Financial Times

Trump attacks Republicans for wrecking Obamacare reform bill

by David J Lynch - Washington, Financial Times

March 27, 2017 | 9:40 am
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President tweets anger at own party; White House in appeal to ‘moderate Democrats’

Donald Trump poured scorn on fellow Republicans for scuppering his healthcare plan, with a top aide even suggesting he may now seek support from Democrats as he attempts to recover from a stinging blow to his presidency.

Republican leaders traded recriminations for the failure to scrap President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, after replacement legislation was withdrawn on Friday due to lack of support, mainly from the Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative Republican members of the House of Representatives.

Mr Trump tweeted an attack yesterday on his Republican opponents. “Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare!,” he wrote, referring to Obamacare.

“Perhaps it’s time for us to start talking to some moderate Democrats,” Reince Priebus, White House chief of staff, said on ABC television. “This president’s not a partisan president.”

Amid continuing fallout from the healthcare defeat, the White House hopes to change the subject to jobs and taxes. The president is scheduled to sign an executive order tomorrow eliminating some Obama-era power plant regulations to spur new energy and manufacturing jobs, according to Scott Pruitt, Environmental Protection Agency administrator.

Just two days after the president blamed Democrats for his failure to close a healthcare deal, Mr Priebus said the administration would also seek Democratic support for its planned tax overhaul. “We’re moving on to tax reform,” he said, adding that Mr Trump’s populist agenda should appeal to members of both parties.

Democrats remain cool towards the White House. On healthcare and taxes, Mr Trump’s policies have tilted toward “hard-right wealthy special interests”, Charles Schumer, Senate minority leader, said on ABC. “It’s virtually impossible for us to work with him,” added the New York Democrat, who vows to lead a filibuster of Mr Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.

Mr Schumer predicted that the president will “repeat the same mistake” he made on healthcare when he tackles the fiendishly complicated federal tax code. “You cannot run the presidency like you run a real estate deal,” Mr Schumer said.

With just 37 per cent of voters in the latest Quinnipiac University poll approving of Mr Trump’s job performance, the president’s political challenges will not get any easier. The FBI and congressional intelligence panels continue to probe alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia as the president is embroiled in intraparty wrangles.

He tweeted a plug for Judge Jeanine Pirro’s Fox TV programme before she opened her show with a call for House Speaker Paul Ryan to resign. Mr Priebus denied friction between the president and the Republican House leader, calling the episode “coincidental”.

‘You cannot run the presidency like you run a real estate deal’

Charles Schumer

‘You cannot run the presidency like you run a real estate deal’

Charles Schumer

 

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by David J Lynch - Washington, Financial Times

March 27, 2017 | 9:40 am
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