Republican Senators Say Health Bill is Dead

John McCain (R-Ariz.) and other Republican senators are saying what everybody seems to already know about the Republican repeal/reform-and-replace effort. After eight years of campaigning to repeal Obamacare, it increasingly seems that the Republican effort is about to die within sight of its goal.

“I think my view is it’s probably going to be dead,” McCain said on “Face The Nation,” adding, “but I am- I’ve been wrong.”

McCain said that if the current bill fails, Republicans should try again with a bill that aims to win some Democrat votes. “Introduce a bill,” McCain said. “Say to the Democrats, ‘Here’s a bill.’ It doesn’t mean they control it. It means they can have amendments considered. And even when they lose, then they’re part of the process. That’s what democracy is supposed to be all about.”

The close margins in the Senate, 52 Republicans to 48 Democrats, mean that, unless some Democrats cross the aisle to vote for the Republican bill, the GOP can only lose two votes and still be able to pass the bill. The GOP health plan has come under fire from moderates like Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) as well as from conservatives like Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).

Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.) agreed with McCain’s assessment on “Fox News Sunday.” “Clearly, the draft plan is dead,” Cassidy said, “but we don’t know what’s in the serious rewrite” of the bill.

Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) admitted the bleak future of the bill. McConnell said that, while he isn’t giving up on repeal, Republicans may need to work with Democrats on a short-term fix for Obamacare.

President Trump and other Republicans from Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) to Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have called upon congressional Republicans to simply repeal Obamacare if they cannot agree on a replacement. A repeal bill would face the additional hurdle of a cloture vote that would require 60 votes for passage.

Sasse suggests a new version of the 2015 Obamacare reconciliation bill. Unless Collins, Murkowski and other GOP holdouts on the Medicaid expansion reverse themselves, this bill would also fall short of even a simple majority.

Without a change of heart from either the Republican moderate or conservative wing, the effort to repeal or reform Obamacare seems to be reaching a dead end. While the future of health insurance in America is uncertain, it is certain that the Republican base would view a failure to repeal Obamacare as the betrayal of a core promise.

The failure to reform Obamacare while they have the opportunity, the single most visible goal of the Republican Party for most of the past decade, could rip the party apart.

Closet Democrat McCain Goes Passive Aggressive on Keeping Obamacare

I’m not about to step on Erick’s excellent take on why the GOP, with a majority in both houses of Congress plus the White House, cannot manage to repeal Obamacare because they simply lack the patriotism over partisanism to do it.

But the only thing worse than power plays is passive aggressive behavior. Sen. John McCain acted like a sullen teenager on CBS News “Face the Nation” Sunday, “I think my view is it’s probably going to be dead,” he said. But he also said he’s been wrong before.

“I thought I’d be president of the United States,” said emo McCain. “But I think — I think I fear that it’s going to fail.”

I’d rather have the characters from “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” running the Senate than McCain, who really wants Obamacare to stick around, but doesn’t have the political guts to say it.

As Erick said, governing is hard. Obamacare was shoved down America’s throats with a heaping helping of lies and false promises. It was never designed to work since it was constructed by a Democrat majority to be later replaced by single-payer, government-run health insurance, with the big companies splitting up the taxpayer booty.

Now Obamacare has totally bolloxed our health insurance system, intertwining it with the IRS, state regulations, HHS mandates, expanded Medicaid and failing markets. It would be better if we could replace it with a sane, simpler system, but that would require owning up to the current system’s malevolence (for one thing, increases in opioid addiction).

The mess called “BHRA” (Better Healthcare Reconciliation Act, snort) is worse than a flat repeal of Obamacare without some real world commonsense to protect premiums from ballooning. At least Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski are honest about wanting to keep Medicaid expansion and Obamacare-level federal control.

Sen. Ted Cruz has an amendment ready to go, but declaring it dead before it even hits the floor is taking the political easy way out. McCain has chosen to play the “I would, but it’s going to die anyway” card. That’s shameful. He thought he was going to be president, but I’m glad McCain never was.

McCain Loves Him Some Comey

Once again, Sen. McCain R-AZ has shot his mouth off in front of foreign dignitaries,  showing both his utter lack of gravitas as well as exposing his boundless opportunism. Proving he is a better bully than statesman, the Arizona maverick wannabe seemed to take great joy in piling on: (WaPo)

President Trump’s sudden firing of FBI Director James B. Comey is bad for the country and will not be the end of the Trump-Russia affair”,  Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told a group of foreign diplomats and experts Tuesday night at a meeting of the Munich Security Conference core group. “This scandal is going to go on. I’ve seen it before. This is a centipede. I guarantee you there will be more shoes to drop, I can just guarantee it. There’s just too much information that we don’t have that will be coming out.”

