March 24, 2017

Trump in Transition (v14)

It's been a tough week for the president, don't you think?

President Trump, who famously told us "healthcare is an unbelievably complex subject, nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated."

Who knew?  We all knew it could be "so complicated" -- we've been hearing about it for seven years now, as of yesterday. It went all the way to the Supreme Court, for heaven's sake. Where was the president when all of that was going on?

Heck, the only thing that's not uncomplicated about it is all of the votes the Republicans took during the Obama administration to repeal it.

Who knew health care could be so complicated? Well, now he knows for sure.
We were very close, and it was a very, very tight margin.
Oh boy. The president probably lied again. According to many estimates I've seen, there were more than 30 Republicans who were going to vote against the American Healthcare Act, and that number was growing, not shrinking, as the day went on Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan needed all but maybe a dozen of their own party to pass the bill, so they probably missed by more than a "very, very tight" margin.
We had no Democrat support. We had no votes from the Democrats. They weren't going to give us a single vote, so it's a very difficult thing to do.
Yes, it is a very difficult thing to do, trying to pass something with little or no support from the opposition. It shouldn't be so hard, thought, when your party holds the White House and the House of Representatives and the Senate.
A lot of people don't realize how good our bill was because they were viewing phase one. But when you add phase two -- which was mostly the signings of Secretary Price...and you add phase three, which I think we would have gotten - it became a great bill. Premiums would have gone down and it would have been very stable, it would have been very strong. But that's OK. 
Governing is not like the business world, where a billionaire developer can get people to give him something, phase one of something, because the full package is so great, even though people often know that when a wheeler-dealer developer makes a promise for phase one, phase two, phase three, they'll be lucky if phase one even gets finished.
So what would be really good, with no Democrat support, is if the Democrats, when it explodes -- which it will soon -- if they got together with us and got a real healthcare bill. I would be totally up to do it. And I think that's going to happen. I think the loser are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, because now they own Obamacare.  They own it -- 100 percent own it.
And this is not a Republican healthcare, this is not anything but a Democrat healthcare. And they have Obamacare for a little while longer, until it ceases to exist, which it will at some point in the near future. And just remember this is not our bill, this is their bill.
Um, not sure how the American Health Care Act, the Paul Ryan Health Care Act, the one that Ryan said the president helped write, is the Pelosi-Schumer bill?
I want to thank the Republican Party. I want to thank Paul Ryan -- he worked very, very hard, I will tell you that. Tom Price and Mike Pence - who's right here, our Vice President, our great Vice President. Everybody worked hard. I worked as a team player and would have loved to have seen it passed.
But you're not going to pin this sucker on me, oh no you're not! This was Ryan's bill, I was just a team player, I was not the ringleader (Paul Ryan), I was not the guy who worked very, very hard (Paul Ryan), I would have loved to have seen it passed but I'm not the one who failed (Paul Ryan).
So I want to thank everybody for being here. It will go very smoothly, I really believe. I think this is something -- it certainly was an interesting period of time. We all learned a lot. We learned a lot about loyalty.
And we learned a lot about the people in my party, the Freedom Caucus, who are not loyal at all to me.
We learned a lot about the vote-getting process.
Because all this time, I thought the party whip was just a whip, and I don't think people know that's not the case. Did you know the whip was a person? Did you know Abraham Lincoln was a Republican? I don't think most people know that either, do you?
We learned a lot about some very arcane rules in, obviously, both the Senate and in the House. So it's been -- certainly for me, it's been a very interesting experience. But in the end, I think it's going to be an experience that leads to an even better healthcare plan.
So thank you all very much. And I'll see you soon.

March 22, 2017

Wondering on Wednesday (v82)

What's there to wonder about, this Wednesday?  Plenty, it seems.

Seven years of voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, at least 87 million bucks wasted in the process, and now, finally, the Republicans are going to vote on a replacement product, the American Health Care Act, something that seems to have much less 'care' than its predecessor.  It's almost hard to believe that, with all of that practice, this AHCA actually has a chance of not even making it out of the House. Speaker Paul Ryan has solidly connected the bill to the White House, and engaged the Deal Maker to twist arms, even as Republicans in his shop and in the Senate are dropping this entirely in Ryan's lap. I wonder, will Ryan and Trump be able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat tomorrow? And if they do, how will the darn bill ever get through the Senate?

Trump's 'skinny budget', the little one presidents release in advance of the big one that comes out in May, dropped last Thursday. The budget, we were told by Mick Mulvaney, was an #AmericaFirst budget, representing the priorities of the #AmericaFirst candidate who became the #AmericaFirst president. Trump's priorities, like his true beliefs, have been in question all along, but the budget is based on what he said on the campaign trail, so maybe this is what he believes. Even better, his budget outline is dollar neutral: what new spending he adds, his new take-aways negate - and that should make some people happy, at least, What I'm wondering about, though, is why Trump is negating his own budget?

That's right. Trump, who cut $200M from NASA's budget, signed a bill that would increase NASA's budget by that exact same amount, because it's all about jobs, I guess. But is that really our goal with NASA? Is that really why we want to go to Mars, to create jobs in Florida and Texas?  I really have to wonder about that.

Speaking of Trump and jobs, Ivanka Trump has a new job. Well, not a job, per se; it's something unofficial that has her working, for free we're told, in the West Wing, with a security clearance and 'government devices' which I think means she won't need to use her own personal phone for Instagram and Twitter. (Is that really what it means, I wonder?)

She's turning over her personal business to family members of her husband, who does have an official job in the White House, just as she and her father 'turned over' the family business to Don Jr. and Eric. It's all very conflicting and confusing, but I wonder what she's actually going to be doing? Is she Daughter-in-Chief? Wife-of-the-Special-Advisor? Is she supposed to be helping with policy? Helping her father look presidential? Or maybe she's helping save tax dollars?

That's right -- maybe her new role in the White House is a way to cut costs for the Secret Service! You see, the Secret Service asked for an extra $60,000,000 to cover costs of protecting the Trump family, Trump Tower, Trump himself, President in waiting Mike Pence, and "other visiting heads of state" which appears to be a reference to Trump's propensity for hanging out at places other than the White House when he's entertaining foreigners. If Ivanka is in the White House, we won't have to pay separately to keep her secure, right?

Interestingly, the #AmericaFirst Office of Management and Budget turned down the Secret Service request for funding. So here I am, back to wondering what Trump really believes in, and what his priorities are, if protecting his own family isn't among them?