Fifty. That’s how many days Donald Trump has now been in the White House. Let’s go ahead and see if we can Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.
TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► Congressional Republicans are nervously awaiting the results of a Congressional Budget Office assessment of Trumpcare. As Politico reports:
The fate of Obamacare may lie in the hands of a number-crunching Republican appointee whose bottom line might single-handedly blow up the GOP quest to repeal and replace it.
Congressional Budget Office Director Keith Hall was handpicked two years ago by top Republicans in Congress — including now Health and Human Service Secretary Tom Price — to lead a nonpartisan office that will soon release its estimate of how many Americans the Republican health care bill will cover and whether it shrinks or balloons the federal deficit…
…Hall, in the post for two years, has already signaled that his office won’t soft-pedal the coverage assessments. If a health plan doesn’t have comprehensive benefits, it won’t count as coverage. Fearing a bad CBO “score,” Republicans facing backlash in their drive to gut Obamacare are turning the budget agency and its team of professional economic analysts into a punching bag as they try to discredit it. [Pols emphasis]
Republican leaders, meanwhile, are finding that it is difficult to enact new healthcare legislation at the same time that President Trump is sowing widespread confusion with differing remarks on a potential compromise policy.
► Colorado business leaders (and the Denver Post editorial board) are praising a potential legislative compromise that could place a tax increase for infrastructure improvements on the November ballot. As the Denver Business Journal reports, that doesn’t mean some conservative Republicans won’t continue to oppose the idea:
Conservative politicians and organizations savaged a bipartisan transportation-funding bill Thursday as offering a burdensome tax hike without commensurate spending cuts, while liberal groups gave it better reviews, despite the proposal containing less transit funding than they had sought.
The reaction — particularly a statement from state House Republican leaders that they will “aggressively oppose” the plan — showed that House Bill 1242, introduced late Wednesday, will have tough roads to travel even to get onto the November statewide ballot.
That path is difficult enough, in fact, that the Colorado Contractors Association, one of the primary supporters of this and past road-funding measures, will go ahead and file its own tax-increase ballot measure on Friday as a back-up plan in the event that the Legislature kills HB 1242.
The Denver Post has more on the predictable knee-jerk reaction from conservative Republicans who don’t have a solution of their own to Colorado’s transportation problems but simply oppose any effort to raise taxes for any reason whatsoever.
► Politico takes a look at the prospects for President Trump’s border wall with Mexico, which may or may not end up being built out of Legos:
Trump is claiming that the ambitious — and hugely controversial — construction plan is “way, way, way ahead of schedule,” but in reality, there is growing evidence that Trump’s central campaign pledge is in political peril…
…As the issues mount, several prominent Republicans are making their concerns more explicit.
Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told constituents during a telephone town hall Wednesday that “billions of dollars on a wall is not the right way to proceed” to secure the border, according to audio obtained by POLITICO on Thursday. “I don’t support a tariff to pay for any kind of wall.”…
…”We shouldn’t just build a wall and add billions of dollars because that’s what somebody said should be done,” Gardner said.
Federal budget gurus are trying to figure out the most cost-effective material for a wall, but they still haven’t even begun to deal with the “eminent domain” problem that could skyrocket the potential price tag.
Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)