An evidently frustrated President Donald Trump went on another signature tweetstorm all day long on Saturday, threatening to end federal subsidies for health insurance that benefits both the poorest Americans and members of Congress. After a week in which the Senate Republican majority pointedly failed to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, Trump tweeted that if a new bill isn’t approved “quickly” then “BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!”
David Nather: “The other part of President Trump’s tweet this morning that will get a lot of attention from members of Congress: he hinted he might overturn an Obama-era rule that allows members of Congress and their staffers to get subsidies for their health insurance, which they have to get through an Affordable Care Act health exchange. That’s what he meant by ‘BAILOUTS for Members of Congress.’”
“The ACA requires members of Congress and their staffs to get health coverage through its exchanges, but it was never clear on whether they should get subsidies to pay for most of their premiums, the way employers pay for most of their workers’ health premiums. The Obama administration issued a rule that allowed them to get those subsidies — because if it hadn’t, members of Congress worried that talented staffers would leave rather than pay the full cost of the premiums.”
Martin Longman says Trump’s real crises are coming: “As I’ve been saying, the real problems haven’t hit yet. Wait until the Republicans discover that they can’t raise the debt ceiling and the country is about to default on its debts and cause a global recession. Wait until the Republicans can’t pass a budget or can’t pass a continuing resolution and the government shuts down. Or, more accurately, watch what happens to the party when its leaders need to go to the Democrats for help and get no help or cover from a White House that has no understanding of practical reality. Wait until we’re asked to follow Trump’s leadership during a crisis on the Korean peninsula or he inadvertently starts a crisis there by making careless tweets.
The failures so far have been spectacular, but they’re just the warm up act. The real consequences are just on the horizon, and all queued up to hit us between Labor Day and Halloween.”
America's democracy is in shambles, just as in the pre-Civil War period. Similar alliance instigating problems. https://t.co/R44nlXDrBd
— Maximilien Guerrero (@Centurion480) July 30, 2017
President Trump “enters a new phase of his presidency on Monday with a new chief of staff but an old set of challenges as he seeks to get back on course after enduring one of the worst weeks that any modern occupant of the Oval Office has experienced in his inaugural year in power,” the New York Times reports.
“The shake-up followed a week that saw the bombastic, with-me-or-against-me president defied as never before by Washington and its institutions, including Republicans in Congress, his own attorney general, the uniformed military leadership, police officers and even the Boy Scouts. No longer daunted by a president with a Twitter account that he uses like a Gatling gun, members of his own party made clear that they were increasingly willing to stand against him on issues like health care and Russia.”
Amazing analysis – stick with it to the end. Chilling. https://t.co/REF3r38hM9
— Tweet L. Dee (@geekteach65) July 30, 2017
Anthony Scaramucci’s wife demanded a divorce three weeks ago, while she was nine months pregnant, sources told the New York Post.
“Deidre Scaramucci, 38, fed up with her three-year marriage to the new White House communication director, filed divorce papers on July 6… On Monday, while Anthony was in West Virginia with President Trump for the Boy Scouts Jamboree, Deidre gave birth to the couple’s baby boy James. As of Friday evening, a full four days after delivery, her 53-year-old husband had yet to meet his newborn son.”
Boston Globe: “The Republican-controlled Congress is in a tailspin of unproductivity, and that’s even before the Senate GOP’s failure last week to pass a long-promised repeal of the Affordable Care Act. By almost every objective measure — especially compared with 2009, the last time one party had control of the White House and both congressional chambers — it is off to a dismal start.”
“Not only have lawmakers been unable to notch major accomplishments on health care or tax reform, but there are also fewer votes, fewer nominees confirmed, and fewer bills passed.”
On health care, Republicans didn't just lack a plan. They lacked a plan to come up with a plan. https://t.co/AJfendULCK
— Peter Suderman (@petersuderman) July 28, 2017
Peggy Noonan: “The president’s primary problem as a leader is not that he is impetuous, brash or naive. It’s not that he is inexperienced, crude, an outsider. It is that he is weak and sniveling. It is that he undermines himself almost daily by ignoring traditional norms and forms of American masculinity.”
