Posts Tagged ‘Chuck Schumer’

The Lattice Warning to China — China’s plan to dominate the global semiconductor industry

September 16, 2017
  
The U.S. blocks the purchase of a firm with sensitive technology.

By The Editorial Board
The Wall Street Journal
Updated Sept. 15, 2017 6:08 p.m. ET

The U.S. on Wednesday blocked the Chinese government’s attempt to buy Lattice Semiconductor Corp. , a manufacturer of advanced computer chips with military applications. Beijing’s American proxy, Canyon Bridge Capital Partners, refused to withdraw its bid even after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or Cfius, ruled against the deal.

Beijing wants to use the case as an example of Trump Administration protectionism, but that would be a mistake. The decision on Lattice is warranted, and evidence suggests tighter restrictions are needed on the sale of technology to China.

First the big picture. In January the Obama Administration issued a useful report on China’s plan to dominate the global semiconductor industry. The effort relies in part on forcing foreign chip makers to move operations to China or transfer technology to joint-venture partners in return for access to the Chinese market.

Last month the Trump Administration opened an investigation of this abuse of international trade law under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, which allows the U.S. to retaliate unilaterally. The World Trade Organization would be a better venue for this dispute, but there is no doubt that Beijing is extorting U.S. intellectual property. China also obtains trade secrets through computer hacking and old-school spying. An FBI survey in 2015 found that China was responsible for 95% of economic-espionage cases, with its caseload growing 56% in a year.

Cfius oversees a third avenue by which Beijing seeks semiconductor technology: buying U.S. firms. Though it is only empowered to restrict deals on national-security grounds, the number of cases is increasing. In December the Obama Administration blocked a Chinese fund’s purchase of Aixtron SE , a German semiconductor-equipment supplier with assets in the U.S. State-owned Tsinghua Unigroup’s bid for U.S. memory-chip maker Micron Technology Inc. foundered in 2015 on doubts over Cfius clearance.

Lattice’s technology has been in Beijing’s cross-hairs for years. In 2004 the company paid a $560,000 civil fine for illegal exports to China, and in 2012 the FBI caught two Chinese nationals trying to smuggle Lattice chips. Tsinghua Unigroup bought a minority stake in Lattice last year before the Canyon Bridge bid. The American private-equity firm did not initially disclose that the investors in its fund were Chinese government entities.

Beijing wants Lattice’s field programmable gate array technology that goes into chips used in missile guidance and radar systems. The U.S. military has bought chips from the firm, and 22 Members of Congress warned Cfius in December that a Lattice sale could give China critical military technology.

This week’s rejection of the Lattice deal shows Cfius working as intended. But the scale of China’s efforts to acquire sensitive technology, as well as its military ambitions, suggests more scrutiny is needed. A recent Pentagon report warned that Chinese companies have invested in sensitive technology in the U.S. in ways designed to dodge Cfius oversight. For instance, Chinese firms have invested in startups that have conducted research with Pentagon grants.

Rep. Robert Pittenger (R., N.C.) and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R., Texas) are drafting legislation to overhaul Cfius, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has backed their idea to require added scrutiny of deals involving sensitive countries including China. Joint ventures and technology licensing could also be added to the Cfius purview.

The risk is that Cfius, which is secretive by necessity, will be abused for protectionist ends. The classic case is Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s partisan demagoguery in 2006 over Dubai Ports World buying some U.S. ports. The U.S. benefits from Chinese investment in nonsensitive areas, and Cfius revisions should not define national security too broadly.

But the scope and stealth of China’s industrial policy and IP theft require special attention. Beijing should consider the Lattice rejection a warning that predatory behavior will have political consequences.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-lattice-warning-to-china-1505431750

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Oops! — Trump Says No Deal Reached on DACA

September 14, 2017

Pelosi and Schumer said they had the outlines of an agreement to enshrine protections for ‘Dreamers’

 Image result for nancy pelosi and chuck schumer, photos

WASHINGTON—Congressional Democrats said they reached a deal with President Donald Trump to give legal status to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, but Mr. Trump on Thursday morning said no deal had been reached.

