Open Thread

The Open Thread for June 29, 2017

The New York Times reports that the President doesn’t know what is in his bill: “A senator who supports the bill left the meeting at the White House with a sense that the president did not have a grasp of some basic elements of the Senate plan — and seemed especially confused when a moderate Republican complained that opponents of the bill would cast it as a massive tax break for the wealthy, according to an aide who received a detailed readout of the exchange.” “Mr. Trump said he planned to tackle tax reform later, ignoring the repeal’s tax implications, the staff member added.”

The Washington Post reports that Republicans just don’t fear Donald anymore: “Trump had hoped for a swift and easy win on health care this week. Instead he got a delay and a return to the negotiating table — the latest reminder of the limits of his power to shape outcomes at the opposite end of Pennsylvania Avenue.”

“History suggests that presidents who have governed successfully have been both revered and feared. But Republican fixtures in Washington are beginning to conclude that Trump may be neither, despite his mix of bravado, threats and efforts to schmooze with GOP lawmakers.”

“The president is the leader of his party, yet Trump has struggled to get Republican lawmakers moving in lockstep on health care and other major issues, leaving no signature legislation in his first five months in office.”

Playbook: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, one of the steadiest and most reliable leaders and vote counters Washington has seen, did the unthinkable and rattled his ranks. The Kentucky Republican had told lawmakers there would be a vote this week on health care, but instead — just as Speaker Paul Ryan was forced to do three months ago — decided to delay voting on the package after it was clear that GOP opposition to the health care package was stronger than expected.”

“McConnell has been impervious to the types of problems Ryan faces on a weekly — and sometimes daily — basis. His decision to delay voting on a bill is a sign he couldn’t, or didn’t want to expend the political capital to get it done before the July 4th break. It’s unclear what he can do to change the calculus among the growing bloc of senators unwilling to vote for the bill.”

Mike Allen: “McConnell’s reputation for the inside game is such that Republicans assume he must have something up his sleeve. One top Republican alumnus put the bill’s chances of coming back at 15%. But then as he continued to muse, he doubled it to 30% just because of the McConnell factor.”

I don’t disagree with this.  Just so long as these rallies are not all about Bernie.

Washington Post: “Replacing Obamacare has become the party’s albatross, a sprawling objective still in search of a solution. The effort to make good on a seven-year promise has cost the Trump administration precious months of its first year in office, with tax restructuring backed up somewhere in the legislative pipeline, infrastructure idling somewhere no one can see it and budget deadlines looming.”

Politico: “It will be fraught with danger while trying to balance out the demands of senators from Medicaid expansion states and hard-line conservatives looking to gut Obamacare as much as possible. And his decision to delay the bill also carries great political risk because it draws out the Obamacare fight at least a couple more weeks. But he’s decided it’s a risk worth taking.”  “The episode was a stunning twist in the GOP’s long-running saga to roll back Obamacare.”

New York Times: “The majority leader — already rankled by Mr. Trump’s tweets goading him to change Senate rules to scuttle Democratic filibusters — called the White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, to complain that the attacks were ‘beyond stupid,’ according to two Republicans with knowledge of the tense exchange.”

“Mr. McConnell, who has been toiling for weeks, mostly in private, to put together a measure that would satisfy hard-liners and moderates, told Mr. Priebus in his call that the assault by the group, America First, not only jeopardized the bill’s prospects but also imperiled Mr. Heller’s already difficult path to re-election.”

A new Morning Consult survey on the state of the two political parties finds that millennials are the least likely age group to say the Democratic Party cares about them. As the chart below shows, at least 80% of Democrats in each age group thinks that the party cares about people like them with one exception – just 73% of voters age 18 to 29.  One possible explanation? Young Democrats are also the most likely age group to say the party isn’t liberal enough, with 29% saying so.

Jonathan Chait says a bipartisan bill on healthcare could be the thing to save the Republican Party.  So why doesn’t McConnell do it?

“A Washington Post story about the relationship between Trump and McConnell sheds some light on their shared determination to pass a Republican-only law. “Their antipathy for Democrats and hunger for victory,” the Post reports, “rather than ideology or a personal connection, is what unites them, those close to them say.”

For McConnell to compromise with Democrats and patch up the system would be for him to surrender the anti-Obamacare crusade on which he embarked in 2009 and from which he has never wavered. He may simply have too much pride and anger invested in the fight to give it up now. But he and his party — especially colleagues in the House — are going to pay a dear price for his monomaniacal hatred of a now-popular law.”

A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds just 17% of those surveyed say they approve of the Senate’s health care plan while 55% say they disapprove and 24% said they hadn’t heard enough about the proposal to have an opinion on it.

A new Quinnipiac poll finds just 16% of Americans approve of the Republican health care plan to replace Obamacare, while 58% disapprove.  If a lawmaker votes for the Republican plan, 46% of voters are less likely to support their reelection, with 17% more likely and 33% who say the health care vote won’t matter in their decision.

A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds that just 37% of Americans approve of the job President Trump is doing, while 51% disapprove.

Key finding: “The most pronounced swing the poll found was among independents. Over the past four months, their approval of the president has dissipated. In February, 40% of independents said they approved of the job Trump was doing, with 51% disapproving. Four months later in June, just 31% say they approve of the president with 59% of independents disapproving — a 17 point net-negative drop.”

