BREAKING: GOP Senate Fails to Send “Better Healthcare” Bill to House

Tonight, the Senate failed to pass the so-called “skinny bill” repeal, which would have sent the bill to the House of Representatives. The bill, as written and amended would only remove some mandates and repeal a few taxes, while retaining most of Obamacare. The final vote was 49-51.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ), watched carefully by both sides all night voted “no” on the measure, as did Sens Murkowski (R-AK) and Collins (R-ME).

Four Senators said they’d vote yes on the bill only on the explicit assurance that the House would take it to Conference Committee, in which members of each party and legislative House take part in constructing a bill both sides agree on. Then, if consensus was achieved, the final bill would be sent to both houses, passed and sent to the president.

A few hours before the vote, Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) gathered before the cameras to put on record their terms for voting yes on the bill they each said they “didn’t like.” It was political process strategy, so they could negotiate further, and not an endorsement of the bill.

Now, the Obamacare repeal/replace process is back to committee, which assures it will go back to “normal order,” as McCain asked for in his Tuesday speech on the Senate floor.

Perhaps not shocking, the singular talking point of the night for Democrats was claiming House Speaker Paul Ryan could not be trusted to follow through, and could send the bill to his caucus to pass and send to the president. As though they care anyway… they’d hate any bill the Republicans vote on. But somehow, they can make these appeals with a straight face.

Democrats inexplicably think its a rational argument to say:

  • “Paul Ryan would very publicly lie to the entire leadership of his own party in the US Senate.”
  • If Paul Ryan did lie, passing it would require believing the House would pass a bill exceedingly less conservative than the bill that barely passed the House. Anyone who thinks this is possible are ignorant, or intentionally lying.
  • “The Republicans have been lying to their own people through this whole process, so they can’t be trusted.” As though their preference of KEEPING the ACA wouldn’t be a lie in itself.
  • “People will die. This will affect real people’s lives.” I’m a “real people,” and the ACA killed my insurance – and millions of others – years ago. Do we not count? People die when the government regulates healthcare into an expensive commodity, then restricts access and quality by taking it over.
  • “16 million will get kicked off insurance.” Except, choosing to not buy insurance the government mandates is not being “kicked off.” And that figure assumes every living eligible American would buy insurance sometime in the next 8 years. It’s simply a false metric based on a false assumption.

While the GOP has been promising to repeal/replace the ACA for seven years, they don’t have enough votes to slam through a full, clean repeal. Their 2015 bill that President Obama vetoed was an inconsequential bill the Democrats never tried to stop. Now, they would, and 60 votes are needed to overcome a promised filibuster.

Tonight’s vote was billed strictly as a way to move the debate out of the Senate and into the Conference Committee. All options are bad, but perhaps we can get consensus around the most effective small step forward. Assuming the right hand works together with the left hand, this could work to move toward the slow repeal of the ACA. It may take years, and most of us have no intention of laying low after this vote. But it’s clear that the Democrats have no intention of making it easy. And after tonight’s failure, everyone will be blaming everyone.

And unfortunately, until we win more Senate and House seats, we’re not going to be as successful in repealing this monstrosity as the Democrats were when they created it. They had 60 seats, we don’t.

Millions of Americans have suffered greatly under Obamacare, and millions more still are, and will in the coming years unless we stop this train wreck. Let’s keep fighting, and teaching neighbors every day so we can win more seats, and have a chance to do what needs to be done.

Republicans and Conservatives are at Odds Over Taxes in Obamacare Replacement Bill

In 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016, the American people elected Republicans to Congress with a clear mandate: repeal and replace Obamacare. Yet somehow the GOP has managed to do little more than propose watered-down versions of the health care legislation that citizens so desperately want replaced.

As the Senate hammers out their version of Obamacare replacement, there’s one sticking point that is making the negotiations more difficult – taxes.

Specifically, senators are divided over the inclusion of Obamacare’s 3.8 percent net investment income tax. Conservatives want the tax repealed, while more moderate Republicans are fine with keeping the tax as a way to help fund health care for those with lower incomes.

