America now officially has State-Sponsored Television. An email to employees at the Food and Drug Administration says the Trump administration ordered all television monitors to show only Fox News.
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) said that a Senate plan to repeal and replace Obamacare should pass the “Jimmy Kimmel test,” after the comedian revealed his son was born with a heart defect, The Hill reports.
Said Cassidy: “I ask, does it pass the Jimmy Kimmel test? Will a child born with congenital heart disease be able to get everything she or he would need in the first year of life? I want it to pass the Jimmy Kimmel test.”
David Wasserman: “Not only did dozens of Republicans in marginal districts just hitch their names to an unpopular piece of legislation, Democrats just received another valuable candidate recruitment tool. In fact, Democrats aren’t so much recruiting candidates as they are overwhelmed by a deluge of eager newcomers, including doctors and veterans in traditionally red seats who have no political record for the GOP to attack – almost a mirror image of 2010.”
New York Times: “The signature image of Mr. Trump’s first 100 days in office, people close to the president said, is that of Mr. Priebus standing just inside the open door of the Oval Office, agitated and rolling his eyes, as Mr. Trump beckons another seemingly random gaggle of aides, friends, family, visitors, reporters — even the White House decorator — in for an unstructured chat or, worst of all, policy discussions.”
“Over time, Mr. Trump bridled and demanded the unstructured time he had so valued as an executive at Trump Tower. Mr. Priebus, who initially outsourced the details of Oval Office scheduling and paper flow to a deputy, has now taken over those tasks himself. He has reduced the pace of public events and, like a Montessori teacher, modulates structured work time with the slack periods Mr. Trump craves.”
John Nichols at The Nation: “The vote by 217 House Republicans to gut the Affordable Care Act (while 20 of their colleagues and 193 Democrats opposed the move) must be remembered as the shameful abandonment of health and humanity that it is. This should become the permanent stain on every member of the House who supported it—the issue that does not to go away. House Speaker Paul Ryan and his caucus abandoned any pretense of deliberative or responsible legislating in order to deliver an empty “win” the flailing administration of President Donald Trump. […] The overwhelming majority of them cast their votes as Ryan said they should, and then they ran the gantlet—past crowds of citizens chanting “Shame! Shame! Shame!”—on their way to a White House Rose Garden “celebration” of their partisanship with Donald Trump. […] Republicans now must be identified for what they are: charlatans who would lie to Americans with cancer and heart conditions about the health care they cannot live without.”
Ryan Cooper at The Week: “The American Health Care Act is an absolute moral abomination. […] Why would Republican lawmakers do all this? So that they can massively cut taxes on the rich, of course. TrumpCare is in no meaningful sense a health-care reform bill. It is a bill to cut the taxes of the top 2 percent, paid for by taking health insurance away from poor and working-class people. (Naturally, when Republicans are done with this they’re moving on to regular old tax “reform,” where they will cut taxes on the rich even more.) […] Whether the American Health Care Act becomes law or not, in the 2018 campaign, Democrats need to hang this piece of poison around the neck of every one of the 217 Republicans who voted for it. Make them own the cruelty and carnage that is the American Health Care Act.”
David Frum: “Trump’s Republican Party may attract white working-class votes with its cultural messaging, but the excited promise of 2016 of a “working-class party” can be disregarded. The working class will be stripped of its Medicaid coverage. It will again be exposed to the worst practices of the pre-2010 healthcare status quo. The coming tax cut that will absorb the resources shifted away from healthcare subsidies looks likely to be tilted even more radically to the wealthiest in society than those of Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush. Meanwhile, the House’s next priority after Obamacare repeal and the tax cut will not be the roads and bridges that Trump promised his voters, but amendments to the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill to allow big banks to engage in riskier transactions.”
Margaret Hartmann at New York Magazine previews the battle in the Senate: “All ten red-state Senate Democrats up for reelection next year are already trashing the American Health Care Act – but not because they weren’t open to a bipartisan fix. According to Politico, they agree with Democratic leaders that the bill is so bad it’s making Obamacare more popular, and Senate Republicans have made it clear they don’t want their input. “So far the attitude’s been ‘take it or leave it’,” said Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a North Dakota Democrat. “And I think that’s not really an invitation to negotiate.” Without Democratic support Republicans can only lose two votes in the Senate, and it was clear on Thursday that the House bill had only worsened the divisions among Republican senators.”