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Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Home country: USA
Current location: Greenfield, MA
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:28 PM
Number of posts: 25,467

Journal Archives

What Trump Didn't Like About the Health Care Bill

Politico: “For weeks Trump had seemed disinterested and disengaged from the specifics of the health care fight, both behind closed doors with his aides and at public rallies. Trump ‘just wanted to get something he could sign,’ said one adviser who talks to him frequently. ‘He was over it.’ He would often interrupt conversations on the law to talk about other issues, advisers and aides said.”

“In one phone call with Ryan earlier this month, Trump told the House speaker that he had a problem with the bill. It wasn’t over Medicaid expansion, maternity coverage, deductibles or insurance premiums. Rather, it was that he didn’t like the word ‘buckets’ — which Ryan had been using to describe the parts of their plan. ‘I don’t like that word buckets. You throw trash in buckets. I don’t like that word,’ Trump said, according to two people familiar with the call. Trump preferred ‘phases.’ Ryan agreed and adopted the term.”



Quote of the Day

“I’ve been in this job eight years, and I’m wracking my brain to think of one thing our party has done that’s been something positive, that’s been something other than stopping something else from happening. We need to start having victories as a party. And if we can’t, then it’s hard to justify why we should be back here.”

— Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL), quoted by The Atlantic.



Inspector General Probes Trump Administrations Move To Pull Obamacare Enrollment Ads

Source: Huffington Post

03/25/2017 02:23 am ET | Updated 1 hour ago

Inspector General Probes Trump Administration’s Move To Pull Obamacare Enrollment Ads

Halting outreach for ACA enrollment could “contribute to weakening healthcare marketplaces and raising costs,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren says.

By Mary Papenfuss

The Department of Health and Human Services inspector general has launched an investigation into the Trump administration’s decision to pull ads encouraging people to sign up for the Affordable Care Act during the enrollment period. By shutting down such outreach, the action could be seen as a stealth way to starve the health plan without legislative authority, critics say.

President Donald Trump’s administration said the ads were a waste of money, but Democrats have characterized the action as sabotage.

In response to a request to investigate the actions from Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the inspector general said his office is conducting a “fact-finding” review, the Hill reported.

The office will examine exactly what was done and when by the administration, and its effect on enrollment in the health plan, according to a letter written to the senators Thursday. Dwindling numbers of consumers enrolled in any insurance undermines an affordable risk pool.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/inspector-general-trump-health_us_58d5fc2de4b03692bea63ff9?

Trump: Don't Worry! O'care Will 'Explode,' We Will Pick Up The Pieces

Source: Talking Points Memo

By KRISTIN SALAKY Published MARCH 25, 2017, 10:59 AM EDT

President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday for the first time about the Republicans' failure to bring their health care bill up for a vote in the House, telling Americans not to worry but that Obamacare would "explode."


The tweet echoes what Trump has said about the Affordable Care Act in the past, often remarking in the process of trying to pass the American Health Care Act that the Republicans were doing Democrats a favor and maybe should just let Obamacare "implode" and make Democrats "own it."


Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-tweet-obamacare-will-explode

Ryan wounded by health care fiasco. But don't expect a coup attempt against the speaker.


The painful public collapse Friday of Paul Ryan's biggest endeavor as House speaker — legislation to unwind the Democratic health care law he and his party spent years castigating as a disaster — dealt a serious blow to the Wisconsin Republican. But as embarrassing a setback as this was — Obamacare is here to stay "for the foreseeable future," Ryan conceded — he isn't going anywhere.

No one is prepared to challenge Ryan for his job, said GOP lawmakers from across the Republican Conference. While some right-wing media and outside groups are agitating to replace the speaker, and his antagonists on the White House staff needle him anonymously in the press, there is no way he will be ousted.

President Donald Trump hasn't turned on him, either — at least not yet. And Ryan remains popular with his rank-and-file members, who genuinely like him. Critically, Ryan is not a liability for them back home, the ultimate litmus test for any congressional leader. Yet the debacle over the American Health Care Act showed how the promise of Ryan as speaker has failed to live up to the reality.

When he took over for former Speaker John Boehner in November 2015 following an uprising by conservatives, Ryan was seen as the one figure who could heal the divisions within the GOP Conference, especially with the hard-line Freedom Caucus. That hasn't happened, to put it mildly.


Inside the GOP's Health Care Debacle. 18 days that shook the Republican Party & humbled a president

Inside the GOP's Health Care Debacle

Eighteen days that shook the Republican Party—and humbled a president.

By TIM ALBERTA March 24, 2017

Donald Trump had heard enough about policy and process. It was Thursday afternoon and members of the House Freedom Caucus were peppering the president with wonkish concerns about the American Health Care Act—the language that would leave Obamacare’s “essential health benefits” in place, the community rating provision that limited what insurers could charge certain patients, and whether the next two steps of Speaker Paul Ryan’s master plan were even feasible—when Trump decided to cut them off.

"Forget about the little shit," Trump said, according to multiple sources in the room. "Let's focus on the big picture here."

The group of roughly 30 House conservatives, gathered around a mammoth, oval-shaped conference table in the Cabinet Room of the White House, exchanged disapproving looks. Trump wanted to emphasize the political ramifications of the bill's defeat; specifically, he said, it would derail his first-term agenda and imperil his prospects for reelection in 2020. The lawmakers nodded and said they understood. And yet they were disturbed by his dismissiveness. For many of the members, the "little shit" meant the policy details that could make or break their support for the bill—and have far-reaching implications for their constituents and the country.

"We’re talking about one-fifth of our economy," a member told me afterward.

