Republicans Control Washington, Are Fractured As A Party… Can They Effectively Lead?

As the failed attempt to repeal and replace the ACA made clear to the nation the party controlling Washington DC is nearly as internally divided has as America itself. Something Trump can take at least partial credit for.

Time is short tonight as prior commitments are consuming our time. So, following is an excerpt from The Washington Post that makes the point well.

President Trump and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan made it a binary choice: You’re either for their health-care legislation or you’re for “Obamacare.”

From Reps. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) to Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), spanning the party’s ideological spectrum, the answer came back Friday: No, it’s much more complex. It was filled with several different options and possible routes ahead, and dozens of Republicans agreed with their sentiment.

That left Republicans well short of the votes they needed to fulfill a seven-year promise to destroy the 2010 Affordable Care Act once they were fully in charge, delivering a stinging defeat to both Ryan and Trump.

It also suggested a new dynamic in which both the right and left flanks of the Republican conference are emboldened to challenge leadership. And that could make each future negotiation more difficult as the issue matrix gets more complicated and the pockets of internal GOP resistance continue to grow, not shrink, in the new era of Trump’s Republican-controlled Washington.

Some parts of these botched negotiations looked a lot like the recent past. Franks and his House Freedom Caucus cronies played the role of obstructionists who will buck party leaders no matter if it’s John A. Boehner, Ryan’s predecessor, or now Trump. These ideologues gobbled up tons of attention, resulting in much care from Trump, Vice President Pence and top West Wing advisers.

By lunchtime Friday, Franks still would not commit to publicly supporting the bill — even though he admitted it was far better than current law. “Of course it is, yeah, it’s a lot better than Obamacare, of course it is. There’s not even any comparison,” Franks said a few hours before the legislation went down in flames.

Franks remained upset that conservative proposals were left out of the bill because they would have violated Senate budget rules, meaning that the proposal to replace the ACA was nowhere near to his liking.

“That still is like putting dirt in ice cream,” he said.

Other parts of the negotiation, however, were new and quite different from the previous six years of Republican control of the House. Nothing capped this off more than the stunning announcement Friday morning from Frelinghuysen, just three months into his hold on the coveted Appropriations Committee gavel, that bucked leadership.

“Unfortunately, the legislation before the House today is currently unacceptable as it would place significant new costs and barriers to care on my constituents,” he said in a statement.

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Democrats, who have been relied on in the past to backfill those lost conservative votes, have signaled they will not do so this time if the legislation includes funding for controversial measures such as Trump’s request for funding to build a border wall.

That messy task falls to Frelinghuysen’s committee — and it will become much more difficult for the new chairman to ask for loyalty votes on his legislation just a few weeks after he walked away from Ryan on the AHCA.

CONTINUE READING

UPDATE:

Below is a definite must read. With video,

Trump’s path forward only gets tougher after health-care fiasco

Trump and Ryan Fail To Pass Repeal and Replace…

The ACA remains the law for the foreseeable future. Speaker Paul Ryan’s bill did not have the votes to pass, primarily due to the curmudgeon conservatives that felt the bill did not go far enough to hurt the less fortunate.

In spite of Mr. Art of the Trump’s arm twisting and threats that members who failed to support the bill would lose their seats in 2018 Ryan couldn’t muster the votes. Realizing his failure Trump told the Speaker to pull the bill keeping in character blamed democrats for it failing.

Trump further said democrats would come to him when the ACA explodes. Presumably on their knees.

ABC – House Republican leaders decided to pull their Obamacare replacement bill at the last minute at the request of President Donald Trump — capping a rocky series of weeks since the controversial measure was introduced and an order from the president for legislators to put their cards on the table today.

A GOP aide tells ABC News that Trump called Speaker of the House Paul Ryan at 3 p.m. to tell him to pull the bill. The next House votes are scheduled for Monday, so no further votes are expected in the House for the day or the week.

“We’ve got to do better and we will,” Ryan said at a hastily arranged press conference this afternoon. “This is a setback no two ways about it,” but GOP leadership is emerging from the day “motivated to step up our game and deliver our promises.”

Ryan said they pulled the bill because they couldn’t get enough “yes” votes for the bill to succeed on the floor. He said “I’m really proud of the bill we produced,” but later in his speech called it a “fundamentally flawed” piece of legislation.

“Obamacare is the law of the land,” Ryan said. It’s going to remain the law of the land until it’s replaced… And, so, yeah, we’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”

The Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, has been in effect since President Obama signed it in 2010. Republicans have vowed to get rid of the bill since then.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called today’s developments a “victory for the American people.”

