Tuesday Open Thread for May 2, 2017

The GOP is in serious danger of not having enough votes to pass their health care bill. Several Republicans have come out Monday against the current measure to repeal and replace Obamacare, bringing CNN’s whip count to 21 Republicans — mostly moderates — opposed to the bill with another dozen lawmakers still undecided.

The Republican Party can only afford to lose 22 votes assuming all of the Republicans are able to attend the vote and no Democrats cross over. The GOP is currently two votes away from another defeat.

David Nather: “If they had the votes to pass it, they would have scheduled the vote by now.  The Wednesday vote Republicans had wanted is looking less likely, purely because time is running out, so keep your calendar open on Thursday too. After that, they leave for another recess.”

“Realistically, we may not know until the night before the vote, because Republican leaders won’t call it until they’re pretty sure it will pass. One top GOP aide says the most likely scenario is a Rules Committee meeting that would be called on short notice to prepare the latest amendments, followed by a House vote the next day.”

Playbook: “It feels like we’re at a tipping point. Because if you are publicly against the bill, that probably means you believe your constituents think it’s bad policy. And flipping last minute under pressure from the White House or Republican leaders is a risky move, politically. Just ask any of the Democrats who were the ‘deciding vote’ on Obamacare. REMEMBER: This bill, in its current form, will not go anywhere in the Senate. It will be massively overhauled at best, or pushed aside, at worst.”

Wall Street Journal: “Leaders were tight-lipped Monday night on precisely how many votes short they remain, according to lawmakers leaving a regular meeting of the whip team. Although some lawmakers are still pushing for changes to the bill, others said time had run out. At least 19 House Republicans are currently opposed to the bill, with at least 17 undecided, according to a Wall Street Journal survey of the lawmakers. The GOP can only afford to lose about 22 votes, depending on absences.”

The Hill: “According to The Hill‘s whip list, 22 Republicans oppose the bill — the maximum number of GOP defections that can be afforded — assuming every Democrat also votes against it.”

The New York Times reports there are 20 Republicans opposes and another 21 undecided.

“It seems to be among the most bizarre recent 24 hours in American presidential history. It was all just surreal disarray and a confused mental state from the president.” — Historian Douglas Brinkley, quoted by Politico, after President Trump questioned why the Civil War needed to happen.

Alabama Representative Mo Brooks joined Jake Tapper on CNN to promote “Trumpcare,” the new proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act. And in so doing, he touted one aspect of the plan in candid terms rarely spoken by Republicans, since they like to talk about choice and competition and not their belief that there is no right to healthcare and that only those who can afford it should have it.

“[Trumpcare] will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool that helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy,” Brooks oozed. “And right now, those are the people who have done things the right way that are seeing their costs skyrocketing.”

You’re not going to be able to get through this video without tearing up. I couldn’t. Margaret Hartmann:

“In a heart-wrenching 13-minute monologue, Jimmy Kimmel opened up about his son’s heart condition, which was discovered just hours after his birth 10 days ago. With tears in his eyes, the host described the harrowing ordeal, which started with a nurse noticing baby William John Kimmel’s color was off and ended with him being rushed into open-heart surgery.

Baby Billy is doing well, though he’ll need several more surgeries. Kimmel closed with a plea for politicians to make sure others have a similarly happy outcome, even if they aren’t born to wealthy parents.”

We were brought up to believe that we live in the greatest country in the world, but until a few years ago, millions and millions of us had no access to health insurance at all. You know, before 2014, if you were born with congenital heart disease, like my son was, there’s a good chance you’d never be able to get health insurance, because you had a pre-existing condition. You were born with a preexisting condition. And if your parents didn’t have insurance, you may not even live long enough to get denied because of a preexisting condition.

If your baby is going to die and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make. I think that’s something that whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right?

[…] The GOP’s Obamacare repeal effort appeared to be hanging by a thread before Kimmel’s monologue aired.  […] Around 2 million people watch Kimmel’s show each night, and his name was trending on Twitter following his moving monologue about his son. Kimmel succinctly explained what tinkering with protections for preexisting conditions could do to an innocent baby, and pointed out that’s what the GOP is trying to do this week. What wavering House Republican is going to decide now is the time to come out in favor of the bill?”

“Conservative groups are pouring money into Georgia’s 6th District runoff to reinforce Karen Handel’s bid for Congress. Jon Ossoff is readying a massive counterpunch,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

“The Democrat’s campaign has reserved more than $5.2 million in airtime for cable, TV and radio spots through the June 20 runoff. And that’s likely just a taste of what’s to come.”

“Democrats believe they have set the stage to block President Trump’s legislative priorities for years to come by winning major concessions in a spending bill to keep the government open,” the Washington Post reports.

“Democrats’ lopsided victory on the five-month deal, which is likely to be approved this week, means it will be very difficult — if not impossible — for the GOP to exert its will in future budget negotiations, including when it comes to Trump’s 2018 budget blueprint.”

“The Trump administration and Republicans in Congress are increasingly resigned to a strategy of hammering through tax overhaul legislation by themselves, without the Democrats, reprising the approach that has failed them in their efforts to pass a new health law,” the New York Times reports.

“After House Republicans were unable to gather enough votes to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in March, President Trump suggested that he would consider making a deal with Democrats, potentially by lumping tax and infrastructure legislation into a giant jobs package. But as Mr. Trump crossed the 100-day benchmark he set for his presidency, it was clear that he is preparing to work solely with Republicans on the first rewriting of the tax code in 30 years.”

Speaking at a conference, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross “recalled the scene at Mar-a-Lago on April 6, when the summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping was interrupted by the strike on Syria,” Variety reports.

Said Ross: “Just as dessert was being served, the president explained to Mr. Xi he had something he wanted to tell him, which was the launching of 59 missiles into Syria. It was in lieu of after-dinner entertainment.”

As the crowd laughed, Ross added: “The thing was, it didn’t cost the president anything to have that entertainment.”

“In many ways, President Trump’s attempts to implement his hard-line immigration policies have not gone very well in his first three months. His travel ban aimed at some Muslim-majority countries has been blocked by the courts, his U.S.-Mexico border wall has gone nowhere in Congress, and he has retreated, at least for now, on his vow to target illegal immigrants brought here as children,” the Washington Post reports.

“But one strategy that seems to be working well is fear. The number of migrants, legal and illegal, crossing into the United States has dropped markedly since Trump took office, while recent declines in the number of deportations have been reversed.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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