Some in the Senate emphasize the importance of keeping the tax embedded in the new legislation:

“We [want to] address the issue of ensuring lower-income citizens are in a position to buy plans that are actually provide them appropriate healthcare,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told reporters last week.

While other members of Congress understand a need to keep the tax in place whether they like it or not.

“Our official position is we want to repeal all the taxes. That being said, we understand the logistics of having to have enough revenue,” House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said. “And so I’m not at this point closing that off to negotiations because I think it would be premature to do that.”

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) told his constituents in a telephone town hall last week that he’s “personally not opposed” to keeping ObamaCare taxes to pay for health benefits.

On the other end of the spectrum are taxpayer advocacy groups who are adamantly opposed to the tax remaining in any GOP replacement.

“Cutting the capital gains tax gets you growth,” said Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist. He called keeping the investment tax an “economically illiterate bad idea.”

Taxpayers Protection Alliance President David Williams said that failing to repeal the investment tax would cause investors to delay selling assets and would “discourage more entry into the stock market.”

So many questions remain. Can the GOP create a replacement that will keep taxes low while still allowing the poor to have more options? Will they proceed with or without the tax in place? Will they scrap Obamacare altogether and create something new? Is a free market solution possible at this point?

But the biggest question of all that is yet to be answered is this one: will the Republicans keep the promises they’ve made to the voters time and time again to repeal and replace Barack Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment?

Democrats Seethe After Georgia, But Still Don’t Get It

The New York Times ran a typically tone-deaf, if not revealing assessment of the state of their own Democrat Party following the special election loss in the Georgia runoff recently.

As is typical in the New York Times, the Democrats writing the piece embedded with half-truths like attributing Jon Ossoff’s fundraising to “small donations” but not mentioning that he set a record for out-of-state dollars with only 3.5% of his money coming from within the district. Nor do they mention that Ossoff was careful to never directly attack Trump, instead running as a moderate Republican to try to win the seat. That would seem to be an important point when trying to make the case that an Ossoff victory would have been an “emphatic statement about the weakness of the Republican Party under President Trump.”

But aside from the typical Times shenanigans that you just have to expect when you try sifting through their coverage, the article did touch on the “seething” dissent that is being experienced within the Democrat Party. More than one Democrat lawmaker expressed desire for new leadership, meaning they want to give Nancy Pelosi the boot:

Representative Seth Moulton, Democrat of Massachusetts, said the defeat was “frustrating” and urged a shake-up at the top of the party. “Our leadership owes us an explanation,” said Mr. Moulton, who voted against Ms. Pelosi in the last leadership election. “Personally, I think it’s time for new leadership in the party.”

What’s peculiar is that Moulton didn’t voice opposition to the new leadership of his party’s national committee. Tom Perez has been an abject disaster for the public relations of the party, suggesting that no pro-life Democrat need apply for any open position, and that cursing their way back to power was the best course of action.

And while we’re at it, the problem extends beyond Democrat lawmakers and party leaders. It’s also the messaging of the party’s public spokesmen in media. When a wealthy white man defeated female Hillary Clinton for the presidency, feminists were outraged. When female Karen Handel defeated a wealthy white man for a congressional seat, feminists were outraged. It belies the entire movement and Americans see it and tire of it.

And the Times itself is culpable. The day before they ran this article on Democrat seething, they ran Democrat author Jill Filipovic’s assertions that excused her party and blamed the voters:

“At what point is this not a failure of Democrats, but toxic, vindictive voters willing to elect hateful bigots?”

She really wrote that. Karen Handel is a “hateful bigot.” Why? Because she disagrees with Jill Filipovic? Because she’s a Republican? And there was more:

“Maybe instead of trying to convince hateful white people, Dems should cater to our base – ppl of color, women – to turn out. Cater to them.”

This is the kind of identity politics, the kind of divisive nonsense that has overtaken the Democrat Party. It’s become engrained in their DNA, and until there’s a purge of that bloodstream of hatred and dismissal of anyone who doesn’t think like them, it’s not likely to get better.