A new USA Today/Suffolk poll finds just 12% of of Americans approve of the Senate Republican health care plan. Meanwhile, a 53% majority say Congress should either leave Obamacare alone or work to fix its problems while keeping its framework intact.

“Top GOP officials and senators say White House chaos and impulsiveness are crippling efforts to expand the Republican Senate majority in 2018, unraveling long-laid plans and needlessly jeopardizing incumbents,” Politico reports.

“There’s a widespread sense of exasperation with the president, interviews with nearly two dozen senior Republicans reveal, and deep frustration with an administration they believe doesn’t fully grasp what it will take to preserve the narrow majority or add to it.”

Ryan Lizza: “The GOP has adopted a major—even radical—agenda: transforming a massive sector of the economy, slashing taxes and rewriting the entire tax code, passing a budget that would dramatically reduce the size of government, and, in the middle of all of that, raising the debt limit. They have a plan to accomplish almost all of it before the end of the year, with minimal transparency, and without relying on a single Democratic vote. But if health-care reform goes down this summer, the rest of the plan may sink with it.”

“For obscure parliamentary reasons, Republicans can’t move on with the rest of their wish list until they pass the health-care bill. And those prospects are not looking good.”

“Paul Manafort, who was forced out as President Trump’s campaign chairman last summer after five months of infighting and criticism about his business dealings with pro-Russian interests, disclosed Tuesday that his consulting firm had received more than $17 million over two years from a Ukrainian political party with links to the Kremlin,” the New York Times reports.

“The filing serves as a retroactive admission that Mr. Manafort performed work in the United States on behalf of a foreign power — Ukraine’s Party of Regions — without disclosing it at the time, as required by law.”

The Trump administration has taken little meaningful action to prevent Russian hacking, leaking and disruption in the next national election in 2018, despite warnings from intelligence officials that it will happen again,” officials and experts told NBC News.

“According to recent Congressional testimony, Trump has shown no interest in the question of how to prevent future election interference by Russia or another foreign power. Former FBI Director James Comey told senators that Trump never asked him about how to stop a future Russian election cyber attack, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who sits on the National Security Council, testified that he has not received a classified briefing on Russian election interference.”

“Dozens of state officials told NBC News they have received little direction from Washington about election security.”

Congressional Budget Office: “Although premiums have been rising under current law, most subsidized enrollees purchasing health insurance coverage in the nongroup market are largely insulated from increases in premiums because their out-of-pocket payments for premiums are based on a percentage of their income; the government pays the difference between that percentage and the premiums for a reference plan… Nevertheless, a small number of people live in areas of the country that have limited participation by insurers in the nongroup market under current law.”

Jeffrey Toobin looks at how the National Enquirer and CEO David Pecker have embraced President Trump with “sycophantic zeal.”

“Pecker is now considering expanding his business: he may bid to take over the financially strapped magazines of Time, Inc., which include TimePeople, and Fortune… Pecker would almost certainly direct those magazines, and the journalists who work for them, to advance the interests of the President and to damage those of his opponents.”

James Hohmann: “Mitch McConnell miscalculated. The Senate majority leader believed that the blowback for keeping his health-care bill secret would be less than the blowback for negotiating it in public.”

“But the Kentuckian misread the degree to which members of his own conference wanted a seat at the table. With little margin for error, he also had too much confidence in his ability to hammer out a compromise that could win over both hardliners who want full repeal and moderates who want to protect Medicaid expansion…”

“Another consequence of the secretive process is that almost no Republican senators have been out there trying to sell the bill – to the public or to each other. Dozens of GOP lawmakers who privately planned to vote for the motion to proceed today made a public show of saying that they were undecided and still studying the proposal. They avoided local reporters and put out opaque statements that gave themselves plenty of wiggle room, as they waited to see how things shook out. This meant that almost no Republicans put out statements defending the measure on Monday night when the Congressional Budget Office announced that millions of fewer Americans would have insurance if it passes. That ensured one-sided coverage in the press, which in turn made it even harder for members to justify supporting the bill.”

“The Congressional Budget Office projects that if the Senate Republicans’ health care bill becomes law, 14 million Americans will lose their health insurance in 2018, and, by 2026, 22 million would lose coverage,” Vox reports.

“Drawing on that work, we estimate that if the Senate bill becomes law, 22,900 excess deaths will occur in 2020 — and the figure will grow over time. 26,500 extra deaths will take place in 2026. Over the next decade, we estimate that a total of 208,500 unnecessary deaths will occur if the law is passed.”

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

7 comments on “The Open Thread for June 29, 2017

  1. Ladies and gentlemen, our President’s latest tweets:

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 37m37 minutes ago

    I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came..

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump

    …to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!

    Not sure there’s anything to add to that.

    • Brian Stephan

      I think this response from MSNBC’s head of PR is worth adding:

  2. fixation on various ways blood oozes from females…

  3. mikem2784

    I used to ask the question, “what is he trying to distract us from now?” but the reality is he is just an impulsive child who was having a temper tantrum because someone said something critical of him.

    • Yeah, no, there is no 11th Dimensional Chess here. He is just an petty insecure narcissist who hates women and cannot stomach any mocking of himself by a woman. He went off after Mika and Joe were mocking him over his fake Time Magazine cover.

  4. Don’t forget, Melania has pledged to fight online-bullying as First Lady.

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