Tag Archives: Politico

That Ole Time Division: Ideological Battle Threatens GOP

In 2017, everything’s coming up roses for the Republican Party. Fresh off the heels of a sweeping Electoral victory, the GOP has taken control and is working feverishly to Make America GREAT Again.

At least that’s what they thought they would be doing back on November 8th.  But now that post election reality has set in, the Republican-led Congress has revealed itself to be no more capable of actual governance than they were during the Obama era.  Their most recent attempt at a major legislative achievement, the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, went down in flames. With today’s resignation of embattled Chairman Devin Nunes, the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russia’s interference with the Election has proven to be virtually invalid (if not damaging on its own.  And the hope of lawmakers to pass significant tax reform is proving far more difficult than originally anticipated.  And despite the President’s litany of controversial Executive Orders, his Administration is caught in their own ideological battle.  At least for the start of the Trump Era, governing is not getting done.

So as for what Republicans are doing well, what would be the answer?  To sum it up, they’re fighting with each other.  Freedom Caucus vs. Moderates, Speaker Ryan and the leadership vs. the insurgency.  Governing responsibilities be damned… the inner party Civil War has now been exposed for the American People to see.  As Kyle Cheney and Rachel Bade of Politico report, Obamacare is still a central point of contention…

Republican efforts to unite around a plan to repeal Obamacare devolved into a heated round of intra-party sniping Wednesday, as conservative groups publicly pummeled moderate GOP lawmakers — all while the White House talked of unity and progress.

The failure to reach a deal in late night talks Tuesday, which were held by competing factions of House Republicans and brokered by Vice President Mike Pence, led conservative advocacy groups Heritage Action and Club for Growth to lash out at centrist Republicans for resisting proposals to undercut Obamacare’s regulations.

“Each one of these members of Congress is standing in the way of compromise,” Heritage Action CEO Mike Needham said in a call with reporters, fingering the 50-member Tuesday Group as the culprit that “refuses to get to yes.”

“Their commitment to [repealing] Obamacare is one that existed on the campaign trail but does not exist in the halls of Congress,” he said.

It was an attempt to flip the narrative that has dominated in Washington after last month’s failed attempt to gut Obamacare: That the archconservative House Freedom Caucus was the singular impediment to the GOP’s progress on a seven-year priority.

Sounds like some of them miss the days when they had President Obama to kick around.

As readers to this blog know, Republican In-fighting has been the central characteristic of the party since Barack Obama’s election. But now that they are in total control, time is short for the GOP to prove they can run the government better than Democrats.  After nearly seven years of “show votes” to Repeal Obamacare, a failure actually do so when given the chance should be unacceptable to Trump supporters, Republican party faithful, and the general public.  Not only does this legislative debacle demonstrate a failure of ideas, it shows the Congressional GOP’s failure to put the most basic needs of the American People ahead of their own self interests.

As President Trump said, this behavior is a recipe for defeat.

All of this turmoil may not be good for the country, but it is definitely causing voters to have second thoughts about their support, or tolerance of the new Administration.  Mid-term Elections, like the one coming quickly for 2018, are rarely positive for the party in power.  But if that party is viewed as incapable of doing the People’s Business, Democrats could have much to gain.

IF Voter Turnout increases!!!!


Congress PASSES VA Healthcare Bill

In the wake of everyone’s shock and awe at Eric Cantor’s stunning defeat this week, did anyone notice something on Capitol Hill that hasn’t happened in a long time??  Yes, that’s right… both houses of the United States actually did some WORK this week.  Work that was not meeting with lobbyists or calling rich folks to beg for campaign cash.  The House of Representatives passed a bill to improve VA healthcare UNANIMOUSLY!!  And on Wednesday, the Senate passed a similar bill by and overwhelming margin.  Your eyes are not deceiving you.  Here’s the story from Politico

The Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed legislation aimed at increasing veterans’ access to health care and holding accountable bad actors in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The legislation passed 93-3 and represents rare cooperation between the House and Senate, raising hopes that Congress is moving swiftly toward a VA reform compromise to send to the president’s desk. The Senate legislation largely mirrors similar proposals from the House, and lawmakers and aides do not expect a knock-down political fight as the two chambers iron out their discrepancies over the coming days…

…With the House unanimously passing veterans’ health care and accountability legislation that senators say is extraordinarily close to the version crafted by Sanders and John McCain (R-Ariz.), lawmakers across the Capitol are increasingly confident that the president will have a new veterans’ health law on his desk by the end of the month.

