House Speaker Paul Ryan: “The President was really clear. He laid it on the line for everybody.”
Developments on Day 61 of the Trump Administration:
Trump Tries to Rally Support for GOP Healthcare Plan
Donald Trump tries to rally Republican lawmakers behind the GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Trump visited the Capitol to warn GOP legislators they will face “political problems” if they oppose the bill.
The legislation has run into opposition both from conservative Republicans who think it does not go far enough in burying ObamaCare, and from Representatives and Senators who worry that it will strip coverage from millions of Americans.
ObamaCare added 20 million Americans to the insured, but Congressional Budget Office study estimates that the number of uninsured will rise by 18 million next year and by 24 million by 2026 under the GOP replacement. The White House’s Office of Management and Budget puts the number at 26 million by 2026.
“The President was really clear: He laid it on the line for everybody,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, the leading proponent of the bill, said. “We made a promise. Now is our time to keep that promise….If we don’t keep our promise, it will be very hard to manage this.”
Later in the day, Trump hosted about a dozen lawmakers in the Oval Office for more discussion.
Representative Mark Meadows, a leader in the conservative GOP Freedom Caucus, has declared that about 40 GOP lawmakers in the House are opposed to the current bill, with 20-30 undecided. Only 22 defections will doom the legislation if no Democrats support it.
In the Senate, where the Republicans have a 52-48 majority, Susan Collins of Maine has said that she cannot accept the loss of coverage for millions, and three other GOP Senators have indicated that they may also object.
Concerned that troubles over the bill will hold up the Trump Administration’s tax and budget plans, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average lost over 1% in their worst one-day performances since the November election. The S&P financial index sank 2.87%, its biggest daily fall since June.
“You have this back and forth in Congress with the new healthcare plan and you have this belief that if the healthcare plan can’t pass, then they can’t move on to taxes. There’s this feeling that if things don’t get done, then maybe what the market has been anticipating gets held up,” said Mark Kepner, managing director at Themis Trading.
GOP leaders hope to move the bill to the House floor for debate as early as Thursday.
TOP PHOTO: Donald Trump and Health Secretary Tom Price visit the Capitol on Tuesday
Democratic Senators: Delay Gorsuch Confirmation Because of Trump-Russia Inquiry
Democratic leaders in the Senate have called for the delay of the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch because of the FBI investigation into possible coordination between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.
“You can bet, if the shoe were on the other foot and a Democratic president was under investigation by the FBI, the Republicans would be howling at the moon about filling a Supreme Court seat in such circumstances,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said on the floor.
Senator Elizabeth Warren echoed:
The FBI Director testified @realDonaldTrump's campaign is under investigation for collusion w/ Russia. Lifetime court appointments can wait.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) March 21, 2017
Trump: We’ll Send Humans to Mars
Donald Trump signs a bill authorizing funding for NASA and setting a new goal to send humans to Mars.
The assurance of funding is in contrast to the sharp cuts for other agencies in the Trump Administration’s first draft budget.
The NASA Transition Authorization Act gives the space agency $19.5 billion for fiscal year 2018, calling for a “crewed mission to Mars in the 2030s”.
Lawmakers also mandate NASA to create ways to “extend human presence, including potential human habitation on another celestial body and a thriving space economy in the 21st Century”.
The initial outlay for NASA in Trump’s draft budget was $19.1 billion, a small reduction from this year’s allocation.