The News Sips Tipsheet July 18: Healthcare, Made in America, and Polls (Polls, Polls, Polls)

Here’s for what you need to know before your iced coffee gets warm, the July 18, 2017 edition of the tipsheet.

What DC’s Talking About: Obamacare

Obamacare Replacement is Dead (Long Live Obamacare Repeal)– Late yesterday, Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) announced that they were not going to support Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell‘s bill that would revamp the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Both Lee and Moran said that the bill wouldn’t do enough to roll back the law that is already in a death spiral. No Democrats were signed on to support the bill, and two Republicans (Susan Collins-Maine and Rand Paul-Kentucky) had already said they were opposed. So, losing two more put McConnell’s maximum at 48 (assuming John McCain — sidelined by surgery — would return in time to vote).

So What’s NextPresident Trump already weighed in on the Senate’s failure by urging the passage of a clean repeal of Obamacare. McConnell issued a statement saying that’s what the Senate will try next. It’s unlikely to pass despite the caveat that there will be a two year grace period for Congress to pass a replacement before the repeal goes into effect.

Don’t Count Out McConnell: While trying to wrangle Senators is going to be more difficult than what Speaker Paul Ryan had to do in the House after the first attempt at an Obamacare repeal failed (pretty spectacularly) this Spring, it’s best not to bet against Mitch McConnell’s ability to get his people on-board. There’s a chance that the step after a failure at clean repeal would be an attempt to work with Democrats, but we don’t see the Republican base going for this.

The Big Question: If this is the end of the line for the repeal/replace effort, who do voters blame in 2018? There are 23 Democrats up for re-election. 10 are in states won by Donald Trump. Republicans are only 8 seats away from having a filibuster-proof majority that would allow them to pass changes/replacements of Obamacare without having to contort themselves to get through reconciliation. We talked about that issue here.

What’s Next? Outside of the fact that Obamacare is collapsing and Senate Republicans can’t agree on doing the thing they’ve spent seven years campaigning about doing, possibly the biggest loser in this (temporary?) failure is tax reform. The Administration was hoping to offset some of its ambitious tax cuts with savings from a revamped healthcare system. Given that failure, a more modest tax reform proposal looks like the path forward. It’s likely that this won’t sit well with the markets, that seem already to have baked-in the idea that the Trump Administration would be moving ahead with significant reforms of the tax system.

What the Administration Would Like to Talk About: Made In America

Well, it’s Made in America Week at the White House. Yesterday, the President rolled out a bunch of made-in-America businesses and promoted his call to “buy American and hire American.”

From a Policy Standpoint: The Office of the Trade Representative of the United States issued guidance over the proposed renegotiation of NAFTA. This is a big step in the President’s effort to create a better trade deal for the American worker between the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Theme Weeks: “Made in America Week” is the first of three upcoming theme weeks that will include an American Heroes Week and American Dreams Week.

Larger Goal: Getting back on message. The word around, well everywhere, is that the President has been side-tracked almost since day one from getting his side of the story told to the American people. It’s time, in the mind of the White House, that people get to hear the Trump that they voted for– especially on economic issues.

Is There Really a Slump? Three major polls show the President’s approval rating slipping into the low 40s. However, it’s important to remember that polls had Trump at a 60% disapproval rating… on Election Day.

Polls, Polls, Polls

There have been a few polls out this week that show the President under water in his approval rating. However, as we pointed out yesterday, he had a 60% disapproval on the day he was elected President, so, perhaps it’s best not to look too deeply into these numbers.

There is a Bright Side for Trump Today: A Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that a majority of Americans think that the Democratic Party “Just stands against Trump.” This is bad news for the ten Democratic Senators who are trying to get re-elected in states won by President Trump last Fall.

(Senators Tester (MT), Heitkamp (ND), Stabenow (MI), Casey (PA), McCaskill (MO), Donnelly (IN), Brown (OH), Nelson (FL), Manchin (WV), and Baldwin (WI)… call your offices).

More Good News: A Bloomberg Poll found that Hillary Clinton remains more unpopular that President Trump. Sure, the election was eight months ago, but it’s still something folks are talking (and tweeting) about.

Maryland Poll: Governor Larry Hogan remains one of the most-popular Governors in America with a 68% approval rating from Morning Consult.

What We’re Reading

In case you missed it: Our take on the Baltimore City Council’s Left-Wing Logical Pretzels

Warning Bells from WaPo: Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s treasury secretary, is hurtling toward his first fiasco

Foreign Affairs: Mediation in Venezuela Is Doomed to Fail

Politico: White House under pressure to drop Export-Import Bank nominee

Matt McDaniel

Attorney and Political Commentator

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