Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told members of his caucus this morning he wants to limit President Donald Trump to a single term of office so Republicans can get down to the business of passing tax reform, their party’s priority.
“The single most important thng we want to achieve is for President Trump to be a one-term president,” McConnell said.
The Majority Leader and Trump have had a rocky relationship from the start, but sources say the back-and-forth between the two has worsened since the Senate’s failure to repeal and replace Obamacare. “The last time the two of them talked they were shouting profanities at each other,” said one official who is familiar with the conversation.
In private, McConnell places much of the blame for the failed health bill on Trump, who was mostly disengaged throughout the debate and offered no proposals of substance to get the bill through. “He didn’t know what was in the bill and his dealmaking consisted of threatening senators who were thinking about voting no,” one person said.
Although McConnell hasn’t said so publicly, he sees Trump as a liability. “The Majority Leader has already written off the next three years,” said one person familiar with McConnell’s views. “He wants Trump to be primaried in 2020 so that Republicans can have a different standard-bearer against the Democrats.”
Another source said McConnell would “give $100” to have Barack Obama back in office. “He didn’t agree with Obama on much, but after eight months of Trump, he would love to see him return.”
Reportedly, McConnell told his Republican colleagues this morning that, not far behind his first goal of making Trump a one-term president, his second goal is to make Obama a three-term president. “With Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, he thinks he can get a change to the Constitution that would allow Obama to run and sit for a third term,” a source said. “That would ensure we have someone capable of being president in office so we can get things done.”
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The judge picked to replace Antonin Scalia on the nation’s highest court, Merrick Garland, couldn’t make it more clear that President Obama is intentionally trying to change the country into something most Americans wouldn’t recognize, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday. “To come forward at this time with a distinguished judge who has been praised by both Republicans and Democrats for his professionalism and meticulous respect for the law exposes Obama for what he is,” said McConnell (R-Ky.). “There should no longer be any question that Obama intends to drive his agenda as far as he can in his remaining months in office, and we need to stop that before he leaves our country permanently changed.” 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.
Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) in an NPR interview this morning refused to say whether everyone in the United States is entitled to eat food, drink water, occupy space, and breathe air. “People are given bootstraps for a reason,” Smith told NPR’s Scott Simon in an interview about federal budget cuts proposed by the Trump administration. “If we’re not willing to pull ourselves up by them, why do we have them? Why do we have these bootstraps?” “Not everyone is born with bootstraps,” Simon said. “We have people who are born into poverty who don’t get adequate nutrition, don’t have heat in the winter . . . .” “But they have bootstraps,” said Smith, “because God wants us to pull ourselves up by them. Government isn’t a shoe store for poor people.” 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.
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. 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.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the former prosecutor who led the investigation into the Benghazi attacks when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, says he is ready to “pull out all the stops” to learn whether laws were broken when National Security Advisor Michael Flynn held talks with Russia about lifting sanctions while Barack Obama was still president. “If the contacts were in fact about the lifting of sanctions, then that would be a clear violation of U.S. law and appropriate steps would have to be taken,” says Gowdy, who earned a reputation in Congress for his tough prosecutorial approach when he led the special committee on what Hillary Clinton knew and didn’t know about the raid on the U.S. embassy in Libya that led to the deaths of four Americans, including the Libyan ambassador, Christopher Stevens. More.
Saying war with China or any other country will require the combat leadership of a certain seven-year Navy veteran, Senate Democrats this morning introduced the “Stephen K. Bannon Combat Leadership Act of 2017.” Under the bill, Stephen K, Bannon, a top advisor to President Donald Trump and an acknowledged “lover of war,” will have to “lead troops into battle in the first, second, and third waves of attack against enemies of the United States in any theater of war of his devising.” The legislation names “the South China Sea” as a potential “theater of war” but also says other areas of the world would qualify as long as “the lives of U.S. troops are at stake as a result of war started by Stephen K. Bannon.” More.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the decree by President Donald Trump to institute martial law in the United States “to protect Americans from foreign and domestic enemies” is an unfortunate necessity given the state of the world, but he took issue with the “hasty and sloppy” execution of the law. “Should the Administration have put out guidance earlier to minimize confusion? Yes, I think it could have,” Ryan said. “The order was clearly drafted in haste—I get that, given the threats we face from people who want to harm American liberty and freedom—but the people on the ground that must carry it out should have had detail instructions. The result was the confusion and unnecessary mistakes that characterized the rollout.” More.