Republican lawmakers in the United States Congress say they’re flabbergasted they couldn’t pull out a win yesterday by passing a bill that no one wanted and that would make the lives of Americans worse.
“Who would have thought that a bill that strips health insurance away from 24 million people, raises the premiums for everyone else, and allows insurance companies to pay for less care couldn’t generate enough votes to pass?” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said last night after pulling the plug on his signature health care reform bill.
Ryan said he’s stunned that his fellow Republicans didn’t want to commit political suicide by making the lives of their constituents worse by publicly voting “yea” for his bill, called the American Health Care Act. “The bill takes the money we were sinking into poor, unhealthy people and uses it to fund a tax break of up to $1 trillion for the country’s corporate sector,” he said. “Why wouldn’t a congressperson who represents people who are struggling to pay their bills and rely on Medicaid for healthcare want to vote to make these people’s lives even more miserable? I can’t understand it.”
Ryan’s bill went down after it became clear moderate Republicans wouldn’t vote for it because it hurt too many people and conservative Republicans wouldn’t vote for it because it left too much of Obamacare in place.
Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the Republican whip, said it was wrong of Republicans not to vote for the bill just because business and consumer interests were aligned against it. “Why are we in Congress if not to pass bills no one wants passed?” he said.
Peter Lambert, a political consultant who works on many conservative issues but didn’t work on the health bill, said the Republican party has to do some soul-searching to see why they couldn’t pass a bill no one liked. “I think we’ll discover that a bill has to have someone rooting for it for it to pass,” he said. “When constituents don’t like a bill and business interests don’t like a bill, that should be a signal that the bill will have trouble passing. I think we’ll learn from this and just put forward bills that have at least some support from somewhere.”
Next week Republicans could get a chance to put that lesson to the test. Ryan has annonced that he’s bringing up for a vote the fiscal year 2018 budget, which cuts or eliminates funds for programs that millions of people rely on for food, housing, and healthcare and that businesses make a lot of money on. “Our wealthiest Americans need another tax break so they can buy another boat or get another vacation condo,” Ryan said. “We have to get our poorest, most desperate people off these welfare programs and at the same time anger our business interests by taking away big sources of their money. These two objectives are so popular that Congress will quickly pass this budget. We’re going to go down in history as the smartest Congress our country ever had.”
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Republican lawmakers in the Senate say they urgently must pass tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy before the end of the year because of pressure coming from Russia Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. “Would it be better to slow down and better think through our tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy? Of course,” says John Thune (R-S.D.), the Senate whip. “Right now our own analysis is showing a $1 trillion addition to the budget deficit even after projected growth in the economy. So, if we had more time we could craft changes that address that and still give our wealthy donors what they want. Unfortunately, time is a luxury we don’t have.” That’s because Mueller’s investigation is winding down. More.
Crafting Health Bill in Secret Necessary to Keep Cheering People From Delaying Passage, McConnell Says
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says it’s necessary for Republicans to write their bill to replace Obamacare in secret because having millions of people cheering them on while they hammer out the details would unnecessarily slow the legislative process, an injustice to the 23 million Americans waiting impatiently to lose their health insurance. “We owe it to all of the struggling Americans who stand to lose their coverage to move as quickly as we can,” McConnell told reporters at the Capitol today. McConnell said many additional people will see their premiums go up and their level of coverage go down, so it’s understandable that lawmakers don’t want to take any longer than is absolutely necessary to pass the bill. “We still have to reconcile our bill with the House bill, so we’re champing at the bit to get our bill out there,” McConnell said. More.
President Donald Trump in a somber address to the nation called upon Americans to come together after Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the third-ranking member in the House of Representatives, was shot by an anti-Republican man on Wednesday at a baseball park in Alexandria, Va. Several others, including congressional aides, were also shot. Scalise, who was shot by James Hodgkinson of Illinois, remains in critical condition. “I know there will be a temptation for Republicans to blame Democrats for helping to fuel a partisan atmosphere that might give rise to violence of this kind, but the time to stop the divisive rhetoric that has so long plagued our politics is now,” Trump said. “I know I have contributed to this environment. For that I express my regret. More.
