The Open Thread for September 7, 2017

President Trump and congressional leaders “agreed to increase the debt limit and fund the government until mid-December, after the president sided with Democratic leaders over reluctant Republicans on a deal that would set up a fiscal showdown for year’s end,” the New York Times reports.

Washington Post: “The president’s decision, confirmed by Republicans, came barely an hour after Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) panned the idea of a brief debt hike, accusing Democrats of ‘playing politics’ with much needed Harvey relief by trying to create pressure for their agenda. Democrats believe this extension into December would increase their leverage on Republicans to secure stabilization funds for health-care markets and resolve the legal status of undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.”

Said one Republican to Axios: “Dems bluffed their way into total victory. They win the politics of DACA and leverage on debt in the winter. The fate is sealed – DACA will be reauthorized without strings, Schumer has inserted himself into all negotiations in the winter, including tax, spending and immigration.”

Also, this is why Nancy Pelosi is still our leader.  It is because she is good, and knows what she is doing.   Meanwhile, her Berniecrat opponent in Ohio’s Tim Ryan is supporting Trump’s corporate tax cuts.

REPUBLICANS ARE FURIOUS. President Trump’s stunning deal with Democrats to extend the debt ceiling and keep the government open for three months — along with funding for a hurricane relief package — has really angered Republicans.  Politico says they are “seething”:

“Trump’s deal with Democrats doesn’t appear to help Republicans at all. While it averts a fall government shutdown and a default on the nation’s debt until at least December, it also emboldens Democrats to push for immigration changes or spending priorities without giving an inch to the right.

Congress will likely have to strike a major bipartisan fiscal deal in December to raise the debt ceiling long term and keep the government open for the remainder of fiscal 2018. And Republican lawmakers on both sides of the Capitol complained Wednesday that Trump probably just undercut leadership in those future negotiations, making it even harder for them to secure legislative wins.”

Jonathan Swan: “One top Republican described the move to me as the legislative equivalent of giving an entire stockpile of weapons to Democrats and inviting them to take the entire Republican Party hostage. Republicans are in a state of shock.”

“Sources inside and close to leadership have used the full range of expletives in text messages reacting to what Trump did this morning.”

“When the debt ceiling and government funding bills expire in December, Democrats will have all the leverage, because Republicans can’t pass a CR or debt ceiling without Democratic votes. That will also force Republicans to support a funding bill that legalizes the protection of illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children (the DACA program that Trump says he’ll end in six months if Congress doesn’t act.)”

The Fix: “It’s beginning to get ridiculous for GOP leaders. That bargain they struck with Trump was always a tenuous and uneasy one, and he’s now openly violating it.”

WHY DID TRUMP DO IT?  The Daily Beast reports: “Multiple West Wing sources told The Daily Beast how the president was looking to strike a quick and easy deal—and that his speed reaching this specific arrangement was in part ensured by his resentment towards Republican leaders, who Trump views as hostile, insufficiently loyal, and impotent. It was well-known within the White House that President Trump, going into the meeting, was “not looking to do [Ryan and McConnell] any favors,” as one White House official put it.

Simply put, the president made a “deliberate decision not to care about Ryan’s feelings” and did what he wanted, another White House adviser said.

“I think it was calculated, in his unique way. Republicans can’t get anything done, so maybe the other side will,” a senior Trump administration official said of the deal, which will forestall a government shutdown until mid-December and allow the government to continue borrowing money until around the same time. “At the very least,” the administration official added, “it says, ‘don’t take me for granted.’”

Trump really does not belong the Republican Party.  He has no conservative per se ideology. Sure, he is a racist, an authoritarian monster, a fascist, a tax cutter and a misogynist like most Republicans.  But those qualities are what endeared Republicans to Trump, and not the other way around.  Trump just wanted an easy win.  This gives him a short term easy win in that he  gets to sign a very popular hurricane relief bill while keeping the federal government open. But in the long term, he just screwed the entire legislative agenda for the GOP.

DINING WITH THE ENEMY. President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell met privately on Tuesday before the joint bipartisan meeting with the Congressional Leadership on Wednesday “in a bid to repair their badly frayed relationship,” Politico reports.  “The meeting was an apparent attempt to clear the air after a contentious August recess between the two, mostly fueled by the Senate’s failure to repeal Obamacare.”  Playbook reports that “Trump is dining with Speaker Paul Ryan tonight, just a day after the president tossed Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, House and Senate Republicans under the bus.”

FACEBOOK PROVIDES MORE EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION. Facebook told congressional investigators that it has discovered it sold ads during the U.S. presidential election to a shadowy Russian company seeking to target voters, the Washington Post reports.

