March 28th, 2017
Back when Obamacare was initially passed, it's success was achieved shortly after initially failing, when everyone thought it DOA, so, it makes sense that the efforts to kill it might work out in much the same way.
The simple fact is that despite all of the rhetoric being floated at present, only 17% of House members had signed onto the deal. And, this was despite the fact that Paul Ryan had been declaring, weeks earlier, that he had the votes to make it happen.
Ryan lied and the deal ultimately died, however, this time, with Ryan in some amount of trouble, a deal could still be pushed through...
The NY Times
WASHINGTON — House Republican leaders and the White House, under extreme pressure from conservative activists, have restarted negotiations on legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, with House leaders declaring that Democrats were celebrating the law’s survival prematurely.
Just days after President Trump said he was moving on to other issues, senior White House officials are now saying they have hope that they can still score the kind of big legislative victory that has so far eluded Mr. Trump. Vice President Mike Pence was dispatched to Capitol Hill on Tuesday for lunchtime talks.
“We’re not going to retrench into our corners or put up dividing lines,” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said after a meeting of House Republicans that was dominated by a discussion of how to restart the health negotiations. “There’s too much at stake to get bogged down in all of that.”
The House Republican whip, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, said of Democrats, “Their celebration is premature. We are closer to repealing Obamacare than we ever have been before.”
It is not clear what political dynamics might have changed since Friday, when a coalition of hard-line conservatives and more moderate Republicans torpedoed legislation to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement. The replacement bill would still leave 24 million more Americans without insurance after a decade, a major worry for moderate Republicans. It would also leave in place regulations on the health insurance industry that conservatives find anathema.
Mr. Ryan declined to say what might be in the next version of the Republicans’ repeal bill, nor would he sketch any schedule for action. But he said Congress needed to act because insurers were developing the premiums and benefit packages for health plans they would offer in 2018, with review by federal and state officials beginning soon.
The new talks, which have been going on quietly this week, involve Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, and members of the two Republican factions that helped sink the bill last week, the hard-right Freedom Caucus and the more centrist Tuesday Group.
Any deal would require overcoming significant differences about how to rework a law that covers about one-fifth of the American economy, differences that were so sharp they led Mr. Trump and Mr. Ryan to pull the bill from consideration just as the House was scheduled to vote on Friday.
Still, Republican members of Congress said they hoped that revisiting the issue would lead this time to a solution and a vote in the House.
March 19th, 2017
March 19th, 2017
Obama increased the US Debt by 3.9% during this time period and signed the trillion-dollar ‘Stimulus’ bill.
March 18th, 2017
It amounted to a high-level joust, even while Germany’s two defeats, in world wars against America, seemed evident, at least to avid history watchers.
Their short history has been rather contentious, and it didn’t take a body-english expert to understand that Trump represents everything Merkel Despises and Merkel represents everything Trump despises.
Trump made it very clear that the trade imbalance between Germany’s protectionist market and America’s open market would soon be coming to an ignomius end.
Merkel is, in effect, the 3rd Reich’s answer to Hillary Clinton and we all know how well that bit of history went, however, the derision flowing from Trump, at times, was palpable, while Merkel, who seemed to have issued a warning to both America & Trump, was crisply arrogant but diplomatically functional.
Merkel even brought up globalization which is the dirty word that has, for the most part, propelled her own countrymen against her, in a very big way.
The rest of the story, as follows, from Reuters ~ Refocus Notes
By Jeff Mason and Andreas Rinke
WASHINGTON - The first face-to-face meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel started awkwardly on Friday and ended even more oddly, with a quip by Trump about wiretapping that left the German leader visibly bewildered.
The two leaders share different views on trade, Russia and immigration, leading to some uncomfortable moments at a joint news conference on Friday in which they took pains to downplay differences that were hard to mask.
Friday’s meeting was the first between the new U.S. president and the long-serving stateswoman, who leads Europe’s largest economy. It was seen as one that could help determine the future of the transatlantic alliance and shape their working relationship.
Though Merkel appeared relaxed, the body language between them was not especially warm.
Trump and Merkel shook hands when she arrived at the White House but did not do so in the Oval Office where she frequently leaned towards him while he stared straight ahead, sitting with his legs apart and hands together. In the Oval Office both leaders described their meeting in brief remarks to reporters as having been very good.
She began her remarks at the news conference by saying it was better to speak to each other than about each other.
