President Trump threw his weight Monday behind a measure to fix parts of Obamacare, the first time he has voiced approval of a specific legislative approach to do so and an abrupt turnaround on a bipartisan effort to preserve key elements of the healthcare system that he has sought to repeal.
Trump’s backing of what he repeatedly referred to as a “short-term fix” to ensure “good healthcare” came during freewheeling remarks in which he sought to mend relations with GOP leaders, even as he kicks a growing list of complicated issues to Congress, including immigration and the Iran nuclear deal.
Appearing with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after a White House lunch, Trump pledged to try to at least partially rein in his former strategist Stephen K. Bannon, who has vowed to challenge incumbent Republicans in 2018, especially those who back McConnell as leader.
Less than a year after Republicans gained control of Washington with President Trump amid heady promises of action, political pressures from multiple directions are bearing down on House and Senate lawmakers whose stalled agenda threatens to exact a toll heavy enough to endanger their majorities.
The messy dilemma congressional Republicans face was starkly visible at two venues in recent days, where powerful factions within the party vented their anger.
At one — a gathering at an expensive New York hotel of wealthy donors aligned with the conservative Koch brothers — frustrations ran so high over the GOP’s inability to deliver on campaign promises that some warned of a wipeout in the 2018 midterm elections. Donors suggested that their financial backing for Republican campaigns could dry up if lawmakers fail to make progress, particularly on tax cuts.
President Trump's pick to be the nation's drug czar withdrew from consideration Tuesday after news reports focused attention on his role in weakening the government's power to combat the nation's opioid epidemic.
Trump posted a tweet Tuesday morning announcing that Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) had withdrawn his name from consideration.
Trump said Monday that “we’re going to be looking into” the actions of Marino, who was one of Trump's early boosters in Pennsylvania, a key state.
Sen. John McCain, who has sparred repeatedly with President Trump and his former strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, issued a thinly veiled attack Monday, denouncing as "unpatriotic" what he described as "spurious nationalism."
The Arizona senator, the Republican presidential nominee in 2008, did not mention either Bannon or Trump by name, but his brief speech accepting the 2017 Liberty Medal at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia left little doubt that he was targeting the "America first" nationalism that Bannon helped instill in Trump's campaign and White House.
"To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain 'the last best hope of Earth' for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history," McCain said.
Passionate speech from John McCain, who slams 'spurious nationalism': "We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil." (via ABC) pic.twitter.com/oP14ra9fqK
Trump said he had written letters "and they're going to be going out either today or tomorrow" and that he would call parents and families "at some point." He said how difficult the calls are and claimed "President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn't make calls. A lot of them didn't make calls."
Tom Tait, the Republican mayor of Anaheim, isn’t happy about his party’s tax-overhaul efforts in Washington because the plan would eliminate a deduction for state and local taxes that helps many of his city’s residents.
In Anaheim’s 92806 ZIP Code, for example, the loss of the deduction would lead a family of four with about $52,000 in adjusted gross annual income to pay $2,950 more in taxes, Tait said Monday.
“When people are talking in Washington about tax relief, people [in Anaheim] are not expecting an increase and certainly not an increase of that amount,” he said. “That would have a terrible impact on our local economy.”
President Trump said Monday that he would try to talk his former top strategist, Steve Bannon, out of backing primary challenges against at least some incumbent Republican senators.
After meeting in the Oval Office with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Trump said he would talk with Bannon about relenting on at least part of the "war" his former strategist has declared on the GOP establishment.
"Steve is doing what Steve thinks is the right thing," Trump said. "Some of the people that he may be looking at, I'm gonna see if we can talk him out of that," he added.