John T. Bennett

Cloud Hangs Over Trump-Ryan Partnership After Health Care Bill Fails
’The closer’ in chief fails to convert first legislative save

The death of President Donald Trump’s first major legislative initiative raises major questions about his ability to keep the fractious Republican caucus together and work with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan

GOP House members handed Trump another early-term setback Friday by killing the health care bill he demanded they take up when too many of them refused to support it. The White House and Ryan signaled their next legislative move would be a pivot toward a sweeping tax overhaul package that could prove just as tough to pass.

Spicer: Ryan Has Done ‘Everything He Can’ on Health Care Bill
Speaker returns to Capitol after meeting with Trump as vote nears

Announcing Keystone, Trump Declares ‘New Era of American Energy Policy’
President tells TransCanada boss his lobbyists did not do ‘a damn thing’ to get his OK

President Donald Trump announced Friday he has formally approved a Canadian firm’s application to construct the Keystone XL pipeline, a project long blocked by his predecessor and demanded by Republican lawmakers.

“It’s a great day for American jobs, a historic day for North America and energy independence,” Trump said at his desk in the Oval Office. “This announcement is part of a new era of American energy policy that will lower costs for American families, and very significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

Trump Cites Planned Parenthood to Exert Late Pressure on Conservatives
In need of perhaps 40 votes, president turns to his Twitter bully pulpit

President Donald Trump, hours from perhaps his first legislative defeat, used his favorite bully pulpit — Twitter — to pressure a conservative House group into supporting a GOP-crafted health overhaul bill.

Trump huddled at the White House on Thursday with more than 30 members of the House Freedom Caucus, trying to convince them to back the American Health Care Act. He failed to win over the entire group — and later moderates in the Tuesday Group — and eventually dispatched top aides to the Capitol with a message: It’s time to vote.

Despite Lack of Deal, White House Promises Health Bill Passage
Before delay, Trump spokesman: 'It’s going to pass. So that’s it.'

The White House on Thursday laid down several markers on the contents of a still-under-negotiation GOP health overhaul bill, and insisted the measure would eventually pass.

But just when remains unclear. A House leadership aide confirmed to CQ Roll Call that there will be no vote on final passage of the American Health Care Act on Thursday; an evening vote had been planned.

White House to Skeptical GOP Members on Health Bill: This Is It
President meets with various members, Republican and Democrat, over course of day

The White House intensified its game of chicken with Republican lawmakers over the party’s health care overhaul plan, saying there is no Plan B.

Even as one GOP lawmaker told Roll Call there likely are around 30 “no” votes among the Republican conference — more than enough to sink the legislation — White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer warned members of his party “this is it.”

Trump Claims Vindication on Surveillance News
But information was collected legally, according to top Republican

President Donald Trump expressed a sense of vindication Wednesday after House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes said that Trump campaign associates may have been caught up in a surveillance net.

“I somewhat do. I must tell you I somewhat do. I very much appreciated the fact that they found what they found, I somewhat do,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

Trump Boasts of Forcing Canadian Firm to Drop Keystone Lawsuit
Claims he threatened to take back his approval of TransCanada’s project

Updated at 11:25 a.m. | President Donald Trump is asserting he got the Canadian company behind the Keystone XL pipeline project to drop a lawsuit seeking more than $10 billion from the U.S. government after he threatened to take back his approval of the project.

In late January, Trump signed an executive order green-lighting TransCanada’s application to build the Keystone XL after the Obama administration blocked it for years. He did so, however, with a major caveat, saying the pipeline deal was “subject to terms and conditions that will be negotiated by us.”

White House Health Care Full-Court Press Changes Few Minds
Trump, Ryan lack needed 216 votes in House, says Freedom Caucus chairman

A White House in full-court press mode deployed President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to call out and fire up Republican members about the party’s health care overhaul bill, but there was scant evidence it worked.

Trump made a rare morning trek to the Capitol’s basement in his quest for the 216 Republican votes, where he addressed the GOP House caucus with his signature brashness: Members present said he called out reluctant members, including Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, by name. A few hours later, Pence tried to keep skeptical GOP senators in the loop about what kind of bill they might soon receive.

GOP Warns Comey About Cloud Over Trumpland
White House continues to push allegation of wiretapping

President Donald Trump’s top spokesman wants the world to “take no for an answer” on whether there was collusion between Russian officials and the former reality television star’s presidential campaign, even while the House Intelligence Committee chairman says “a big gray cloud” is hanging over Trump’s associates in the form of an FBI investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

“There is a big gray cloud that you have put over people who have very important work to do to lead this country. The faster you can get to the bottom of this, it’s going to be better for all Americans,” California Republican Devin Nunes said to FBI Director James B. Comey at the conclusion of a nearly six-hour hearing on the intelligence community’s conclusion that Moscow directed a campaign to disrupt the election and help Trump win the White House.

Trump Defiant on Alleged Phone Tapping, Upbeat on Health Bill
POTUS: Efforts to get House GOP health care votes going beautifully

An ever-defiant President Donald Trump on Friday doubled down on his claim that Barack Obama’s administration tapped his phones, telling German Chancellor Angela Merkel the duo might both be victims of Obama-led spying.

“As far as wiretapping, at least we have something in common, perhaps,” Trump quipped in the ornate East Room. The U.S. and German journalists, staff members and dignitaries responded with laughter — and some gasps.

GOP Health Care Bill Will Test Trump's Deal-Making Cred
 

White House correspondent John T. Bennett previews the week ahead including a visit from the German chancellor, the GOP health care bill landing on the House floor and whether the White House will provide evidence for the president’s wire tapping claims....
Key Conservatives Come Around on GOP Health Plan
Republican Study Committee leaders sign off, but Freedom Caucus still wary

By JOHN T. BENNETT And LINDSEY McPHERSON, CQ ROLL CALL

Several key Republicans on Friday endorsed the health care overhaul bill crafted by GOP leaders and the White House, saying President Donald Trump had agreed to changes they favored minutes earlier during an Oval Office meeting. With a vote on the so-called American Health Care Act scheduled for this coming Thursday in the House, the news was welcomed by supporters of repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law.

A Seminal Day in Trump’s Still-Young Presidency
Budget blueprint set to be released on same day as key health care vote

An amped-up Mick Mulvaney on Wednesday stood at a White House podium, speaking quickly and unsure of what day it was. The new Office of Management and Budget chief’s demeanor, in many ways, was a fitting symbol of a frenetic presidency that faces major tests Thursday.

Outside the Beltway, President Donald Trump rallied his base Wednesday in Tennessee’s “Music City” and called for a “new Industrial Revolution” in Michigan’s “Motor City.” Those vibes give way Thursday a possible turning point in his 55-day-old presidency.

White House Border Wall Request Sets Up Clash With Democrats
Trump seeks $1.5B in 2017 supplemental, followed by $2.6B in 2018 budget request

The White House is asking Congress -- not Mexico -- for $4.1 billion to begin constructing President Donald Trump’s promised massive wall along America’s border with its southern neighbor. But the request threatens to shutter the entire federal government.

The administration wants $2.6 billion for wall-related tasks as part of its budget blueprint for fiscal 2018, and $1.5 billion it could get and spending on the controversial project even sooner via an emergency spending package for the current fiscal year.

Trump Suggests Journalist Improperly Obtained His Tax Forms
In tweet, president dubs Johnston a reporter ‘who nobody ever heard of’

Donald Trump appeared Wednesday morning to accuse a former New York Times reporter of stealing part of his 2005 tax return, tweeting doubts that they appeared in David Cay Johnston’s mailbox.

Using a tactic he often did during the 2016 campaign, the president planted a seed of doubt with an early morning tweet about how the former New York Times reporter got the two-page 1040 form, which was released the night before on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

Is Trump Review Just Al Gore Reinventing Government 2.0?
Clinton-era staffers see flaws aplenty in new effort

Donald Trump, ever the marketer and salesman, says past presidents’ attempts to shrink the federal government “never” accomplished that goal “to the extent” he will. Yet, many parts of his soup-to-nuts review resemble a Clinton administration effort to “reinvent” the federal apparatus.

The new president signed an executive order Monday that launched the latest try at shrinking government, eliminating redundancies and cutting costs. The missive orders all government agencies to propose ways to reorganize operations and pare unnecessary programs, which the White House claims will produce a significant restructuring of the federal government.

GOP OK With Trump Rally Delaying Labor Nominee
Tennessee event conflicted with confirmation hearing

Despite hammering Democrats for slowing Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominations, Senate Republicans don’t mind delaying a confirmation hearing this week so the president can rally the base on Wednesday and sell a Republican-crafted health care bill. 

But GOP sources were quick Monday to defend the delay of a Cabinet-level nominee’s hearing, saying replacing the 2010 health care law is equally important. The situation is the latest example of the bumpy ride many of the 45th president’s top nominees have had.

Trump Might Be Open to Earlier Freeze of Medicaid Expansion
Spokesman says president willing to listen to ideas on health plan

The White House appeared Friday to not rule out altering a Republican-crafted health care overhaul measure by accelerating a Medicaid expansion roll back, a move that could garner more conservative votes, although it could jeopardize support from GOP moderates and senators from states who have used the program to cover the uninsured.

The bill, which has been approved by two key House committees, would nix the 2010 health law’s expansion of the entitlement program in 2020. That’s not soon enough for many House conservatives, and a reason why the White House and GOP leaders appear to lack the 218 votes needed to send the overhaul measure to the Senate.

On Paper, Trump’s First 50 Days Resemble Previous Presidents’
But turbulence, including Obama claims, defined opening seven weeks

On one hand, the first 50 days of Donald Trump’s presidency, in some ways, closely resemble those of his recent predecessors. But on the other, those similarities largely have been overshadowed by missteps and inflammatory tweets. 

A botched executive order temporarily banning many Muslims from entering the United States, allegations that former President Barack Obama tapped his phones, and an otherwise chaotic seven weeks have defined Trump’s first 50 days. But data reviewed by CQ Roll Call stretching back to the opening days of the Reagan administration shows Trump is off to a start much like several other recent commanders in chief.50Days-top-summary