Tag Archives: Politics

Trump can learn an important lesson from Mr. Rogers

/ by / Tags: , , , , , ,

If you were a child in America anytime between the ’60s and ’90s, there’s a certain man in a red sweater who was probably there for you.

Fred Rogers, better known as the one and only Mr. Rogers, spent over four decades hosting educational TV programs for kids. In 1969, the same year PBS was founded, he appeared before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee and gave a moving speech on what publicly funded TV programs could offer.

Of course, all this talk about public TV feels more important than ever, given the Trump Administration’s plans to eliminate the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (which funds PBS, where Sesame Street still airs, despite the show being sold to HBO) as well as three other independent agencies for culture and the arts.

In Mr. Roger’s speech from the late 1960s, he touches on the importance of his own programs, which deal with the “inner dramas” of childhood in a way that can’t be done with privately funded cartoons airing elsewhere, he said.

“We don’t need to bop someone over the head to make drama on the screen,” he told the committee. “We deal with such things as getting a haircut or the feelings about brothers and sisters or the kind of anger that arises in simple family situations. And we speak to it constructively.”

The beloved TV host seems ahead of his time, explaining exactly why the physical health of children isn’t the only thing to be worried about.

“I feel that if we, in public television, can only make it clear that feelings are mentionable and manageable,” he said. “We will have done a great service for mental health.”

The song he later recites will literally melt your heart. We still miss you, Mr. Rogers.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/03/16/mr-rogers-defends-public-tv-trump/

READ MORE



Trump at 200 days: Declining approval amid widespread mistrust

(CNN)Six months into his presidency, Donald Trump’s overall approval rating stands at its lowest point in CNN polling, while three-quarters of Americans say they can’t trust most of what they hear from the White House.

Overall, 38% say they approve of Trump’s handling of the presidency, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, with 56% saying they disapprove. Just one other newly-elected president has held an approval rating below 50% at this point in his presidency since modern polling began: Bill Clinton, whose approval rating stood at 44% at this point in 1993.
Enthusiasm breaks against Trump by a 2-to-1 margin. Nearly half in the new poll say they strongly disapprove of Trump’s handling of the job (47%), while just a quarter say they feel strongly positive about Trump’s performance (24%).

    Those numbers have soured in recent months, particularly among Trump’s core supporters. Among Republicans, strong approval has dropped from 73% in February to 59% now. Among whites who do not have college degrees, a core component of Trump’s base, just 35% strongly approve, down 12 points since February. At the same time, strong disapproval among Democrats has held steady around 80%.
    On top issues, Trump’s approval ratings largely tilt negative. And perceptions of the President as someone who will bring change are fading. Just 43% say Trump can “bring the kind of change the country needs,” down from 48% in April, and the share who say he “can manage the government effectively” now stands at 39%, down from 44% in April.
    The poll finds widespread doubts about the veracity of information coming from the White House. Only a quarter of Americans (24%) say they trust all or most of what they hear in official communications from the White House, while more (30%) say they trust “nothing at all” that they hear from the President’s office. (Even among Republicans, only about half say they can trust most of what they hear from the White House.)