In a series of tweets Mr. Trump said there had been no agreement but he repeated his desire to aid this group of young immigrants who are currently protected by a program that he moved to end last week.

On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said in a joint statement that, over dinner at the White House, they had agreed with Mr. Trump on the outlines of a deal to enshrine protections for these young immigrants into law “quickly” and to “work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides.”

A deal, if it materializes, would mark an extraordinary moment for lawmakers who have been unable to agree on any immigration legislation for many years. It would also mark a striking latest step on immigration for Mr. Trump. He promised a hard line against illegal migrants in last year’s campaign and last week killed off a program that gave young illegal migrants safety from deportation. At the same time, he urged Congress to find a solution for those affected before the protections expire in six months.

No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote.

The WALL, which is already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls, will continue to be built.

Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!…..

…They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own – brought in by parents at young age. Plus BIG border security

A White House statement called the dinner meeting constructive. But White House officials later disputed the Democrats’ characterization that a deal had been reached. On Wednesday evening, Marc Short, White House director of legislative affairs, had called the Democrats’ statement “misleading in a lot of ways.”

“We did agree to try to address DACA quickly. That doesn’t mean we reached a deal on DACA in any way,” he said in an interview.

Mr. Short said that the administration was “committed” to securing funding for Mr. Trump’s promised southwest border wall but wouldn’t “prejudge” whether that funding needed to be included in DACA legislation.

In recent days, both sides appeared to be edging toward the formulation outlined by the Democratic leaders, with Democrats agreeing to include border-security measures, and the White House signaling it would accept the immigrant protections without insisting that the legislation also include funding for the controversial southwest border-wall package.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Trump had courted Democrats on the subject at a bipartisan meeting, and the dinner Wednesday evening was at his invitation.

On Thursday, in one of his tweets, Mr. Trump also made a case for keeping the undocumented immigrants in the country. “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!…..” he tweeted. He added: “They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own – brought in by parents at young age. Plus BIG border security.”

Even before the Democrats announcement of an agreement, these overtures had conservatives worried that the president would agree to a plan without strong immigration enforcement that Republicans favor. In response to those concerns, Mr. Trump said he was hoping for a bipartisan deal and planned to continue talking.

“Some of the greatest legislation ever passed, it was done on a bipartisan manner. And so that is why we’re going to give it a shot,” he told reporters.

Mr. Trump also raised the subject of the young immigrants at a bipartisan meeting of lawmakers that had been billed as a discussion on a tax overhaul.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a New Jersey Democrat who sat next to Mr. Trump during that meeting, said in an interview afterward that Mr. Trump made “clear that he is open and eager to get bipartisan legislation” to resolve the issue of these immigrants.

Other Democrats at the meeting said Mr. Trump appeared willing to consider the border wall funding separately from the discussion of the young immigrants but suggested he may want a package to include new limits on legal immigration.

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D., Texas) said that Mr. Trump also urged quick action. “I don’t want to wait six months; people forget about it in six months,” Mr. Cuellar said, quoting the president.

The issue has taken on urgency since last week, when the president set an end date for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA. In March, its 690,000 participants will begin to lose their work permits and protection from deportation.

On Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) repeated his optimism that Congress can pass protections into law, saying it would “not be in our nation’s interest” to kick these people out of the country. “There’s got to be a solution to this problem,” he said in an interview with the Associated Press streamed live online.

On Wednesday, Mr. Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) met with Mrs. Pelosi and other House Democrats for what was described as a preliminary discussion on how to advance legislation addressing DACA. Afterward, people on both sides described the meeting as productive, but declined to give details.

“Discussions among the Republican conference will continue in the coming weeks,” a Ryan spokeswoman said.

Mr. Ryan has said that the protections should be paired with border-security measures, and he favors additional spending for a border wall. But he hasn’t insisted on funding for Mr. Trump’s border wall or mentioned any other contentious enforcement provisions in connection with legislation aiding the DACA immigrants.

As conditions appear ripe for a deal, some Republicans fear an agreement that is overly favorable to Democrats. Democrats have long pushed for passage of the Dream Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for many of these undocumented immigrants, also called “Dreamers.”

