March 20, 2017

Top Stories

Trump's Dream GOP Budget Is Making Many Republicans Squirm

The Gist: The budget blueprint President Donald Trump released last week—which calls for gutting an array of domestic programs to finance a massive military spending bonanza—would have to clear many political and legal hurdles before becoming law. But an additional unusual obstacle has emerged: pushback from members of his own party.

Before Comey Hearing, Trump Blasts Concern Over Russia Ties As 'Fake News'

The Gist: A few hours before FBI Director James Comey was scheduled to appear before a House committee about probes into Russia, President Donald Trump slammed coverage of his campaign's ties to Russian officials as "FAKE NEWS" in a series of tweets.

WaPo: Trump Has Political Advisers At Agencies To Track Loyalty To President

The Gist: President Donald Trump has put in place political advisers at several federal agencies to keep an eye on the agency chiefs and make sure that they are staying in line with the President's agenda, the Washington Post reported Sunday evening.

From The Reporter's Notebook

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said on Sunday that House Republicans' "three-bucket solution" to repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act "ain't gonna happen," TPM's Esme Cribb reported. "The President and the House Speaker say that's going to happen, it's going to be a two-step process," CBS' John Dickerson began. "You're chuckling." "That ain't gonna happen," Cruz said. "It's their so-called three-bucket solution, which is all the good stuff is in bucket three."

Agree or Disagree?

Josh Marshall: "I believe President Trump's inability to move the bill forward may be hurting him as much or more than the substance and consequences of the bill itself. That may sound counter-intuitive. But public opinion doesn't always work in straightforward ways. First of all, the two drivers can be affecting different groups of people (that's certainly part of it). But these two drivers can, paradoxically, affect the same people. Support for a President can be driven in large part by his or her effectiveness, their ability to drive an agenda forward, even when people do not necessarily agree with the agenda itself. Paradoxical but true."

Say What?!

"It's really sad that we're in an environment where tax returns are leaked by whoever it may be. When personal information is put out by people for political agendas. As a civilian, it's actually scary to me."

- Eric Trump on Sunday blasted whoever was behind a leak of his father's tax returns, calling it a "dangerous" and "third world" practice.

BUZZING: Today in the Hive

From a TPM Prime member: "As a general rule, I still believe the best course of action right now is to let the Republicans fight amongst themselves, let them make awful proposals for healthcare, and just point out the problems. If Democrats inject themselves into the discussion in other ways right now, it gives the Republicans something to be against, it unifies them, and distracts the media. When your enemy is harming himself, you get out of the way and let him. Now when it comes to election time, I think we should offer some solutions, and I think your suggestion about expanding Medicare is a good one. One of the big differences between DC types and 'regular Americans' is that people in Government/Policy/Other White Collar jobs generally like their jobs, and can easily imagine working past retirement age. They think that full-time work is really meaningful, and so raising the retirement age to 67 is a good fiscal idea that doesn't really harm anyone. Extended life expectancies and all that. What they don't realize is that many people retire and take Social Security as early as they can, even though their benefits are diminished, because work is hard, and not necessarily enjoyable. So the obvious solution is that Medicare eligibility should move from age 65 down to age 62. We should also propose that the age of full Social Security benefits should move from 65/67 down to 62, and we should pay for it by lifting the cap on the payroll tax. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have proposed strengthening Social Security years ago, and it's a good message that's easy to understand. It would help people across the board, help the economy because people on Social Security spend their money so it goes back into circulation, and would probably even help a little to reduce inequality. It's also very 'on brand' for Democrats."

Related: Ryan: We Need More Assistance For Older Americans In Repeal Bill

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