    Trump’s acumen as a manager and ability to bring change were the brightest spots for the President in polling conducted before he took office. But cracks in Trump’s base of support are evident in the results on those questions now.
    Among Republicans and independents who lean Republican, the share saying Trump can manage the government effectively has dipped 10 points since April’s CNN/ORC poll. Among whites without a college degree, just 50% see Trump as an effective manager. Those non-college whites are also less likely to see Trump as a change agent, 58% say so now, down from 64% in April.
    Still, these tepid ratings come even as most Americans feel things in the country are going well (53% say so), a number that’s held roughly steady since April.
    That positive feeling hasn’t boosted Trump’s ratings on the issues, however. He gets a mixed 48% approve to 47% disapprove rating on national security, and Americans are also divided on his handling of the economy (47% disapprove to 45% approve). On just about every other issue tested, majorities disapprove of Trump’s work, including on health care policy (62%), foreign affairs (61%), immigration (55%) and helping the middle class (54%). Nearly half (48%) disapprove of his handling of taxes while just 34% approve.
    Looking back over the first 200 days of Trump’s time in office, just 36% say they consider it a success, and 59% consider it a failure. Both Barack Obama and George W. Bush were viewed as successful at this stage of their presidency by most Americans (56% for Bush, 51% for Obama).
    Further, 62% overall say that Trump’s statements and actions since taking office have made them less confident in his ability to be president. Half of whites without college degrees share that view.
    The day-to-day operations of the executive branch appear to be chipping away at confidence in Trump and his management style. Most Americans (59%) say Trump hasn’t paid enough attention to the country’s most important problems. About the same number say his management style and the high rate of turnover in the West Wing hurts the administration’s ability to be effective (58%). Slightly more say Trump has done a poor job assembling a team of top advisers to work in the White House (62%, up from 56% saying so in April).
    Personal praise for the President is scarce, just 30% say they admire the President, and 34% say they are proud to have him as president. A majority (55%) say he has lowered the stature of the office of the president. Six in 10 don’t consider Trump honest and trustworthy.
    Looking more deeply at Trump’s tweets: About 7 in 10 agree with the President’s assessment that they allow him to communicate directly with his supporters without a media filter, but fewer see other positives in his use of the social media service.
    A majority (52%) say his tweets are not an effective way for him to share his views on important issues, and 72% say they do not send the right message to other world leaders.
    Seven in 10 say they too often seem to be in response to TV news the President may have seen, and 71% that they are a risky way for a president to communicate. Six in 10 say they are easy to misunderstand, 63% that they too often turn out to be misleading.
    Few Americans report having personally shared or responded to a tweet from Trump, just 10% say they’ve done that on Twitter or other social media platforms.
    The CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS by telephone August 3 through 6 among a random national sample of 1,018 adults. The margin of sampling error for results among the full sample is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points, it is larger for subgroups.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/07/politics/poll-trump-approval-down-amid-distrust/index.html

    READ MORE

    Fact-checking the GOP legal immigration bill

    (CNN)A bill to slash legal immigration won President Donald Trump’s support on the belief that it would help Americans making low wages.

    CNN took a look at the claims made by Trump and the bill’s authors.
    Claim: Our immigration program is based mostly on family connections.
      This is true. So far this year, about two-thirds of immigrants are given green cards because they have family members in the United States, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
      Claim: Only one in 15 immigrants come to the US because of job skills.
      One of the authors of the bill, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton said, “Only one in 15 out of a million new immigrants come here because of their job skills and their ability to succeed in this economy.”
      About one in seven immigrants in the first half of fiscal 2017 were granted green cards related to jobs, according to the Department of Homeland Security. This includes many immigrants who are singled out for having advanced skills or being professionals.
      Cotton’s office points out, based on 2015 data, that roughly half of the employment-related green cards were given to spouses and minor children of the primary immigrant, which is how he calculated one in 15. His office says there’s no reliable data on whether the spouses or children also had jobs or advanced skills.
      The high number of family-related green cards doesn’t mean, however, that those immigrants don’t have skills, said Doris Meissner of the Migration Policy Institute, an immigration think tank.
      A report by her group found that while 16% of workers in 2014 were immigrants, they made up a third of all computer scientists, 30% of health-care professionals and 26% of physicians or dentists.
      College-educated immigrants, however, are more likely to be underemployed, according to the Migration Policy Institute. From 2012 to 2014, about 23% of immigrants with a college degree were working low-skilled jobs as dishwashers, security guards and taxi drivers.
      Claim: More than 50% of all immigrant households receive welfare benefits.
      A White House statement says “more than 50% of all immigrant households receive welfare benefits.”
      This echoes research from the anti-immigration group, Center for Immigration Studies. But that group includes both legal and illegal immigration in its calculations. The White House has cited no source for this claim.
      Immigrants are not eligible for many welfare benefits for the first five years, according to Meissner. Congress changed the law in 1996 to deny new immigrants many benefits in that period.
      Based on 2011 data, non-citizen immigrant adults and children are about 25% less likely to be signed up for Medicaid than native-born citizens and are 37% less likely to receive food stamps, according to a study by the Cato Institute.
      Claim: Since 1979, Americans with a high school diploma or less have seen their real hourly wages decline.
      This is true. In fact, real hourly wages have declined for most Americans. But few economists pin the blame on immigration.
      Claim: The White House contends that “unskilled immigration into the United States has surged, depressing wages and harming America’s most vulnerable citizens.”
      The effect of immigration on low-wage workers has been studied for years, with several studies suggesting that immigration has little effect on wages.
      For instance, an economist at the University of California Davis, Giovanni Peri, found in 2015 that there is little evidence that immigrants depress wages for low-skilled workers.
      Some economist contend that immigrants boost the economy by becoming consumers. A study from the University of Virginia found that for every job an immigrant has, 1.2 jobs are created.
      Claim: Cutting green cards by 50 percent annually returns immigration to historical norms.
      This is a point made by Cotton. In reality, immigration has been higher in the past, including several years around the turn of the 20th Century. For instance, there were nearly 1.3 million immigrants in 1907, about a quarter of a million more than in 2015.
      Immigration relative to the US population peaked in 1890, when immigrants made up nearly 15% of the population, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
      Clarification: This story was updated to reflect how Cotton calculated the number new immigrants who come to the United States because of their job skills.