“We held a conversation where we were trying to address also those areas where we disagree, but we tried to bring people together … (and) tried to find a compromise that is good for both sides,” Merkel said.
They shook hands again at the end of the press conference and then exited the East Room together.
Near the start of the news conference, Trump pressed Merkel for Germany to meet NATO’s military spending target, and Merkel reiterated her country’s commitment to the 2 percent military spending goal.
“I reiterated to Chancellor Merkel my strong support for NATO as well as the need for our NATO allies to pay their fair share for the cost of defense. Many nations owe vast sums of money from past years, and it is very unfair to the United States. These nations must pay what they owe.”
Trump also stood by unproven claims that the Obama administration tapped his phones, and expressed solidarity with a surprised Merkel, whose government charged Washington in 2013 may have been spying on her.
“As far as wiretapping, I guess, by this past administration, at least we have something in common perhaps,” Trump said to Merkel, who looked bewildered as she stared back at him from her podium.
In 2013 the German government said it had information that the United States may have monitored Merkel’s mobile phone, prompting her to call Obama to demand immediate clarification.
The Republican and Democratic leaders of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee issued a statement on Thursday rejecting Trump’s assertion that the Obama administration conducted surveillance on him.
Trump, who as a presidential candidate had criticized Merkel for allowing hundreds of thousands of refugees into Germany, said immigration was a privilege, not a right.
Merkel hinted at differences, saying: “This is obviously something we had an exchange of views about.”
The new U.S. president has sought through executive orders to ban people from six Muslim-majority countries temporarily from entering the United States, causing an uproar domestically and internationally among critics.
Aside from business and foreign policy goals, relationship building was an important if less overt agenda item.
Merkel had close relations with Trump’s Democratic and Republican predecessors, Obama and George W. Bush, and she is likely to seek a strong working relationship with Trump despite major policy differences and wariness in Germany about the former New York businessman.
“Those who know the chancellor know that she has a knack for winning over people in personal discussions. I am sure that Donald Trump will not be immune,” said Juergen Hardt, a conservative lawmaker who helps coordinate transatlantic relations for the German government.
The two also discussed Ukraine and Afghanistan.
Trump said he expected the United States to do “fantastically well” in trade with Germany, while Merkel said she hoped the United States and the European Union could resume discussions on a trade agreement. Trump said he did not believe in isolationism but that trade policy should be fairer.
Before the news conference, Trump and Merkel held a meeting with business leaders from the United States and Germany at the White House.
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February 24th, 2017
“California leads the nation in poverty when cost of living is factored into the equation"…
Welcome to California.
It is a state of a perfect set of laws – at least in the minds of those wedded to the legislative pursuit of social justice. Under the one-party Democrat rules, spending on fairness tops $100 billion every year. Meanwhile, the basic infrastructure of the state, so necessary for the economy long and short term, is collapsing.
The California legislature has been busy making the news these days. They are determined to fight President Trump tooth and nail – and they are putting the taxpayers’ money where the legislature’s mouth is.
California Democrat after Democrat has decried President Trump. The day after the election, a “Joint Statement from California Legislative Leaders on Result of Presidential Election,” issued in part by California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (formerly Kevin Leon), stated:
“While Donald Trump may have won the presidency, he hasn’t changed our values. America is greater than any one man or party. We will not be dragged back into the past. We will lead the resistance to any effort that would shred our social fabric or our Constitution.”
The legislature hired former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder as legal counsel for their fights with the federal government. Their new state attorney general, Xavier Becerra, was appointed “to protect California’s economy and our sensible policies on climate change, health care, civil rights and immigration,” – so said Governor Brown who made the appointment.
California, of course, is the front-line for Sanctuary Cities – so many of which have also pledged to fight Trump. Cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Sacramento prohibit law enforcement from cooperating with immigration authorities – Kate Steinle notwithstanding. They are all willing to risk millions of dollars in federal funds for their current residents essentially to provide social justice for those here now illegally and in the future.
Long before all of that, of course, California has led the way for its brand of social justice on social issues as well. When they have, they do more than talk about it – they spend money on it, including in the schools.
Finally, we cannot forget that California has the most stringent and expensive regulations in the world as part of its effort to fight “climate change.” Estimates run to over a billion dollars spent in California each year to change the world’s climate – or at least to prevent it from changing anymore. Now Mr. de León wants to prevent the use of any fossils fuels in the state by 2045.