“They know how Congress really works: When you don’t get something done by one recess, the real deadline is the next recess.”
Archives for June 2017
“House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) wants to know why Rep.-elect Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) hasn’t been sworn in, saying the seat’s ‘elongated vacancy’ is ‘an abdication’ of his responsibilities,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
“Twenty one days have passed since Gomez won a special election to replace now-California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra, who resigned Los Angeles’ 34th Congressional District last January. Gomez, a current Democratic state assemblyman, told The Times after the election he would try to delay his Assembly resignation to vote on extending the state’s cap-and-trade program, which requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gas. Negotiations on cap and trade are escalating in Sacramento, and there are rumblings Gov. Jerry Brown would like to be able to count on Gomez’ vote to pass the bill with a two-thirds majority before the Legislature leaves on July 21.”
A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds just 17% of those surveyed say they approve of the Senate’s health care plan while 55% say they disapprove and 24% said they hadn’t heard enough about the proposal to have an opinion on it.
Playbook: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, one of the steadiest and most reliable leaders and vote counters Washington has seen, did the unthinkable and rattled his ranks. The Kentucky Republican had told lawmakers there would be a vote this week on health care, but instead — just as Speaker Paul Ryan was forced to do three months ago — decided to delay voting on the package after it was clear that GOP opposition to the health care package was stronger than expected.”
“McConnell has been impervious to the types of problems Ryan faces on a weekly — and sometimes daily — basis. His decision to delay voting on a bill is a sign he couldn’t, or didn’t want to expend the political capital to get it done before the July 4th break. It’s unclear what he can do to change the calculus among the growing bloc of senators unwilling to vote for the bill.”
Mike Allen: “McConnell’s reputation for the inside game is such that Republicans assume he must have something up his sleeve. One top Republican alumnus put the bill’s chances of coming back at 15%. But then as he continued to muse, he doubled it to 30% just because of the McConnell factor.”
“There may be some philosophical, you know, kind of textbook disagreement. But when you sit in a room and you say to people, ‘Should we strip coverage from somebody who’s mentally ill?’ I’ve never heard anybody say yes.”
— Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), quoted by the New York Times.
New York Times: “When asked by reporters clustered on the blacktop outside the West Wing if Mr. Trump had command of the details of the negotiations, Mr. McConnell ignored the question and smiled blandly.”
“A senator who supports the bill left the meeting at the White House with a sense that the president did not have a grasp of some basic elements of the Senate plan — and seemed especially confused when a moderate Republican complained that opponents of the bill would cast it as a massive tax break for the wealthy, according to an aide who received a detailed readout of the exchange.”
“Mr. Trump said he planned to tackle tax reform later, ignoring the repeal’s tax implications, the staff member added.”
Washington Post: “Replacing Obamacare has become the party’s albatross, a sprawling objective still in search of a solution. The effort to make good on a seven-year promise has cost the Trump administration precious months of its first year in office, with tax restructuring backed up somewhere in the legislative pipeline, infrastructure idling somewhere no one can see it and budget deadlines looming.”
Politico: “It will be fraught with danger while trying to balance out the demands of senators from Medicaid expansion states and hard-line conservatives looking to gut Obamacare as much as possible. And his decision to delay the bill also carries great political risk because it draws out the Obamacare fight at least a couple more weeks. But he’s decided it’s a risk worth taking.”
“The episode was a stunning twist in the GOP’s long-running saga to roll back Obamacare.”
“Top GOP officials and senators say White House chaos and impulsiveness are crippling efforts to expand the Republican Senate majority in 2018, unraveling long-laid plans and needlessly jeopardizing incumbents,” Politico reports.
“There’s a widespread sense of exasperation with the president, interviews with nearly two dozen senior Republicans reveal, and deep frustration with an administration they believe doesn’t fully grasp what it will take to preserve the narrow majority or add to it.”
New York Times: “The majority leader — already rankled by Mr. Trump’s tweets goading him to change Senate rules to scuttle Democratic filibusters — called the White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, to complain that the attacks were ‘beyond stupid,’ according to two Republicans with knowledge of the tense exchange.”
