On Wednesday President Trump said the Republican health care effort is “working along very well” and hinted there could be a “big surprise with a great health care package”
Trump told reporters that getting the approval of a Senate health care bill will be “very tough,” despite telling reporters that his meeting with Senate Republicans on Tuesday was “wonderful.”
In his usual, ‘Reality TV’ style performance, Trump predicted that Republicans will at least “get very close” and may “get it over the line.” He said the GOP plan “has a chance to be great health care at a reasonable cost,” and he called it a “tremendous plan.”
President Trump meets with Republican senators about health care. Seated with him at the White House are, from left, Sens. Dean Heller (Nev.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Orrin Hatch (Utah). (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
In a last ditch pitch to garner support for the Republican health care bill, President Trump reached out to Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) on Monday with the hopes of urging him to back the measure.
Coined as the “Closer” when it comes to making deals by many within his inner-circle, Trump faced challenges in his unwavering attempts to sway members of the Senate to vote for the bill.
Trump’s urging fell short and was not the ‘art of the persuasive deal’ that he perhaps envisioned. Case in point: on Tuesday, Senator Lee stood his ground and said he would vote against the bill.
The planned health care vote was later postponed by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Senate GOP leaders after, the harsh realization that too many other Republican senators were opposed, leaving the party votes short of passing the measure.
The delay in votes may give Senators opposed to the bill—sufficient time to access legislation that would deliver on Trump’s campaign promise to scale back the law known as Obamacare.
Trump may have envisioned a health care win greeted with optimism and swiftness in passing the measure. However; ‘the best-laid plans’ did not factor into a victory sprint, and the delay is a stark reminder of a return to the bargaining table.
The decision by GOP leaders to postpone the vote could also be construed as the latest reminder of the limits of President Trump’s power to shape outcomes within a U.S. institution of a system of checks and balances. Former DNI James Clapper said the U.S. Institutions were under assault by President Trump following the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.
The good of the country is a distant memory when “Making America Great Again” or “America First” speaks to only a segment of the country while the poor within the ‘land of the free’ can only relate to “America Last.”
As a result, the fate of the GOP health care bill hangs in the balance of political meandering and posturing to include members of the Senate with the best interest of their constituents at hand.
From a historical context, successful leaders are both revered and feared. However, many within Washington have stated across various media outlets that Trump does not meet either description, contrary to his arrogance, bully tactics, charisma, or over confidence to sway GOP lawmakers.
Trump is the GOP’s leader, the party expects him to keep them united and above the fray when faced with challenges that tend to create rifts within his party. He has continually struggled with Republican lawmakers coming to a consensus on how to best proceed with repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, [Obamacare].
“This president is the first president in our history who has neither political nor military experience, and thus it has been a challenge to him to learn how to interact with Congress and learn how to push his agenda better,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who opposes the current health-care bill.
The Senate is intent on passing a revised version of the health care bill once lawmakers return from their July 4 recess and pick up deliberations. Tensions remain high on the issue of health care, and some Republicans are willing to defy Trump’s wishes. Such a stance by some Republicans is contributed in part to Trump’s disruptive and often unpredictable behavior—leading some Republicans to view him as the disrupter in chief, specifically on the world stage.
“The president remains an entity in and of itself, not a part of the traditional Republican Party,” said Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), a moderate who represents a district Trump lost by 16 percentage points. “I handle the Trump administration the same way I handled the Obama administration. When I agree, I work with them. When I oppose, I don’t.”
In private conversations on Capitol Hill, Trump isn’t always taken seriously. Some Republican lawmakers consider his promises — such as making Mexico pay for a new border wall — fantastical. Many of the lawmakers say they are exhausted and at times exasperated by Trump’s flip-flopping from one subject to the next, chronicled in his pithy and provocative tweets.
They are quick to point out how little command Trump demonstrates of policy, leading many lawmakers to regard some of Trump’s threats as empty rhetoric, concluding that crossing the president poses little danger.
“The House health-care vote shows he does have juice, particularly with people on the right,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said. “The Senate health-care vote show that people feel that health care is a defining issue and that it’d be pretty hard for any politician to push a senator into taking a vote that’s going to have consequences for the rest of their life.”
Asked if he personally fears Trump, Graham chuckled before saying, “No.”
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who has distanced himself from Trump on various issues, said few members of Congress fear permanent retaliation from the president.
“He comes from the private sector, where your business partner today isn’t always your business partner tomorrow,” Issa said. “Just because you’re one way today doesn’t mean you’re written off. That’s the ‘Art of the Deal’ side.”
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