The Open Thread for July 28, 2017

OBAMA WINS.  AGAIN.   The Senate “rejected a new, scaled-down Republican plan to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, derailing the Republicans’ seven-year campaign to dismantle President  Obama’s signature health care law and dealing a huge political setback to President Trump,” the New York Times reports.

“Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who just this week returned to the Senate after receiving a diagnosis of brain cancer, cast the decisive vote to defeat the proposal, joining two other Republicans, Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), in opposing it.”

“The 49-to-51 vote was also a humiliating setback for the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who has nurtured his reputation as a master tactician and spent the last three months trying to devise a repeal bill that could win support from members of his caucus.”

Politico: “It was a shocking — yet fitting — coda for the Senate’s health care battle, starring the veteran senator with a well-polished maverick streak who within days went from Obamacare repeal’s savior to its executioner.”

“It’s time to move on.”

— Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), quoted by the Washington Post, after his efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act collapsed.

Actually, you treasonous bigoted piece of shit, 3 Republicans and 48 Democrats protected 16 million more Americans’ healthcare. Now lets hope they work together to improve and fix ACA with cost controls and a public options and other options to shore up the exchanges and further expand Medicaid.

Reince Priebus is still the White House chief of staff and he told ABC News he intends to remain in the position, but people close to President Trump say he is increasingly frustrated with the management of the West Wing and the president’s most trusted advisers are already making suggestions about who could be the next chief of staff.

Here is a list of possible Priebus replacements being talked about:

  • White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway
  • Retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg
  • Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney
  • Retired Gen. John Kelly
  • Former Speaker Newt Gingrich

Other possibilities being bandied about include Tom Barrack, Corey Lewandowski, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Gary Cohn.

“Republicans had spent the last eight years in an unremitting struggle to prevent universal coverage from taking hold. Mitch McConnell applied irresistible pressure on Republicans in Congress not to negotiate with the Democratic majority, to the point where, when President Obama asked Republican senators what they would need to vote for a bill, they could not name anything. Republicans concocted fantastical legal cases, pressured state governments to boycott the law, ran a candidate in 2012 promising to repeal it before its coverage took hold, shut down the government in a fit of rage, spent fortunes in advertisements denouncing it, and declared it a failure when its website initially failed. That it has survived against such fanatical opposition, and committed sabotage, is a testament to the law’s strength.

That commitment to destroy the law became an albatross around the governing party’s neck. Perhaps even more than Trump’s buffoonery, the party’s relentless drive to please its activist and donor base by fulfilling the promise of repeal has broken the faith of the downscale white voters who rely on the law for their access to medical care. The repeal crusade is a fiasco of historic scope, opening the door for Democrats possibly to recapture Congress.

Health-care policy will change. The Trump administration has powerful weapons to sabotage the functioning of the markets. But the world before Obamacare will never return. Health-care reform defied progressives for decades because the uninsured were a disorganized and politically voiceless group. Obamacare has transformed the non-constituency into a constituency. Republicans have had to promise to protect them, and when they tried to break that promise, it summoned a backlash unlike anything they could have imagined. The outpouring of political organizing to save the law shocked its would-be repealers. The movement to save Obamacare takes its place among the great social causes in American history.”

Taegan Goddard: “I cannot think of a bigger political failure than the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  For more than seven years and through four election cycles, it’s been their main promise to voters. But despite controlling the House, the Senate and the White House, they couldn’t get it done.

The primary reason for their failure is that Republicans could never come up with a better bill. They had no good ideas. It’s telling that at no point in the last six months was there any effort to explain and sell a new approach to health care policy.

The second reason for their failure in the complete ineptitude of the White House. At the most critical time in the process, President Trump spent most of his time fighting with his own Attorney General. The president’s new communications director spent his time trashing the White House chief of staff.

The third reason for their failure was their cynical approach to the process. Despite claiming for years the Affordable Care Act was crafted in secret (when it was not), the Republican congressional leadership held no hearings on health care. The final Senate bill was released to the public just two hours before the vote. And the GOP leadership’s main selling point was to vote for a bill that they promised wouldn’t be passed the House but would go to conference committee instead.”


Vogue: “It was Groundhog Day, dystopia edition, yesterday morning when the president banned all transgender servicepeople from the U.S. military, unfurling yet another reversal of an historic Obama-era policy. It was another sweeping and instantly-controversial ban, and, as it’s being widely noted today, another big, fat failure for Ivanka Trump.”

“By now, though, empty words from Ivanka Trump are no longer noteworthy; they are the norm—as routine as the president’s cyberbullying (any day now with your First Lady initiative, Melania) and schmoozing from Anthony ‘The Mooch’ Scaramucci. While Ivanka is repeatedly credited as ‘having her father’s ear,’ the trans ban is just the latest in a string of defeats on what are believed to be Ivanka’s stated causes.”

