There seems to be little argument over whether Congress or President-elect Trump will be driving the agenda in 2017. Just hours after the new congress tried to overhaul the Office of Congressional Ethics in a move designed to essentially weaken ethical standards, President-elect Trump sent out a series of tweets which brought the entire thing to a hault.

Bloomberg reports:

House Republicans dropped their bid to weaken the independent Office of Congressional Ethics after President-elect Donald Trump blasted the move as counter to his call to “drain the swamp” of corruption in Washington.

The amendment was stripped from a rules package by voice vote, three lawmakers said, in a last-minute meeting called Tuesday as criticism mounted. The controversy over the office that investigates lawmakers’ alleged misconduct was starting to overshadow the opening of the 115th Congress, normally a day of glad-handing as lawmakers bring family members to the floor to join the festivities.

“We have got just a tremendous number of calls to our office here and district offices concerned about this,” said Representative Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican.

The House GOP voted behind closed doors Monday night to make the independent office “subject to oversight” by the House Ethics Committee and significantly restrict its powers. The three lawmakers who confirmed the amendment was dropped were Mo Brooks of Alabama, Darrell Issa of California and Bill Flores of Texas.

“People could have concerns” after Trump criticized the GOP’s move, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California told reporters before the meeting.

“With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it may be, their number one act and priority,” Trump wrote on Twitter Tuesday morning. “Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance!’ He closed his tweet with “#DTS,” a reference to his campaign promise to “drain the swamp.”

This put to bed the notion that Trump may simply take a “hands off” approach in letting House Speaker Paul Ryan run the congressional show. This small ordeal leads us into the next issue at hand, which is how and when Republicans plan to repeal President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ObamaCare.

It appears that some in congress are expressing concern over moving too quickly, while others, such as Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, argue that repeal can’t come soon enough:

Congress will, as its first course of action, vote to repeal Obamacare. It cannot happen soon enough.

All around us, Obamacare crumbles in chaos. Premiums are exploding. The state run health co-ops are mostly bankrupt. Many individuals who gained subsidized insurance are still, for all practical purposes, without insurance because the deductibles are beyond the reach of low income workers.

Paul goes on to list the many issues and pitfalls he sees in ObamaCare and argues for market-based reforms of patient freedom.

The question is whether a newly sworn in President Trump will push Congress to act immediately on a repeal bill, or whether he’d prefer to wait for the details to be hashed out for a suitable replacement. As CNN reports there is turmoil within the GOP over how to proceed on a campaign promise that will not be forgotten by voters:

Some Republicans are cautioning against repealing the Affordable Care Act too quickly and urging the party take the foot off the accelerator. The reason: there’s no plan on how to replace what they roll back. And while GOP lawmakers are eager to please their base with headlines of Obamacare’s repeal, they don’t want to be blamed for leaving people without health insurance and chaos in the healthcare market.

Sen. John McCain told reporters Tuesday that he supports taking a slower approach to repealing the law, saying he is “always worried about something that took a long time in the making and we’ve got to concentrate our efforts to making sure that we do it right so that nobody’s left out.”

Newt Gingrich, the former Republican House Speaker and a close ally of President-elect Donald Trump, told CNN that a big risk for Republicans is getting blamed for taking away people’s health coverage.

“Number one thing (Republicans) have to avoid is putting themselves in a position where Democrats can frighten people — that somehow, they won’t have access to health care because of Republicans,” Gingrich said.

From a political standpoint, Congress is handing Trump a victory wrapped up with a bow on it. The story will play out along the lines of Trump’s campaign rhetoric – that politicians are “all talk and no action.” Trump will come in and play the outsider and push the Republicans to get a repeal done. In fact, if Paul Ryan would simply push it forward on his own and get a consensus within his party, he probably wouldn’t be at the mercy of Trump’s twitter feed like he is now.

In a way, Trump needs Congressional gridlock and bickering so he can claim the mantle of “getting things done,” as he bellowed before audiences of thousands on the campaign trail. The ObamaCare repeal battle will play out for months and it will be the first major test for Trump’s domestic policy agenda.

