gorsuch. In a flurry of orders and opinions issued Monday, Gorsuch went his own way.”

Chaffetz Calls for $2,500 Housing Stipend

“Just days before he resigns from Congress, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) said that House and Senate lawmakers should receive a $2,500 per month housing allowance — something he explained would help ease housing costs for members who can’t afford two mortgages or rents,” The Hill reports.

Said Chaffetz: “In today’s climate, nobody’s going to suggest or vote for a pay raise. But you shouldn’t have to be among the wealthiest of Americans to serve properly in Congress.”

The Republican Party Rejects Conservatism

David Brooks: “Republican politicians could have picked up one of these plans when they set out to repeal Obamacare. They could have created a better system that did not punish the poor. But there are two crucial differences between the conservative policy johnnies and Republican politicians.”

“First, conservative policy intellectuals tend to have accepted the fact that American society is coming apart and that measures need to be taken to assist the working class. Republican politicians show no awareness of this fact. Second, conservative writers and intellectuals have a vision for how they want American society to be in the 21st century. Republican politicians have a vision of how they want American government to be in the 21st century…”

“Is there a vision of society underlying those choices? Not really. Most political parties define their vision of the role of government around their vision of the sort of country they would like to create. The current Republican Party has iron, dogmatic rules about the role of government, but no vision about America.”

Do Republicans Even Want Trump’s Help?

Rick Klein: “It’s not just the distractions – ‘witch hunt’ talk and Syria threats that are rolling out with equal apparent presidential focus – but the lack of any discernible White House ideology that has, or should have, Republican senators concerned. President Trump has been for just about every iteration of the health care bill. Now he wants lawmakers to have faith both that he will stay committed to the latest Senate version of the bill – which, like every other version, breaks multiple presidential promises — and stand by them to defend their votes as … what exactly?”

“The efforts of his outside political arm have been neutral, at best, so far, and could wind up being downright harmful to efforts to pass a bill. The president has so often blamed others for his political problems: former President Obama, Hillary Clinton, James Comey, the intelligence community, Congress, Democrats, some Republicans, and, of course, the courts…. Republicans have the power to give him his top legislative priority this week, on health care. Now, though, the president needs his allies to trust him. That means trusting Trumpism over all else, a tough argument to make under the best of circumstances.”

If the Health Care Bill Fails

Mike Allen: “We hear that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is warning Republicans that there’ll be a political and policy price to pay if healthcare goes down — that failure would have painful implications.”

“Senators are being told it’s not possible to just let Obamacare fail — that if the Better Care bill fails, Rs will have to work with Ds (horrors!) later this year to help shore up the exchanges. That would require Republicans making big concessions on important priorities.”

McConnell Scrambles to Bring Health Bill to Senate Floor

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his team “are working furiously to round up 50 of the caucus’s 52 senators to even bring the bill to the floor, let alone pass it by week’s end,” Politico reports.

“GOP leaders said ultimately that even lawmakers that oppose the bill in its current form could be convinced to allow the debate over the party’s long-sought Obamacare rollback to begin.”

David Nather: “Unless McConnell can change some of his members’ minds pretty quickly, it’s looking like he might not have the 50 votes he’d need for a procedural motion that would bring his health care bill to the floor. The CBO’s estimate that 22 million more people would be uninsured under the Senate bill was a steep — and maybe fatal — setback.”

Playbook: “Forget passage for the moment. Republicans have not yet secured the votes to begin work on the bill. It’ll be a crazy week. And make no mistake: Republicans might not be able to repeal and replace Obamacare. The situation is that dire for them.”

For members: McConnell Has Three Options