“A small portion of the ads, which began in the summer of 2015, directly named Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, the people said. Most of the ads focused on pumping politically divisive issues such as gun rights and immigration fears, as well as gay rights and racial discrimination.”

In July, a Facebook spokesperson told CNN that “We have seen no evidence that Russian actors bought ads on Facebook in connection with the election.”

IVANKA THE MEETING ENDER. New York Times: “Mr. Trump often invites his daughter Ivanka Trump into meetings to signal their conclusion — or to keep his interlocutors off balance. When Ms. Trump entered the office toward the end of the discussion on Wednesday, ostensibly to discuss tax reform, Republicans in the room reacted with astonishment and annoyance.”

“Mr. McConnell, who is barely on speaking terms with the president, quietly seethed, according to two people familiar with the situation. He breezed past other lawmakers and staff members in purse-lipped silence when he returned to the Capitol.”

Republican leaders on the Hill were “visibly annoyed” that Ivanka Trump joined an Oval Office meeting to “say hello” during thei meeting with President Trump on a must-pass spending bill, The Hill reports.

According to multiple reporters, the leaders “careened off topic” when the president’s daughter entered the president’s office near the end of the meeting.

FREEDOM CAUCUS TO RELEASE THEIR OWN TAX PLAN.  I am sure it will be sensible. Jonathan Swan: “The House Freedom Caucus — a group of around 35 ultra-conservative House Republicans who can block their party’s leadership on key legislation — is in the final stages of drafting its own tax plan.”

“Instead of raising new sources of money to ensure their tax cuts don’t add to deficits, the Freedom Caucus is planning to embrace a non-traditional idea to extend the budget window. The idea, pushed by some conservatives, including Sen. Pat Toomey, is to change budget rules so that tax cuts that add to the deficit can last for 20 years or longer, rather than expiring after 10 years.”

“It’s a move designed to unsettle Republican leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, who’ve been working behind closed doors to craft a tax plan with the White House.”

“Leaders of the Freedom Caucus met with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-WiI) on Wednesday to candidly express their frustrations with his leadership and his handling of the Republican legislative agenda, according to two people familiar with the discussion,” the Washington Post reports.

“The exchange comes as former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon is having conversations with hard-line GOP lawmakers about how they should exert greater influence in the fall’s political fights and pressure congressional Republican leaders.”

Conservatives lawmakers “have begun to discuss who could replace Ryan as speaker, should conservatives rebel against him.”

Joshua Green: “The Republican bounty from Donald Trump’s unexpected presidential victory last November was the rare opportunity it afforded the GOP to enact an agenda without Democratic input. Because Republicans won control of the White House and both houses of Congress, nothing could inhibit them—in theory—from passing their preferred legislation. This happy scenario was the culmination of Republican fantasy: As the veteran conservative activist Grover Norquist once put it, Republicans needed only to elect a president ‘with enough working digits to handle a pen’ to sign those bills into law.”

“Under Trump, Norquist’s fantasy has given way to a sobering reality. Rather than sign off on a succession of Republican bills, President Trump has instead managed to exacerbate nearly every major division within the GOP, whether cultural or political.”

CNN has learned that President Trump “will host the members of his Cabinet at the secluded government-owned retreat in Maryland starting Friday. They are expected to discuss a wide range of issues, spanning from the administration’s legislative strategy for tax reform to the growing nuclear crisis in North Korea.”

“A source familiar said because of logistics and limited lodging space, half of the Cabinet will travel to the 125-acre retreat on Friday and stay overnight. The rest of the Cabinet will travel there on Saturday, when a full Cabinet meeting will take place. The first half of the Cabinet will then return back to Washington Saturday while the second half stays the night and returns Sunday.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told The Hill that he “supports a newer version of an Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill, throwing some support behind the last-ditch effort.”  “McCain said he backs a bill from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) that would convert Obamacare spending into block grants for states.”

The problem is, it is almost too late to pass it if they want to use reconciliation in the Senate this year.  As soon as they pass the Continuing Resolution in the Senate, their chance is done.  And then next year, they would have to choose between tax cuts and Obamacare repeal if they wanted to use reconciliation.

“Dozens of lobbyists, contractors and others who make their living influencing the government pay President Trump’s companies for membership in his private golf clubs, a status that can put them in close contact with the president,” a USA Today investigation found.

“Members of the clubs Trump has visited most often as president — in Florida, New Jersey and Virginia — include at least 50 executives whose companies hold federal contracts and 21 lobbyists and trade group officials. Two-thirds played on one of the 58 days the president was there, according to scores they posted online.”

