The Open Thread for May 25, 2017

The CBO finds that the health-care bill that passed the House would leave 23 million more Americans uninsured by 2026, the Washington Post reports.  “The new estimate, which reflects a series of last-minute revisions Republicans made in order to win over several conservative lawmakers and a handful of moderates, calculates that the American Health Care Act will reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion between 2017 and 2026.”

Bloomberg: “The CBO said in its projection that more people will get insurance but that the coverage under those plans would be less generous. In some cases, people would use tax credits under the law to buy plans that don’t cover major medical risks.”

David Nather: “But CBO is warning Congress that the latest changes — letting states opt out of two of the ACA’s main insurance regulations — could ruin the insurance markets in those states even if they make insurance cheaper for healthy people.”

New York Times: “The new report from the budget office is sure to influence Republican senators, who are writing their own version of the legislation behind closed doors.”

David Nather: “You have to try pretty hard to find good news for the Republicans in the Congressional Budget Office report on the final House health care bill. Individual insurance premiums would go down in the long term — with some pretty important exceptions — and the House might not have to vote again. And that’s about it.”

New York Times: “The CBO published its assessment of the House health bill on Wednesday, and warned that a last-minute amendment made to win conservative votes would result in deeply dysfunctional markets for about a sixth of the population. In those places, insurance would fail to cover important medical services, and people with pre-existing illnesses could be shut out of coverage, the budget office said.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told Reuters that he “has yet to hit upon a formula for repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a new healthcare program.” Said McConnell: “I don’t know how we get to 50 votes at the moment. But that’s the goal.”

He declined to provide any timetable for producing even a draft bill to show to rank-and-file Republican senators and gauge their support.

The House of Representatives will join the Senate in slapping subpoenas on Michael Flynn, Politico reports.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) also said the committee was now receiving responses to requests for information from other witnesses. He declined to name those witnesses but said the committee ‘may be sending out subpoenas in tranches.’”

Axios: “Both the House and the Senate committees’ continued efforts to subpoena Flynn suggest that they’re not giving up on this just yet. And that’s further reflected in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s subpoenas from yesterday that targeted Flynn’s businesses, which they believed couldn’t be protected by the Fifth Amendment.”

Nate Silver: “There’s been a considerable decline in the number of Americans who strongly approve of Trump, from a peak of around 30 percent in February to just 21 or 22 percent of the electorate now. (The decline in Trump’s strong approval ratings is larger than the overall decline in his approval ratings, in fact.) Far from having unconditional love from his base, Trump has already lost almost a third of his strong support.”

“And voters who strongly disapprove of Trump outnumber those who strongly approve of him by about a 2-to-1 ratio, which could presage an ‘enthusiasm gap’ that works against Trump at the midterms. The data suggests, in particular, that the GOP’s initial attempt (and failure) in March to pass its unpopular health care bill may have cost Trump with his core supporters.”

A new Quinnipiac poll finds American voters believe that President Trump is abusing the powers of his office by a 54% to 43% margin.  He also has a dismal 37% to 55% approval rating.

Meanwhile, voter opinions of most of Trump’s personal qualities remain negative:

  • 59% say he is not honest;
  • 57% say he does not have good leadership skills;
  • 56% say he does not care about average Americans;
  • 65% say that he is not level-headed;
  • 62% say that he does not share their values.

A Quinnipiac poll from late March found that 54% of Republicans oppose cutting Medicaid.   A Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll shows that 42% of Trump voters — and 51% of people who approve of Trump — say Medicaid “is somewhat or very important to them and their families.” Just 24% of Trump voters and 20% of people who approve of Trump want to decrease spending on Medicaid, while majorities of both want to keep it the same and many more want to increase it.

Greg Sargent calls it a massive scam: “There are numerous Trump lies being forced out into the open right now. Trump claimed he would not touch Medicaid and simultaneously that he’d repeal Obamacare and replace it with something better for all. It was a lie for Trump to claim he wouldn’t touch Medicaid; it was a lie to suggest preserving Medicaid and repealing Obamacare were compatible; it was a lie to claim that his repeal-and-replace plan would result in better coverage for everybody. If anything, the White House’s justifications only throw the scale and audacity of these intertwined scams, lies and betrayals into even sharper relief.”

Trump and the GOP will be committing political suicide if they cut Medicaid by either passing their budgets or Trumpcare.

“Just days before taking office, President Trump promised to donate all profits earned from foreign governments back to the United States Treasury to avoid the appearance of impropriety.”

“But MSNBC has learned the Trump Organization  is not tracking all possible payments it receives from foreign governments, according to new admissions by Trump representatives.  By failing to track all foreign payments it receives, the company will be hard-pressed to meet Trump’s pledge to donate foreign profits, and could even increase its legal exposure.”

“Campaign spending in Montana’s U.S. House race is surging in the final days with significant amounts placed on getting out the vote,” the Helena Independent Record reports.