42 COMMENTS

  1. With nothing to replace it, a repeal will only decimate public opinion of an already failed office. Simply weakness, negativity and downright selfishness, core trademarks of the Republican worldview.

    • You know they have plans to replace Obamacare with, right? The GOP has a grasp on the world. Some thing Obama never had, right?

      • Really. Six years after effectively rejecting their own idea they’ve hoicked up nothing else.

        You claim they have plans to replace it.

        What are they? It’s not like they’ve gone out of their way (or expended any effort) to let us in on their plans.

        I’m a registered Republican, and I’ve not ‘gotten the memo’.

        You?

        • Trump has said, as others have, what they’d do. Trump repeatedly said it on the campaign trail. Have you taken the time to research his heslth care plan?

          • More than you, apparently. You’re pretty sparse on specifics. I’m going to guess that it’s because you have few, if any. Much like your latest god and the rest of his sycophants.

            Unless, of course, you’re referring to the vaguely-existent vaguely explained ‘plan’ der Schmuckenführer has asked both parties to work on together.

            Feel free to prove me wrong.

            Specifically.

            • You don’t make sense. It’s obvious Trump’s health care plans would be too hard for you to understand. I said to research his health care plans and you talk about nonsense.

              What does God have to do with my political comments? Strange.

            • That’s not proving me wrong; it’s proving me right.

              You’ve shown as much specifics as has your god.

              I said nothing about God.

              At least pretend as if you’re trying to make it seem that your pretending to try to pay attention.

            • I’m assuming you mean that my god is Trump. That You weren’t talking about God. Trump isn’t any bodies god. I believe people voted for him because they were sick and tired of the CNN tupes that have ruined the toughness that that States stands for.

              Trump has said he wants the insurance companies to open up competition. No more state boundries but Competition across state boundries. Right now there is such a huge difference beteeen what people pay, for example, in NV and MS. Yet the wages, depending upon the job, aren’t that much different.

              Competition and reducing the state/ federal requirements will bring down prices.

              I guess your last comment was an attempt to sound superior.

            • Your second paragraph is talking about private insurance policies. Private insurance policies do not base their coverage on a person’s income or where they live.
              they have many restrictive health clauses in their policies. Several vital health issues are not covered or a dollar limit is set for any given care. The wages an individual may make has nothing to do with his insurance premium. Insurance companies are all “for profit” firms. So don’t expect any freebies from them.
              Therein lies the difference with an Affordable Care policy, which has no restrictions on the care you receive, no extra charges for treatment of cancer or other life threatening ailments. A Republican Congress has made several selfish and financial changes to the original act. No doubt, there is more to come.

            • Trump isn’t really a Republican. I’m sure, if it were up to him, he’d push for a national health care system. He said he thought Scotlands, I believe, was working fine.

              I just want to see what he can get accomplished. How about Romney care?

            • You’re right in saying Trump is not a Republican. He advocates for the upper ten percent, the billionaires and their financial interests. If you are not in that group, don’t expect any help from the Trump camp.

              It was in Scotland that Trump built his first wall on the border of his golf course, blocking the sea from local residents who refused to sell their homes. Trump sent David Milne the bill for the wall. Milne didn’t pay and I don’t believe Mexico will pay either.

              Scotland provides free healthcare for all permanent residents for free and the cost is paid from general taxation.

              RomneyCare was the name given to Mitt Romney’s health care insurance reform laws passed in Massachusetts in 2006. RomneyCare aimed to reform healthcare by providing all the state’s residents with affordable quality health insurance. It was successful. Romney’s healthcare plan was the base plan of the Affordable Care Act called Obamacare. There is no Trump healthcare plan. Never was one.

              Good luck waiting.

            • You’re right in saying Trump is not a Republican. He advocates for the upper ten percent, the billionaires and their financial interests.

              How does that make him not a Republican? You’ve just described GOP policies for the last (at least!) thirty-five years.

            • It would have been nice if you had not chose to censor my last, vital sentence “If you are not in that group, don’t expect any help from the Trump camp”.
              What I wrote did not sanction Donald Trump in any fashion…just some facts about his erratic mindset.

