It’s hard to fathom just how the White House would have an official policy on what Congress can and cannot choose to take up and when, but apparently, Trump’s White House does. Trump has become very single-minded on healthcare as evidenced by his anger at the Senate for failing to even pass “skinny repeal,” last week, so now, the White House apparently has an “official policy” about that.
The White House budget director, Mick Mulvaney, told Jake Tapper that this is how the White House now sees the situation:
“So in the White House’s view they can’t move on [from healthcare] in the Senate; in the people’s view they shouldn’t move on in the Senate.”
They aren’t moving on – they’re caving to Trump’s tantrums (or at least some of them are) and that’s dangerous enough. McCain killed any hope they have of passing a healthcare measure under reconciliation the moment he voted to send Trumpcare to the floor for a full vote, which ended up being a stunning defeat for McConnell and Trump. Now, McConnell’s only choice is to invoke the nuclear option (eliminating the 60-vote rule) if he wants to try and pass some version of Trumpcare before the end of the fiscal year. McConnell had vowed not to do that – he may well change his mind as Trump gets angrier.
Mulvaney went on to explain that the ACA is failing, but a large part of its failure is due to the GOP and Trump actively working to undermine it. Mulvaney also explained that this is a promise that Republicans have been making for seven years, so they need to stick around to work on it. He’s completely ignoring the fact that, if the GOP actually knew how to govern, they’d have developed a full, comprehensive plan during those seven years and passed it in a walk already.
But he’s a Trump lackey, and an ignorant twit to boot, so of course he’s going to behave this way.
But to say that “official White House policy” is that the Senate “can’t move on” to other legislative priorities is frightening and dangerous. It blurs the line between the legislative and executive branches. Can the White House have a preference? Sure. Can they express that preference? Absolutely. But to say it’s official policy and to pressure the legislative branch to do their bidding by saying they can’t move on until they do is undemocratic in the extreme.
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