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/04/politics/immigration-bill-fact-check/index.html

      READ MORE

      Christie pleads for Trump to declare opioid crisis a national public health emergency

      (CNN)New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called for President Donald Trump to elevate the opioid epidemic to a national public health emergency in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper Monday.

      “We hope that the President declares a public health emergency in this country,” Christie said, speaking on behalf of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.
      The Republican governor, who chairs the President’s commission, officially spoke with the five-member panel for the first time Monday afternoon to discuss its interim findings. Although the commission was initially asked to release its long-awaited interim report on June 27, a date set when Trump signed his executive order on opioids in March, the commission missed that deadline twice.
        The former US attorney compared the loss of life to opioids to the terror attacks of September 11.
        “We have a 9/11-scale loss every three weeks,” Christie said, adding that three-fourths of those losses are from opioid overdoses. He stressed that four out of five new heroin addicts in the US started on prescription opioids.
        The commission’s long-term solutions center on increased education for health professionals as well as mandatory continuing education for certain professions, according to Christie.
        Monday was also new White House chief of staff John Kelly’s first day on the job. According to a senior administration official, Kelly will receive “full authority” within the West Wing, signaling a shift to a more streamlined White House chain of command.
        “Everyone must report to the chief of staff, including the President of the United States,” Christie said.
        Christie expressed optimism that this structural change would allow the President to be more “effective,” suggesting that the previous setup may have hindered Trump’s executive abilities.
        “The three-person structure doesn’t work,” Christie said, adding that it led to the downfall of former chief of staff Reince Priebus. “I said all along that Reince was a bit of a victim of the structure that got set up.”
        The governor also addressed his recent return to the media spotlight. After a short break from the front pages following his “Beachgate” photos on the Fourth of July weekend, Christie ran into some trouble with a Chicago Cubs fan at a Milwaukee Brewers game Sunday when he responded to the spectator’s verbal attacks, saying, “You’re a big shot,” according to a viral video of the scene.
        “I think that was a very mellow reaction,” Christie said. “Public officials are public servants, but they’re not meant to be public punching bags.”

        Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/31/politics/chris-christie-plea-report-opioid-commission-national-emergency/index.html

        READ MORE

        5 of the most interesting things we saw at Politicon, the Comic-Con of politics

        Pasadena (CNN)Politicon has lived up to its reputation as the “Comic-Con of politics.”

