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Tuesday :: Oct 17, 2017

Trump Sandbags Ryan on ACA Compromise

by Deacon Blues

Whether he knew it or not, the moment Donald Trump acted last week to stop payment of cost sharing subsidies for working-class health plan enrollees in Obamacare marketplaces, he was throwing a grenade onto the desk of House Speaker Paul Ryan. Yes, yesterday the media was overly fixated on Trump's humiliation of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at the impromptu press availability and missed the obvious: absent was Paul Ryan from the "see, we're all friends after all" charade.

Over the weekend, Trump signaled to GOP Senator Lamar Alexander that he wanted him and ranking member Patty Murray to finish their work on a short-term compromise that would continue the subsidies for the next two years in exchange for providing states with flexibility for their own experiments to create local market solutions. And today, Murray and Alexander did just that: reach agreement on such a compromise that seemingly has Trump's support.

It needs to be mentioned that Murray didn't give anything away here: the Affordable Care Act already provides for what are known as Section 1332 waivers, whereby the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) can review and approve state proposals for local market, non-national alternatives to the ACA. The roadblock of late hasn't been the law, but the lack of responsiveness by Trump's own CMS to recent applications since the new team took over. Democrats are wise to "trade" something already in the law for a 2-year extension of the subsidies, knowing one important thing: the House GOP will never go along with it.

Paul Ryan and the Freedom Caucus have already said they will not agree to any extension of the subsidies and instead want to blow up the ACA immediately through a full repeal and conversion of Medicaid to block grants now. Now, Trump meets with McConnell yesterday, wherein the Alexander/Murray effort was certainly a discussion topic, and a day later a deal is announced that Trump seemingly supports, with this additional "not now, Paul" from the president today:

"The solution will be about a year or two years. And it will get us over this intermediate hump," Mr. Trump said Tuesday during a news conference in the Rose Garden.
"It is a short-term solution," he said, adding that the long-term solution is to issue "block grants" to states to help people buy private insurance.

Trump just kneecapped House Republicans on their demands for an immediate detonation of Medicaid and the ACA, and he is now daring Ryan and the House GOP caucus to go against him and harm their own constituents in advance of the midterms. I wonder what Steve Bannon thinks of all this.

It is a given that Trump will need "Chuck and Nancy" to get this out of the Senate with several GOP senators along for the ride, and over to the House as the burning manure bag on Ryan's doorstep. Ryan also knows that Nancy might be able to round up over 185 votes for this, and would only need thirty more from Ryan's caucus to take this issue off the table for the midterms. But Ryan will have to make a choice now between bad outcomes: go against his president and prevent the compromise while harming red state Trump voters in the process, or going along with Nancy and losing his speakership.

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy. And let's give some props to the dealmakers here.

Update: Trump has already gone schizo on the deal, signaling his typical mental instability.

Deacon Blues @ 12:41 PM :: Link :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It! ::

Friday :: Oct 6, 2017

Trump Legalizes Discrimination

by Deacon Blues

I’m sure all the female Trump cultists, those suburban soccer moms and the Bernie women who couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Hillary are fully on board with Dear Leader’s move today to restrict access to birth control. After all, a serial sexual harasser and predator who has trashed multiple marriages can be trusted to tell women what they can do with their bodies, right?

The only two things Trump has actually done so far outside of getting the regrettable Neal Gorsuch a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court is to make it easier for mentally unstable people to commit mass murder, and now to tell women they’re on their own in preventing pregnancies from guys like, well, Donald Trump.

I assume that Trump will also now ensure that men must pay for their own erectile dysfunction medications in all cases, right? Right?

Or is this all just a distraction from the bigger move today by Jeff Sessions to allow religious organizations and corporations claiming to be religious to now commit racial and other forms of discrimination? Can we now once and for all stop the tax exemption granted to religious organizations?

This is what you get when you allow Mike Pence and the Koch Brothers inside the Oval Office. I'd like to thank those 15-20% of Bernie voters in key states who voted for Trump.

