30 thoughts on “News/Politics 7-18-17

  1. Last night I posted this.

    “It’s dead.

    And yet another failure from Congressional Republicans..

    http://hosted2.ap.org/APDefault/*/Article_2017-07-17-APFN-US–Congress-Health%20Overhaul/id-2054d84aa147460c80d17025a79dfd32

    “The latest GOP effort to repeal and replace “Obamacare” was fatally wounded in the Senate Monday night when two more Republican senators announced their opposition to legislation strongly backed by President Donald Trump.
    The announcements from Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas left the Republican Party’s long-promised efforts to get rid of President Barack Obama’s health care legislation reeling. Next steps, if any, were not immediately clear.
    Lee and Moran both said they could not support Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s legislation in its current form. They joined GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky, both of whom announced their opposition right after McConnell released the bill last Thursday.”
    ——————————

    And now this morning we find out McConnell has changed tactics and will now go with just a straight repeal of ObamaCare. Which is what should have happened in the first place.

    https://www.axios.com/mcconnell-next-step-is-a-straight-repeal-vote-2461178245.html

    “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell bowed to pressure tonight from conservatives — and President Trump — to bring up a straight repeal of most of the Affordable Care Act as the next step now that the Senate health care bill appears to be dead. It will be based on the repeal bill Congress passed in 2015, which then-President Barack Obama vetoed.

    His statement: “Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful. So, in the coming days, the Senate will vote to take up … a repeal of Obamacare with a two-year delay to provide for a stable transition period to a patient-centered health care system that gives Americans access to quality, affordable health care.””

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  2. And these clowns are about to blow it on tax reform, for similar reasons.

    “Trust us” doesn’t work any more. It’s not good enough, and most of us don’t.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-17/house-conservatives-fear-health-care-deja-vu-on-secret-tax-plan

    “House conservative leaders worry they’ll be forced to vote to advance a vehicle for a tax-code rewrite without knowing details of the plan, setting up a repeat of Congress’s troubled efforts on health-care legislation.

    With a committee markup of a key budget resolution scheduled for Wednesday, leaders of the conservative House Freedom Caucus have demanded details about the tax package and about welfare-spending cuts that GOP leaders have agreed to in principle. But they’ve received no guarantees, and the prospects for seeing specifics ahead of a budget vote appear to be diminishing.”
    ————————

    ““The way we look at it is — look what happened in January,” Jordan said. “We went along with a budget thinking we were going to do a repeal bill and a separate replacement legislation for Obamacare and instead we get this seven-month ordeal we’re still going through. We don’t want to make the same mistake twice.”

    “Freedom Caucus leaders fear that if they’re forced to vote on the budget resolution before getting any specifics, they’ll be in a bind: Either scuttle the budget measure and be blamed for blocking tax reform, or risk an extended top-down process that — like the health-care effort — could lead to stalemate. “Fool us once, your fault; fool us twice, our fault,” Jordan said. “We want to know what welfare reform is going to look like, what tax reform is going to look like.”

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  3. We have spent 6 months focused on what competent Presidents should not do. The folks in The Reagan Batallion remember what competent Presidents actually do.

    Important and controversial pieces of legislation do not pass without Presidential leadership.

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  4. This guy is a liberal with an open mind – at least about some issues. His article is worth reading.

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  5. I don’t understand the concept of repealing the ACA. Rolling back to what preceded it is impractical, if not impossible. Therefore, any bill to repeal it must be paired with a bill to replace it – OR, one new bill to do both, right? Isn’t that what they have attempted to do (albeit, unsuccessfully, so far)? So why all the grandstanding for “repeal?” Is this just another political game?

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Yes, Linda. Solar Pancake and I would be happy with the flat repeal of Obamacare. I don’t think anyone else here really wants the mandatory coverage for pre-existing conditions in Obamacare to go away.

    It is a tough issue. It would be a challenge for an engaged, intelligent, disciplined President. With Trump, it is like watching Tulane trying to beat Alabama.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Ricky @ 7:51 We should not be surprised. Taking out Sadam was like slapping your disagreeable neighbor because someone else’s dog bit you and ran away. You can’t get to the dog, so the annoying person you can reach will suffice. It was one of those things that really felt good in the wake of 9/11, even though deep down inside you knew it was a stupid move. Iraq and Iran have had a love-hate relationship for 10 times longer than we’ve been around.

