Friday, March 24, 2017, 8:00am

The Trumpster Fire (3-24-17)

The Trumpster Fire: Gallup Daily, 3-24-17

GALLUP DAILY: Real Unemployment 9.2% (-0.2) | Gallup Good Jobs 45.2% (-0.1) | Engaged at Work 33.4% (+0.4) | Economic Confidence 4 (-3) | Consumer Spending $87 (-11) | Trump Approval 39% (-1)

Liveblogging the Trump presidency, one catastrophe at a time.

Okay, folks, today is Republicare Part II: More Expensive, Covers Less, Kills You Faster, the hotly anticipated sequel to yesterday’s blockbuster.

Edited to Add: I bet Paul Ryan’s going to drink a lot this weekend. What do you think?

NEWS: Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat of the House Intelligence Committee, dropped the big G-J word last night: Grand jury. He says he’s seen new evidence of Trump-Russia collusion that could warrant a grand jury. (CNN)

NEWS: Trump delivered an ultimatum last night: Pass Republicare or he’s abandoning the issue. Of course, if he does, that won’t mean the House GOP stops trying to pass an Obamacare repeal/replace, it just means Trump won’t be whipping votes and pimping it. (Washington Post)

NEWS: Trump is apparently sorry he went with healthcare right out of the gate. He’s mad that the House’s Republicare has turned into such a mess and wishes he’d gone with tax reform or something else first, instead of healthcare. (New York Times, Also: TPM)

NEWS: We’ve got last, last minute changes to the health bill. It rolls back the ACA’s Essential Health Benefits mandate, tosses $15 billion at the legislation’s “Patient and State Stability Fund” for states to set up coverage for maternity, mental health, and substance abuse care, and delays the repeal of the Medicare tax by six years to raise a few bucks for the bill. (AP, TPM, AP)

  • RELATED: Last minute changes to Republicare might make upfront costs cheaper, but it will also incentivize insurance companies to sell crappy policies that don’t cover anything and exclude people. (NPR)
  • NEWS: Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney is not sure if Republicare will pass. He also said that if it does pass, folks should figure out how to change things in the state that they live in. (Politico, Politico, TPM)
  • NEWS: Republicare is causing some serious tension in the House this morning, and Trump didn’t help much by tweeting “After seven horrible years of ObamaCare (skyrocketing premiums & deductibles, bad healthcare), this is finally your chance for a great plan!” He also took a minute to crap on the House Freedom Caucus, tweeting, “The irony is that the Freedom Caucus, which is very pro-life and against Planned Parenthood, allows P.P. to continue if they stop this plan!” (Politico, Politico, TPM)
  • NEWS: Tom Price, Health and Human Services Secretary, says talk that Republicare won’t pass is bunk. (Politico)
  • NEWS: “The House on Friday approved a rule for debating the Obamacare repeal bill, removing the final procedural barrier in front of the contentious measure.” (Politico, Also: TPM)
  • NEWS: VP Pence postponed his travel plans to visit Arkansas and Tennessee so he can stick around and fight for Republicare. (Politico)
  • NEWS: Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) said this morning, “And once we get [Republicare passed], and then we can have the chance to really explain it.” (TPM)
  • QUOTE: “[Republicare’s] a lose for the American people, that’s for sure. But the people who vote for this will have this vote tattooed to their foreheads as they go forward.” – Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). (TPM)
  • NEWS: “Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, on Friday morning announced that he would not vote for the House bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.” (TPM)
  • NEWS: “[Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)] has asked his constituents to stop calling his office to advocate against the GOP’s Obamacare replacement bill – because he’s already committed to voting against it.” (TPM)
  • NEWS: “Things are still extremely shaky for the GOP bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which is slated for a late Friday afternoon vote in the House of Representatives. An unscheduled trip by Speaker Paul Ryan to the White House to meet with President Trump suggests that even leadership isn’t sure it has the votes.” (TPM)
  • NEWS: “Rep. Barbara Comstock’s (R-VA) office confirmed Friday that the congresswoman would vote against the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, a blow to House leaders scrambling to whip enough votes to pass the bill.” (TPM)
  • EXPLAINER: Vox has a political scientist (Paul Pierson, UC Berkeley) explaining the real reason Obamacare repeal is so hard. Read it here.
  • VOTE INFO: Vox tells you how and when to watch the Republicare vote, here.
  • EXPLAINER: If Republicare does pass, how on Earth is Senator Mitch McConnell going to get it through the Senate, considering that he’s got “no” votes stacking up left, right, and center? (Vox)
  • NEWS: “A House of Representatives vote on the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare remains on the schedule, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Friday, even as President Donald Trump and GOP leaders on Capitol Hill search for enough votes to push the legislation through the chamber.” (Politico)
  • NEWS: “Another moderate Republican, Rep. David Joyce (R-OH), came out against the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare on Friday afternoon, just a few hours before the House was set to vote on the legislation.” (TPM)
  • NEWS: At the press briefing today a reporter asked what Trump would do if Republicare failed and in response Sean Spicer broke out in a chorus of “Tomorrow” and did a little tap dance. Okay, not really, but you believed it for a second there, which tells you a lot about the state of Sean Spicer. Really though, he dodged the question, saying, “I haven’t heard that yet. So why don’t we continue with a very positive, optimistic Friday? The sun is coming out. I feel really good. So we are going to continue to work as late as we can to get the votes.” (TPM)

Republicans have pulled the Republicare vote.

NEWS: “Facing a growing rebellion within his own ranks, House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the Republican Obamacare replacement plan from the House floor on Friday just before a scheduled vote.” (Politico, Also: AP, Mother Jones)

NEWS: Just as the vote on Republicare was being pulled, Trump called Robert Costa of the Washington Post for a chat. Read about it here.