        The third annual event, held in Pasadena, California, drew in thousands of political commentators, journalists, celebrities and politics nerds from across the US.
        Here are five of the most interesting things we spotted at the two-day conference.
          1. Tomi Lahren mania
          Lahren knows how to stir up a crowd.
          The conservative firebrand, who made a name for herself speaking sharp and fast about conservative politics, told an audience at Politicon that she wants to repeal and replace Obamacare — but then casually added later she’s still on her parents’ health care plan.
          “Luckily I’m 24 and I’m still on my parents’ health care plan,” she told comedian Chelsea Handler, who conducted the Q&A.
          Some people in the crowd booed, seeing it as a contradiction because former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law and frequent Lahren target — the Affordable Care Act — is the reason why she can still be on her parents’ health insurance plan. The ability to stay on your parents’ plan until you turn 26 is a popular feature of Obamacare.
          But Lahren has as many fans as she does haters.
          Devin Dudley, 18, trekked from Michigan sporting a T-shirt with a collage of Lahren’s face.
          “I got if off a website because I heard she was going to be here,” he told CNN. “I was looking for different types of merch, and I found this and said ‘I have to have this.’ I like that she’s very outgoing, she doesn’t hold back. She loves to talk about politics, just like I do. I might not agree with her about everything, but we do agree a lot.”
          2. Creative outfits
          Alex Ishkov, Brandon Firla and Richard Kenyon (above) came dressed as George Washington, Abe Lincoln and founding father Alexander Hamilton.
          But they weren’t the only people at Politicon who got creative with their attire.
          Artist Ricky Rebel came clad in an America jumpsuit.
          “Make America glam again,” he said while posing in front of a giant American flag during the event.
          3. Fun activities on the con floor
          Anthony Scaramucci, the newly appointed White House communications director, bailed on Politicon after The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza published a piece last week detailing a phone conversation he had with President Donald Trump’s new hire.
          But just because he wasn’t there doesn’t mean he was forgotten. Politicon had a photobooth set up where attendees could get GIFs of themselves in front of a White House-esque podium. Cut-outs of ‘the Mooch,’ now ex-White House press secretary Sean Spicer and his successor, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, were available for people to pose with.
          Also on the floor: A booth where attendees could make their own “pussyhats,” the pink, handmade, cat-eared knit hats created to show solidarity and support for women’s rights.
          “Politicon reached out to us they wanted to be be part of it,” Kat Coyle, who helped design the hat for Pussyhat Project co-founders Krista Suh and Jayna Zweiman, told CNN.
          4. Politically inspired art and merch
          Organizations handed out everything from pins to comics, showcasing their various politically inspired products.
          One company, The Tea Book, put up a large poster showcasing the cover art for its latest tea-storage devices, which are made to look like books on the oustide: “poli-tea-cal,” and “ImPeachMint.”
          “We create teas that tell stories. Every tea has a character that talks about different issues,” Noah Bleich, who owns the Tea Book, told CNN.
          5. Lots and lots of Trump swag or impersonations
          Many attendees sported the Trump campaign’s signature red “Make America Great Again” hats. Others took their passion for the President further by dressing up as him — and a few wouldn’t break character.
          Even outside the event on Saturday, a person dressed as Trump danced on the street.
          Some of the cars that drove by honked.

          Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/30/politics/politicon-five-most-interesting-things/index.html

          READ MORE

          Senate health care: ‘We’re in the twilight zone of legislating’

          Washington (CNN)It was a dramatic turn of events Thursday night when four Republican senators gathered for an impromptu press conference in the Capitol to declare they would only vote for a last-ditch piece of health care legislation if they had a guarantee — that it would never become law.

