Progressive Breakfast for March 24

Morning Message

Grassroots Power Stalls Trumpcare

March 23rd, the seventh anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), turned into a better day for the people of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, than it was for House Speaker Paul Ryan, President Donald Trump, and our congressman, Rep. Lloyd Smucker. While the politicians in Washington were scuttling the vote on their disastrous health care repeal plan, more than two hundred of us gathered in Penn Square to demand health care for all in an event organized by Keystone Progress, Lancaster Stands Up, and LCDC Rapid Response Team for Healthcare...

Uncertain ACA Repeal Vote Today

Trump threatens House GOP with keeping Obamacare. NBC: “Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney made clear Thursday evening that President Donald Trump is done negotiating … wants a vote on Friday. And, if the president doesn’t get a vote to repeal and replace Obamacare, he will move on to other priorities … Trump’s latest salvo comes after House Republican leaders abruptly postponed a planned vote on the GOP health care bill Thursday as they struggled to find sufficient support to pass it.”

Bill still attacked from all sides. NYT: “Some conservatives were still concerned that the bill was too costly and did not do enough to roll back federal health insurance mandates. Moderates and others, meanwhile, were grappling with worries of their states’ governors and fretted that the loss of benefits would be too much for their constituents to bear.”

Trump offered to remove “essential health benefits” in insurance plans. Bloomberg: “The Trump administration made a last-minute deal with House conservatives to change the bill — by removing Obamacare’s requirements that certain essential benefits be covered by insurance …”

But Freedom Caucus wants complete repeal. Politico: “The group wants a complete repeal of all Affordable Care Act regulations — including popular provisions Trump promised he would maintain. The conservatives’ target list encompasses a prohibition against discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions and a requirement that adults up to age 26 can remain on their parents’ health insurance … Many House Republicans are furious with the Freedom Caucus, saying the group keeps moving the goal posts and that it really wants to sink the health care bill altogether.”

Trump attacks Freedom Caucus. TPM: “Trump used his favorite communication tool, Twitter, to single out the Freedom Caucus for its members’ opposition to the House bill. The President noted that the bill would defund Planned Parenthood and that the caucus would be forgoing an attempt to block funding for the organization, perhaps in the hopes that he could shame the caucus into backing the bill.”

“GOP leaders expecting final vote on AHCA around 3:45-4:45 p.m.” tweets HuffPost’s Jennifer Bendery.

Schumer Digs In On Gorsuch

Schumer talks up Gorsuch filibuster in Politico interview: “…Schumer all but declared that Donald Trump’s nominee will not receive the requisite eight Democratic votes — and that it will be up to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as to whether to try to blow up the filibuster to get Gorsuch through. ‘There’s been an almost seismic shift in the caucus [against Gorsuch],’ Schumer said…”

“Under pressure, Dems hold back Gorsuch support” reports The Hill: “Right now, getting eight votes Democratic votes is looking like a heavy lift … The most likely Democrat to vote yes, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, said he wants to meet again with Gorsuch privately before making a decision … Other Democrats considered likely to vote for Gorsuch said they are undecided … Democrats are betting that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell(R-Ky.) will have a tough time persuading 50 members of his caucus to change the rules for the nominee.”

Keystone Wins Permit

Keystone gets permit from Trump. Bloomberg: “… the Keystone XL oil pipeline running from Canada to America’s heartland has been approved by President Donald Trump, according to TransCanada Corp. … TransCanada also reapplied for approval in Nebraska, a state that created legal hurdles for the company during the initial project review.”

Federal approval “far from the last word” notes USA Today: “TransCanada said it must still ‘engage key stakeholders and neighbors throughout Nebraska, Montana and South Dakota to obtain the necessary permits and approvals to advance this project to construction.’ What’s more, oil prices have dropped considerably over the last three years, making a new pipeline less lucrative.”

Climate executive order imminent. The Hill: “The order is expected to disassemble President Obama’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan and end the moratorium on federal-land coal mining … Trump is said to be considering a broader order than originally thought. Sources said it could include other provisions aimed at climate regulations in general, oil and gas drilling rules and reducing the U.S.’s commitment in the Paris climate accord.”

Breakfast Sides

“Trump’s SEC Nominee Has a Major Conflict-of-Interest Problem” reports The Nation: “In her first round of questioning, [Sen. Elizabeth] Warren noted that, under a presidential executive order, [Jay] Clayton would have to recuse himself from participating in any enforcement actions against a former client for the first two years of his tenure. That means ‘you would not be able to vote to enforce the law against several big banks, including Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, and UBS,’ Warren said … But it goes further, because the executive order also forces recusal in any matter in which Sullivan & Cromwell, Clayton’s former law firm, is involved. And the firm’s roster of clients is massive.”

“Trump’s travel ban could remain blocked for weeks” reports LAT: “A federal appeals court said Thursday that it would hear arguments in early May over the Trump administration’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling against its travel ban, potentially leaving the ban stalled for several more weeks.”

Builders debate whether to build the wall. Bloomberg: “There is little doubt that if Congress finds as much as $25 billion to construct the wall, someone will happily take it. But increasingly, major corporations are weighing potential profit against political costs.”

Bipartisan push for repatriation. The Hill: “Trump, who is assembling a $1 trillion infrastructure package, signaled for the first time in a recent White House meeting that he is considering using a ‘repatriation’ tax holiday to pay for part of his plan … [Reps. John] Delaney, [Ted] Yoho and [Rodney] Davis are seizing on that momentum … The group introduced two bills this week aimed at tapping into cash overseas…”