Week of Monday, September 11
— Our thoughts are with the residents of Florida, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and all those affected by Hurricane Irma.
IN BRIEF: The dysfunctional Republican Congress learned nothing from the August recess and has proved — yet again — that it cannot govern. Senators and Members of Congress came back to Washington after a month-long recess last week with a long laundry list of must-pass measures, but the GOP’s dysfunction was more evident than ever. From bruising primaries to infighting over hurricane relief and debt ceiling votes, Republicans are in disarray and they can’t seem to get to any of their so-called priorities.
- President Trump had to rely on Democratic leadership to get a deal donefor emergency funding for Texas and to keep the government open a few months. That deal threatens to cause even more division and tension among Republicans, and we’re now barreling towards a new crisis in December.
- When Congress took up President Trump’s deal, 17 Republican Senators voted against Hurricane Harvey relief and keeping the government open,and 90 Republican House members also opposed Trump’s bill. Those voting “no” included vulnerable Senator Jeff Flake (AZ), and several congressmen looking for a promotion to Senate in 2018: Congressman Todd Rokita (IN), Congressman Luke Messer (IN), and Congressman Evan Jenkins (WV).
- Meanwhile, from Alabama to Nevada, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s favored candidates are falling victim to Republican dysfunction. In Alabama, Sen. Luther Strange is struggling against Freedom Caucus-aligned Judge Roy Moore, despite heavy spending from the McConnell-controlled Senate Leadership Fund. Meanwhile, Trump adviser Steve Bannon also helping Moore and is threatening to push primary challengers against Senate Republican incumbents in four other states in 2018.
THREE TO WATCH:
- Dean Heller: After the Republicans spectacularly embarrassing Trumpcare failure in July, Americans want Congress to move on and work together on ACA fixes. Republicans’ most vulnerable Senator Dean Heller, however, is pushing full steam ahead with repeal and reportedly planning to introduce the worst bill yet today. Will he continue to break his promise to protect Nevadans’ health care?
- Troy Downing: The Montana GOP primary hopeful announced Lola Zinke, the wife Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, as his campaign chair. Support from the Zinkes will give Downing a “major leg up” in the “crowded GOP primary,” which is sure to set up a vicious fight with Sen. Daines’s pick, state Auditor Matt Rosendale.
- Josh Mandel: After months of campaign missteps that have Ohio Republicans deeply concerned about his candidacy, Mandel has drawn a second primary opponent. From promoting himself with millions in taxpayer dollars, to siding with white nationalists, to announcing a faith outreach team made up of only white Christian conservatives, will Mandel continue his comedy of errors?
- 16: Percent cut to Medicaid expansion and subsidies under the Graham-Cassidy-Heller plan by 2020, which is expected to be introduced in the Senate today.
- 34: Percent cut to Medicaid expansion and subsidies under the Graham-Cassidy-Heller plan by 2026.
- 180: Billions in estimated Medicaid cuts over 10 years under Graham-Cassidy-Heller.
ONE FOR THE ROAD: We will never forget where we were and who we lost on Sept. 11, 2001: “God Bless the U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood