Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Wednesday, June 28th, 2017.


Trump’s Got No Mojo on Health Care

Health Care, Trump Maladministration

I’ve had some kind of stomach bug for the last few hours, but have decided I will survive. So, back to work.

So today the so-called President said this:

President Trump promised a surprise on the matter, though he did not specify what.

“Health care is working along very well. . . . We’re going to have a big surprise,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday. “We have a great health-care package.”

Trump offered no details, only reiterating, “We’re going to have a great, great surprise.”

I’m going with “delusional,” myself. The New York Times reported this:

If Republicans do manage to broker a deal — as Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, pledged to do during a lively East Room back-and-forth with the president — it is not likely to be because of Mr. Trump’s involvement. Until Tuesday afternoon, the president was largely on the sidelines as the fate of one of his most important campaign pledges played out.

Mr. McConnell, who kept the president at a polite arm’s length while he oversaw negotiations over the bill, asked Mr. Trump to arrange the meeting with all 52 Republican senators during a morning phone call, in part to show senators the White House was in fact fully engaged, according to two people with knowledge of the call.

When asked by reporters clustered on the blacktop outside the West Wing if Mr. Trump had command of the details of the negotiations, Mr. McConnell ignored the question and smiled blandly.

WaPo is more scathing:

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. The confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch is his most-cited achievement to date.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 Senate could pass a revised version of the bill once lawmakers return from their July 4 recess and pick up deliberations. Still, some Republicans are willing to defy their president’s wishes — a dynamic that can be attributed in part to Trump’s singular status as a disrupter within his party.

“The president remains an entity in and of itself, not a part of the traditional Republican Party,” said Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), a moderate who represents a district Trump lost by 16 percentage points. “I handle the Trump administration the same way I handled the Obama administration. When I agree, I work with them. When I oppose, I don’t.”

The man’s got no political capital at all.

One senior Republican close to both the White House and many senators called Trump and his political operation “a paper tiger,” noting how many GOP lawmakers feel free “to go their own way.”

And, I suspect, they will.

In private conversations on Capitol Hill, Trump is often not taken seriously. Some Republican lawmakers consider some of his promises — such as making Mexico pay for a new border wall — fantastical. They are exhausted and at times exasperated by his hopscotching from one subject to the next, chronicled in his pithy and provocative tweets. They are quick to point out how little command he demonstrates of policy. And they have come to regard some of his threats as empty, concluding that crossing the president poses little danger.

“The House health-care vote shows he does have juice, particularly with people on the right,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said. “The Senate health-care vote shows that people feel that health care is a defining issue and that it’d be pretty hard for any politician to push a senator into taking a vote that’s going to have consequences for the rest of their life.”

Asked if he personally fears Trump, Graham chuckled before saying, “No.”

And so on. Do read the whole thing. See also The GOP’s health-care bill is political kryptonite and The dirty little secret of the GOP’s health care push: Not even Republicans are demanding this.

Mitch McConnell is pushing for a revised bill to be voted on this Friday, before the Senate goes into recess. I’m predicting he will fail. Surprise!

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