Politics

Ground Game

If you like your health care, you can keep it (because GOP’s agenda is now derailed)

Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
JIM LO SCALZO/EPA
Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

It’s unclear where any of the numerous investigations into coordination between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign are headed. It could lead to impeachment or, as President Trump suggested Thursday morning, it could go down as “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!

But here’s one thing that is increasingly clear, from the halls of Congress to Wall Street: the GOP’s agenda has been derailed.

For the foreseeable future, there will be no movement on tax reform, infrastructure, restructuring Medicaid in the states, or a big, beautiful border wall. The one item that did get some action in the last month -- a health care bill that passed the House -- appears to be a non-starter in the Senate.

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And even if health care does come up for a Senate vote, US Senator Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, makes a good point: “The bigger question is when we do get something that we think we could pass, what’s the political backdrop when we try to do it.”

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This was supposed to be a time of action for Republicans. By controlling the House, the Senate and the White House for the first time in more than a decade, they could take the country in a different direction -- just as they promised their base since the 2010 elections.

But nearly every day -- or hour -- there’s another Trump bombshell. Now the Senate’s most interesting work is in the committees overseeing Russia investigations and not those charged with health care legislation. More proof: the US House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz was the lead interview on CBS Evening News last night and on the NBC’s Today show this morning.

Investors are noticing too. With tax reform and infrastructure spending parked, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 373 points on Wednesday -- its worst day in 8 months.

And for once, Trump appears worried. When he was told yesterday that a special counsel was named to oversee the FBI investigation, Trump and his Chief of Staff Reince Priebus reportedly told aides Wednesday to focus on the agenda.

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”Let them do their thing and we will do ours,” was the message from both.

It is getting harder do to that.