President Trump to Sen. McConnell, “Here is my list, get to work”
President Donald Trump to do list for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to get back in his good graces, as follows:
- Replace Obamacare
- Overhaul the US tax code and
- Find a way to pay for big infrastructure improvements.
President Trump’s directives for Sen. McConnell came after he assailed the Senate Republican leader for 2 days running on Twitter over the Senate’s failure to replace Barack Obamacare, aka Affordable Care Act.
Thursday, when asked by a reporter whether McConnell should step down, President Trump saidhe will withhold judgment.
“If he doesn’t get repeal and replace done,” along with taxes and infrastructure, President Trump said, “then you can ask me that question.”
Earlier Friday, Trump retweeted a news story depicting his comments as a “warning shot” to the Republican leader.
In another post, President Trump highlighted a 2nd news story saying that Republican Senators were learning “the hard way about the fallout from turning on Trump.”
“I’m very disappointed in Mitch,” the President told reporters Friday. “Repeal and replace of Obamacare should’ve taken place. And it should’ve been on my desk virtually the first week I was here.”
Sen. McConnell has sought to serve as a close ally to President Trump since Inauguration Day, forging a closer relationship with the President than that of House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who was more critical of President Trump during the Y 2016 campaign.
Sen. McConnell successfully lobbied President Trump to pick his wife, Elaine Chao, to serve as Transportation Secretary.
Any goodwill faded, as Sen. McConnell took a shot at President Trump.
Sen. McConnell began this week’s discord on Monday in Kentucky by saying the President had “excessive expectations” that the Senate could pass a ‘skinny’ version of a GOP Barack Obamacare repeal last month.
One reason some people believe Congress has not done much yet, Sen. McConnell said, “is because, in part, the President and others have set these early timelines about — things need to be done by a certain point.”
President Trump pointed a 50mm Howitzer at Sen. McConnell and shot back.
“Can you believe that Mitch McConnell, who has screamed Repeal & Replace for 7 years, couldn’t get it done. Must Repeal & Replace ObamaCare!” Trump tweeted on Thursday. The president also tweeted: “Mitch, get back to work and put Repeal & Replace, Tax Reform & Cuts and a great Infrastructure Bill on my desk for signing. You can do it!”
The debate on those issues could move slowly and may or may not lead to the outcome President Trump wants.
Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Chairman of the Senate health panel, announced plans to begin hearings in September that would lead to such a measure. He’s working with the panel’s top Democrat, Senator Patty Murray of Washington.
On infrastructure, President Trump was advised by Sen. McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in January that his 1st legislative priority should be construction of roads, bridges and other projects, there has been little activity in Congress to forge consensus on the issue.
On tax reform
Sen. McConnell said that an overhaul is the top priority for September, which would allow both chambers to complete work in mid-December, when lawmakers leave Washington.
The Senate Finance Committee will consider a tax bill as early as next month.
Democrats are preparing for battle.
Earlier this month, 45 of the Senate’s 48 Democratic caucus members signed a letter saying they will not support a tax-code rewrite if it raises taxes on the middle class, gives tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, or increases the federal deficit.
Sen. McConnell seeks to use a filibuster-busting mechanism that could allow a tax bill to pass with just 51 votes. He tried that same approach in the unsuccessful effort to kill Barack Obamacare.
The measure was killed by the single vote of maverick Arizona Senator John McCain (R) who is suffering from brain cancer.
Have a terrific weekend.