The Truth Report: Trump’s Agenda for the Foreseeable Future
Welcome to The Truth Report, I’m Barry Nussbaum.
On Friday republican leaders abruptly pulled their overhaul of the nation’s healthcare system from the House floor. Why? Simply put there were so many conflicting opinions as to what the American healthcare act should look like within the GOP, that the party could not agree on the bill as presented and so the necessary votes to pass just weren’t there.
Today on The Truth Report we will examine what happened in Congress this week with the proposed new healthcare act and discuss what is the truth behind the Trump agenda, starting with the healthcare bill that failed and proceed to the next items on his list of goals as President.
- The American healthcare act was withdrawn from consideration on the floor of the House last Friday. The decision leaves former President Barack Obama’s chief domestic achievement, in place. In other words, Obamacare remains the law of the land. In an interview with the Washington Post, Trump said, “we couldn’t get one democratic vote.”
He could have added and we were missing a bunch of republican votes as well! Trump said he would not ask republican leaders to reintroduce the legislation in the coming weeks, and Congressional leaders made clear that the bill — known as the American Healthcare Act — was dead.
Shortly after the decision, House speaker Paul Ryan told reporters his party “came really close today, but we came up short.” He added: “we’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”
“It’s done,” said energy and commerce committee chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), who drafted much of the legislation. “This bill is dead.” Instead, republican leaders said, they would wait for the Affordable Care Act to encounter fatal problems, believing that democrats will then want to work with them to make changes. “As you know, I’ve been saying for years that the best thing is to let Obamacare explode and then go make a deal with the democrats and have one unified deal,” Trump said. “And they will come to us, we won’t have to come to them.”
“Since 2010, every republican, with the exception of probably a handful, has campaigned from dogcatcher on up that they would do everything they could to repeal and replace Obamacare,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Friday. Ryan left shortly after for the White House to tell Trump the bill would fail.
Trump had personally lobbied 120 lawmakers, either in person or on the phone, Spicer told reporters on Friday. The President, he said, had “left everything on the field.” The White House did not think that defeat would slow other parts of Trump’s agenda, including tax reform and changes to immigration, Spicer added.
Vice President Pence, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price also engaged in last-ditch attempts to win over members Friday — including a midday huddle with freedom caucus members at the capitol hill club, a GOP social hall next door to the headquarters of the republican national committee.
The heart of the argument made by GOP leaders was that keeping the Affordable Care Act would be a worse outcome than passing a potentially flawed replacement. That worked with some republicans, but not all.
At the capitol, a deflated Ryan said he would confer with fellow republicans in the coming days about how to proceed, but he made clear healthcare would no longer be a central agenda item. Trump said he had no problem waiting for democrats to seek cooperation with republicans on healthcare: “I never said I was going to repeal and replace in the first 61 days.” In fact, Trump said repeatedly as a candidate and before his inauguration that he would work to repeal the ACA on his first day in office. Obviously, that did not happen.
- Nominate a Supreme Court Justice. President Trump chose Judge Neil M. Gorsuch as his nominee for Supreme Court Justice. Judge Gorsuch spoke at Senate hearings last week. In spite of Judge Gorsuch being previously confirmed for the appeals court with almost unanimous democrat and republican support, democrats have vowed to filibuster the nomination in the Senate. However due to a rule change pushed through by democrat senator of Nevada Harry Reid when he was Senate majority leader some years ago, the party in power can change the rules to require only 51 votes instead of 60 to confirm a new justice. This is called the nuclear option and republicans have promised to invoke it if necessary to get Gorsuch confirmed.
- Suspend immigration from what Mr. Trump calls ‘terror-prone regions’. After key sections of an executive order were blocked by several courts, Mr. Trump signed a new order that blocked all refugees for 120 days and issued a 90-day ban on anyone entering the United States from six predominantly Muslim countries. The new order was also blocked by federal judges. It remains to be seen whether President Trump attempts a new executive order that takes into account the previous court’s rulings in regards to his first two orders, or awaits an appeal to higher courts where it is almost universally expected to have the lower courts’ rulings reversed. Such a reversal would amount to a greenlight on one of Trump’s executive orders. Should an appeal get all the way to the Supreme Court, the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court would be critical to that court’s final disposition of this ruling.
- Cut taxes. Support for tax cuts unites nearly all members of the republican party. Throughout the campaign candidate Trump promised to do three things on this subject: lower tax rates at the high-end of income, decrease the number of different tax rates, and lower corporate income taxes.
- Increase deportations of undocumented immigrants. Trump plans to expel undocumented immigrants more aggressively, prioritizing anyone who has been convicted of a criminal offense. As we reported last week on Because You Asked, ICE is already implementing a new Trump policy in regards to sanctuary cities’ catch and releasing of illegal immigrant criminals. The weekly report of such releases is already gaining press coverage and will no doubt result in more detentions and deportations.
- Appoint a cabinet. Trump has selected nominees for each position in his cabinet, and several have been confirmed by the senate.
Democrats in the Congress have promised to fight every nominee and thus far have done so. President Trump’s appointments and expected confirmations are running well behind every single President in recent history as a result of the democrat party opposition.
- Build a border wall and get Mexico to pay for it. Trump ordered the construction of a wall, but he will need new legislation to pay for it. In the meantime, by executive order the designs have started and the bidding is taking place currently. It is unclear when actual new construction will start but we have no doubt the wall or in some places fence, will be built.
- Impose import taxes. Trump supports a 20 percent tax on many imports from countries with an unfair economic advantage and has considered proposing such a tax on Mexican imports to pay for the wall, but such a proposal may face strong resistance from republicans in Congress.
- Invest in American infrastructure. Trump wants to spend a trillion dollars to rebuild sagging infrastructure. He faces opposition from republicans and enthusiasm from democrats. This massive increase in federal government spending for infrastructure projects was a major part of his campaign platform. Ironically it’s the democrats that are behind this plan and the republicans that are opposing it.
So there is your trump agenda for the foreseeable future.
Stay in touch, we will be following up on this story! You can write to me directly by sending me an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. And go to our website where you can sign up to be on our mailing list so you never miss an important episode. You can handle the truth, we intend to bring it to you! I’m Barry Nussbaum.