But don’t expect to see the Times cover that angle.

Are We Tired of Winning Yet?

Is the GOP good at anything other than sucking? The President is beyond his first 100 days. He and the Republican congress have, to their credit, spent a good bit of time repealing last minute regulations from the Obama administration. But what else?

They have not repealed Obamacare. Their plan does not even repeal Obamacare. They have not fixed the tax code and seem to be scaling back optimism. The congressional GOP has pronounced a very solid Presidential budget dead on arrival, but offered no alternative.

Are we tired of winning yet?

A lot of Republicans are trying to make Paul Ryan the fall guy, but the Speaker of the House can only do so much when the White House provides neither rudder nor leader. Likewise, the Speaker is balancing a fractured House Republican conference with many members scared they are about to lose in a midterm election shaping up to be a referendum on the President.

On the Senate side, McConnell and the GOP hide behind the legislative filibuster as an excuse to get anything done. But if the filibuster went away tomorrow, do we really think anything would change? Of course not. Obamacare would still be the law of the land and no sound budget would be passed.

In fact, the one major legislative initiative the President has gotten right so far is presenting a solid budgetary framework. The congressional GOP, not the Democrats, scuttled it the moment it was off the printers. But on every other issue, the President has shown little leadership and the GOP in Congress has shown very little of the entrepreneurial spirit they campaign on.

For all the talk of Never Trumpers just bashing the President, the reality is we would love to help advance a conservative agenda. The White House is consumed in perpetual crisis mostly through the self-inflicted wounds of the President and his staff. Public policy and ideas are suffereing. It’d be nice to have State of the Union President Trump instead of Twitter President Trump. The former led and had great ideas. The latter is just a distraction.

Where are the big ideas? No where.

Where is the winning? I’m just not sure.

But the suckage is all over Washington.

YIKES: Polling Shows More Americans Want Democrats In Control Of The House Of Representatives

Quinnipiac has released a poll showing respondents’ opinions of Congress and the President, and it’s not pretty. For starters, let’s look at what voters have said about the House of Representatives:

By a 54 – 38 percent margin, American voters want the Democratic Party to win control of the U.S. House of Representatives. This is the widest margin ever measured for this question in a Quinnipiac University poll, exceeding a 5 percentage point margin for Republicans in 2013.

If Democrats had won control of the U.S. Senate in the 2016 elections, the country would be in a better place than it is now, 41 percent of voters say, while 27 percent say it would be in a worse place and 30 percent say it would be the same.

Yikes! It stings, doesn’t it? But that’s not all. President Trump is losing the good graces of the electorate according to respondents to the poll:

American voters, who gave President Donald Trump a slight approval bump after the missile strike in Syria, today give him a near-record negative 36 – 58 percent job approval rating, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today. Critical are big losses among white voters with no college degree, white men and independent voters.


“There is no way to spin or sugarcoat these sagging numbers,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

We know that polling can’t always be trusted or taken at face value – and, yes, the party out of power tends to do better in off-year elections – but this one indicates that the writing is on the wall for the GOP. Both Trump and Congressional Republicans need to get it together to avoid squandering the historic gains in the 2016 election.

It’s not enough to coast on the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch and some foreign policy successes. The GOP must lead, be proactive, and somehow get in front of the public relations battle to reverse this trend. It would be a shame to lose 2018 after the triumphs of 2016.

Tax reform is a good way to start. Just saying.

Why An Independent Commission On Russia is Coming

So far, it seems a split is growing in the GOP over the president, and some are just tired of spinning stories and avoiding questions, every day. No, I’m not going to add to the flood of Comey articles that abound in the wake of his odd firing, I just want to summarize the change in weather patterns.

Within hours of Comey’s firing, Congressman and House Freedom Caucus member Justin Amash (R-MI) called the president’s letter “bizarre.” Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) lamented that he “just can’t… find an acceptable rationale for the timing,” while Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) echoed that sentiment, saying “I am troubled by the timing and reasoning.” Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) also called it “very troubling,” as Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said it only confirmed the need for an independent investigation.