“Campaign spending has surged deep into record territory, with at least $17 million flowing into the race from the campaigns and outside groups hoping to influence the nationally watched contest. Republicans are significantly outspending Democrats, according to donation and expenditure reports filed in the last weeks of the campaign.”

Roll Call:”We’ve changed our ratings in 19 races, including adding nine GOP-held seats to the list of competitive races and dropping one Democratic seat… after the Republicans’ best potential candidate declined to run.”

“That means Republicans are now defending 39 seats on the list of competitive races compared to just 14 currently held by Democrats. That disparity isn’t as large as prior to the 2010 elections when Democrats were defending 100 competitive seats and Republicans just nine, but just as it’s possible for the Republicans’ electoral prospects to improve, they could also get much worse.”

On Tuesday night, the Democrats unexpectedly won two state legislative special elections in deep red districts that Trump carried in November by large margins.  The seat in New Hampshire was a major upset, but the seat on Long Island was an earthquake:

In New Hampshire, Democrat Edie DesMarais defeated Republican Matthew Plache by a 52-48 margin in the state House’s 6th Carroll District, a seat Donald Trump won 51-44 last fall. Meanwhile, in the New York Assembly’s 9th District, Democrat Christine Pellegrino beat Republican Thomas Gargiulo 58-42, even though Trump romped to a 60-37 victory there in November.

This means that DesMarais moved the needle 11 points in the Democratic direction while Pellegrino did the same by an astounding 39 points. And while these are the first two seats to actually change hands since Trump’s election, Democrats have consistently outperformed the 2016 presidential results in special elections across the country.

David Wasserman: “The results of individual special elections… can’t always foretell what will happen in the next high-stakes midterm. Each district presents its own unique set of variables, like flawed candidates or dreadfully unpopular governors.”

“But taken collectively, the margins in specials can tell us a good deal about the political environment — and it’s looking really bad for Republicans.”

“So far, between KS-04 and GA-06, Democrats are outperforming their ‘generic’ mark by an average of 9.5 points. That’s really, really bad for Republicans.”

Politico: “It’s a recurring nightmare of a pattern for Republicans around the country, as traditional GOP strongholds prove more difficult and expensive for the party to hold than it ever anticipated when President Donald Trump plucked House members like Ryan Zinke, the former Montana Republican now running the Interior Department, for his Cabinet. Gianforte is still favored to keep the seat red, but a state Trump carried by 20 percentage points last year became a battleground in the past few months.”

Byron York: “Now, rather than focusing on alleged collusion, the thrust of leaks in recent days has been directed almost exclusively toward building a case of obstruction of justice against the president, charging that he actively tried to derail the investigation into his campaign and his associates. More and more, day after day, Trump’s adversaries believe that, when it comes to bringing down the president, it might not matter if collusion occurred or not. A cover-up would be enough to do the job.”

“The Trump-Russia case could become the ultimate illustration of the old Washington saying that it’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up. In this case, there might be no underlying crime at all.”

Dan Primack: “Budget projections are a specious business by their nature, as no one can accurately predict the nation’s next decade of economic fortunes. Let alone all of the legislative assumptions required, such as the future of healthcare, the specifics of tax reform, etc. Moreover, White House budget requests have a habit of being ignored by Congress. But this double-count is a big unforced error.”

“Trump’s budget anticipates around $2.06 trillion in extra federal revenue over the next decade, based on the aforementioned increase in economic growth. That new money then would be used to offset Trump’s proposed tax cuts, as the Administration previously said that the tax cuts would be revenue-neutral. Unfortunately, that same $2 trillion also is earmarked for closing budget gap. I tried to come up with a household analogy here, but they were all just too ridiculous. Only in D.C. can someone present this sort of math with a straight face.”

Jonathan Swan: “Republican leaders are coming to the bleak conclusion they will end summer and begin the fall with ZERO significant legislative accomplishments. Privately, they realize it’s political malpractice to blow at least the the first nine of months of all Republican rule, but also realize there’s little they can do to avoid the dismal outcome.”

“In fact, they see the next four months as MORE troublesome than the first four. They’re facing terrible budget choices and headlines, the painful effort to re-work the healthcare Rubik’s Cube in the House (presuming it makes it out of the Senate), a series of special-election scares (or losses) — all with scandal-mania as the backdrop.”

Benjamin Wittes, a friend of ousted FBI Director James Comey, told CNN that if he were President Trump he would be scared of Comey’s pending testimony before the Senate. Said Wittes: “I found it interesting and very telling that he declined any opportunity to tell his story in private. This is a guy with a story to tell.” He added: “I have no doubt that he regarded the group of people around the President as dishonorable.”

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

1 comment on “The Open Thread for May 25, 2017

  1. The Republicans would see you dead for a tax cut for a rich man, it sums up their approach to healthcare perfectly and they don’t even try to hide it. I’m expecting more damage to the party as Americans take a look at round three of the rolling disaster we call The AHCA, or more rightly Trumpcare, and reject it in disgust at what the Republicans want to do to us. Hard not to notice the hammer falls heavy on the same old people who always vote Republican, perhaps they’ll wake up this time.

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