TRUMP AGENDA: Damage to health markets is done
NBC’s Benjy Sarlin: “Graham-Cassidy is officially over for now after Senate leaders announced they would not bring it up for a vote. But the damage to the health insurance market from the lengthy repeal debate is done — with higher premiums and fewer choices already baked into Obamacare’s 2018 exchanges. Now Republican leaders and President Donald Trump have to decide what to do about it.”
Here’s what Trump tweeted this morning: “With one Yes vote in hospital & very positive signs from Alaska and two others (McCain is out), we have the HCare Vote, but not for Friday!.. We will have the votes for Healthcare but not for the reconciliation deadline of Friday, after which we need 60. Get rid of Filibuster Rule!”
Oof. Another scoop from POLITICO on Tom Price’s private flights: “Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price took a government-funded private jet in August to get to St. Simons Island, an exclusive Georgia resort where he and his wife own land, a day and a half before he addressed a group of local doctors at a medical conference that he and his wife have long attended. The St. Simons Island trip was one of two taxpayer-funded flights on private jets in which Price traveled to places where he owns property, and paired official visits with meetings with longtime colleagues and family members. On June 6, HHS chartered a jet to fly Price to Nashville, Tennessee, where he owns a condominium and where his son resides. Price toured a medicine dispensary and spoke to a local health summit organized by a longtime friend. He also had lunch with his son, an HHS official confirmed.”
This is noteworthy: “The acting head of the Drug Enforcement Administration is resigning, he said in an email Tuesday, a few weeks after he complained that President Donald Trump appeared to have "condoned police misconduct." In the email to DEA staffers, Chuck Rosenberg, who became acting administrator in 2015, gave no reason for his departure, which takes effect on Sunday.”
The New York Times, which broke the story, writes that Rosenberg will step down because “he had become convinced that President Trump had little respect for the law.”
Trump defended his NFL stance at a Tuesday night dinner with donors.
Leigh Ann Caldwell, on the GOP’s new tax push: “Republicans are preparing to release the framework of their tax reform proposal on Wednesday, the result of months of work by congressional leaders and the Trump administration. Early details obtained by NBC News reveal that the large tax breaks for corporations and individuals will be an expensive endeavor.”
More, from the Wall Street Journal: “Republicans are reconsidering their plans to cut individual income-tax rates for the highest-earning households to 35%, as they gear up to release a blueprint Wednesday that includes wide-ranging rate cuts for businesses and individuals, according to people familiar with the discussions. Republicans had been planning to collapse the seven current individual income tax brackets into three, with a bottom rate of 12%, a middle rate of 25% and a top rate of 35%. The new plan allows for four brackets instead, with a top rate likely somewhere between the 35% proposal and the existing top rate of 39.6%, said those familiar with the discussions. That rate, and the income threshold at which it would apply, haven’t been determined.”
The Washington Post: “President Trump told lawmakers Tuesday that he was abandoning a key element of his planned $1 trillion infrastructure package, complaining that certain partnerships between the private sector and federal government simply don’t work. Trump’s comments, described by a House Democrat who met with Trump and confirmed by a White House official, reveal an infrastructure plan that appears to be up in the air as White House officials have struggled to decide how to finance many of the projects they envision to rebuild America’s roads, bridges and tunnels.”
OFF TO THE RACES: Moore, Moore, Moore — how do you like it?
AL-SEN: Alex Seitz-Wald wraps last night’s win for Roy Moore: “Conservative firebrand Roy Moore ousted incumbent Sen. Luther Strange on Tuesday night in the heated Alabama Senate race, handing a defeat to President Donald Trump, who had endorsed and campaigned for Strange. Moore's victory over Strange was a landslide — 255,898 to 211,508, a nearly 10 percent margin with 97 percent of the vote reported — despite Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell having taken extraordinary measures and spending millions of dollars trying to knock back the twice-removed former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.”
The New York Times’ take: “The outcome in the closely watched Senate race dealt a humbling blow to President Trump and other party leaders days after the president pleaded with voters in the state to back Mr. Strange. Propelled by the stalwart support of his fellow evangelical Christians, Mr. Moore survived an advertising onslaught of more than $10 million financed by allies of Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader. His victory demonstrated in stark terms the limits of Mr. Trump’s clout.”
And the Washington Post: “A former state judge who believes that “God’s law” can invalidate federal court decisions won Alabama’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate on Tuesday night, sending a clear warning to President Trump and GOP leadership that conservative grass-roots anger will continue to roil the party into the 2018 midterm elections.”
AL.com looks ahead to the general election: “Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore's victory in Tuesday's GOP runoff all but solidifies the inevitable: He's the next U.S. Senator from Alabama. That's the conventional thinking in Alabama, where a Democrat hasn't won a statewide election since 2008, and hasn't won a U.S. Senate race since 1992. But typical political beliefs, observers note, could be out the window for the next 2-1/2 months as the national attention shifts toward a Dec. 12 general election pitting two opponents with striking differences in personality and biography.”
By the way, Trump appears to have deleted some of his pro-Strange tweets.
PA-SEN: Steve Bannon has picked a Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate to back.
TN-SEN: The other huge Senate campaign story: Bob Corker won’t run again. From the Tennessean: “Sen. Bob Corker announced Tuesday he will not seek re-election next year, bringing to a close the Senate career of an influential Republican who has been a key player on foreign policy and both a staunch defender and critic of President Donald Trump.”
More, on who may run to replace Corker: “For years, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, has been seen as a leading contender if a U.S. Senate seat were to open. But Republican Gov. Bill Haslam — whose favorability ratings are strong in Tennessee — is set to depart the governor's office in 2018. It would provide an easy segue to a Senate race if he chooses. For now, only Republican Andy Ogles, a conservative activist, and Democrat James Mackler, a Nashville attorney, have said they are running for the Senate seat. More contenders on the Republican side are virtually assured following Corker's announcement. Meanwhile, Democrats could be looking for a more seasoned politico than Mackler.”
Marsha Blackburn says she’s going to take the next week to mull a run.
The Washington Post, on how he made the decision: “Corker wrestled with the decision of whether to run for months, he said, finally coming to peace with the idea of retiring in late August, while at an event in Clarksville. He set a final deadline of Tuesday at noon to make his decision, he said, whatever happened with the health-care vote.”