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Essential Politics: Finger-pointing, and what's next for healthcare

Essential Politics: Finger-pointing, and what's next for healthcare
(Los Angeles Times) (Los Angeles Times)

Plenty of fingers are being pointed after Friday's abrupt end to Republicans' effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. After blaming Democrats on Friday, President Trump on Sunday took aim at hard-right-wing conservatives who didn't back the plan, depriving the GOP of the votes it needed to pass the bill.

Noah Bierman has the story on the lesson Trump learned last week: The negotiating tricks and power plays he honed in business don't translate to the messy world of Congress.

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I'm Sarah Wire, and I cover the California delegation in Congress. Welcome to the Monday edition of Essential Politics.

After Republican leaders pulled the bill before Friday's scheduled vote, Trump said on Twitter that he'll let the Affordable Care Act "explode" and wait for Democrats to come to him for a fix.

But that may not be politically possible. Noam N. Levey took a look at what could be next for the law, and what the parties may have to come together to fix once tempers have cooled.

Speaking of the politics of the repeal effort, a handful of California Republicans declined to take a position on the House GOP's healthcare bill, and now they won't have to. Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi declared the failure of the healthcare law "a victory for all Americans."

Get the latest about the Trump administration on Essential Washington and follow @latimespolitics and keep an eye on our Essential Politics news feed for California political news.

NO 'STUPID LAWSUITS'

California Gov. Jerry Brown spent much of last week in Washington railing against GOP healthcare efforts and pondering the danger of nuclear warfare. He also taped an interview for "Meet The Press," where he vowed to avoid filing "stupid lawsuits" against the federal government and reiterated his interest in Trump's call to fund infrastructure projects across the country.

And he offered a little free advice to Trump: "Yes, Obama was not able to help those people in the way they felt they had a right to. But Mr. Trump, now the burden is on you. And you better figure it out, or you're not going to be there again."

VEHICULAR WARFARE?

California has been bracing itself for battle with a president whose party represents the polar opposite of the state's progressive policies. It looks like that battle may be here.

California regulators are pushing forward with tougher rules on vehicle emissions even though the Trump administration is preparing to roll them back in Washington. Chris Megerian writes about how the divergence between state and federal regulations could reignite historic battles over the cars Americans drive.

TAX BREAKS ARE EASIER TO GIVE THAN TAKE AWAY

Lawmakers in Sacramento are now wading through hundreds of proposed laws, and several would create new tax breaks for everything from teachers to pet owners. But it's easier to give a tax credit than to take it away.

In his Sunday column, John Myers takes a look at both the overall total value of California tax incentives — about $55 billion — and why the political stakes for canceling a tax break are so high.

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EIGHT DAYS LEFT

Most of the 24 candidates running to replace Xavier Becerra in Congress are scrambling for votes in the final week before the April 4 primary. But they're fighting over what many believe will be a relatively small number of voters, which means L.A.'s congressional race could turn into a friends-and-insiders affair. Candidates and officials alike are concerned voters may not realize there's another election coming up, or might be confused because they already voted in the March city and county contests. Potentially adding to that confusion is a printing error in some Korean-language sample ballots. As a precaution, county elections officials are sending notices to all 8,200 Korean-language voters in the district.

The last fundraising figures before the election are in. Robert Lee Ahn, the only Korean American candidate in a field dominated by Latinos, raised a whopping $338,702 in contributions and loaned himself another $295,000, putting him in a favorable cash position in the final weeks of the election. But it's not just big money that's talking in this election: Small donors played a big role for some campaigns, too.

To help sift through the positions of so many candidates, we asked each of them to answer six questions on some top issues, including healthcare and immigration.

TODAY'S ESSENTIALS

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— This week's California Politics Podcast takes a closer look at the governor's shuttle diplomacy in Washington, as well as the brewing political battle over tuition hikes at California State University and University of California campuses.

— Drivers for Uber and Lyft in California would only need to get one business license under new proposed legislation.

Mark Z. Barabak finds former California Gov. Pete Wilson waging what amounts to his final campaign, and certainly his most personal: an effort to shape how he'll best be remembered.

— State lawmakers have a plan to reform how counties in California set bail for defendants while they wait for their cases to be resolved or go to trial.

— Republican state Sen. Andy Vidak wants an investigation into whether Democratic Senate leader Kevin de León engaged in an improper "cover up" of threats allegedly made by former state Sen. Isadore Hall III against a group of farmers.

Assemblywoman Eloise Reyes and Cheryl Brown (who formerly held Reyes' San Bernardino seat) could be headed to a rematch next year. Brown, who lost to Reyes by 9 points in a bitter intra-party fight, said she's still exploring whether to run.

— Los Angeles' bid to host the 2024 Olympics requires state agencies to begin planning and state officials to guard against changes that might put the venture at financial risk, the state Legislative Analyst's Office warned Thursday.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) on Saturday implored Trump to be truthful, saying "presidential credibility, once squandered, may never be fully regained."

LOGISTICS

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