TRUMP AGENDA: Is the GOP’s health care bill dead? Answer: No
Leigh Ann Caldwell asks: Is the GOP health care bill dead? The answer: No. “Remember, this happened in the House of Representatives just a couple of months ago when House leaders pulled their health care bill from the floor minutes before it was to be voted on. House Speaker Paul Ryan went to the White House to tell President Donald Trump he didn’t have the votes and the party's promised effort to repeal and replace Obamacare appeared to be all-but finished.”
The Washington Post, on how the GOP health bill fell apart: “White House officials and Trump loyalists saw a president diving in to patch up strife and save legislation that had been curbed in the Senate. Some seasoned senators, however, saw a president unable to grasp policy details or the obstacles ahead, and talked with each other after the gathering about what they saw as a bizarre scene. That Republican disconnect has been a constant ever since the Senate health bill was unveiled.”
And POLITICO reports: “Senate Republicans and the White House have agreed to add at least $45 billion to their Obamacare repeal bill to address the opioid crisis and are near agreement on allowing consumers to use Health Savings Account money to pay for their premiums, according to people familiar with the matter.”
The Wall Street Journal: “As the congressional recess approaches, health industry organizations, patient advocacy groups and political groups on both sides are gearing up to intensify pressure on lawmakers. The American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, AARP and other organizations plan to pressure centrist Republicans, especially those who represent states where rolling back the Medicaid expansion could endanger coverage. Their goal is to persuade more centrists to oppose the bill, and to ensure that those already opposed don’t change their minds.”
POLITICO dives into one of the key disputes between members: Rob Portman v. Mitch McConnell.
The big question, from the AP: “GOP ponders whether Trump helps sell health care.”
Democrats are split on what to do next on health care. From NBC’s Benjy Sarlin, Alex Seitz-Wald and Adam Edelman: “Once-unified Democrats are splintering into competing factions over how to best move forward, with progressive lawmakers and activists aligned with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., telling NBC News Wednesday they see the problems in the GOP as an opportunity to double down on their preferred health care reforms, like single-payer health insurance. They have shown little to no interest in negotiating with Republicans. On the other hand, several Senate Democrats, including Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., have said they have in mind a variety of modest changes to Obamacare that they’d love to sit down and discuss with Republicans. Schumer even invited President Donald Trump to a bipartisan meeting with all senators.”
The New York Times: “Rather than trying to bring Democrats to his side, Mr. Trump has instead waged a war of Twitter insults against lawmakers who oppose his agenda. He has picked fights with allies, proposed giant budget cuts to programs dear to many in his own party and inserted himself into the health care fight in ways that hurt congressional Republicans’ efforts, all under the cloud of a federal investigation into possible connections to Russian meddling in the election. All this has undermined the notion, born just six months ago, that Mr. Trump’s surprising win had rewritten the political map, as Ronald Reagan did in 1980, in a way neither party could ignore. Confident that the political order is largely intact, Democrats have been emboldened to oppose his agenda, and Republicans, who adamantly refused to help Mr. Obama, are learning what turnabout feels like.”
Trump will go to Paris for Bastille Day, Ali Vitali reports.
Questions are looming as parts of the travel ban are slated to go into effect this evening.
From the New York Times, on concerns that the NSA has lost control of its cyberweapons. “[T]he silence is wearing thin for victims of the assaults, as a series of escalating attacks using N.S.A. cyberweapons have hit hospitals, a nuclear site and American businesses. Now there is growing concern that United States intelligence agencies have rushed to create digital weapons that they cannot keep safe from adversaries or disable once they fall into the wrong hands.”
“Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s frustrations with the White House have been building for months. Last Friday, they exploded,” writes POLITICO. “The normally laconic Texan unloaded on Johnny DeStefano, the head of the presidential personnel office, for torpedoing proposed nominees to senior State Department posts and for questioning his judgment.”
OFF TO THE RACES: GOP health-care push makes party’s candidates queasy
The big picture, from the Washington Post: “As Congress continues to debate unpopular Trump-backed legislation projected to drive up the number of uninsured, some Republican gubernatorial candidates are growing queasy as they are asked to defend it — and Democrats are eager to pounce.”
NJ-GOV: NJ.com, on the big spending in the gubernatorial primary: “Candidates and outside groups spent a combined $42.5 million on the elections, according to the figures released Wednesday by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission. The 11 candidates shelled out $33.7 million combined, while independent committee poured in $8.8 million.”
VA-GOV: Tom Perriello will lead a new PAC helping Democratic state House candidates.
Corey Stewart says that Ed Gillespie turned down a meeting with him — and he says he’s not interested in Gillespie’s endorsement for any race he runs in the future.
And, in a separate interview, he told the Washington Post of his campaign: “We deliberately were, at times, more controversial in order to attract mainstream media, in order to attract earned media.”
WI-GOV: A new poll shows Scott Walker’s approval rating improving to 48 percent.
Democratic state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout is taking the first steps for a gubernatorial run.