Exasperated by President Donald Trump’s repeated preference for Russian national interests over those of the United States, all 48 Democratic lawmakers in the Senate sponsored a bill, “The Put America First Again Act of 2017,” to require the President to look out for American interests. “We believe the President of the United States, among all Americans, should put American interests first,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the minority leader in the Senate, said in introducing the bill. “We think it’s the least he can do.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called the bill a “desperate act of grandstanding” by the Democrats and said it has as much chance of getting brought up on the Senate floor as a health care bill that would make insurance better and cheaper for more Americans. More.
President Donald Trump said in a press briefing today that his administration has talked more about helping working class Americans than any administration in the United States. “No one’s talking about the interests of our workers like I am,” said Trump, whose tax reform plan, released in late April, cut taxes for corporations and pass-through entities, of which The Trump Organization is one. Most middle-class homeowners would see their taxes go up because the plan would eliminate the deductions for mortgage interest, real estate taxes, and state and local taxes. It would keep the mortgage interest deduction, but that’s not enough to offset the losses elsewhere, pushing them to take a new $24,000 standard deduction that’s less than what they got when they itemized. More.
Kellyanne Conway, one of the most visible defenders of Donald Trump’s presidency, says photos of her in a bikini are “alternative facts” that are being spread on the Internet to try to take the focus off the things the Trump administration is doing, like accusing President Barack Obama of wire tapping Trump Towers, using the presidency to spread accusations about Muslim attacks in Sweden, and saying immigration curbs are needed because of a massacre in Bowling Green, Ky. “I have clearly been photoshopped into images of other women to hurt Donald Trump by demeaning me as a person,” said Conway, 50. “It’s a personal attack on my character that’s been put forward without regard to the truth and without regard to the long-term impact this will have on our democracy, our shared trust in our institutions, and our credibility as a nation.” More.
Katrina Pierson, the spokesperson for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, said this morning that she’s a better liar than new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and that there’s no truth to the rumor that Conway is doing most of the TV appearances these days because Trump is unhappy with how well Pierson is lying. “I know people like to spread the lie that somehow Kellyanne is a better liar than I am, but that is an outright lie and I can say in all honesty I am the better liar and Donald Trump has said he truthfully believes I’m a better liar,” said Pierson, who has been Trump’s chief spokesperson since early last year, when the real estate mogul announced his candidacy. More.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, fresh from his dramatic trip to Mexico to discuss immigration policy, said he would allow Angélica Rivera, the wife of Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, into the country if she wants to come. “We would make an exception for her, absolutely, and I told her that when I was in Mexico,” Trump said at a campaign stop in Albuquerque, N.M. “I told her I’ll have a car ready for her anytime she wants to come. She has my number. She said she’d like to see Trump Tower. I said I’d like to show it to her.” Rivera, 47, an actress and model before she became Mexico’s First Lady, was born in Mexico City. She has been married to Peña Nieto since 2010. Trump’s trip to Mexico has generated a considerable amount of analysis. In Mexico, he appeared to take a conciliatory approach to the country, but that appeared to change in a major address he gave in Phoenix that night. More.
Stephen Miller, the senior advisor to President Donald Trump who has helped shape the White House’s position on immigration and other conservative policies, said today he hates himself and wishes he weren’t such an asshole but that he has stopped trying to be something he’s not and will continue to attach himself to power to make himself feel better. “I’d like to have a friend, but I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to be friends with a dick like me, so I’ll just continue to be the biggest asshole I can be,” said Miller, 31. Miller said he first discovered he was a butthole when he was a teenager. “I wanted a friend and found one in Wayne LaPierre [CEO of the National Rifle Association], and although I continue to be friendless, I’m working out my insecurities at the highest levels of power and that makes me feel better when I’m not eating dinner by myself at my lonely townhouse on Capitol Hill,” he said. More.
In a sensational claim, the supermarket tabloid Weekly National Report says a 50-year-old woman in Fayetteville, Ark., Dannielle Eggles, is the daughter of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and she’s demanding a “White House bedroom” for her and her husband if he is elected president. “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I feel I must come forward because it’s time for my daddy to stop pretending I don’t exist,” Eggles said at a press conference in Fayetteville yesterday. Eggles, a clerk at Target, said she had resigned herself to living in the shadow of her famous father and her glamorous half brothers and sisters, but six months ago she and her husband, Ron Eggles, decided she could no longer do that. “We just thought it wasnt fair that Ivanka, Tiffany, Eric, Donald, Jr., and Barron all get to live the high life while we have to scrape our fingers to the bone just because daddy pretends I don’t exist.” More.
