Friday, July 28, 2017

Drive (Out) The All-New Reince Priebus

With the collapse of Trumpcare in the Senate, Tang the Conqueror is going to be looking for some heads to roll in order to sate his impotent rage, and it looks like the head on a silver platter that Trump will get is that of White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

But gosh, who could ever replace such an effective lead brawler for the Oval Office?

Reince Priebus is still the White House chief of staff and on Wednesday he told ABC News he intends to remain in the position, but people close to President Donald Trump say he is increasingly frustrated with the management of the West Wing and the president’s most trusted advisers are already making suggestions about who could be the next chief of staff. 
Here is a list of possible Priebus replacements being talked about: 
White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway: Conway has had some tough days in the White House over the past six months, but by all accounts her stock is rising. Close personally to the president and first lady, Conway was the first woman to serve as campaign manager on a winning presidential campaign. She would be the first woman to serve as chief of staff. 
Retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg: Currently the chief of staff and executive secretary for the National Security Council, Kellogg already spends a lot of time around the president. He was also an important adviser to the president during the campaign and one of the first senior military officers to endorse Trump. He has earned the trust of a president who likes to be in the company of generals. 
Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney:Mulvaney didn’t have much of a relationship with the president before the inauguration, but he came highly recommended by Vice President Mike Pence to be OMB director. The president has come to rely on him when it comes to dealing Congress and, of course, on budget issues. 
Retired Gen. John Kelly: To many in the president’s inner circle, Homeland Security Secretary Kelly is considered the MVP of the Trump Cabinet. Kelly might well be the president’s first choice for chief of staff, but there is a big downside: He also likes him in his current role. 
Newt Gingrich: Gingrich has spent a lot of time with the president in recent weeks and has become a close confidant of the Trump family. He is a loyalist from the early campaign days but is not afraid to tell the president when he thinks he is making a mistake. Most recently, Gingrich told Trump he should not fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions. 
Other possibilities being bandied about include Tom Barrack, Corey Lewandowski, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Gary Cohn.

I don't think Trump will choose a current cabinet member or current GOP member of Congress should Reince go.  Trump would have to have forgiven Newt for the 2016 campaign for him to get the job, and Trump doesn't forgive people.  Conway and Lewandowski remain the most likely choices, but in the end it'll be whomever Jared and Ivanka talk him into, so that could be a number of folks.

Anyway, when the press is openly discussing your termination but also the list of your replacements, odds are pretty good that you're not going to last much longer.

Also note who's suddenly missing from that list:  Tony Scaramucci.  Guess he cursed himself out of a job last night.

We'll see what happens.

[UPDATE] And Trump just announced John Kelly as WH Chief of Staff on Twitter.

Collins And Murkowski Save Obamacare, Oh And That McCain Guy I Guess Too Whatever

I stayed up last night as long as I could to get you the Last Call on Trumpcare's final fate in the Senate but I kinda conked out around midnight.  I knew that Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins and Alaska GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski were no votes, and once again Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain was uttering platitudes that suggested he would vote no if his action ever matched his lofty rhetoric, which it most certainly did not do earlier this week when McCain voted to advance debate on legislation killing the ACA despite his vocal misgivings about the Senate repeal plan.

You can imagine my surprise this morning when I woke up and found that John McCain was the deciding vote again...this time as the 51st vote to save Obamacare and kill the GOP's plan to repeal it.

A months-long effort by Senate Republicans to pass health legislation collapsed early Friday after GOP Senator John McCain joined two of his colleagues to block a stripped-down Obamacare repeal bill.

“I regret that our efforts were simply not enough, this time,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor after the vote. “This is clearly a disappointing moment.”

“It’s time to move on,” he added after pulling the bill from the floor.

The decision by McCain to vote no came after weeks of brinkmanship and after his dramatic return from cancer treatment to cast the 50th vote to start debate on the bill earlier this week. The GOP’s ‘skinny’ repeal bill was defeated 49-51, falling just short of the 50 votes needed to advance it. Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski also voted against it.

It wasn’t immediately clear what the next steps would be for the Republicans. The repeal effort had appeared to collapse several times before, only to be revived. And several Republicans pleaded for their colleagues not to give up, even as President Donald Trump blasted the vote.

“3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down, As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!” he wrote on Twitter at 2:25 am Washington time.

But McConnell has struggled to find a compromise that satisfies conservatives, who have demanded a wholesale repeal of Obamacare, and moderates, who have been unnerved by predictions the bill would significantly boost the ranks of uninsured Americans.

Democrats immediately called for a bipartisan debate on how to fix Obamacare.

“We are not celebrating. We’re relieved,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said after the vote. “Let’s turn the page and work together to improve our health care system.” He also said Democrats would be willing to help expedite bipartisan legislation and to advance Trump administration nominations.

So for now, millions of Americans can breathe a sign of relief as their health care is spared...for now.  The next battles include raising the debt ceiling and of course the House GOP Austerity Budget which will cut well more than a trillion dollars in spending, including hundreds of billions in Medicaid cuts.

But Republicans will need 60 Senate votes to pass those efforts.  Where things go from here is unknown but I do know Democrats will have much more leverage than they do now.

In the end, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, the 48 Democrats in the Senate, the millions up us who marched and called over the last several months, they deserve credit.  They made McCain do the right thing in the end.  They deserve the plaudits and accolades.  Remember that.

We'll see.


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