            • You don’t understand the GOPs agenda at all. I’d explain it to you but you don’t even try, or have the ability, to listen/think.

              When’s the last time you’ve heard a Republican talk about Scotland’s health care plan in a positive way? Trump did. What other Republican?

              Hillary only cared about the wealthy Hollywood elite. The wealthy dem donors.She could have cared less about the average person.

              If Obama is for the poor why have the rich gotten much much wealthier in the last 8 years? Why are race relations so bad? Why are there so many on food stamps since 2008?

              Seems you don’t understand who is actually trying to raise the standards of the American people.

            • I understand perfectly well how over three decades of Reaganomics has driven our economy into the ground by enriching the already wealthy at the expense of all else.

              It’s you who doesn’t understand the GOP’s agenda at all. I’d explain it to you further, but you clearly don’t even try, or have the ability, to listen/think.

              I’m done wasting time an a waste of skin.

            • Hum, Please explain why Under Obama the wealthy have gotten much much richer. I thought Obama/Hillary were going to soak the rich.

              I guess they sure fooled you, right?

              Today the Congress took another step forward to repealing Obamacare. Then they’ll replace it with something much better.

            • ho-hum…did you not take any political science in school? All tax laws are decided by Congress, not the president. President Obama sentiments were that the upper 90 percent of the wealthy should pay their fair share of taxes. Obviously, you are not in the upper 90% so how do you feel about shouldering their load in your taxes?

              The senate did take the first step in repealing the Affordable Care Act yesterday. According to Mike Pence, at this very moment they begin to craft legislation that will repeal many elements of Obamacare but at the same time, moving separate legislation that will allow us to introduce new reforms in American health care. Pence also said the replacement wouldn’t be a comprehensive bill but will be done in parts. It also shows that Pence is very good at double talk.

            • Your second paragraph failed completely and utterly to answer the question.

              I clearly read you drivel, -er- post.

              Pretty damned sad.

  2. Replace with:
    #1: Tort Reform – caps on litigation rewards
    #2: Free and Open markets (i.e. across state lines) – Competition
    #3: Keep key elements like no prohibition against pre-existing conditions
    #4: Arrangement for minimal costs/coverage for low income
    #5: hold guidelines for dependents coverage
    #6: Investigate and eliminate Medicare charges for drugs, and medical supplies & equipment
    THEN
    Destroy that stinking oppressive Obamacare into the dust bin of history.

    • People’s health should never be subject to competition. It is economically unsound. Keeping the costs down and keeping people in work free from being financially crippled makes far more economic sense. Innovative research can be subject to competition, but not healthcare at the root level. The current system is more costly and does not serve the people or employers.

      • The insurance companies/drug companies must make a profit. They’ll go along with free markets. Se tate line removal. But it’s foolish to think the drug companies will develop drugs without huge paybacks.

        It all depends on whether one is willing to pay huge taxes to cover health care costs.

        • There are three main details in the ACA: pre-existing conditions, coverage of older children, and the mandate that everyone must have insurance, or face penalties.

          You can’t have the first two without the mandate, so the only real change Republicans will make is removal of the colloquial name, “Obamacare.”

            • Yeh. Just like the feds keep replacing hundred dollar bills with ones that are worth the same, look pretty much the same, and don’t solve the problems that led to the change.

              If you lose the mandate, you lose it all. The insurance companies won’t let that happen.

            • It’s true, according nto the Kennedy liberals, that the insurance companies got everything they wanted with Obamacare. So they basically wrote the bill.

              So they probably won’t allow the mandate to go. But since some huge insurance companies are failing because of Obama care they might change. All depends on the bottom line. Some huge insurance companies aren’t making what they thought they would.

              Some think the insurance companies allowed the bill to make Obama look bad.

        • Insurance and drug companies make a disgraceful amount of profits. The basic control of insurance companies policies is up to each state’s appointed regulators so each company sets up a lot of it’s own rules. How else, could Insurance companies , such as Nationwide, disclose a profit of 581 million dollars for last year alone?
          What huge taxes do you pay to cover health care costs? Think about it, then list them.

