President Trump interviewed Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) about the coming vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, the Deseret News has learned.
President Trump has asked advisers their opinions about nominating Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, Bloomberg reports.
“Trump thinks Lee would be easily confirmed by the Senate, but the president has expressed concern about keeping his Senate seat in Republican hands.”
Politico: “On a Delta flight from Salt Lake City to Washington on Monday afternoon, Lee sat in the middle seat, furiously texting about his latest thinking in the health care debate, according to an eyewitness who sat next to Lee.”
“In one text, Lee told a recipient that he might still vote to proceed to the repeal debate, but that it was ‘still too early to do so in good conscience because we’re not being told anything.'”
“‘This leadership line of pass something, anything, is dangerous and potent,’ Lee typed out in another message, written in a large enough font that fellow passengers could easily read his words, according to the eyewitness. In another text, Lee wrote: ‘This bill is nothing more than bailing out insurance companies with a few minor reforms thrown in for good measure.'”
“President Trump has reached out to Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), the conservative who helped deal what appeared to be a fatal blow to the Senate healthcare bill, as part of a last ditch effort to revive the legislation,” the Washington Examiner reports.
“Lee reiterated his position that he wanted to free the market from Obamacare’s regulations in an effort to drive down premiums and provide more choices. Trump, according to the spokesman, seemed receptive.”
David Nather: “This anecdote suggests that Trump will try to convince Republican senators to revive the broader Senate health care bill when they meet for lunch at the White House today. It suggests that Trump still hasn’t grasped the big reason why Senate Republicans are stuck: They want different things, and every time GOP leaders try something to please one wing of the party, it pushes away the other.”
“Four years ago, Mike Lee and Ted Cruz launched an all-out media blitz to stop Obamacare implementation that culminated in a 16-day government shutdown. Now the conservative senators are still pressuring GOP leaders to go further than their colleagues in gutting the law, but they’re making their push through quiet backroom conversations instead,” Politico reports.
“It’s a shift for the Senate GOP’s two leading agitators, who are trying to build consensus in their own unique, hard-line way. And where they end up will ultimately determine whether Republicans are able to pass a bill.”
“If Lee and Cruz are able to help craft a compromise that can win 50 Republican votes, their support will go far in easing concerns from other conservatives who still deride the bill as Obamacare-lite. Yet the firm positions of Cruz (R-Texas) and Lee (R-Utah) are still imperiling the Senate Republicans’ repeal effort by pushing the party more to the right than many more centrist lawmakers would like to go.”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), “who has said he is opposed to a draft bill to repeal Obamacare introduced by Senate Republican leaders, is also against a motion to proceed to debate on the bill,” Reuters reports.
“Lee would be the fifth Republican who has stated opposition to beginning debate on the measure, joining Senators Susan Collins, Rand Paul, Ron Johnson and Dean Heller. Republicans can only afford to lose two votes to move forward on the bill, given Democratic opposition.”
For members: McConnell Has Three Options
Just published: Written Out of History: The Forgotten Founders Who Fought Big Government by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT).
“In the thick of the debates over the Constitution, some founders warned about the dangers of giving too much power to the central government. Though they did not win every battle, these anti-Federalists and their allies managed to insert a system of checks and balances to protect the people from an intrusive federal government. Other forgotten figures were not politicians themselves, but by their thoughts and actions influenced America’s story. Yet successive generations have forgotten their message, leading to the creation of a vast federal bureaucracy that our founders would not recognize and did not want.”
“There is a lot less agreement about what comes next. If we load down the repeal bill with what comes next, it’s harder to get both of them passed.”
— Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), quoted by Kaiser Health News, saying that he will vigorously oppose efforts for Republicans to wait until they have a plan ready to replace Obamacare before they repeal it.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) declared that he had never seen anything like what transpired on the floor after Republican leaders bypassed a call for a full floor vote on the convention rules, Politico reports.
Said Lee: “I have never in all my life, certainly in six years in the United States Senate, prior to that as a lifelong Republican, never seen anything like this. There is no precedent for this in parliamentary procedure. There is no precedent for this in the rules of the Republican National Convention. We are now in uncharted territory. Somebody owes us an explanation. I have never seen the chair abandoned like that. They vacated the stage entirely.”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) unloaded on a radio show host who wanted to know why he hadn’t endorsed Donald Trump yet, BuzzFeed reports.
Said Lee: “We can get into that if you want. We can get into the fact that he accused my best friend’s father of conspiring to kill JFK. We can go through the fact that he’s made statements that some have identified correctly as religiously intolerant. We can get into the fact that he’s wildly unpopular in my state, in part because my state consists of people who are members of a religious minority church. A people who were ordered exterminated by the governor of Missouri in 1838. And, statements like that make them nervous.”
Lee added that he wanted assurances from Trump that he would defend the Constitution: “I’m sorry, sir, but that is not an unreasonable demand.”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) “backed down on Monday from a controversial plan to appeal to allow a simple-majority vote to repeal Obamacare, following a meeting in which he apologized to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for the actions of a Lee staffer,” the Washington Post reports.
“Lee abandoned his plan after first offering to give up in exchange for a later repeal vote as part of budget reconciliation and failing to find support from leadership. The Utah Republican clashed with McConnell and other party leaders over his plan to try and overturn Senate rules and force a simple-majority vote, known as the “nuclear option,” on an amendment to the must-pass highway funding bill.”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) announced that “he plans to use a complicated procedural maneuver known as the nuclear option to repeal the Affordable Care Act with just 51 votes,” the Washington Post reports.
“Democrats famously used the strategy in 2013 to break a Republican blockade of President Obama’s nominees to fill judicial openings. Now Lee wants to use the partisan procedure get rid of Obamacare.”
“It’s unclear whether Lee’s gambit will work — but if it does, there are likely 51 senators who would vote to repeal Obama’s signature domestic achievement. The issue is whether such language can get a vote on the Senate floor to begin with.”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) “has hired consulting firm America Rising, led by Mitt Romney’s former campaign manager Matt Rhoades, to offer advice and research on potential 2016 opponents. That might result in a Romney confidant investigating the background of another Romney confidant,” the Salt Lake Tribune reports.
“Alex Dunn, who worked on Romney’s campaigns and on his gubernatorial staff in Massachusetts, is considering a run against Lee, spurred on by Spencer Zwick, Romney’s former finance director, and Josh Romney, one of Mitt Romney’s five sons.”
Josh Romney, son of 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, told the Deseret News that he won’t challenge Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) in next year’s U.S. Senate race but said he’d like to see another Republican run against the first-term senator.
He also confirmed he’s interested in running for office someday.
Said Romney: “Politics is in my blood, unfortunately. It’s something I’ve seen and I’ve loved. I’m not sure what I’d do, or what capacity I’d run in, but I’m definitely looking to it.”
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) lavished praise on Sen. Mike Lee (R), his former general counsel, during an appearance on Matt K. Lewis’ podcast, several weeks after his father slammed the senator, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.
Said Huntsman: “Mike has every good intention and I say that because I worked with Mike. In fact, I don’t know too many people in the legislative branch who are as brilliant as Mike Lee. His understanding of the Constitution, his ability to legislate.”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) is now counselor to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Washington Examiner reports.
“The Utah Republican is steering committee chairman, a post that often comes with a seat in leadership. But McConnell wasn’t obligated to bring Lee into the fold last week, when he appointed him as one of four counsellors to the Republican leadership. The Kentuckian never extended a similar offer to Jim DeMint when he led steering. Lee and McConnell hardly have a chummy history, although the majority leader shrewdly keeps potential enemies close.”