          The “skinny bill” would repeal Obamacare’s individual and employer mandates, but a growing number of Republican senators say they don’t want it to become their legacy when it comes to fullfilling their seven-year promise to overhaul the Affordable Care Act. It’s an atypical legislative strategy in which Republicans would vote “yes” on legislation that no one wants to ultimately pass.
          And so Republicans are actively lobbying their fellow Republicans in the House to make sure they will stand in the way of House Speaker Paul Ryan if he does bring it to the floor for a vote. Ryan issued a statement saying he would go to conference, but didn’t guarantee there wouldn’t be a vote on a Senate-passed “skinny bill.”
            Sen. John McCain didn’t like what he heard.
            “I would like to have the kind of assurances he didn’t provide,” McCain, R-Arizona, told reporters.
            Graham told reporters that he was communicating with the leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, Rep. Mark Meadows, all day Thursday trying to get assurances that his conservative members would block Ryan.
            “We’re in the twilight zone of legislating,” Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri said Thursday of the GOP’s strategy.
            A slew of Republican senators openly acknowledged on Thursday that the “skinny repeal” bill wasn’t perfect, while some went as far as to blast it as bad policy.
            “The majority leader cannot promise what the House can do,” said Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson. “That’s not in his powers. The House has to decide that. It’s the House’s decision.”
            “It may be all we can get,” said Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona who was among those members who thought it might not be the worst outcome.
            Graham, meanwhile, called the proposal a “political cop-out” that would throw the insurance markets into “disarray,” and that “as a final product, it would be a disaster.”
            “The worst possible outcome is to pass something that most of us believe is a placeholder and it becomes the final product,” Graham said.
            Republican senators know that they need to pass something in the next few hours if they want to advance their health care negotiations to conference where a group of House and Senate members could then be tasked with hammering out the final legislation. But they also recognize that strategy is rich with risks — one of them being that the “skinny repeal” could become all they get when it comes to gutting Obamacare.
            It’s possible that even if Republican senators pass the “skinny repeal” and it goes to conference, House and Senate Republicans won’t be able iron out disagreements between moderates and conservatives that have dogged them for months.
            Republican senators are also very aware that the “skinny repeal” might not get them any closer to the goal they set from the outset of the process to lower premiums.
            GOP Sen. David Perdue conceded the “skinny repeal” bill would make it hard for people to afford insurance, but that he would vote for it — if he knew the bill could be improved during conference.
            “I’m gonna have to have some assurances that they’re not going to pass that. I’m passing this wanting to get to a conference bill,” Perdue said.
            As he received a barrage of questions from reporters about the Senate’s apparent strategy of passing something that it doesn’t ultimately want the House to pass, Cornyn pushed back with this quip: “I guess we ought to go back to Schoolhouse Rock.”

            Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/27/politics/were-in-the-twilight-zone-of-legislating/index.html

            READ MORE

            Trump’s blast of Sessions has ‘chilling’ effect inside West Wing

            Washington (CNN)For President Donald Trump, loyalty in Washington is a one-way street.

            Trump’s trashing of several of his administration’s top justice officials in an interview with The New York Times on Wednesday, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is causing deep alarm inside the West Wing, leading some to worry that their loyalty to Trump might not be reciprocated from the man in the Oval Office.
            There’s also a general sense of bewilderment as to why Trump gave the interview. Health care was the focus of the day. He actually got engaged — but then this.
              “It’s chilling,” one White House official said.
              Conversations with the official and one top Republican in frequent contact with the West Wing show a president who has long been angry with Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russia probe, but rather than subsiding and moving on as Trump sometimes does, the anger has grown into a passionate rage.
              “No one was more loyal than Sessions. No one,” a White House official said, speaking confidentially to avoid drawing the President’s ire.
              The thinking goes: If this could happen to Sessions, it could happen to anyone. One official described the President’s blasting of Sessions as only intensifying the already low morale inside the West Wing.
              Trump faulted Sessions for accepting his offer to be attorney general and then recusing himself shortly thereafter due to undisclosed contacts he had with Russian officials during the campaign. The President said those actions were “very unfair” to him.
              “Sessions,” Trump told The New York Times, “should have never recused himself and if he was going to recuse himself he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else.”
              He added: “How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I’m not going to take you.’ It’s extremely unfair — and that’s a mild word — to the President.”

              Loyalty

              The comments are a stunning rebuke from a president who craves loyalty, demanding it from those who work for him. Trump has written extensively about the trait in his books, as well, touting it as the most critical quality as person can have.
              But as Trump has eased into life in the White House, his demands for loyalty have proven to be unrequited, most recently shown by how he lashed out at Sessions, one of his earliest and most dedicated supporters.
              Sessions declined to hit back at Trump during a press briefing Thursday, telling reporters that he “plan(s) to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate.”
              Sessions loyalty to Trump has been unflinching for years. The conservative senator was his first Senate endorsement, long before any other Republican heavyweights were on board. The senator also stood by Trump after the Access Hollywood tape controversy, where Trump was heard making lewd comments about sexually assaulting women. And Sessions even helped fill Trump’s inner circle with confidants of his own, including Stephen Miller, Trump’s top policy aide, and Rick Dearborn, a top White House legislative aide.
              The acrimony between Trump and Sessions has long been simmering — Sessions tendered his resignation earlier this year but Trump declined to accept it — but Wednesday’s comments signal a shift in Trump’s leadership style, one that former employers used to say rested on unflinching loyalty to the company and, more importantly, the boss.
              Earlier in his career, during a question-and-answer session from The Learning Annex Wealth Expo, Trump was asked for the “key things” a boss should look for when hiring someone and building a team.
              “The thing that’s most important to me is loyalty,” Trump said. “You can’t hire loyalty. I’ve had people over the years who I swore were loyal to me, and it turned out that they weren’t. Then I’ve had people that I didn’t have the same confidence in and turned out to be extremely loyal. So you never really know.”