          • Hum. Did you ever hear of Wal Mart? I read where they made close to 480 billion a year. I also read where a drug company made 85 billion a year. Quite a difference., hun.

            The drug companies save lives and the other?? I’m not defending the drug companies. I’m just putting things in perspective.

            I’m not sure what you mean by huge taxes that people pay? We all pay too much. No need for a national health care system so we pay more.

          • Last I heard, Medicare has a 3% administrative cost. Insurance companies pull out of markets if they can’t get 20 to 25%–a quarter of your money–skimmed right off the top.

            • Thanks for reminding me. Somehow, I never equate Medicare and Insurance companies in the same breath. I do carry a life insurance policy but I also know it is not possible for some to assume this cost. From the first pay check, and all thereafter, of anyone working in America an FICA tax is taken from employees and employers to fund Social Security and Medicare—federal programs that are suppose to provide benefits for retirees, the disabled, and children of deceased workers. Sounds good but if you know someone who depends on this as their sole income, it is totally inadequate. America could do better.

      • The Affordable Care Act may certainly need tweeking, but it will get you into a doctor’s office and some form of care. The ACA currently has over twenty million people insured. This total does not include the approximately one million young adults (18 to 26 years old) who remain on their parent’s insurance policy, regardless of which insurance carrier is used. Trump says the whole Act must be repealed. What, if anything, would replace it, is still out in limbo somewhere.
        According to the GOA, a full repeal of the ACA would add 6.2 trillion dollars to the deficit over the next 75 years. If years, and money, doesn’t matter to you, it will certainly matter when added to your children’s financial burdens.
        Kentucky had great success with the ACA, covering over 1.2 million. Newly elected governor, Matt Bevin, using an executive order privilege, rolled back the Medicaid expansion. The same voters, in the poverty stricken Appalachian area, who supported him in the election, will be the most affected by his changes. The majority had health insurance for the first time in the area’s history. What now, that their one safety net is gone, how will they vote next time? The future of coal is bleak. Trump knew he couldn’t save the coal miners but he needed their vote. Coal mining isn’t the big employer it once was, nor will it ever be again. This is mainly due to technology, market forces, and clean air laws (all innovative research). It once took hundreds of men to work a mine; it now takes about a dozen or so.

  3. I can’t find it right now (and don’t care enough to look), but someone once said something like, “the enemy is not the other party, it’s the other house.” The meaning was that the House and the Senate are always at odds.

    Now, it appears, we’ll see a White House and Congress at odds. Of course, Mike Pence will be “president” of the Senate, in his role as vice president. But now, we’ve heard, Pence will have a permanent office in the House, too.

    This will not be a fight between the inexperienced Trump and Ryan. It’s going to be a fight between Pence and Ryan. And Pence will be seen as the presidents “whip” in both Houses. Democrats will be irrelevant.

    • Now, it appears, we’ll see a White House and Congress at odds.“?

      We’ve been seeing that for eight years.

      While we’ll certainly be seeing them at odds again (pretty normal, actually), I expect that Congress’ vicious acrimony will be lessened for this administration.

      Hadn’t heard about Pence’s House office. Yet another thing that fails to bode well for America.

      I fear that the Great Experiment may be coming to an ignominious end.

      • But the thing is, I expect Trump to hop from one thing to another, as he always does, and leave the planning and work to others. Those “others” in the cabinet and administration are pretty much in synch with the GOP establishment House and Senate, so I think there will be no acrimony at all, compared with the last eight years.

        Yes, the House wanted to make its first issue to eliminate ethics, and Trump tweet-shamed them, but that is an anomaly.

        • He’s made his lack of interest in being much more than the public face representing the office pretty clear, and with Pence and Ryan being the next two in line I feel that Trump being impeached would be an even bigger loss to the country than his continued presence.

          True, but realize that he was castigating the House for the bill’s appearance and not for the elimination of an independent ethics review panel; much less it all happening behind closed doors.

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