The Obamacare replacement plan premiered by House Republican leaders Tuesday met with an ugly, bruising reception. Ultraconservative House members tore into the proposal as a warmed-over version of the law it seeks to replace with some added giveaways to the insurance industry (a “stinking pile of garbage” in the words of Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie, who belongs to the 40-member Freedom Caucus that’s leading rightwing opposition to the bill). Key outside groups that GOP leaders will need as conservative validators likewise trashed the bill, with the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, Heritage Action, and the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity all giving it a thumbs-down. Ditto rightwing media: Brietbart News led its site Tuesday afternoon with a story headlined, “Obamacare 2.0 Guts Enforcement, Gives Illegal Aliens Healthcare Through Identity Fraud;” radio personality Laura Ingraham piled on; and the Drudge Report, a typically reliable cheerleader for Trump’s agenda, remained conspicuously silent. Most industry groups so far are hugging the sidelines, but a pair of healthcare stakeholders have already voiced objections. The AARP, the hugely influential seniors’ lobby, came out against the bill, declaring it would imperil Medicare’s solvency. And the American Hospital Association said it couldn’t support the proposal in its current form.
Veteran Congress-watchers note that major legislative endeavors sometimes have to collapse several times before they revive and pass into law. But the repeal-and-replace measure’s immediate future carries profound implications for the rest of Trump’s agenda. For one, as Trump noted ruefully during a Tuesday meeting with the House Republican whip team, he can’t turn to tax reform until healthcare is done — “unfortunately, because of the way our system works.”
Then there’s the matter of Republican unity. Conventional wisdom since the election has held that the Trump team would only need to worry about the Senate. Most business in the upper chamber will require the GOP to poach at least eight Democrats to reach the 60-vote threshold for cutting off debate. In the House, on the other hand, a bare majority rules. So GOP leaders there have expected they could count on their 22-seat edge — and, if needed, some strong-arming from the White House — to jam through the wish list Trump shares with Speaker Paul Ryan. The early response to the healthcare package from the House Republican’s hard-right flank presages a different dynamic. It’s one that looks similar to last year’s, when GOP leaders needed to draw Democratic votes to pass two major spending bills because the conservative bloc abandoned them. If Tuesday was any indication, conservative firebrands in the House are in no mood to fall in line now simply because the president calls himself a Republican. That could empower House Democrats — and further complicate Trump’s sweeping legislative plans, from healthcare to taxes, infrastructure and beyond.
The lunch meeting is set to include real estate, management consulting, private equity and other business leaders, along with at least one environmental group. Trump on the campaign talked up plans for $1 trillion in infrastructure investment.
With a Dodd-Frank repeal pushed to the bottom of the Congressional agenda, the Trump administration will seek to roll back Wall Street regulations by directing federal agencies to reverse changes made through guidance, rather than the formal rule-making process.
A team of Goldman analysts see Bank of America, Citigroup, and J.P. Morgan Chase as the banks most likely to benefit from a financial regulatory rollback.
Hope and emotion are largely responsible for the Trump rally so far; the math suggests sustaining it over the longterm will be a lot tougher.
Number of the day
The amount that Wall Street banks and other financial interests pumped into the political process during the last election cycle, according to a new study by Americans for Financial Reform. The group breaks down the sum, which works out to $2.7 million a day, into two categories: the $898 million the industry spent on lobbying during that two-year period, and the $1.2 billion it handed over in campaign contributions.
The Adult in the Room: Gary Cohn’s value added in the West Wing. [Weekly Standard]
The Trade Deal We Just Threw Overboard [Politico]