              One-way street

                Comey: Trump asked to lift ‘cloud’ of probe

              He brought those beliefs to Washington by bringing many of his own employees with him, but his credo now appears to be Trump asking for loyalty, not giving it back.
              Trump asked fired FBI Director James Comey for his loyalty during a January 27 dinner at the White House, Comey said in written testimony to the Senate earlier this year.
              “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,” Comey recalled Trump saying, adding later that the soon-to-be fired FBI director offered him “honest loyalty.”
              Trump later fired Comey in May, citing his disloyalty as one of the reasons in later interviews.
              The President also asked Republicans in the House to stick with him on health care reform, touting the bill as “incredibly well crafted” during a Rose Garden ceremony after narrowly it passed the House. Weeks later, Trump went back on those comments and called the House health care bill “mean” in a meeting with senators.
              The remark shocked some lawmakers who stuck with Trump on health care, despite the political perils.
              Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican and member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, was flummoxed when CNN asked him what he thought of the President calling the bill “mean.”
              “The one,” he asked, “that he had us come over and celebrate?”

              Long-held belief

              Those close to Trump have long said loyalty is critical to him.
              Bill Zanker, the president and founder of The Learning Annex who wrote “Think Big: Make It Happen in Business and Life” with Trump in 2009, put it bluntly in his intro to the self-help book: “Loyalty is important to Trump and is a wonderful trait to have in business.”
              “I try to hire people who are honest and loyal. I value loyalty very much,” they wrote. “I put the people who are loyal to me on a high pedestal and take care of them very well … I go out of my way for the people who were loyal to me in bad times.”
              And former employees, who requested anonymity to speak bluntly, said Trump’s desire for loyalty is the reason why he brought someone like Keith Schiller, his longtime bodyguard and adviser, into the White House. Schiller is an asset to the White House, many who know him say, but his steadfast loyalty is his biggest asset to Trump.
              Trump’s love of loyalty stems, according to those close to him, to his mentor Roy Cohn, who stood by Trump and his family in the face of housing discrimination and grew into his guide through the rough New York real estate industry.
              “Sometimes I think that next to loyalty, toughness was the most important thing in the world to him,” Trump wrote of Cohn in his 1997 urtext “The Art of the Deal.”
              “He was a truly loyal guy — it was a matter of honor with him,” Trump wrote. “And because he was also very smart, he was a great guy to have on your side.”

              Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/20/politics/trump-loyalty-sessions-white-house/index.html

              READ MORE

              Mitch McConnell ‘master tactician’ label damaged after Senate health care fight

              (CNN)The looming defeat of the Senate health care bill marks a dramatic low point in the otherwise lofty political career of Mitch McConnell, the chamber’s majority leader who is often described as a disciplined “master tactician” of the Senate accustomed to methodically building legislative victories for Republicans.

              But repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act — the hot button and emotionally-charged issue that sharply split his party — proved to be too difficult a task for now, something McConnell acknowledged at a crowded Capitol news conference where he was asked bluntly if his “leadership” had been “damaged” by the process.
              “This has been a very, very challenging experience for all of us,” McConnell replied. “A lot of people have been involved in the discussion and very passionate discussions. But everybody’s given it their best shot. And as of today, we just simply do not have 50 senators who can agree on what ought to replace the existing law.”
                It was a stunning admission for the GOP leader who made getting rid of Obamacare a mission since it was enacted seven years ago, and his top legislative priority for the past six months as Republicans controlled the White House and both chambers of Congress.
                Few people in Washington bet against McConnell, who successfully negotiated highly complex deals in the past like the 2011 fiscal cliff agreement during the administration of President Barack Obama. The 75-year-old, soft-spoken Kentuckian, who has led Republicans for the last 10 years, also had the political fortitude to block Obama when he tried to fill a Supreme Court vacancy and successfully kept it open for a year until it was filled by President Donald Trump.
                “Mitch McConnell knows how to do things, and I think we’re going to have some really great health care for a long time,” Trump said at a Rose Garden celebration after the House passed its version of the Obamacare repeal and sent it to the Senate.
                But McConnell drew immediate fire from some members of his Republican conference for his decision to bypass the “regular order” for health care, a process he so often advocates. Through that approach, committees of jurisdiction would hold public hearings and draft compromise legislation that could then move to the floor with significant support and momentum.
                “The Congress must now return to regular order, hold hearings, receive input from members of both parties, and heed the recommendations of our nation’s governors so that we can produce a bill that finally provides Americans with access to quality and affordable health care,” said Sen. John McCain in a statement Tuesday from Arizona, where he is recovering from surgery.
                Instead, McConnell created a small “working group” of about a dozen members, who happened to all be men, and huddled with leadership aides behind closed doors in his suite to try to cut a deal. Some Republicans were angered at being excluded and for the secrecy of the group.

                  McConnell: We can’t agree on replacement

                The group invited in other members — like the handful of moderate Republicans from swing states concerned about potential cuts to Medicaid — but somehow the force of those wary moderates’ convictions didn’t resonate fully with McConnell who thought that in the end, their espoused disdain of Obamacare would secure their votes no matter what.
                In the end, it was that group of moderates that formed the bulwark against the bill, forcing McConnell to pull it from consideration before the July 4 recess and now to consider putting a revised bill on the floor where it appears destined for defeat.
                “I did not come to Washington to hurt people,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, a West Virginia Republican, in a remarkable statement announcing her opposition to McConnell’s latest proposal. “My position on this issue is driven by its impact on West Virginians. With that in mind, I cannot vote to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan that addresses my concerns and the needs of West Virginians.”
                Conservatives also chaffed at the deal. Sen. Rand Paul, the other Republican senator from Kentucky, never got on board, claiming McConnell’s approach never fully undid Obamacare.
                McConnell also suffered by not having a consistent partner in Trump. The President never fully engaged in the negotiations nor in selling the deal. He didn’t barnstorm the country selling the deal or hold many White House meetings to press wavering senators to get on board. Trump has invited all 52 GOP senators to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for lunch on Wednesday, a White Official told CNN.
                Senate Republicans also did little to promote their efforts. They organized few of the typical press events on the Hill where advocates talk about the need for reform and McConnell rarely did TV interviews and other events to promote the bill. A CNN whip list of GOP senators show 41 of 52 not publicly supporting the bill.
                Senate Republicans held a spirited closed-door caucus meeting in the Capitol at lunchtime. It was evident that senators were “upset,” according to one GOP source briefed on the meeting. But the anger “was not all directed at” McConnell for his handling of the bill in part because “there are so many different factions” in the conference on the healthcare issue, the source said.
                However, one conservative, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, was furious with McConnell over reports the leader had said privately the long-term Medicaid reforms in the revised bill would never come to fruition, something McConnell denied.
                Johnson was asked by CNN Tuesday if he still had faith in McConnell as GOP leader and he would not answer yes.
                “I found those comments very troubling,” was all Johnson would say.
                Johnson appeared to be the only GOP senator so vocally upset with McConnell for his mishandling of the health care bill.
                As McConnell moves now to have final votes on the bill sometime early next week, he must decide whether to return to “regular order” and try again to build support to reverse Obamacare or let the issue go for now and turn to other pressing business, like tax reform, government spending, an increase in the debt ceiling and other legislation.
                Asked how he will explain to voters the defeat of health care after such a long commitment to passing it, McConnell was hopeful.
                “Well, we have a new Supreme Court justice,” he said. “We have 14 repeals of regulations. And we’re only six months into it. Last time I looked, Congress goes on for two years.”

                Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/18/politics/mitch-mcconnell-health-care-fight/index.html

                READ MORE