Mike Allen: “Top Republicans tell us that yesterday may have been an inflection point in the West Wing meltdown — that if behavior like this continues, apparently sanctioned by the President, people will finally leave.”

“The story that they’ve been telling themselves and others, about the President growing in office, looks more and more like a fable. Instead, insiders feel the situation is getting worse.”

“White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s plan to raise the top income-tax rate for America’s highest earners could find some support among congressional Republicans as part of a populist message to sell a broader tax overhaul,” Bloomberg reports.

“Bannon supports paying for middle-class tax cuts with a new top rate of 44% for those who make more than $5 million a year, according to a person familiar with his thinking. The lawmaker, who asked not to be named because discussions are private, said the rate pitched was 42%, which would be acceptable to some conservatives, as long as it’s coupled with a low corporate rate and other changes like repealing the alternative minimum tax. The current top individual rate is 39.6%.”

President Trump “isn’t going to just let Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) no vote on Tuesday’s health care motion go,” the Alaska Dispatch News reports.

“Early Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to express displeasure with Murkowski’s vote. By that afternoon, each of Alaska’s two Republican senators had received a phone call from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke letting them know the vote had put Alaska’s future with the administration in jeopardy.”

David Nather: “If true — White House and Interior Department spokespeople didn’t respond to the paper’s requests for comment — it would be an unusually blunt retaliation for a senator’s vote. And it raises questions about whether other GOP senators will get the same treatment.”

“The Trump administration is pushing for inspections of suspicious Iranian military sites in a bid to test the strength of the nuclear deal that President Trump desperately wants to cancel,” the AP reports.

“The inspections are one element of what is designed to be a more aggressive approach to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. While the Trump administration seeks to police the existing deal more strictly, it is also working to fix what Trump’s aides have called ‘serious flaws’ in the landmark deal that — if not resolved quickly — will likely lead Trump to pull out.”

“The White House is eager to present a unified front on tax reform, but those leading the effort inside the administration haven’t been able to bridge deep fissures over how much to cut taxes and the best way to pay for it,” Politico reports.

“The White House’s top tax staffer, Shahira Knight, who works for Gary Cohn at the National Economic Council, has feuded in the last few months with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and other Treasury officials.”

“This comes as the administration and congressional leaders prepare to unveil a broad-brush tax proposal, weeks ahead of schedule, as a way to pivot from the grinding debate over health care — and to show movement on an issue significant to the business community before Congress adjourns for its August recess.”

First Read: “Accusations of incompetency can undermine even the most talented of politicians. Just ask George W. Bush (Iraq war, Hurricane Katrina) or Barack Obama (HealthCare.Gov).”

“But while the events and news over the last 24 hours seem like just another day for the Trump White House, they expose a level of dysfunction and chaos that could leave a lasting mark for a president who said back in February that he was running a ‘fine-tuned machine.’”

“The whole point of electing a businessman to become president was expecting someone to effectively run the government. But what happens when that businessman can’t run the government? That’s the significant long-term danger for Trump and his administration.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham sent a sharp warning to President Trump that it “could be the beginning of the end” of his presidency if he makes moves to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, Politico reports.

“The military’s policy permitting transgender individuals to serve remains in place, the country’s highest military officer said, clarifying some of the confusion surrounding President Trump’s announcement on Twitter that transgender people would no longer be accepted or allowed in the military,” according to the New York Times.

“In a letter to the military service chiefs, Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the policy on who is allowed to serve will not change until the White House sends the Defense Department a rules change and the secretary of defense issues new guidelines.”

All this news and I didn’t even touch the Scaramucci thing.

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

12 comments on “The Open Thread for July 28, 2017

  1. I love the Mooch… but I think he only lasts a few weeks. His insanity ALMOST out-dicks Drumpf’s. Dear Leader wont be able to stand someone else getting the credit.

    • I kinda agree, but Mooch is behaving exactly how Trump wants. Not to mention, Trump needs all the allies he can get. So… my bet is he lasts a bit longer than 3 weeks. Who knows.

    • meatball

      Plus, what better way to desensitize from crazy then by adding more crazy.

  2. Obama Wins Again?? It’s a shame this is what DD thinks, this is all about.Not insurance, not the people, BUT Obama! The system is broken, we should have competition, across state lines. The ACA was designed to fail, from the beginning!
    Remember: An architect of the federal healthcare law said last year that a “lack of transparency” and the “stupidity of the American voter” helped Congress approve ObamaCare.

    That is the problem with Dems; your living in the past, Obama had his time!

    • Not one supporter of the ACA said it was perfect. All of us said it needed fixes. What should have been done – and what Dems kept proposing since its passage – is to fix the problems in the ACA. Republicans, ever gleeful, said no to the improvements. The law needs to be tweaked, not gutted.

      And the idea of selling across state lines is a race to the bottom without the national essential benefits. The states that would offer lowered standards would be where insurance companies would base themselves. Yep, a race to the bottom.

