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?