Deacon Blues @ 9:40 AM :: Link :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It! ::
Thursday :: Oct 5, 2017

Trump's Rush to War

by Deacon Blues

If you want proof that the Trump administration, and specifically the president himself have no worldview except to undo Barack Obama’s legacy and divert attention from the Russia inquiry, I give you this. The Washington Post says Trump has already decided to decertify the Iranian nuclear deal, which would force Congress to deal with the matter as a pretext to unilateral American sanctions and the unravelling of the accord. However, the Post says:

Trump’s senior national security advisers agreed within the past several weeks to recommend that Trump “decertify” the agreement at the Oct. 15 deadline, two of those people said.

Yet both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times say that Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson do not support decertification. So, I’d really like to know who are the “senior national security advisors” who told the president that they supported tearing up the Iran nuclear deal, thereby eliminating any constraints on Iran’s nuclear program short of a war.

And it goes without saying that the North Koreans have confirmation now that there is no diplomatic solution open with this administration.

Bombs away kids.

Deacon Blues @ 3:58 PM :: Link :: Comments (1) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It! ::
Friday :: Sep 29, 2017

Biden 53%, Trump 40%

by Deacon Blues

Public Policy Polling, admittedly a Democratic-leaning pollster, released its latest national poll late yesterday of 865 registered voters. Some of the findings are worth noting.

-48% of registered voters support Trump's impeachment
-By a 52%-41% margin, registered voters wished for an Obama third term instead of the clusterf*ck we have now
-In a hypothetical two-way match-up, Joe Biden beats Trump by 13 points; Bernie beats him by 11
-74% of registered voters support DACA, including a large number of Trump voters
-54% of registered voters think Trump is dishonest, and 47% think he is mentally unbalanced

And yet, the GOP is stuck with Trump for 2020 as their candidate given the margins he racks up against potential challengers. This coupled with a strong generic ballot for Democrats heading into 2018 means that the GOP is looking at a washout unless the Democrats do them a favor and impeach Trump first.

Deacon Blues @ 9:35 AM :: Link :: Comments (1) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It! ::
Thursday :: Sep 28, 2017

Trump and GOP Are Doomed

by Deacon Blues

Trump and McConnell find themselves tethered to their own destruction. For his part Trump’s base has been told repeatedly by Dear Leader that he will deliver to them the largest middle-class tax cut in history, one that won’t benefit the wealthy. After Roy Moore’s Alabama victory Tuesday, McConnell finds himself needing to pass a tax cut package at all costs to stave off a full-blown intraparty insurrection in the 2018 midterms.

However, the Big Six tax giveaway that Trump campaigned for yesterday in Indiana represents nothing but another large giveaway to the super-wealthy with little at all for the middle class. Even if McConnell and Paul Ryan manage somehow to get the giveaway to Trump’s desk, and get it signed into law, Democrats can hammer him for lying to, and abandoning his base to give him and his ilk another deficit-busting handout from the Treasury.

The Republican Party is cooked no matter which way this ends up next year. If McConnell and Ryan get the Big Six package into law, Trump’s base could turn on the GOP and splinter the party away from them and even Trump himself when they realize they’ve been suckered again. And if McConnell and Ryan don’t deliver the Big Six package to please the donor class, both the base and the donor class will turn against them as inept practitioners of political power.

And this is all before we consider the challenges the GOP faces from having Moore loose in the Beltway with an "R" next to his name.

Great Britain’s Labor Party shows us that a commitment to economic issues and a refined message against your opponents can lead you back from the brink. The Democratic Party should pay attention and focus on an economic message and this tax travesty as their roadmap to redemption heading into the 2018 midterms.

Update, Thursday PM: According to Axios, Trump wasn't even aware of what his staff approved in the Big Six proposal, and was skeptical of it.

If Schumer and Nancy wanted to sow major problems for the GOP, they would openly opine that Steve Bannon and the Trump base would never approve of something that benefited Goldman Sachs and Wall Street as much as this deal would. By doing so, Schumer would be driving a wedge even further between Bannon and Gary Cohn, who signed off this deal apparently without Trump's OK. Bannon is already committed to getting Cohn out of the White House, and such jousting by Schumer would only make it worse for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Deacon Blues @ 10:56 AM :: Link :: Comments (0) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It! ::
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