President Trump railed after the failed healthcare vote that it was time to do away with the Senate filibuster so Republicans could rely on just a simple majority, 51 votes, to pass major legislation.
The problem with the president's thinking, of course, was that Senate Republicans were already operating on special rules that would have enabled them to approve their Obamacare repeal and replacement with just a simple majority.
President Trump has been backed into a corner on Russia policy, facing only bad options, pressed by President Vladimir Putin to one side and, from the other, by assertive U.S. lawmakers who don’t trust Trump to stand up to the autocrat.
A near-unanimous Congress last week sent to the White House a sanctions bill that clamps down on Russia, along with Iran and North Korea, and ties Trump’s hands from offering Putin relief from existing sanctions. Putin has retaliated by demanding the United States slash its diplomatic presence by about two-thirds, or 755 people.
Trump is caught in the middle. At home, he’s under pressure to sign the sanctions bill into law and aides say he will, if only because Congress could easily override a veto. Signing the bill, however, could sink his effort to improve relations with Russia and bond with Putin.
Anthony Scaramucci, the brash New Yorker who was announced just 10 days ago as President Trump’s incoming communications director, was ousted on Monday as new White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly moved quickly to exert control over a chaotic administration.
Kelly pulled Scaramucci aside shortly after 9:30 a.m. EDT and told him he was out of the job that he hadn’t yet officially assumed, according to a person close to the White House. That was just after Kelly, the former Homeland Security secretary, was sworn in as chief of staff to replace the displaced Reince Priebus — and a few hours after Trump had tweeted “No WH chaos!”
Trump administration officials continue to push the Senate to take another run at healthcare legislation, but senior Republican senators have pushed back, making clear that they're done with the topic for now.
"There's just too much animosity and we're too divided on healthcare," Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), the head of the Senate Finance Committee, said in an interview Monday with Reuters.
"I think we ought to acknowledge that we can come back to healthcare afterward, but we need to move ahead on tax reform," Hatch said.