    You would think someone in DC has a history book that gets opened every once in a while…. Of course, even that might not help. I took a History of Western Civ. class once. The chapter on Spain began with something like: The Muslims conquered Spain and were there for 600 years, then left. That’s not exact, but I kid you not, 600 years of medicine, science, philosophy and political influence was airily dismissed in one long compound sentence. I am convinced that we know what we want to know; and we don’t see what we don’t want to see. And nowhere is that more evident than in DC.

    ps The Dreher piece you linked to yesterday was also a good piece.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Ricky, the flat repeal would, by definition, revert us back to what we had prior to its implementation. Think about it – that is not possible. (Hence, the theory that the whole idea was to move us to single-payer).

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  9. Ricky,

    So you’re blaming Trump for yet another failure by Congressional Republicans because he didn’t push their plan enough?

    Really?

    I mean I’m not all that shocked that you would, I’m just surprised you can say it with a straight face.

    Republicans had 8 years for this. They didn’t prepare, figured Trump wouldn’t win, never bothered to have a replacement ready, and now it’s Trump’s fault?

    Ryan and McConnell had no problem coming up with repeal bills they knew would be vetoed, yet failed as leaders when they had a real shot. This lies squarely in their laps.

    Blaming Trump may work in some circles, but those not blinded by their hatred for Trump aren’t gonna buy it. Your buddy Ryan and his establishment buddies own this.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Repeal can work, with the 2 year window they’re proposing for rolling back ObamaCare. That would give them 2 years to replace it. They could even include Dems. But given their abysmal failures thus far, I’m not optimistic that they have what it takes to do so.

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  11. I suppose some will say this is Trump’s fault too….

    http://theweek.com/articles/711503/why-gop-congress-most-unproductive-164-years

    “Just six months ago, it looked like the Republican Party was about to go on a legislative blitzkrieg, shredding law after law passed by the Obama administration. ObamaCare would be vaporized and replaced with a nickel rattling inside an empty Mountain Dew can. Dodd-Frank was sure to be tossed aside for a transparent giveaway to Wall Street. And Republicans would pass their regressive tax reform, their perplexing border-adjustment tax, and so much more. The GOP hadn’t held total power in American politics since 2006, and the party had become much more conservative in the interim. And instead of George W. Bush, a man who recognized at least some theoretical limits on free market fundamentalism, the new Congress would work with a sub-literate tabula rasa named Donald Trump, a man who could probably be persuaded to inject himself with experimental medication if an important-seeming person whispered “do it” in his ear.

    But a funny thing happened on the way to libertarian utopia. Indeed, it turns out that the GOP-controlled Congress can’t seem to pass any meaningful laws at all. Either they have forgotten how, or the divisions in their own increasingly radicalized caucus are proving too difficult to surmount. Whatever the explanation, thus far these GOP legislators are on track to be the least productive group since at least the Civil War.

    Now, okay, technically the Ryan-McConnell 115th Congress is so far actually a bit more active than recent Congresses, if you measure by the 43 laws that President Trump has adorned with his garish signature. Obama was at 40 at this point in 2009. George W. Bush had signed even fewer midway through 2001. But sheer number is not the best way to think about how much is being achieved. As The Washington Post’s Philip Bump pointed out, a majority of the bills signed by Trump thus far have been one page long, meaning many are just symbolic or ceremonial.

    Some of this very brief legislation has also been passed under the Congressional Review Act, a previously obscure statute that allows Congress to nullify recently enacted federal regulations. The CRA had been used just once before Trump took office, and yet 14 of the 43 bills signed into law by the president have been CRAs. Most of them roll back Obama-era protections against various kinds of transparent evildoing, like preventing coal mining within 100 feet of streams. They’re not meaningless, but the Voting Rights Act they are not.”

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  12. Here’s something that is entirely self-inflicted on Trump and Co’s part. There was no “there” there, but they made it something because they’ve handled it so poorly. All this could have been avoided by being open and transparent in the first place.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/wsj-torches-trump-don-jr-created-appearance-conspiracy-144342071.html

    “The conservative Wall Street Journal editorial board published a scathing assessment of President Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr.’s conduct in the wake of the fallout caused by the latter’s meeting with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign.

    Titled “The Trumps and the Truth,” the editorial urges “radical transparency” from the White House in its approach to the congressional and Justice Department Russia probes.