Not content to simply spout Democratic talking points, the octogenarian once again upped his game in order to get the attention he so overtly craves: (WaPo)

He called Trump’s actions against Comey “unprecedented” and said the position of FBI director has held special meaning in American public life dating back decades. “I remember the Saturday Night Massacre,” McCain told the mostly European and American guests, referring to the 1973 incident when President Nixon fired the special prosecutor looking into the Watergate break-in, Archibald Cox.

A life-long inhabitant of the DC swamp. McCain knew exactly who would lap up his disloyal vitriol, Josh Rogin columnist for the far left Republican detesting liberal Washington Post:

The event was off the record, but McCain gave me permission to place his comments on the record. He said that Trump had the legal basis to fire Comey but that his decision would have long-term negative consequences. His evening comments were more extensive and more critical of the president’s decision than the statement issued Tuesday night by his office, which said McCain was “disappointed” by Trump’s move and praised Comey as a man of “honor and integrity.” McCain also renewed his call for the establishment of a special congressional committee to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

What is so amazing about McCain’s attack on the President is how far out on a limb he’s willing to go with his “all things Russia” diatribe. It’s telling when fellow senior senators such as Sen. Diane Feinstein D-CA won’t back him up: (Townhall)

“You don’t have to provides us with any classified information, Senator, but do you believe—do you have evidence that there was in fact collusion between Trump associates and Russia during the campaign?” asked CNN’s Wolf Blizter. “Not at this time,” replied Feinstein.

But, don’t just take her word for it, Sen. Joe Manchin D-WVA says the exact same thing: (Free Beacon)

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) admitted Sunday there is currently no evidence showing collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia. CBS host John Dickerson asked Manchin on “Face the Nation” about the latest information he has received on the federal investigation into potential links between the Trump campaign and Russia and whether he has seen any evidence of collusion. Manchin said he has seen no proof of collusion, despite accusations to the contrary from many who oppose Trump, including members of Congress who have threatened impeachment proceedings. “There’s an awful lot of smoke there, let’s put it that way,” Manchin said. “People that might have said they were involved, to what extent they were involved, to what extent the president might have known about these people or whatever, there is nothing there from that standpoint that we have seen directly linking our president to any of that.”

And then there’s Rep. Adam Schiff D-CA Ranking Member House Intelligence Committee: (Townhall)

In fact, the line is the same: there’s no evidence of collusion. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, reiterated that claim over the weekend:“I don’t think we can say anything definitively at this point,” Schiff said.

These Democrat politicians are senior enough to see raw intelligence and have access to the latest intelligence analysis. Yet it appears they are unwilling to back up the 81 year old RINO’s claims. Perhaps his concern is trifling, and the bitter animus toward his party’s Leader controls his every thought and statement.

Sen. John Sidney McCain III R-AZ graduated from the Naval Academy in 1958. Both his father and grandfather retired from the Navy as four-star Admirals. If he seems to be a military hack in-bred, he comes by it honestly. From birth, he’s been a member of the Pentagon party, not the Republican Party; however much like Bernie Sanders, he needed a political party to further his ambitions. Arizona has been a Republican stronghold for decades. You do the math.

What is so continually frustrating is the hypocrisy. He railed against water-boarding, and any form of intense interrogation, yet he never ceases to call for military boots on the ground whenever and wherever he finds the opportunity. No defense budget is large enough. No US foreign footprint is expanded enough. In essence, one could speculate his true cause is an imperialistic dominant American and he is more than willing to commit our young men and women to suffer and die for that cause.

As an aside: just yesterday, he voted against allowing oil well production natural gas flaring on government lands: (CNBC)

The Trump administration and Republicans suffered a rare loss in their bid to roll back Obama-era energy regulations on Wednesday, as three GOP senators voted against revoking a rule to prevent methane leaks from oil and gas production. Sen. John McCain cast a surprise vote against the measure, joining Democrats and fellow Republicans Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins to defeat the repeal attempt in a 49-51 vote. McCain and Graham have been two of Trump’s toughest critics among GOP lawmakers, primarily on matters of national security and allegations of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. On Tuesday, McCain criticized Trump for firing FBI Director James Comey, who was leading an investigation into whether Trump’s associates coordinated with Russia to tip the election in the president’s favor.

Now thats just being petty. Well, ignorant and petty. Flaring natural gas during oil well production is the safest method of disposal, and he should know that.