Ultimately, the meeting failed to move any votes. Two Freedom Caucus members—Brian Babin and Ted Poe, both of Texas—told the president that they had switched to yes, but their decisions had already been registered with White House vote-counters prior to sitting down with Trump. (Their colleagues didn't appreciate the gesture, feeling that Babin and Poe were trying to score points with the president at their expense.) Upon returning to Capitol Hill, the Freedom Caucus gathered in a meeting room inside the Rayburn office building, discussed Trump's admonitions to them and took another vote. The tally had not changed: Of the group’s roughly three dozen members, two-thirds remained opposed, with only five or six of those saying they were "soft" in that stance.


Report: Trump Told Freedom Caucus To 'Forget The Little S***' In Repeal Bill

Source: Talking Points Memo

By KRISTIN SALAKY Published MARCH 25, 2017, 10:40 AM EDT

President Donald Trump was reportedly skimpy on the details of the now-failed American Health Care Act in a meeting with conservative Republicans Thursday, apparently telling them to "forget about the little shit," multiple unnamed sources told Politico.

The report described a meeting that Trump had with members of the Freedom Caucus, in which members pelted him with "wonkish concerns" about specific aspects of the Republicans' bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. Trump cut them off, according to the report, wanting to keep it simple. "Forget about the little shit," Trump said, unnamed sources told Politico."Let's focus on the big picture here."

That reportedly did not sit well with members in attendance.

"We’re talking about one-fifth of our economy," an unnamed member told Politico's Tim Alberta.

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-freedom-caucus-little-stuff-concern

'In the clutch they choked': Wall Street Journal scorches Trump and GOP's health care 'debacle'

25 MAR 2017 AT 10:32 ET

In a blistering editorial, the Wall Street Journal pointed the finger at the multiple culprits within the Republican Party who “choked” when given a chance to finally replace the Affordable Care Act after seven years of trying to undermine it.

With House Speaker Paul Ryan(R-WI) unable to successfully pressure rebellious Republicans to back his bill, and President Donald Trump washing his hands and saying he was moving on to tax reform, the Journal called the collapse of the GOP bill a “debacle.”

“House Republicans pulled their health-care bill shortly before a vote on Friday, and for once the media dirge is right about a GOP defeat. This is a major blow to the Trump Presidency, the GOP majority in Congress, and especially to the cause of reforming and limiting government,” the editorial stated before adding, “Republicans have campaigned for more than seven years on repealing and replacing ObamaCare, and they finally have a President ready to sign it. In the clutch they choked.”

The Journal noted that the GOP hardliners known as the Freedom Caucus had a major hand in destroying the bill, writing, “When one of their demands was met, they dug in and made another until they exceeded what the rest of the GOP conference could concede. You can’t have a good-faith negotiation when one party doesn’t know how to say yes—or won’t.”

“There will be no such repeal in this Congress, and probably not in any other. Republicans run the government and that means they are responsible for what happens in health care,” the editorial continued before getting to the root of the problem.


Schiff urges Trump to avoid baseless accusations

Source: The Hill


The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee urged President Trump to listen to his advisers and avoid making groundless accusations.

“Mr. President, I implore you, the country implores you, you have chosen two superb people to guide you, in (Defense Secretary) Gen. (James) Mattis and (National Security Adviser) Gen. (H.R.) McMaster. Seek their counsel. Listen to what they have to say," said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) during the Democratic weekly address. “And cherish the trust and hope that was placed in you by virtue of your office, by never again advancing claims that you know – or should know – are simply not true," he added, referring to Trump's claim that former President Obama wiretapped the Trump Tower during the 2016 election.

Schiff maintained that the intelligence findings that show Russia's attempt to interfere in the election do not automatically "undermine his legitimacy or credibility." He said only the president "is capable of doing that, and regrettably, he is at great risk of doing so."

“Presidential credibility, once squandered, may never be fully regained," he said.
The lawmaker also reiterated his long-standing call for Congress to conduct an independent investigation into the alleged Trump-Russia ties.

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/house/325754-schiff-to-trump-i-implore-you-to-listen-to-your-advisers-and-avoid-baseless

Has Putin already won? He divides US intel from political leaders


On Capitol Hill this week, we witnessed the much anticipated questioning of FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers by the House Intelligence Committee on Russia's intelligence operations against the United States during the 2016 elections.

Was it Putin’s objective to influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. elections? Or was his objective to generally undermine confidence in our electoral system and our democracy? These, and many other questions, must be asked and answered.

However, there is another, equally nefarious objective that Putin has also pursued through his covert influence operations, but it has yet to be discussed in any meaningful way among our political leadership. It is Putin’s goal to undermine his enduring adversary: the U.S. Intelligence Community.

While Putin’s objectives through these “active measures” have been multi-faceted, I believe one of Putin’s key, strategic goals from the get-go has been to drive a wedge between the U.S. Intelligence Community and U.S. political leadership — not to mention the American public. By creating this wedge, Putin likely surmised that new constraints would be placed on the U.S. Intelligence Community by our political leadership — thereby providing him more freedom of maneuver to pursue his other objectives.

There are three bits of information over the last two weeks that demonstrate to me that Putin may already be winning.

First, on March 7, Wikileaks dumped the “biggest ever” leak of classified documents that outlined alleged CIA hacking tools and capabilities. This is significant because it was intended to subtlety raise questions about whether the CIA uses these capabilities against Americans — given the common nature of the products that it alleged the CIA could hack: Apple's iPhone, Google's Android, Microsoft's Windows, and Samsung smart TVs.

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