    “Even Donald Trump might agree that a major reason he won the 2016 election is because voters couldn’t abide Hillary Clinton’s legacy of scandal, deception and stonewalling,” the paper said. “Yet on the story of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, Mr. Trump and his family are repeating the mistakes that doomed Mrs. Clinton.”

    Trump Jr.’s changing statements concerning the meeting, and his eventual admission that he attended because he was offered incriminating information from the Russian government about his father’s opponent, earned a less-than-rosy evaluation from the Journal.

    “Even if the ultimate truth of this tale is merely that Don Jr. is a political dunce who took a meeting that went nowhere — the best case — the Trumps made it appear as if they have something to hide. They have created the appearance of a conspiracy that on the evidence Don Jr. lacks the wit to concoct.””
    ———————–

    Here’s the WSJ link, but you need access to view it.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-trumps-and-the-truth-1500332545

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  13. Pence states the obvious.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/1483819-155033996.html

    “Vice President Mike Pence delivered an energetic endorsement Tuesday of the Senate Republicans’ new approach to the Affordable Care Act: Repeal it now and figure out a replacement later.

    “Inaction is not an option. Congress needs to step up. Congress needs to do their job, and Congress needs to do their job now,” Pence said to applause in his speech to a national retailers’ summit in Washington.

    Pence’s comments came after two more GOP senators withdrew their support for the earlier Senate GOP health bill Monday night, effectively halting it in its tracks. Two Republican senators had already announced their opposition to the legislation. Because Democrats are united in opposition to repealing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, Republicans can only lose two votes.

    Pence said he and President Trump “fully support” the move by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to vote on a clean repeal bill. The vice president also scolded Congress, blaming lawmakers for the Senate bill’s failure.

    “President Trump and I fully support the majority leader’s decision to move forward with a bill that just repeals Obamacare and gives Congress time, as the president said, to work on a new health care plan that will start with a clean slate,” Pence said.

    “The Senate should vote to repeal now and replace later, or return to the legislation carefully crafted in the House and Senate,” he continued.”
    —————————

    Repeal it and work with the ENTIRE House and Senate to replace it. You know, the way it should have happened all along. With repeal out of the way, Dems would be freed to act in their voters best interests, rather than in protection of Obama’s legacy. Republicans will be forced to consider the other side and compromise, instead of simply doing the bidding of health/drug special interests who make money off denying people needed care. I know it’s crazy talk, but they could come up with something reasonable, workable, and not another govt. run disaster.

    Hey, it could happen……

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  14. Sorry, AJ, that just doesn’t make sense. What happens during those two years – ACA stays in place? If so, then it’s not a repeal, it’s a replace (in two years). There is no way there can ever be a “repeal.”

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  15. Head.

    Desk.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-18/mcconnell-s-new-obamacare-repeal-already-lacks-gop-votes-to-pass

    “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s new proposal to simply repeal Obamacare appears to already be dead, less than 24 hours after he dropped his replacement plan for lack of support among fellow Republicans.

    GOP Senators Susan Collins, Shelley Moore Capito and Lisa Murkowski said Tuesday they’ll oppose a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. McConnell said late Monday the Senate would vote on a repeal with a two-year delay to give Congress time to agree on a replacement, but he could afford to lose no more than two Republican votes to advance the measure.

    “We’ll let Obamacare fail” and then Democrats may want to agree on a replacement, President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House. “I am disappointed because for so many years I’ve been hearing repeal and replace.”

    Repealing the law now and then hoping for a replacement “would create great anxiety for individuals who rely on the ACA,” Collins of Maine told reporters in Washington. “I believe it would cause the insurance markets to go into turmoil.” She said she would oppose bringing a repeal bill up for debate.”
    ————————-

    This just demonstrates the cowardice of some members as well. They’re all for repeal when it’s a show vote and they know Obama will veto it anyway. But when it really matters? Not so much.

    At least Collins is consistent.

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/list-in-2015-48-current-republican-senators-voted-for-obamacare-repeal-bill-1-voted-no/article/2628948

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  16. Linda,

    That’s probably true. But at this point you can’t just pull it (it was designed that way too). You vote for a repeal of the act, and then you dismantle it, remove the taxes and penalties as you go. One would assume replacement parts would be installed as the 2 years progressed as well.

    But none of that replacement can start until the current law of the land, The Affordable Care Act, is officially repealed, which Congress is attempting. Pathetic as it is….