McCain is not a conservative. He’s not really Republican. He’s for himself, and for the Pentagon, and that’s pretty much it. He is an inconsistent opportunistic politically thuggish bully. If he had a sense of shame, he’d go home and crawl into his desert hole. Sadly though, he’ll just continue to live it up in the swamp until he shuffles off this mortal coil .

McCain Criticizes Comey Firing, Says ‘More Shoes to Drop’ on Russia

Senator John McCain criticized President Trump for his decision fire FBI Director James Comey as “not a good thing for America” today. McCain also promised that the investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election would continue.

“I regret it, I think it’s unfortunate,” McCain told the Washington Post. “The president does have that constitutional authority. But I can’t help but think that this is not a good thing for America.”

McCain did not directly suggest that the firing was motivated by President Trump’s desire to quash the investigation into Russian connections to the Trump campaign, but he did allude to President Nixon’s firing of Watergate investigators in 1973. Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to fire Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. They refused and resigned in protest. Nixon then gave the order to Solicitor General Robert Bork, who reluctantly complied. FBI agents were then dispatched to close the offices of dismissed officials. The event became known as the “Saturday Night Massacre.”

“I remember the Saturday Night Massacre,” McCain said.

“This scandal is going to go on. I’ve seen it before,” McCain said. “This is a centipede. I guarantee you there will be more shoes to drop, I can just guarantee it. There’s just too much information that we don’t have that will be coming out.”

Senator McCain had previously issued a statement responding to the firing in which he said that he was “disappointed in the President’s decision.” The statement also reaffirmed McCain’s call for a congressional investigation into Russian interference in the election.

North Korea’s Hilarious Insult to a U.S. Senator

U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R – CO), chairman of the Senate’s Foreign Relations subcommittee, commented on North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un last week, saying:

I think most people agree that Kim Jong Un is a whack job.  This is a crazed maniac at the helm of one of the world’s nuclear regimes, trying to become a nuclear regime.

The government of North Korea reacted in a predictably hilarious manner:

On May 3, some [expletive] by the name of Cory Gardner, who sits on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, perpetrated wicked blasphemy against our supreme dignity during an interview with NBC.  For a psychopath like the [expletive] Gardner, to hurl evil accusations at our highest dignity, is a serious provocation.  That a man mixed in with human dirt like Gardner, who has lost basic judgment and body hair, could only spell misfortune for the United States.

It is almost as if the North Korean government took a class on internet trolling.  It takes a special person to use terms such as “wicked blasphemy.”

It’s also unclear why the North Koreans believe that Gardner has lost his body hair, or why or how one could be “mixed in with human dirt.”  This response comes a couple months after Senator John McCain also insulted Kim Jong-un by calling him a “crazy, fat kid” and received an angry reply from the North Koreans for his comments.

Apparently, the corpulent and farcical Kim Jong-un is very sensitive about being called crazy and fat, as it insults his “highest dignity.”  He is also reportedly disappointed that “Pi Day” in the U.S. does not feature actual pies.

 

Immigration Ban Could Be Expanded, Even As Resistance Grows

Reince Priebus suggested on Sunday that President Trump could expand his immigration ban to other countries, even as resistance to the initial order grew. The White House Chief of Staff said on NBC’s “Meet The Press” that the president could issue new Executive Orders that might include restrictions on such countries as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Egypt.

The ban on the initial seven countries has caused as uproar as visitors to the US with valid visas were detained at ports of entry. A federal judge issued a ruling temporarily preventing the Trump Administration from deporting these detainees

The Wall Street Journal reported that the ban was enacted suddenly and secretly to prevent terrorists from circumventing the new security measures. Many immigration officials did not see the Order until after it was signed.

There were reports that several of the countries in the initial travel ban were considering retaliatory measures. CNN reported that Iran intended to take “reciprocal measures” to protest the Trump policy. An Iraqi investment magazine, the Baghdad Investor, reported that Iraq had implemented a policy similar to Mr. Trump’s on US citizens entering Iraq.

In many cities around the country, protesters took the streets to protest the policy. The Wall Street Journal reports that the State Department is taking the unusual step of drafting a cable to be signed by dissenting officials. The cable has not yet been released but reportedly has been signed by more than 100 mid-to-high level officials both in Washington and posted abroad.

Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) issued a joint statement criticizing Trump’s ban. “It is clear from the confusion at our airports across the nation that President Trump’s executive order was not properly vetted. We are particularly concerned by reports that this order went into effect with little to no consultation with the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security.”

The senators note that the ban also applies to Iraqis who fought alongside American soldiers against ISIS and al-Qaeda and that the policy may backfire. “This executive order sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country,” they write. “That is why we fear this executive order may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.”