      The problem with you, Anono, is that you do not understand how health insurance works.

    • delacrat

      “The system is broken, we should have competition, across state lines.” – anono

      We don’t need competition, we need Medicare-For-All.

  3. “That is the problem with Dems; your living in the past,”

    Is there a word for “stupidity combined with unintended hypocrisy”? If not, this sentence shows why we need one.

  4. @pandora: Continuing yesterday’s open thread here:

    What then should we do? What’s the best message?

    I think that’s impossible to answer until we figure out what it is we want done.

    As you know Congressional Democrats unveiled “A Better Deal” the other day in a clunky, old-school media event. It got about the coverage you’d expect: perfunctory. It was as exciting as a ribbon-cutting at a new government building.

    The emerging political style is about fire and passion. People react to Sanders and Warren as much because they speak with real fervor (or fake it well) as because of their positions on issues (ditto, or especially, Trump). The party’s problem is that the issues they speak with passion about are anathema to the party’s business-friendly power structure. I don’t hear Corey Booker or Chuck Schumer calling for prosecution of Wall Streeters. I don’t hear Joe Biden railing against the military-industrial complex. I don’t hear Tom Carper calling for lower prescription costs.

    Too many of the Democratic rank and file seem willing to overlook this state of affairs by calling it “centrism,” as if being liberal on some issues and conservative on others is the same as taking a centrist point on everything. Others overlook it as the “price of getting things done,” citing the need for money “to compete.”

    To the uninterested/independent voter, this all amounts to support for the status quo, which in a sense is true — Democrats are for the status quo because Republicans are offering something worse.

    But that’s not a persuasive argument to people who want change, and a large segment of Democrats want change, in a wide range of areas both social and economic.

    What do these positions have in common? Equality.

    I think Democrats should swipe the “=” sign from the LGBTQ community and redo it bigger, in stars and stripes red, white and blue. Not even the word “equality” is necessary, but you can do the word the same way.

    Here’s the thing: Republicans don’t believe in equality, but this slogan puts them in a bad position, for who can publicly say that? That’s a direct contradiction of American law, before which all humans are equal, as well as the Golden Rule.

    That’s my idea, which is worth every penny you paid for it.

    • cassandram

      The biggest problem with the A Better Deal was that it was not complete. Schumer himself said that they would be rolling out other aspects of this thing over some months and that means that no one knows where they are still.

      Rolling out policy won’t mean much if they don’t get the politics right first. I *am* encouraged by the willingness to break up newly formed monopolies and stopping mergers that won’t mean much for consumers. It is a signal that they are ready to confront some of their funders. But the first thing they need to embrace is that so many Americans suffer from some economic insecurity. Whether it is inadequate minimum wages and employers that will screw around with your hours to improve their daily P&L, or medical insurance that is out of your reach, or you are subject to the whims of the gig economy, or stretching to pay for college for kids or still upside down on a house or looking at a future where you won’t be able to retire or…..MAJORITIES of Americans are living with some level of economic insecurity and POLITICS that recognizes that and puts its thumb on the scale to rebalance the economy towards an American worker is what is the only thing anyone wants to hear from people who are governing.

      There’s just a handful of things you need to work on, really:
      1) Medicare for All
      2) Raise taxes on capital
      3) Eliminate the cap on Social Security taxes
      4) Repeal Citizens’ United
      5) Spend on infrastructure and on education
      6) A Business Flat Tax — 15% and wipe out all of the deductions and the subsidies

      All of these items are in the service of stabilizing the finances of Americans, putting more of the government back into regular people’s hands and in employment. Obviously, more can be done, but you can say these things in a Cable TV interview pretty easily and this would make sense.

      Democrats are routinely accused of putting their fingers in the wind to see where everyone is going before deciding what their position should be. I wish they would do this now. There are majorities of us who would support a great deal of this and it is the job of Democrats (IMO) to get in front of the band that is already playing this tune. They have to talk now about what government would look like if they were in charge.

      But if they aren’t going to start by understanding how distressed most of us are (and for different reasons, circumstances) and abandoning previous politics that helped to get us here, it is going to be hard for them to capitalize on what should be a favorable board.

  5. @ Alby. “until we figure out what it is we want done.” That is the Dems and Repub’s problem. WHY can’t people just work together. I know you can’t please everyone, but a common ground should be the goal!

  6. “Health insurance in this country is overly burdened by regulations that raise costs without providing value for many consumers.”

    • You’ve cited a conservative think tank which is advocating for basically junk insurance by eliminating essential health benefits. These plans could be sold cheaply because they wouldn’t have to cover hospitalization, emergency room visits, chemotherapy, pregnancy, blood tests, etc.. When you don’t cover these things you aren’t selling health insurance. You are bringing back medical bankruptcy, tho.

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