Trump blamed the failure on the Democrats, and said in a press conference that they will come to him when Obamacare “explodes.”

“It’s imploding and soon will explode and it’s not going to be pretty,” Trump said.

This failure was a good thing for the American people, especially the 24 million that would have lost health coverage.

Trump failed to guide his party to finding a workable replacement for the ACA that would ensure everyone would have heath insurance coverage. His promise that everyone would be covered was a lie and he knew it at the time he said it.

Trump’s credibility just keeps sinking lower and lower. So does the respect people have for him. If they ever had any to begin with.

Continue reading BENEATG THE FOLD.

MR. (P)RESIDENT’S (F)UDGET

So Mr. (P)resident wants to build a wall across our southern border … costing an estimated $15 to $25 billion dollars. To pay for the wall, he will scratch $500 million for a new Coast Guard cutter.

You see, his Petulance wants his immigrants wet as his arithmetic goes awry.  So immigrants shall arrive by sea, he decrees, instead of crossing the Rio Grande — thus making it easier for them to row versus wade.

Putin Critic Assassinated, Knew He Was A Target…

A tragic event. On possibly orchestrated by Vladimir Putin.

A man Trump apparently admires. If one believes Trump’s prior praises of Putin.

Excerpt from The Washington Post.

In the plush, crimson-decked lobby bar of Kiev’s five-star Premier Palace Hotel, Denis Voronenkov, a Russian lawmaker who defected to Ukraine, knew he was in danger.

“For our personal safety, we can’t let them know where we are,” he said Monday evening as he sat with his wife for an interview with The Washington Post.

Less than 72 hours later, he was dead, shot twice in the head in broad daylight outside the same lobby bar. It was a particularly brazen assassination that recalled the post-Soviet gangland violence of the 1990s. His wife, dressed in black, sobbed as she stooped down to identify Voronenkov’s body, which lay beneath a black tarp in a pool of blood.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, just hours later, called the attack an “act of state terrorism by Russia.” As of Thursday evening, police had not identified the assailant, who died in police custody after being shot by Voronenkov’s bodyguard. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, called the accusation a “fabrication.”

In the weeks before his death, Voronenkov, a former member of Russia’s pliant Communist Party, had told friends he was being targeted. Hackers had been trying to pry into his Twitter account and his wife’s email. He had received threatening text messages, and the police had recently assigned him a bodyguard. There were rumors he was under surveillance.

“It’s a totally amoral system, and in its anger it may go to extreme measures,” he said as he sat next to his wife, Maria Maksakova, a fellow parliamentarian who defected with him. “There’s been a demonization of us. It’s hard to say what will happen. The system has lost its mind. They say we are traitors in Russia.”

He said he could return only “when Putin is gone.”

At a time when the question of Russian influence dominates U.S. politics, Voronenkov’s death will add further scrutiny to the extent, and potential lethality, of Russia’s reach abroad. It remained unclear who might have wanted to killed Voronenkov — theories include Russian agents, Ukrainian nationalists or business interests — but the fact remains that he is just the latest Kremlin opponent to wind up dead.

More BENEATH THE FOLD

 

On Our Liar In Chief…

You may have heard, Donald Trump had an interview with Time very recently. An interview that earned him four Pinocchios from The Washington Post.

Most of us know full well that Trump has a serious problem with the truth. In fact no one that has been paying any real attention fails to see this.

Trump lies with such regularity that one cannot help but arrive at the consclusion he is a pathological liar. Just as a frame of reference… Pathological lying (also called pseudologia fantastica and mythomania) is a behavior of habitual or compulsive lying. It was first described in the medical literature in 1891 by Anton Delbrueck. … The individual may be aware they are lying, or may believe they are telling the truth.

Trump certainly appears to fit the above description. At least to the non medical layman. Whether Trump understands he is lying or actually believes his lies are the truth is really immaterial. Presidents of the United States of America must earn and maintain the respect of the people of our nation. As well as  that of the entire free world. A pathological liar cannot do that.

Trump has the support of less than 40% of the American people, and, it continues to head south. Little by little. The only real question is, how long before he hits the bottom? The logical next question is,  how will he be able to continue to govern?

Our hope was for Trump to be a successful president. A hope he would put on the presidential cap, begin to tell the truth, and become a unifier rather than the divider he has chooses to be. It now seem almost conclusive that will never happen. We are likely stuck with a pig in a poke for his 4 year term.

Read the list of falsehoods Trump spewed during his Time interview HERE. It is an extensive one..