Taegan Goddard

From Repeal to Neglect?

David Nather: “Trumpcare may be dead, but that doesn’t mean Obamacare is safe. The next thing to watch is whether the law actually does fall apart, not because of the design flaws, but because the Trump administration has no incentive to prevent a collapse.”

“When President Trump tweets that ‘Obamacare will explode,’ and House Speaker Paul Ryan says it can’t be fixed, they’re not sending signals that they’re looking for success. The reality is that insurers will need incentives to stay in the market and not impose another round of rate hikes. Instead, we could get a meltdown followed by an endless round of finger-pointing: Trump and Ryan would blame the Democrats for a poorly designed law, and Democrats would blame them for rooting for failure.”

The New York Times has more on the decisions ahead.

‘Bathroom Bill’ Will Cost North Carolina Nearly $4 Billion

“Despite Republican assurances that North Carolina’s ‘bathroom bill’ isn’t hurting the economy, the law limiting LGBT protections will cost the state more than $3.76 billion in lost business over a dozen years,” according to an Associated Press analysis.

“Over the past year, North Carolina has suffered financial hits ranging from scuttled plans for a PayPal facility that would have added an estimated $2.66 billion to the state’s economy to a canceled Ringo Starr concert that deprived a town’s amphitheater of about $33,000 in revenue. The blows have landed in the state’s biggest cities as well as towns surrounding its flagship university, and from the mountains to the coast.”

Democrats In No Mood to Help Trump

New York Times: “And while his electoral success in states represented by Democrats in Congress had been thought to put such lawmakers in a vise between their party and their president, Mr. Trump demonstrated no ability to pick off centrist Democrats in his first significant legislative push. Democrats — red-state moderates and blue-state liberals alike — formed an unbroken front of opposition to the repeal-and-replace campaign.”

“For Democrats, the task of remaining unified was made easier when Republicans decided to go it alone and hastily draft a bill that turned out to be deeply unpopular. But the health care skirmish was also more broadly instructive for a party still finding its footing now that it has lost both the White House and Congress: Being the ‘party of no,’ it turns out, can pay dividends.”

Kushner Will Lead SWAT Team to Fix Government

Washington Post: “The White House Office of American Innovation, to be led by Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, will operate as its own nimble power center within the West Wing and will report directly to Trump. Viewed internally as a SWAT team of strategic consultants, the office will be staffed by former business executives and is designed to infuse fresh thinking into Washington, float above the daily political grind and create a lasting legacy for a president still searching for signature achievements.”

What Kushner needs to read: Chapter 4 of You Won, Now What? titled “It’s Not a Business.”

GOP Unity Elusive With Obama Gone

New York Times: “For eight years, those divisions were often masked by Republicans’ shared antipathy toward President Barack Obama. Now, as the party struggles to adjust to the post-Obama political order, it is facing a nagging question: How do you hold together when the man who unified you in opposition is no longer around?”

“Mr. Obama provided conservatives with not just a health law to loathe and a veto pen to blame, but also a visage that allowed their opposition to be more palpable.”

“Republicans also have to contend with an outsider president who never had much of an affinity or loyalty for their party, and who, as a novice politician, has not built the relationships in Washington that are usually needed to get big deals done.”

Senate Committee Wants to Question Kushner

“Senate investigators plan to question Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and a close adviser, as part of their broad inquiry into ties between Trump associates and Russian officials or others linked to the Kremlin,” the New York Times reports.

“The White House Counsel’s Office was informed this month that the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, wanted to question Mr. Kushner about meetings he arranged with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak… The meetings included a previously unreported sit-down with the head of Russia’s state-owned development bank.”

Republicans Set Sights on Major Tax Cuts

New York Times: “Mr. Trump’s inability to make good on his promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act has made the already daunting challenge of tax reform even more difficult. Not only has Mr. Trump’s aura of political invincibility been shattered, but without killing the Affordable Care Act, Republicans will be unable to rewrite the tax code in the sweeping fashion that the president has called for.”

“The grand plans of lower rates, fewer loopholes and a tax on imports may have to be scaled back to a big corporate tax cut and possibly an individual tax cut. A lot of people think Mr. Trump might go for this to get an easy win.”

For members: Why Tax Reform May Already Be Dead

Meadows Hailed as a Hero Back Home

“House insurgent Mark Meadows embarrassed the White House and forced his fellow Republicans to turn tail on a seven-year pledge to tear down Obamacare,” Politico reports.

“His constituents are throwing him a party.”

“In these small rural towns that double as ground zero for the type of populist, anti-establishment politics that thrust Donald Trump into the presidency and gave Republicans control of Washington, Meadows remains a hero. He demanded full repeal of Obamacare, more than the failed House bill would have attempted. And his star only shines brighter here after he cost House Republicans their first big win on health care — and their first big win as the governing party.”

Bannon Wanted Sessions to Run for President

New York Times: “One evening in January 2013, two guests showed up for dinner at the Capitol Hill townhouse that Bannon liked to call the Breitbart Embassy. One was the man Bannon would later describe to me as his ‘mentor’ Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama. The other was Sessions’s top aide and protégé, a jittery 27-year-old named Stephen Miller…”

“Sessions shared Bannon’s belief that the Republican Party needed to emphasize immigration reduction, border security and the preservation of working-class jobs through trade policy rather than courting Latino voters with a bill he regarded as ‘amnesty.’ … At some point during the five-hour dinner, Bannon recalls blurting out to Sessions, ‘We have to run you for president.’ Just two years earlier, in 2011, he made a similar pitch to Sarah Palin, after completing a documentary about her called “The Undefeated.” Palin demurred. She was enjoying her life of celebrity and wealth, she had done little to immerse herself in policy minutiae and she was no doubt unsettled by Bannon’s warning that she stood little chance of defeating Obama.”

The Blame Game Consumes the White House

“With President Trump’s sweeping agenda hitting the rocks as he edges toward the 100-day mark, top aides, political allies and donors are embroiled in a furious round of finger-pointing over who is at fault,” Politico reports.

“The recriminations extend far beyond the implosion of the GOP’s Obamacare repeal on Friday. Senior aides are lashing each other over their inability to stem a never-ending tide of negative stories about the president. There is second-guessing of the RNC’s efforts to mobilize Trump’s electoral coalition on behalf of his legislative priorities. At the EPA, a top official quit recently amid accusations the department is failing to advance the president’s campaign promises. And one of Trump’s most generous benefactors, Rebekah Mercer, has expressed frustration over the direction of the administration.”

“This account of White House infighting is based on interviews with more than two dozen Trump aides, confidants and others close to his administration… They described a distracting and toxic atmosphere, with warring power centers blaming one another for an ever-growing list of setbacks. The dysfunction has further paralyzed an administration struggling to deliver on its blunt promises of wholesale change.”

Poe Quits House Freedom Caucus

Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) announced he has resigned from the conservative House Freedom Caucus over its opposition to the Republican health care plan, CNN reports.

Said Poe: “In order to deliver on the conservative agenda we have promised the American people for eight years, we must come together to find solutions to move this country forward. Saying no is easy, leading is hard, but that is what we were elected to do. Leaving this caucus will allow me to be a more effective member of Congress and advocate for the people of Texas. It is time to lead.”

Kasich Says He Won’t Run Again

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) told CNN that despite keeping up a high profile since his failed 2016 presidential bid, he has no intention of running for office again.

“The two-term Republican governor has continued to do national interviews, has maintained a political organization and has been working on a book — all moves suggesting interest in a future run. Kasich, however, emphatically denied this was the case.”