“Because membership lists at Trump’s clubs are secret, the public has until now been unable to assess the conflicts they could create. USA Today found the names of 4,500 members by reviewing social media and a public website golfers use to track their handicaps, then researched and contacted hundreds to determine whether they had business with the government.”

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

14 comments on “The Open Thread for September 7, 2017

  1. Pity it’s not colonial days, Trump and McConnell would have fought a duel by now and the Freedom Caucus would have tarred and feathered Ryan. Had a good laugh at the Freedom Caucus writing their own Tax Plan, get ready for ultra far right fun when , and if , it comes out. And love him or more likely hate him Trump remains an excellent road block to the Republicans master plan for world domination. No repeal of the ACA, no ridiculous tax cuts for the rich and he’s handed them a lovely hot potato in the form of DACA and the public outcry it has generated. Fun to think of the Republicans milling about and muttering “But… But… We were supposed to rule the world!”. HA! You don’t say?

  2. “Trump really does not belong [in] the Republican Party. He has no conservative per se ideology. “

    Which is why Trump is preferable to VP Pence.

    “Trump ….the president tossed Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, House and Senate Republicans under the bus.” – Playbook

    You have to admit that’s an improvement over his predecessor’s “play nice” with the GOP approach.

    “Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) panned the idea of a brief debt hike, accusing Democrats of ‘playing politics’ …” – WaPo

    Doncha gotta laugh when career politicians accuse each other of ‘playing politics’ ?

  3. Tim Ryan is not a Berniecrat, as his stance on corporate taxes illustrates. The fact that a lot of Berniecrats liked his challenge of Pelosi does not change his own politics.

    You can’t just call everyone who disagrees with you a “Berniecrat” if you want credibility.

    • But if Bernie hadnt colluded with the Klan to make college students hate Clinton, the dems would have 62 senators, a 50 seat majority in the house, and racism would be over!

  4. cassandram

    Every time I see that photo of Chuck and Nancy on the sofa, I crack up. Chuck is smiling like he has just found the ever perpetuating source of hash brownies and Nancy looks like she just won the last hand in Casino Royale.

  5. from David Wheeler to democrats…..
    “You’re not there to crow; you’re there to help govern the country. And who knows? Maybe you’re not really in the driver’s seat this time like you think you are. Let’s see: Can anyone think of a recent time when the Democrats thought they had something in the bag? They were so sure of it?”

    This does seem like a win for Democrats… it more seems like a crack of the whip to the GOP. Remember, this is the same president who said McTurtle should do away with the filibuster so dems could be ignored completely. Now that Mitchy has gotten a spanking, maybe he forced his cauces back into lock step for dear leader. The man is a lying piece of shit. Maybe im too cynical to ever come back, but I am more suspicious of what “Chuck and Nancy” will bi-partisan away than I am encouraged that Dipshit has found a shred of decency.

    • cassandram

      Don’t know who David Wheeler is, but I do know there is no point to reading his commentary. Because there *is* nothing in the bag here, so he is moralizing at a strawman. This is a party out of power who got a President to buy their solution. That wasn’t supposed to happen. The bigger problem here is still the GOP’s. They are supposed to be running the table here and yet they got this “compromise”. Which has the potential of weakening the GOP further.

      Nor did the GRIFTUS find any decency. Paul Ryan came out against the short term deal and then the GRIFTUS made that exact deal. This man is still working from his grudges.

      • as has been my constant state of being for the last 2 years… I hope im wrong.
        He’s a CNN (fake news) writer, BTW. Urging caution for a party who has a losing record over the last 8 years is nothing crazy.

        • cassandram

          CNN? The network that never saw a Trump campaign event it wouldn’t cancel its programming for?

          Yeah, that would be about your speed.

          • You said you didnt know who he was, silly.

            • Seriously, dude.
              “I never heard of that, but there is no point in learning about it because I know”
              Im talking about not declaring victory too early. Is it your assessment that the Dems have won? You are SO MUCH smarter and better than me. Please enlighten.

            • cassandram

              Right and I was communicating the lack of credibility of your source. I wrote what my assessment is of what the Dems did here. It is not my problem that you are not capable of reading the chessboard without a CNN reporter.

  6. Eh, look at the context. These are people whose job (and at this level, yes, their selected career) is to play politics. To hear them accusing each other of “playing politics” as if they should be doing something else with their time on Capitol Hill is, quite frankly, grating. Hypocritical too, but the ability to throw stones from your glass house without shame seems to be a necessary qualification for the job.

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