White House tries to woo senators on Obamacare repeal

Reporting by John Roberts

In the State Dining Room today President Trump gathered together all of the Republican senators who would come for a spirited sales pitch on getting rid of Obamacare.

“Any senator who votes against starting debate is really telling America you’re fine with Obamacare,” said Trump. “But being fine with Obamacare, it isn’t an option for another reason: it’s gone. It’s failed.”

While the vote next week is to simply repeal Obamacare and replace it later, President Trump today repeated his call to repeal and replace Obamacare at the same time and that Congress should stay in Washington until it is done.

“My message today is really simple: we have to stay here. We shouldn’t leave town. We should hammer this out and get it done.”

The president also chastised senators who repeatedly voted to repeal Obamacare during the Obama Administration when they knew their vote was nothing more than a political show.

“For seven years, you had an easy route. We’ll replace, we’ll replace and he’s never going to sign it. But I’m signing it. So it’s a little bit different. I’m ready to act. For seven years you promised the American people you would repeal Obamacare. People are hurting. Inaction is not an option.”

The three senators who voted to repeal Obamacare in 2015, but say they’re against it now will come in for some special White House attention—as did Senator Dean Heller of Nevada—an opponent of repeal and replace who found himself seated right next to the president at lunch.

“You didn’t go out there. This was the one we were worried about, you weren’t there. You’re going to be,” Trump joked. “Look, he wants to remain a senator, doesn’t he?”

Heller is considered to be one of the most vulnerable Republicans up for re-election in 2018 and will likely vote to save the seat—not the president’s plan. Two of the opponents of repeal, Lisa Murkowski and Rob Portman, were just re-elected. Shelly Moore Capito isn’t up for re-election until 2020 so it’s unclear how much leverage the president will have over them.

As he seeks to woo senators on Obamacare repeal, President Trump is lashing out at reports he had a ‘secret’ second meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at last week’s G-20.

The president tweeting: “Fake News story of secret dinner with Putin is “sick.” All G 20 leaders, and spouses, were invited by the Chancellor of Germany. Press knew!”

The President talked with Putin for more than two hours in a bilateral meeting in Hamburg on July 7th. That night, at the official G20 dinner, the president spent more time with Putin one-on-one with only a Russian interpreter. The White House denied a report the two spoke for nearly an hour and would not disclose the content of the conversation.

The White House has accused the press of a double standard, pointing out that President Obama had private conversations at previous G20’s that the press never made an issue of.

On Obamacare, the White House will continue its sales pitch tonight by hosting a special meeting with senators who are having a difficult time getting to a yes.

Senators return to Capitol Hill facing penalty of tension over healthcare reform

Reporting by Mike Emanuel

Senators return to Capitol Hill facing penalty of tension over healthcare reform.

Fox News has learned there is a new timeline—getting an updated text of the bill to senators by Thursday, CBO score as soon as Monday, and a vote late next week.

Republican Senator Pat Toomey appeared on America’s Newsroom:

“Most folks that we are having trouble with do want to get to a yes. They do want to support most of the bill. There are people who are not quite there yet.”

At least ten GOP senators are opposed to the original Republican proposal. With 52 Republicans, there can only be two no votes to pass a bill with Vice President Pence serving as the tiebreaker.

And now several Republicans have declared the original bill dead, but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hasn’t given up.

Republican Senator Bill Cassidy:

“He is trying to rework, to get something to work that will pass. But the original version, ten folks opposing…that’s not gonna pass.”

President Trump issued a warning this morning on Twitter:

“I cannot imagine that Congress would dare to leave Washington without a beautiful new healthcare bill fully approved and ready to go!”

There is also pressure on Republican senators at town hall events in their home states.

On the other side of the aisle, Senator Bernie Sanders is trying to move the healthcare debate to the left.

“As soon as we defeat this disastrous bill, I’ll introduce Medicare for all single payer system.”

McConnell wanted a healthcare bill complete by late June. Now there’s fear that more healthcare delays could sidetrack other issues like infrastructure, raising the debt limit and even tax reform.

