EXBR

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

President Donald Trump sits in the cab of a big rig truck as he welcomed members of American Trucking Associations to the White House on Thursday. A day later, the health care overhaul package he backed was pulled because too many House Republicans opposed it. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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.

After Health Care Defeat, Brady Schedules Markup on Trump Tax Returns
Democrats using procedural tool to force committee vote

House Ways and Means chairman Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, announced that the committee would mark up a “resolution of inquiry” into President Donald Trump’s tax returns. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hours after House GOP leaders and President Donald Trump on Friday made the decision to finally pull their ill-fated health care plan, one of the bill’s architects made an interesting pivot to Trump’s tax returns.

But not by choice.

GOP Struggles to Salvage Health Care Reform
Meadows trying to get 30 to 40 members to switch from ‘no’ to ‘yes’

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, is interviewed in Rayburn Building after he and other members of the HFC met at the White House with President Trump, March 23, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans struggled to work out a deal to salvage the troubled health care reform legislation ahead of a House Republican Conference meeting Thursday evening.

Negotiations over how to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law were moving along two parallel tracks: conservatives in the Freedom Caucus were dealing with President Donald Trump and his staff, and moderates in the Tuesday Group were talking to Speaker Paul D. Ryan and his leadership team.

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

President Donald Trump and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price arrive in the Capitol to meet with the House Republican Conference about the party’s health overhaul bill on Tuesday morning. Despite Trump’s full-court press, there was little evidence he changed many minds. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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.

Appreciation | Jimmy Breslin and the Art of Describing Washington
Book by New York newspaperman is an invaluable portrayal of Capitol Hill

Jimmy Breslin found his muse in the late Massachusetts Democrat Tip O’Neill, above, whom he portrayed in his book “How the Good Guys Finally Won” as a consummate professional. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Jimmy Breslin will always be remembered as a New York newspaperman. But he also made an indelible contribution to documenting the Watergate scandal and in doing so, breathed life into some of Capitol Hill’s most influential characters. 

The hard-boiled columnist, who died March 19 at the age of 88, brought the full force of his observational skills to his 1975 book “How the Good Guys Finally Won.” Breslin made a career out of focusing on big stories through the perspective of working stiffs, so it’s no surprise he latched on to two methodical House Democrats who took on President Richard Nixon, fresh off a landslide 1972 re-election victory and whose team seemed to be brushing off the Watergate break-in.

Opinion: The Trump White House: A Modest Proposal
Forget Orwell. Jonathan Swift is more appropriate for this president

Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s budget director, doesn't think much of Meals on Wheels . (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If Big Brother does one thing well, it’s stay on message. Big Brother has a consistent voice. Big Brother would not allow the FBI director to testify before The House Intelligence Committee. Big Brother would not allow for broadcast of the hearing. Big Brother would cancel the hearing and air two minutes of hate. Big Brother does not exist. We are not living in “1984.”

Like a lot of Americans, I revisited “1984" after 20 years on the shelf. The most in-vogue dystopian novel is popular for obvious reasons. Orwell’s view isn’t even his most apt for these times (that would be “Animal Farm”). It may seem like we’re living in a time of Newspeak and never ending war, but we’re not headed to Oceania.

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

FBI Director James B. Comey, center, and National Security Agency Director Michael S. Rogers arrive to testify at the House Intelligence Committee hearing on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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.

Rising Waters at Home Cause Republicans to Buck Party in D.C.
Moderate Republicans are out front on climate change threat

New York Rep. John J. Faso is one of several GOP freshmen concerned about climate change. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Whipping out his iPhone, New York Rep. John J. Faso scrolled through text messages from his wife until he found the photo he sought. 

“There’s my wife’s car in the driveway,” he said, pointing to a lump covered in snow. “So there was no climate change that we were worried about in the last couple of days.”

What It Costs to Educate New Members of Congress
Recent House disbursement report includes total for fall orientation, though number could grow

Newly elected Minnesota Rep. Jason Lewis arrives at the Capitol Hill Hotel in November 2016 — the day freshman members checked in for orientation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As empty nesters know, getting a freshman prepared for college can be expensive.

The same goes for a freshman in Congress.

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

President Donald Trump faces one of the most consequential days of his presidency so far on Thursday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

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.