NEWS: “The Trump administration is imposing sanctions on 30 foreign companies and people from 10 countries, including China. […] The companies included under the newly imposed sanctions are based in China, North Korea, and the United Arab Emirates.” (AP)

BACKGROUNDER: The AP has an article about Ivanka Trump’s new not-a-job in the White House that covers the weirdness of the position and the ethics problems with it. Read it here.

TRUMPBEAT: In this week’s roundup of Trump news, FiveThirtyEight talks about policy enforcement, the environment, healthcare and Ivanka. Read it here.

NEWS: Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), chair of the House intelligence committee, appears to have run off half-cocked on his big Wednesday revelations. He did a presser this morning where he muttered and stumbled through a feeble attempt at backtracking some of Wednesday’s statements. (Mother Jones, TPM)

NEWS: “Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has volunteered to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, as turmoil within the committee continues and the future of the investigation into Russia’s attempts to interfere with the election sunk deeper into doubt.” (NPR, Also: Politico, TPM, Washington Post)

NEWS: “The U.S. State Department has signed and issued a presidential permit to construct the Keystone XL pipeline. That reverses former President Barack Obama’s 2015 decision to reject the controversial pipeline.” (NPR, Also: Politico, Reuters)

NEWS: Senator Lindsey Graham said today that if the Senate Democrats filibuster, the Senate Republicans will have no choice but to nuke the filibuster option. (Politico)

NEWS: Eric Trump did an interview with Forbes where he said that he absolutely does not discuss business or government with his dad, that it’s like a “separation of church and state” for them, but that he’ll update his dad on their businesses probably quarterly despite all that. (Politico, TPM)

POLL: A new poll says that 66% of respondents want an independent investigation into the Trump-Russia ties. (Politico, Quinnipiac)

NEWS: “A federal judge in Virginia has affirmed President Donald Trump’s authority to issue his revised travel ban executive order, although key parts of the directive remain blocked due to rulings from two judges in other states.” (Politico)

NEWS: “The head of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee canceled a planned public hearing in its probe of allegations of Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, saying the panel needed to hear from directors of the FBI and the National Security Agency in a closed session instead.” (Reuters)

NEWS: “U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday touted Charter Communications Inc’s decision to invest $25 billion in the United States and its previously disclosed plan to hire 20,000 workers over four years.” (Reuters) Yeah, but… Charter sucks.

PIZZAGATE: “A man who police said was inspired by false internet rumors to fire an assault weapon inside a Washington pizzeria has pleaded guilty to two charges. During a hearing Friday in U.S. District Court in Washington, Edgar Maddison Welch pleaded guilty to interstate transportation of a firearm and assault with a dangerous weapon. Prosecutors will drop a third charge, possessing a firearm during a crime of violence.” (AP)

POLL: America’s national budget looks a whole lot different than Trump’s. Americans want to spend way less on defense and the DHS, and more on education, for starters. (Washington Post, Program for Public Consultation)

NEWS: “Trump is working with Congress and the executive branch to undo [Obama’s] legacy in seven key policy areas: environment, immigration, civil rights, labor and finance, health care, education and government reform.” (Washington Post)

ANALYSIS: Earlier this week Trump threatened that the GOP would face the wrath of the voters in 2018 if they didn’t pass Republicare, and there’s been some concern voiced in political circles and the media about Trump attacking unsupportive Republicans during elections. Republicans don’t seem to be too concerned about it, though, because despite Trump’s support being so fervent, they’re not sure Trump can aim those supporters at other politicians effectively. (Washington Post)

NEWS: “A federal inspector general has launched an inquiry into the Trump administration’s decision to pull advertising for in the closing stretch of this year’s sign-up season, according to a letter made public Friday.” (AP)

NEWS: There was some talk of Democrats boycotting the House Intelligence Committee’s investigations if they couldn’t get rid of Nunes, but as that is the silliest damned idea they’ve had in awhile, they put the kibosh on that thought. (Politico)

NEWS: Trump has said he’s swinging into tax reform next, but since the House didn’t pass Republicare, that means Obamacare’s $1 trillion in taxes are still in effect, which might make the GOP’s tax reform plans pretty difficult to accomplish. (Politico)

NEWS: Russian state propaganda rag Sputnik has applied for membership in the White House Foreign Press Group, which would get them into the press briefing room rotations. No idea if they’ll get it or not. (Politico)

NEWS: “A third of Democratic senators have so far announced they will vote against confirming U.S. President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, adding to a chorus of opposition from the left, but leaving questions over whether there will be a concerted effort to block a vote in the Senate.” (Reuters)

NEWS: “Two former Trump campaign advisers [Carter Page and Roger Stone] have offered to testify before the House Intelligence Committee as part of its investigation into Russia’s interference in the election.” (TPM)

NEWS: “NATO has rescheduled its upcoming foreign-ministers meeting to accommodate Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after Tillerson said he was unable to attend on the original April 5 date.” (Washington Post)

NEWS: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he’s not worried in the least about automation and AI taking people’s jobs. (Washington Post) FYI, this man is an idiot. We are careening towards a jobs crisis thanks to AI and automation.

GOOD READ: “Moments after President Trump’s January announcement that Neil Gorsuch was his pick to fill the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s Supreme Court seat, a small nonprofit that most Americans have never heard of launched Complete with a tender video telling how Gorsuch ‘ran a paper route, shoveled snow, worked the night shift’ before becoming a judge, the site provides biographical material and recorded lectures from Gorsuch.” (

NEWS: Trump’s various teams and groups are packed to the gills with former lobbyists. (

Looking for old Trumpster Fires? Look here.

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