If McConnell wants to get something like tax reform through, he may soon be forced to abandon healthcare. That’s because Republicans want to use the same filibuster-proof process for tax reform that they’re currently using for healthcare. The problem is, McConnell can’t use the same maneuver for two bills at the same time.

Some newer lawmakers are calling for reducing or dropping the August recess—likely worried about facing their constituents with very few points on the board.

Health Care Hurdles?

Senior White House officials say the health care bill is open for negotiation and could possibly be changed along the way to passage.  And when the final bill is presented, the administration and the congressional leadership will make it a binary choice if you vote for it or you watch Obamacare collapse and insurance companies flee this year.

The question now is does President Trump have any leverage on skeptical Republicans or even some Democrats to push the health care bill across the finish line?  Senior officials say the President will make a number of trips to push the healthcare bill.  The White House is not yet confirming a trip Saturday but the "Louisville Courier Journal" is reporting officials there are preparing for a presidential visit to Kentucky.

Kentucky is, of course, home to Senator Rand Paul, one of the most vocal critics of the American Health Care Act as it stands today.  Worth noting that candidate Donald Trump won 118 of Kentucky's 120 counties in November, six more counties than sitting Senator Rand Paul won in his reelection bid.

That election math may play out with House members too.  For the Conservative Freedom Caucus, candidate Trump overwhelmingly won each member's district and their state as well.  And Trump actually got more votes than several of the representatives in the caucus.

In Freedom Caucus Chairman Congressman Mark Meadows district--North Carolina's 11th congressional district-- President Trump won 16 of the 16 counties , 76 of 100 counties in North Carolina, and he came just shy of the congressman's vote total in that district.

In Florida's sixth district, candidate Trump got more votes than Freedom Caucus Congressman Ron DeSantis, winning all four of the four counties in that district, 58 of 67 in Florida.

In West Virginia's second district, candidate Trump got almost 20,000 more votes than Freedom Caucus Congressman Alex Mooney, overwhelmingly winning all 17 counties in that district in West Virginia.

It is not just the leverage on health care, but also on the Judge Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court.  The pressure will be on 11 Senate Democrats who are up for reelection in 2018 in states where candidate Donald Trump won more than 80 percent of the counties.



In Missouri candidate Trump won 111 out of 114 counties in the state where Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill is running for reelection.

In Montana, Democrat Jon Tester runs in a state where candidate Trump won 50 out of 56 counties.

West Virginia Democrat Senator Joe Manchin is running for reelection in the state where all 55 counties voted for the Republican Donald Trump.

And finally in Indiana, Democrat Joe Donnelly is running in a state where 88 of 92 Hoosier counties went to Donald Trump.

There are seven other states just like that which is why outside groups supporting the Trump administration are already running issue ads in many of these 11 states.  One can be seen at the top of this post.

 

Presidential Candidate Governor Jindal says the Supreme Court caved on Gay Marriage to public opinion

Presidential Candidate and Louisiana Republican Governor Bobby Jindal joined "Special Report" panelists in the center seat to answer questions about last week's Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage and health care. 

Jindal argued that presidents need to stop nominating Supreme Court Justices that interpret the law to their advantage and any future nominees should be ones that rely on a strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. Jindal told viewers that the "easiest way to fix this is to appoint justices who will actually read a dictionary, read the Constitution."

Jindal said it was a bad week for the rule of law especially when one of the justices stated that words no longer had meaning. But it was the gay marriage ruling that really questioned Jindal's belief in the Supreme Court system.

Jindal, who converted from Hindu to Christianity many years ago, said it's his belief is that marriage is between a man and a woman. He admitted that many others may be leaning towards a different definition of marriage but Jindal questioned those who make their decisions based on public opinion and not what's sacred to them. "The easiest thing for any politician to do... is simply read an opinion poll," Jindal exclaimed. He also noted that changing political stances might work for others but not for him saying "that's what the Court did. That's what the president has done. I'm not evolving with the polls."