“Mr. McConnell, who has been toiling for weeks, mostly in private, to put together a measure that would satisfy hard-liners and moderates, told Mr. Priebus in his call that the assault by the group, America First, not only jeopardized the bill’s prospects but also imperiled Mr. Heller’s already difficult path to re-election.”
“Paul Manafort, who was forced out as President Trump’s campaign chairman last summer after five months of infighting and criticism about his business dealings with pro-Russian interests, disclosed Tuesday that his consulting firm had received more than $17 million over two years from a Ukrainian political party with links to the Kremlin,” the New York Times reports.
“The filing serves as a retroactive admission that Mr. Manafort performed work in the United States on behalf of a foreign power — Ukraine’s Party of Regions — without disclosing it at the time, as required by law.”
Washington Post: “Trump had hoped for a swift and easy win on health care this week. Instead he got a delay and a return to the negotiating table — the latest reminder of the limits of his power to shape outcomes at the opposite end of Pennsylvania Avenue.”
“History suggests that presidents who have governed successfully have been both revered and feared. But Republican fixtures in Washington are beginning to conclude that Trump may be neither, despite his mix of bravado, threats and efforts to schmooze with GOP lawmakers.”
“The president is the leader of his party, yet Trump has struggled to get Republican lawmakers moving in lockstep on health care and other major issues, leaving no signature legislation in his first five months in office.”
Sarah Palin is suing the New York Times for defamation over a recent editorial tying one of her political action committee ads to a 2011 mass shooting that severely wounded Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) and killed six people, the New York Post reports.
The paper said Palin incited the shooting, which left Giffords with a severe brain injury, through an ad from her PAC that put “Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs.”
The Times later issued a correction.
“This will be great if we get it done, and if we don’t get it done, it’s just going to be something that we’re not going to like and that’s OK and I understand that very well.”
— President Trump, quoted by The Hill, on the GOP health care bill stalled in the Senate.
“Senate Republicans have been tasked with reaching a new health care agreement by Friday,” Axios reports.
“A new draft bill can then be sent to the Congressional Budget Office for analysis over next week’s recess, and then the Senate will vote on the bill when it returns.”
“That the White House is asking people to take a tough vote and then running ads against members while we’re still in negotiations is so dumb it’s amazing we even have to have the conversation.”
— Josh Holmes, former chief of staff to Sen. Mitch McConnell, quoted by the New York Times.
Washington Post: “This cover — dated March 1, 2009 — looks like an impressive memento from Trump’s pre-presidential career. To club members eating lunch, or golfers waiting for a pro-shop purchase, it seemed to be a signal that Trump had always been a man who mattered. Even when he was just a reality-TV star, Trump was the kind of star who got a cover story in Time.”
“But that wasn’t true. The Time cover is a fake. There was no March 1, 2009, issue of Time Magazine. And there was no issue at all in 2009 that had Trump on the cover.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will delay the vote to take up the health care bill until after the July 4 recess, Politico reports.
Axios: “Majority Whip John Cornyn had said earlier that the vote was going ahead. But ultimately, the decision is McConnell’s — and he was getting too much pushback from Senate Republican holdouts who said they weren’t ready to vote this quickly, without changes to the bill.”
Chris Cillizza: “The longer a bill sits out without a vote, the bigger pinata it becomes to its detractors, who find new and different things to object to it. That’s especially true for a recess week, which Republicans are headed into this weekend. And while the idea of more time allowing wavering members to be convinced sounds like capital “D” democracy, usually the members wavering have mostly made up their minds.”
Documents obtained by The Guardian show that President Trump’s lawyer, Jay Sekulow, “approved plans to push poor and jobless people to donate money to his Christian nonprofit, which since 2000 has steered more than $60m to Sekulow, his family and their businesses.”
“Telemarketers for the nonprofit, Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism, were instructed in contracts signed by Sekulow to urge people who pleaded poverty or said they were out of work to dig deep for a ‘sacrificial gift.'”