Fortune lists a growing number of Republicans who have gone on record as opposing Trump’s ban. Currently the list includes 18 Republican senators and congressmen from across the country.

Polling on the immigration ban has not yet been released, but Gallup’s daily approval rating showed a sharp uptick in disapproval of President Trump since the announcement of the ban last week. Disapproval of Trump now stands at a majority, 51 percent, while 42 percent approve.

The One Excuse Trump Can’t Claim

Friday, on a stage in Green Bay, Donald Trump publicly endorsed Paul Ryan. He also endorsed Kelly Ayotte and John McCain. For those of us who see politics as politics, we can only say “it’s about time.” For many of the Branch Trumpidians, Trump may well have committed treason.

Just a day before, Chris Cillizza, The Washington Post’s political blogger, gave four steps for Trump to change his strategy–the long-awaited “pivot” to a win.

  1. Endorse Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. Cast himself as the uniter of the Republican party — and show it’s more than talk.
  2. Stop doing so many media interviews. Trump is constantly sitting for some interview or other, and, often, contradicting himself and the party in the process. Less is more.
  3. Find a message and stick to it. That message should be: a) Supreme Court b) change vs more of the same and c) Hillary can’t be trusted. But, almost any message might work — as long as Trump actually stuck to it.
  4. Stop picking dumb fights. The back and forth with the Khans was both unwinnable and incredibly un-strategic. If you are in the polling position Trump is, you can’t afford to give away a week fighting a fight you have no chance of winning.

To the relief of the party establishment, Trump did step 1, and boy did it bother his core.

https://twitter.com/_HankRearden/status/761790317615984640

https://twitter.com/_HankRearden/status/761791179834822656

And so in doing what the establishment wanted, Trump has lost his cover story of not doing what the establishment wants.

He can’t claim “I did it because the party needed me to.” That’s nonsense to Trumpkins, who actually believe the “only I can fix.” He can’t say he bowed to pressure, because The Donald doesn’t bow to pressure. But in fact that’s exactly what he did.

This isn’t like Trump signing the GOP loyalty pledge, when he got Reince Priebus to stand in the lobby of Trump Tower and publicly submit fealty to the Orange Throne. This was done in Wisconsin, Ryan’s home territory–a snub to Ryan’s doomed primary opponent, Paul Nehlen, who inexplicably defended Trump for slaughtering him.

I say “inexplicably” but really it isn’t. The Kool Aid does tend to render its victims suggestible, even to suicidal acts.

This is how many of Trump’s supporters will come to terms with Cheeto Jesus’ “mini-pivot.” They’ll say he did it for “party unity” (funny that only applies to everyone but Ted Cruz), and it wasn’t bowing to the establishment, although that’s exactly what it was.

In Trump’s cult of personality, the Master bows to nobody. That means Trump can make whatever excuse he wants for his reversal on Ryan (and McCain and Ayotte), but he can’t claim they made him do it. (But they did.)

Snowballs In Hell: Liberal Vets Encourage McCain to Dis-Endorse Trump

Snowballs are officially streaming out of the smoky hole to Hell.

The group of veterans supported by MoveOn.org and Common Defense delivered the petition with what they said was more than 100,000 signatures to encourage McCain to take back his support of his party’s presidential nominee.

[Source]

It must be tiring for McCain to keep Trumpsplaining stupid stuff that issues from the unfiltered mouth of the Orange Throne, while continuing to stand for anything at all. As Alex Roarty wrote “Denounce the comment, reaffirm support for the ticket, change the subject.”

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

McCain wrote a 700-word response to Trump’s attack on the Gold Star family of Captain Humayun Khan, but you won’t find it on his official website. CNN published it in full. Here is an excerpt:

In the end, I am morally bound to speak only to the things that command my allegiance, and to which I have dedicated my life’s work: the Republican Party, and more importantly, the United States of America. I will not refrain from doing my utmost by those lights simply because it may benefit others with whom I disagree.

I claim no moral superiority over Donald Trump. I have a long and well-known public and private record for which I will have to answer at the Final Judgment, and I repose my hope in the promise of mercy and the moderation of age. I challenge the nominee to set the example for what our country can and should represent.

Arizona is watching. It is time for Donald Trump to set the example for our country and the future of the Republican Party. While our Party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us.

Arizona will probably vote for Clinton in November. We will have to see if McCain abandons the Trump train. He has to defeat Kelli Ward in the August 30 primary to keep his seat.

The ultimate party man might end up agreeing with MoveOn.org liberals.