We’ll see how this plays out.

However, something does seem to being missed in this constantly changing news cycle: the political winds are shifting toward establishing an independent commission to investigate the Russia’s election meddling. In Rep. Amash’s tweet about the president’s “bizarre” letter, he himself said his staff is “reviewing legislation to establish an independent commission on Russia.” Meanwhile, both Senators McCain and Lindsay Graham called for one a month ago.

Regardless of where this latest storm lands, far too many questions exist to ignore. And, the Senators just want answers.

It’s probably for the best, since confidence in either side appears to be stretched thin, although the Senate hearings have been full of mutual admiration for civility and “bipartisanship.” Unfortunately, it’s turned CSPAN into MTV Real Life for political junkies like us, and a source of fodder for the president’s twitter feed. An independent commission could work mostly out of the sight of cameras and able to focus on their work.

An independent commission requires an act of Congress, and this likely won’t be difficult to pass. The president could veto the measure, but the number of Republicans wanting an independent commission is growing, and we know the Democrats won’t turn it down. A veto will not stop a commission, if Congress wants one.

I am as frustrated as anyone that these distractions continue, seemingly every day. I’ve made no secret of my distaste for our president since the day he announced his candidacy two years ago. But, here we are, in control of 31 states, the US Senate, the House and (so far) the presidency. I’ll take the wins where and when we can get them. Instead of working on taxation, true health care reform, overhauling government regulation, honest and humane immigration reform, or Article V campaigns, we’re more galvanized than ever. No one wants to talk to the other side, let alone vote for compromises in legislation. Every day, there’s another bombshell story, mistake, or flat out lie that we must rationalize and talk our way around.

I’m sick of it. I want to get something done.

Hopefully, an independent commission can lift the heaviest burden from the House and Senate intel committees, and supplement the work of the DOJ and (hopefully still) the FBI in getting to the bottom of these countless questions. Maybe then, the Senate and House can show Americans why they trusted them time and again to take the reins and prove our policies work better for everyone.

Republicans Must Learn This One Lesson to Stop the Left

Republicans really are the stupid party. They have learned nothing. Democrats are marching in the street every weekend, emboldened by every obstruction. Until Republicans fight back, it will only escalate.

The only way for the GOP to get back on track and start winning, which they should be doing because they control everything, is to humiliate and demoralize the Democrats.

Right now, every single time President Trump proposes something, Democrats resist it and send out a fundraising pitch to reward their resistance.

To stop this, the GOP must publicly make Democrats fold. The only way to do that is to shut down the government.

The President and Republicans must draw a line in the sand they know Democrats intend to cross. Then let the Democrats shut down the government.

The GOP must then make the Democrats fold. The President must use his bully pulpit to savage them. The GOP must hold firm. And they must keep the government closed until the Democrats cave.

That is the only way to dampen the enthusiasm and curb the incessant marching of “The Resistance.”

Shut Down the Government, Please

My daughter’s fifth grade class is headed to Washington in the next week to tour the city and see the sights. It would suck if the Smithsonian were closed. Nonetheless, I find myself cheering on a government shutdown, if only to give the GOP a chance to show how much of the government sustains itself.

We have reached a point where polling shows more Americans than ever want a giant, robust government doing all sorts of things. That is a terrible position to be in as we sail past $20 trillion in national debt. Americans need to be reminded that the world will not end if the government shuts down. They need to be reminded to take care of themselves instead of relying on Uncle Sam’s teet.

A government shutdown with the GOP in charge would be a far different thing from a government shutdown run by Democrats. President Obama tried to inflict maximum pain on the American people to force the GOP to reopen government. President Trump, instead, could take a different approach and use the experience to show Americans how out of control government has really gotten.

We are cruising past $20 trillion in debt. While I favor a 15% corporate tax rate because I think the economic growth and capital repatriation it would cause would offset debt concerns, I do think both parties must worry about the debt. And I think Washington not spending money would be a very good thing, even if my kid doesn’t get a chance to see inside the Smithsonian.