Ebola Fact vs. Fiction: Dr. Mary Schmidt, Infectious Disease Expert

Dr. Mary Schmidt is board-certified in infectious diseases and internal medicine. She has practiced infectious diseases in the northern Virginia community for 22 years. She also has a  Master’s Degree in Public Health  from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  She is an associate professor of medicine at George Washington University, Virginia Commonwealth University and is an associate professor in the Department of Public Policy at George Mason University. She has published in major journals and has given presentations at national specialty meetings.

 

Live Free or Die: Obamacare in New Hampshire

 

A lesbian opts out of Obamacare, questioning why she should pay for reproductive care she doesn’t want or need. A grandmother loses her doctor, and takes on the government. An entrepreneur worries about layoffs, and a young doctor retires rather than dealing with Obamacare. But a young unwed mother of two champions the subsidized benefits of the law. These are some of the stories we tell from the first year of Obamacare in a state that boasts about its independent spirit - Live Free or Die - and is a microcosm of the troubled rollout of the health care law, highly relevant to the national experience. And to the balance of power in the Senate.  As much as Democratic Sen Jeanne Shaheen wishes the law were designed differently, a Fox News investigation shows how she has had a hand in health care reform for decades.

CLINTON FILES: Hillarycare roadmap drafted in first week of Clinton presidency

By James Rosen

In the first week of Bill Clinton’s presidency, White House aides drafted a roadmap for the approach to health care reform that would be undertaken by then-First Lady Hillary Clinton, including warnings about prickly lawmakers who would be key to the process.

An unsigned memorandum dated January 28, 1993 and entitled “Discussion with Hillary Clinton” – the document does not make clear if it is summarizing the contents of a discussion that was already held with Mrs. Clinton, or would soon be held with her – offered an early blueprint for her ultimately doomed health care reform effort.

The memo stated that the initiative should take the form of a “framework” rather than “a detailed bill,” citing the fact that other recent legislative efforts – tax reform under President Reagan in 1985, deficit reduction under President George H.W. Bush in 1990, among others – had been devised that way.

The memo also cautioned against adopting a “here’s the bill, there’s not much time, take it to the Floor quick” approach, saying such a tactic “might fail” because “many Members [of Congress] would feel excluded” and “interest groups will object that their concerns, even those that are small or reasonable, have been excluded from the hearing and markup process.”

A separate document, an undated memo that White House policy adviser Chris Jennings sent to Mrs. Clinton in advance of a critical session with lawmakers, sought to prepare the First Lady for potentially clashes, possibly owing to personalities. Jennings described Rep. Peter Stark (R-TX), then chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, as “one of the most knowledgeable and (sometimes) feared health care legislators on Capitol Hill.” Calling Stark a “fierce advocate” for his policy agenda, Jennings added that the Texan had been “paying a price” for his tenacity in that he was “probably one of the more disliked Members in the Congress.”

Similarly, Jennings warned the First Lady about Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), at the time the chair of a key subcommittee on the Energy and Commerce Committee, now serving out the end of his twentieth term, having announced his retirement. “Known as a Medicaid guru, Waxman has pushed for increased coverage for poor populations in the absence of a national health care program,” Jennings wrote. “Since his main thrust for increased coverage to the indigent has been turning Medicaid coverage options into mandates, Waxman is widely unpopular with states and Governors. Although not well-liked at the state level, he has tremendous respect among consumer interest groups.”

 

Advertisement

Browse

Coming Up

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres discusses the state of global politics. Plus, the Friday Lightning Round.

Tonight's All-Star Panel

  • Mollie Hemingway @MZHemingway
  • Charles Lane @chucklane1
  • Byron York @ByronYork

Premium Podcasts

Missed the All-Star Panel on Special Report with Bret Baier? You can now get a daily audio podcast of Fox News Channel's Special Report All-Star Panel.

Pay-Per-Podcast
Monthly Subscription
Yearly Subscription