“He’s not strong and self-controlled, not cool and tough, not low-key and determined; he’s whiny, weepy and self-pitying. He throws himself, sobbing, on the body politic. He’s a drama queen. It was once said, sarcastically, of George H.W. Bush that he reminded everyone of her first husband. Trump must remind people of their first wife. Actually his wife, Melania, is tougher than he is with her stoicism and grace, her self-discipline and desire to show the world respect by presenting herself with dignity.”
Politico: “Trump, increasingly impatient with the long-stalled repeal effort, met with three Senate Republicans about a new plan to roll back the health care law on Friday, signaling some lawmakers — as well as the president — are not ready to ditch their seven-year campaign promise.”
“The group is trying to write legislation that could get 50 Republican votes… The proposal from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) would block grant federal health care funding to the states and keep much of Obamacare’s tax regime… White House officials also met with House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) to brainstorm how to make the idea palatable to conservatives.”
Stan Collender: “The legislative effort on health care may be barely breathing, but it’s definitely still alive. Contrary to the common wisdom that developed after the Affordable Care Act repeal and replace effort failed last week, the Senate still has the opportunity if it wants to revive the debate and pass something.”
Ryan-Priebus ally to me: next phase of Trump presidency will be warfare against GOP Congress
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) July 28, 2017
The Wall Street Journal editorial page lets loose on President Trump: “Presidents get the White House operations they want, and Mr. Trump has a chaotic mess because he seems to like it. He likes pitting faction against faction, as if his advisers are competing casino operators from his Atlantic City days. But a presidential Administration is a larger undertaking than a family business, and the infighting and competing leaks have created a dysfunctional White House.
The reason Mr. Priebus wasn’t as effective as he could have been is because Mr. Trump wouldn’t listen to him and wouldn’t let him establish a normal decision-making process. Mr. Trump has a soft spot for military men so perhaps he’ll listen more to Mr. Kelly. He’d better, because on present course his Presidency is careening toward a historic reputation where names like Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon reside.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told CNN that it’s “hard for me to believe” that once the Trump campaign said it wanted help from the Russian lawyer “that the meeting was one-and-done.”
Said Graham: “The likelihood that that was the last contact needs to be looked into because the Trump campaign expressed a desire to be helped.”
Here's the moment the crowd outside the Capitol learned Republicans didn't have the votes. pic.twitter.com/vawKkdygoY
— Emma Roller (@emmaroller) July 28, 2017
In announcing his ban on transgender people in the military, President Trump said that taxpayers “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.
Except that USA Today points out that trans troops don’t really cost that much: “A report for the Pentagon last year found that transition-related care would cost between about $2.4 and $8.4 million per year — less than 0.14% of the military’s medical budget. That’s roughly the cost of four of Trump’s trips to Mar-A-Lago.”
Brookings: “As of the end of June, 209 Democratic challengers had registered with the FEC and raised at least $5,000. That more than doubled the previous high mark since 2003. In 2009, the Republicans had 78 challengers with at least $5,000. The early GOP challengers in 2009 foreshadowed the party’s regaining majority control. The question is whether the same will hold true for the Democrats in 2018.”
“The number of challengers at six months is truly remarkable. And the candidates are not simply bunching up in a few primaries. Yes, there is some doubling up: six Democrats have filed so far against John Faso in New York’s 19th congressional district. But there is also a good spread. So far, 105 different Republican incumbents have Democratic challengers with $5,000.”
‘Medicare for All” is a simple enough rallying cry for Democrats and progressives, in that many voters likely associate it with a single-payer system. But actually, that’s not the case, as Ed Kilgore explains in his post, “Why ‘Medicare for All’ Is a Misleading Term for Single-Payer Health Care” at New York: “Medicare is by design an “acute care” program. It does not cover long-term hospital stays or nursing-home care, and excludes some routine care (e.g., dental and vision care). Presumably a single-payer program designed to replace all or most private insurance would be more comprehensive than Medicare. Perhaps more importantly, from a political point of view, Medicare is neither free nor easy for beneficiaries,” since parts A, B, C and D have substantial out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries. “The more you look at it,” writes Kilgore, “the more “Medicare for all” is, well, misleading. And it is politically perilous to mislead people about sweeping new health-care programs…Maybe it’s time for single-payer advocates to place less emphasis on alleged simplicity, and more on health care as a right that Americans should enjoy universally and equally. It might avoid some hard feelings down the road.”
Kind of forgotten right now: Dem senators in states Trump won by landslides stayed w Schumer on the ACA, w no political backlash.
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) July 28, 2017