Rumors of Repeal-and-Replace compromise vote. @danhenninger @wsjopinion
Back in 2016, Speaker Paul Ryan and the House leadership held public hearings, conducted negotiations inside the House conference, and published texts of the proposed legislation to repeal and reform ObamaCare. The American Health Care Act that emerged from this process had both a political and policy purpose.
Its political purpose was to create a bill that could survive the House, survive the Senate, survive a conference and make it to Mr. Trump’s desk to fulfill one of his and the party’s biggest political promises.
The policy purpose was to lay a foundation on which Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and his SWAT team of reformers, such as Indiana Medicaid specialist Seema Verma, could help Congress clean up the rest of ObamaCare over the next two years—moving away from the 2010 law’s 2,000 pages of legal babel and toward a market-based system.
With momentum from that accomplishment, the Trump White House and the Republican-controlled Congress would roll forward into the next item on the ambitious, first-year Trumpian agenda: an historic tax-reform bill to clean up the tax code and restore growth of the kind last seen in the 1980s and ’90s.
From there, Congress would move on to the other pieces—infrastructure, the funding needs of the military, and cleaning out the sludge in the financial system produced by Dodd-Frank.
Never forget Congress is not a normal workplace. All this has to be done inside the confines of the congressional calendar. Anything rolled into 2018, including tax reform, was at risk of members turning toward their re-election interests and away from the president’s agenda.
Danielle Pletka writes: What we have seen from Trump in his early days as president is a man who is owning his burdens, one who wants to rebuild the deterrent power of the United States, one who is shocked by the horrors of war and one who is game to push back on enemies. All to the good. But what we don’t see is a man who is game to threaten other leaders’ personal power, viz. Putin and Erdogan. Nor, most important, do we have a sense of his worldview or the policies that underpin his initial tactical steps. On national security, at least, it will be those policies, and not the occasional phone call or airstrike, that will make or break this president in the world. – Washington Post
A divisive Russian energy project dripping with geopolitical tension reached a major milestone this week. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would pump natural gas from Russia into Northern Europe, lined up financial backing from the western energy industry on Monday despite a barrage of protest from many European Union members fearful of Moscow’s hold on Europe’s energy supplies. – Foreign Policy’s The Cable
The brisk, open gas trade is one of the more obvious manifestations of Mexico’s national fuel-theft epidemic. Thieves are now siphoning gasoline and diesel fuel at record-high rates from the system — often by drilling taps into pipelines under cover of darkness — and are selling it on the black market around Mexico and perhaps even in the United States and Central America. – New York Times
Claude Barfield writes: No matter what the illusions of the Trump team, make no mistake, if the US miscalculates and provokes a trade war with Canada and Mexico, they will suffer. The US economy will, however, also take a big hit through a huge increase in border tariffs and the disruption or even destruction of vital supply chains in sectors such as autos, chemicals, electronics and livestock. It would run to billions of dollars of lost income — and lost jobs. Hardly the path to “Make America Great Again.” - AEI Ideas