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  17. This is also one of the biggest reasons I dislike the Republican establishment. They were all for pushing party line show votes to repeal different aspects of OCare, knowing that none of these bills had a chance of getting Obama’s signature. This worked too, as it got them control of Congress, yet now they’re unprepared? These bills they passed could all have gone to Trump’s desk, yet McConnell sat on them, just like Harry Reid did before him. You would think they’d have rolled them into one and had them ready for Trump’s signature on day one. But no, they had other ideas.

    And again, I’d stress the point that OCare was designed this way, so as to make repeal a herculean undertaking. That’s about the only part of it that is working as intended. But to just leave it in place and improve it would require effort and compromise from both sides, and I hold little hope for that.

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  18. And then there’s the nuclear option.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4707064/Trump-promises-Obamacare-replacement-Senate-collapse.html

    “President Trump said Tuesday that he will go nuclear on Obamacare, letting the teetering law collapse of its own weight and then waiting for recalcitrant Democrats to come begging for a workable replacement.
    On Tuesday he told reporters during an impromptu photo-op at the White House that ‘I’ve been saying for a very long time, “Let Obamacare fail and then everybody is going to have to come together and fix it, and come up with a new plan, and a plan that is really good for the people with much lower premiums, much lower costs, much better protection”.’
    ‘I think we’re probably in that position where we’ll let Obamacare fail,’ Trump added. ‘We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it.'”
    ——————-

    Fair or not, he’s probably wrong. Voters tend to blame the party in charge.

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  19. And in other news…….

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/07/17/more-obama-officials-scrutinized-in-unmasking-probe.html

    “The number of people thought to be involved in the alleged “unmasking” of American citizens under the Obama administration could be expanding, according to a source close to the House Intelligence Committee’s review.

    The source with knowledge of the review told Fox News the records suggest the unmasking “goes beyond” key officials like former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, former CIA Director John Brennan and former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power.

    The source said more than a half-dozen former senior Obama administration officials are now of interest to House committee investigators.”
    ———————

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  20. A busy but fun day at work!

    At supper we discussed which of the other 16 Republicans could have exercised the mental discipline, energy and leadership to push a healthcare reform bill through Congress.

    We agreed that thirteen clearly could have, including all who had served as governor, including even Pataki and Gilmore and the dumb ones (Huckabee and Perry). Walker, Kasich, Christie and Jindal have handled similar legislative challenges and would have had an easier time. Rubio would have been fine. Graham is a weirdo, but could probably have pulled it off as could have Fiorina.

    The remaining three: Cruz and Paul might have struggled to get comfortable with the only type of bill which could be passed. Carson is about as clueless as Trump. However, he is much more coachable and would not have wasted time and political capital with tapp Tweets and fights with Australia, Rosie O’Donnell, Mika Brzinski and Nordstrom. Carson, like the 15 others, would have learned a few basic facts about Obamacare and the reform options so that he could have spoken about the issue to the American people, Congressman and Senators.

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  21. Ol’ Mitch is about out of excuses.

    http://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/critics-hit-mcconnell-legislative-tactics

    “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is facing mounting criticism from politicians and pundits on both sides of the aisle after the collapse of the Republican health care overhaul bill.

    Before the bill was pulled Monday night, Sen. Ron Johnson told a local newspaper that McConnell’s conflicting statements to different members of his caucus were a “significant breach of trust.”

    The Republican from Wisconsin was referring to a comment by McConnell to some Republican senators that Medicaid reform wouldn’t happen under the overhaul bill.”
    —————-

    ““McConnell, again and again, stacks the deck against conservatives, setting them up to be the fall guy for his own failures,” Erickson wrote Tuesday morning. McConnell repeatedly faced difficulty bridging the gap between the conservative and moderate factions of the GOP.

    Amanda Carpenter, CNN contributor and former communications director for Sen. Ted Cruz, mocked McConnell on Twitter, saying he has accomplished “nothing at all,” while maintaining a reputation as a “legislative mastermind.”

    Meanwhile Democrats in the House responded to President Donald Trump’s claim that Democrats would join efforts to start from a clean slate. California Rep. Adam B. Schiffsaid Democrats would not “bail” Republicans out of their health care crisis.

    Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, however, had a different tone.

    “The door to bipartisanship is open right now, Schumer said on the Senate floor. “Republicans only need to walk through it.””
    ———————-

    Seems to be the only option left that makes sense.

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  22. My niece posted this on Facebook. I am not sure that I can share it. It includes heterosexual food, a school named for a Confederate hero and lots of young Mexicans. Hurrah for Texas!

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