A report by the Kleinbaum Institute of Forensic Sciences at Columbia University says there’s a good chance President Donald Trump has been hiding his bald spot in his taxes since 1995 and maybe even as far back as 1991. “As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump was willing to risk losing the election by refusing to do what presidential candidates have been doing for the last 40 years: release their tax returns,” says William Berger, professor of forensic sciences at Columbia and the director of the Kleinbaum Institute. “The question that has intrigued Americans and even people around the world for the past 18 months is, why? We think we know why.” Berger says it’s understandable people think Trump is trying to hide embarrassing financial matters by keeping his taxes out of the public spotlight. More.
McConnell: ‘Have to do it’Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Congress has little choice but to censure President Donald Trump for accusing his predecessor, without evidence, of conducting surveillance on him during the 2016 campaign. “There has never been a greater debasement of the presidency than what we have seen in the last two weeks,” said McConnell, who as recently as this weekend joined President Trump at a campaign-style rally in Louisville, Ky. “For one president to accuse another of what amounts to a criminal act, and to do so even though all of the country’s considerable intelligence resources are at his fingertips, is to perpetrate one of the greatest violations of our nation’s trust we have ever seen.” More.
In a problem that has never happened before, according to historians, just nine weeks into the presidency of Donald Trump the White House has exhausted its supply of foreign leaders willing to come to Washington to meet with the president and analysts cannot figure out why. “In every past administration, the problem has been too many foreign leaders wanting to come to Washington to meet with what many people regard as the most powerful person in the world,” says Jake Tapper, Washington correspondent for CNN. “Now, leaders around the world are saying they’re too busy to come. It’s weird.” That’s not to say President Trump has hosted no foreign leaders. Among others, he’s hosted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe. And just last week he hosted German Chancellor Angela Merkel. But White House aides say no more foreign leaders are lined up to come. More.
Stung by unfavorable comparisons between his inauguration crowd and that of his predecessor, Barack Obama, President Donald Trump today announced that when he wins reelection in 2020, Americans will be required to attend his 2021 inauguration unless at least two million people attend voluntarily. “What the executive order says is, attendance at the inauguration is voluntary—which is in accordance with our freedoms as a democracy—but that if under two million people attend, people will be required to attend up to the minimum two-million attendance number,” said Sean Spicer, the White House spokesperson. More.
SACRAMENTO—Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said at a campaign rally here today she doesn’t believe Donald Trump is a homosexual but she hears “more and more” rumors that he is and she agrees his actions “can lead one” to believe that. “In some ways, I would respect him more if it turns out he secretly is a gay man trying to lead a straight life, because it would explain his struggles with the truth and perhaps his insecurity,” said Clinton, who is campaigning in California this week to prevent a last-minute primary win by her rival for the Democratic nomination, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. Clinton said it’s time for discrimination against people for sexual orientation to stop, and Trump—should the rumors prove true—should use his position to help bring about equality in the United States. “Again, if Donald Trump is gay—and I’m not saying he is—then good for him. He should embrace it, celebrate it.” More.
Vice President Mike Pence, amidst revelations that he used a personal email account to conduct official business when he was governor of Indiana, said what he did was different from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email when she was secretary of state. “What Hillary Clinton did was a clear violation of law and a threat to national security while my use of personal email was a smart and necessary action that benefitted the people of Indiana,” Pence said in a statement released today. Pence’s use of a personal AOL email account was revealed yesterday in a report by The Indianapolis Star. More.
President Donald Trump took the opportunity before a friendly audience at the Conservative Political Action (CPAC) Conference in Washington yesterday to blast his presidency as a “fake” occupation of the White House and has vowed to bar himself from government despite the role the Constitution has assigned to the president. “Nobody appreciates the constitutionally protected role of the presidency more than me,” said Trump, who spoke on the second day of the annual event. “That’s why no one is in a better position than me to recognize a fake presidency when there is one.” Trump said no presidency deserves the label “fake” more than his because his victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton in November depended on the FBI, voter suppression, and the Russian government. More.