So the United States Congress decides to have a rare moment of clarity and help our nation’s heroes get the healthcare and services they deserve.  This is great news, right?  Well just today over on Fox News, the critics have come out swinging saying the bill could have a huge price tag when all is said and done.

Fiscal hawks are warning that new legislation passed in both chambers of Congress this week in response to the Veteran Affairs scandal could cost taxpayers more than $500 billion over the next decade. 

A Senate source told FoxNews.com on Friday that lawmakers “passed a bill they didn’t read which led to Congress issuing a blank check with real consequences for the country down the road.” 

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget rang the alarm bells over the bill on Thursday, releasing a statement saying the Senate version of the bill “violates every principle of good budgeting, and could add substantially to the national debt.”

This Fox News commentator doesn’t think our nation’s Vets are worth the investment.  The bill may have a big price tag, and we of course would hope our legislators and their staff could always read things that they vote on, but if it helps to fix systemic problems plaguing the VA, then the American people should rally behind it.  Our heroes are worth every penny and then some.





Wendy Davis narrows the field

Speaking to the National Press Club today in Washington DC, Texas State Senator Wendy Davis answered a significant part of the one question on the mind of most Texas politophiles. Here’s the scoop from Kate Glueck at Politico

Wendy Davis, the Texas state senator who skyrocketed to national fame after mounting a lengthy filibuster earlier this summer, on Monday said the only statewide office for which she’s considering a run is governor.

“I can say with absolute certainty that I will run for one of two offices: my state senate seat or for the governor,” Davis said after addressing a lunch held at the National Press Club, when asked whether she’d consider running for other statewide positions.

With an answer like this, it seems that Davis is not one to shy away from a fight. And the run at Texas Governor would definitely be just that… given that she is currently at a 20 to 1 funding disadvantage to state Attorney General Greg Abbott. But that probably plays in to the state senator’s choices to speak at the National Press Club luncheon in the first place.

Besides the big news, Davis actually shared a bunch of information at the luncheon. From watching C-SPAN coverage of the event, it sounded like she was at the top of her game. She avoided a fair number of questions, like deciding not to answer who her favorite Castro brother was, but Davis also crafted a very clear case for how and why Texas Democrats can win in the state. When asked what chance Democrats have at a statewide office, Senator Davis gave this response…

“I think the question is, ‘what chance do new leaders have of winning elected office in the state of Texas?’ The best place to start that conversation is to talk about what Texans want to see in their government, and not to talk about it in party frames. I represent a Senate district that many consider to be a Republican one. It’s certainly a swing district at least. And the people that I represent have never wanted to have conversations about party. They [instead] want to have conversations about problems, and what my proposed solutions for those problems are. The best chance that we have of bringing new leadership in Texas, I think, will look at lot like that.”

This is what is so exciting about Wendy Davis. As I’ve written previously, she comes from a Senate district that is in many ways reflective of the whole state… both urban and suburban, a roughly even number of white voters and minorities, and a diverse income bracket. She’s spent 4 years working in this circumstance, and dealing with this diaspora of voters. As a result, Davis is much better prepared to run statewide than someone from a “deep blue” district. Her announcement today may not seem like huge news, but it was important for the State Senator to narrow the field, and send signals to fellow Democrats that may have been considering a run for the big spot as well.

It sounds like she’ll be making her decision soon, assuming we ever get done with these Special Sessions.