Politics Trump's strong-arm tactics backfire in Senate, experts say
Senate Rejects Slimmed-Down Obamacare Repeal as McCain Votes No
The party’s senators trimmed their vision of a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but three Republicans turned on the bill in the dead of night.WASHINGTON — The Senate in the early hours of Friday morning rejected a new, scaled-down Republican plan to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, derailing the Republicans’ seven-year campaign to dismantle President Barack Obama’s signature health care law and dealing a huge political setback to President Trump.
WASHINGTON — President Trump's strong-arm negotiating tactics may have worked against business opponents but they are backfiring with Republican senators, who resent being bullied to vote with the president on health care and other issues and have the political clout to resist him, experts say.
Trump: Republicans 'look like fools' if they don't kill Senate filibuster
President Trump urged Senate Republicans to abolish the legislative filibuster.He urged Senate Republicans to abolish the legislative filibuster in a series of early-morning tweets, claiming "200 bills" sit in the Senate waiting for action.
"No matter how strong or dominant a personality the president has, he is going to have trouble taking on an American political institution as powerful as the U.S. Senate," said Grant Reeher, a political science professor and director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute at Syracuse University. "Senators have a strong sense of independence and sense of self that says 'I don't get pushed around that way.' And they're pushing back."
In the last two weeks alone:
• Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee,despite reported threats from the administration that her vote could jeopardize Alaska's economic future. The warnings were , who must go before Murkowski's panel for budget and staffing approval.
For Trump and Sessions, a warm beginning turned into an icy standoff
The president has soured on his populist brother, but the attorney general is determined to stay on the job.But their bond was cemented two years ago when Trump began to move toward a presidential bid. Trump’s adviser at the time, Sam Nunberg, said Trump saw Sessions as a similar type: a hard-liner on immigration who was far from beloved by the elites and wealthy donors within the Republican Party.
• Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, made it clear that his committee will not approve a new attorney general for Trump if he fires Jeff Sessions. Senators haveamid blistering attacks against him by the president, who is angry that Sessions recused himself from the investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
• Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the, despite continued tweets from Trump pressuring GOP senators to eliminate the rule in order to make it easier for the White House to push through its agenda.
"It's stunning to think the president believes that this kind of pressure campaign is going to bring senators to the table when it is actually repelling them," said Joshua Huder, a senior fellow at the Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University. He said the threats against Murkowski were especially "dumbfounding."
Top Senate Dem: Trump threat against health funds 'childish'
The Senate's top Democrat accused President Donald Trump on Tuesday of childish behavior by threatening to halt federal payments that help millions afford health coverage, saying such a move would impose a "Trump premium tax" by forcing consumers' insurance costs upward.The criticism by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., came after repeated threats by Trump to halt the expenditures, which Trump and other Republicans call bailouts. It also comes with Senate Republicans using word and deed to signal that they want to leave their derailed drive to scrap President Barack Obama's health care law behind them, at least for now.
Trump's tactics reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of the separation of powers and the fact that the legislative branch is equal to the executive branch under the Constitution, said James Thurber, a political scientist at American University and author of the book Rivals for Power: Presidential-Congressional Relations.
Rather than inspiring loyalty from GOP senators, Trump's "ham-handed, amateurish and stupid" tactics may spur them to increasingly go their own way, Thurber said. Just last week, the Senate approved economic sanctions against Russia despite Trump's objections. Trumpeven though it restricts his power.
"I see the president being more and more marginalized, with the leadership in the House and Senate going forward with their own agenda, and trying to ignore him as best they can," Thurber said.
Trump's plunging popularity is emboldening senators to exercise their independence, Thurber said. A poll released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University showed thatof how the president is doing his job.
‘The moment when it really started to feel insane’: An oral history of the Scaramucci Era
As told by senators, soldiers, lovers, haters and two boy scouts.Last week, July 24 to 28, was a news and spectacle avalanche. The White House press secretary had just resigned. It was Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci’s first day. The president was at Twitter-war with his own attorney general. Along with Jared Kushner’s closed-door testimony, and a bizarro Boy Scout Jamboree, and pants-wetting news from North Korea, and the dramatic return of a cancer-stricken John McCain, and, and, and.
"He's not in a position to inspire fear or respect," Thurber said.
In contrast, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who consistently opposed Trump on Obamacare repeal bills that would have defunded Planned Parenthood or cut Medicaid for her constituents, was listed among the 10 most popular senators in America, according to the non-partisan Morning Consult's senator approval rankings for July.
In Trump's defense, he is not the first president to try to pressure senators to do his bidding, but he may be the most blatant, Reeher said.
"LBJ could also take a bullying approach, but he did it in the Oval Office, not publicly like Trump has been doing," the professor said, referring to former president Lyndon Johnson. "Nixon used to take members of Congress out on the presidential yacht (which no longer exists) and run them up and down the Potomac River with their spouses and schmooze them."
Trump might do well to reject both of those extremes and spend more time sitting down with individual senators and listening to their concerns, as he has sometimes done in private meetings at the White House, Thurber said.
"“Stop tweeting, work quietly with them, build coalitions," Thurber advised. "He needs to support them as much as he can even though sometimes he doesn't totally agree with them."
It's not clear whether Trump's ego will allow him to take a gentler approach, said Eric Herzik, chairman of the political science department at the University of Nevada, Reno.
"I'm not sure Trump is ever going to get it," Herzik said. "He thinks he is truly in charge and the Senate should just do what he says."
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.,last week about why the Senate shouldn't take orders from the White House, no matter who is president. He spoke three days before casting the deciding vote against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Trump lobbied McCain by phone to vote "yes" just minutes before McCain voted "no."
"Whether or not we are of the same party, we are not the president's subordinates, we are his equal," McCain declared. "The success of the Senate is important to the continued success of America. This country — this big, boisterous, brawling, intemperate, restless, striving, daring, beautiful, bountiful, brave, good and magnificent country — needs us to help it thrive."
Trump allies are taking aim at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell .
Even a top White House staffer tweeted an attack on McConnell Wednesday.President Donald Trump’s allies are looking at his lack of legislative success so far, and they think they’ve found the problem: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
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