Conservatives say offering legal status to any illegal immigrants should come with new immigration enforcement, including measures to find and deport people living in the U.S. illegally, not just those trying to cross the border. They argue that they have significant leverage to force Democrats to accept this since DACA protections will begin to expire in March.

“Democrats have to get on board and realize they’re not going to get anything they want if they don’t help us fix the border-security issues and the interior security issues,” Rep. Raul Labrador (R., Idaho), said Tuesday.

Two Republican aides involved in the issue added that all talk of an agreement has conservatives wary, and predicted that most Republicans would reject a deal that doesn’t include substantial enforcement provisions.

Conservatives are pushing to include requiring businesses to use the E-Verify system to check whether potential employees are allowed to legally work, or measures cracking down on “sanctuary cities” that resist cooperation with federal immigration enforcement officials.

Even if Mr. Trump reaches an agreement with Democrats, it will be up to Republicans congressional leaders to bring it to the floor and sell it to their members.

Some Republicans are open to an agreement that simply pairs the Dreamer protections with border security, which could include more electronic surveillance of the border such as sensors or drones, or additional Border Patrol officers. It is unclear, though, how many votes they would bring to the floor.

Rep. Tom Cole (R., Okla.) said this week that even a Dream Act without any enforcement provisions would pass the House if it was allowed to come to the floor. But he added that “it’s a lot easier for more Republicans to vote for it” if border security measures were included.

“Clearly, we have a lot of (undocumented) folks here mainly because we don’t have adequate border security,” he said. “While you’re fixing the problem, you want to address the underlying problem.”

Corrections & Amplifications 
An earlier version of this article omitted the last name of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.). (Sept. 14, 2017)

Write to Laura Meckler at laura.meckler@wsj.com and Kristina Peterson at kristina.peterson@wsj.com

Appeared in the September 14, 2017, print edition as ‘Immigration Agreement Takes Shape.’

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-democrats-strike-deal-on-daca-border-security-1505355644

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Trump, Democrats Near Agreement on DACA, Border Security

September 14, 2017

Pelosi, Schumer say in statement that deal doesn’t include funding for border wall

A DACA recipient holds a sign during a protest in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provides protection from deportation for young immigrants brought into the U.S. illegally by their parents.
A DACA recipient holds a sign during a protest in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provides protection from deportation for young immigrants brought into the U.S. illegally by their parents. PHOTO: ROBYN BECK/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats closed in on a deal Wednesday to give legal status to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.

The deal, if it materializes, would mark an extraordinary moment for lawmakers who have been unable to agree on any immigration legislation for many years. It would also mark a striking latest step on immigration for Mr. Trump.

He promised a hard line against illegal migrants in last year’s campaign and last week killed off a program that gave young illegal migrants safety from deportation. At the same time, he urged Congress to find a solution for those affected before the protections expire in six months.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said in a joint statement that, over dinner at the White House, they had agreed with Mr. Trump on the outlines of a deal to enshrine protections for these young immigrants into law “quickly” and to “work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides.”

A White House statement called the dinner meeting constructive. But White House officials later disputed the Democrats’ characterization that a deal had been reached. Marc Short, White House director of legislative affairs, called the Democrats’ statement “misleading in a lot of ways.”

“We did agree to try to address DACA quickly. That doesn’t mean we reached a deal on DACA in any way,” he said in an interview.

Mr. Short said that the administration was “committed” to securing funding for Mr. Trump’s promised southwest border wall but wouldn’t “prejudge” whether that funding needed to be included in DACA legislation.

In recent days, both sides appeared to be edging toward the formulation outlined by the Democratic leaders, with Democrats agreeing to include border-security measures, and the White House signaling it would accept the immigrant protections without insisting that the legislation also include funding for the controversial southwest border-wall package.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Trump had courted Democrats on the subject at a bipartisan meeting, and the dinner Wednesday evening was at his invitation.

Even before the Democrats announcement of an agreement, these overtures had conservatives worried that the president would agree to a plan without strong immigration enforcement that Republicans favor. In response to those concerns, Mr. Trump said he was hoping for a bipartisan deal and planned to continue talking.

“Some of the greatest legislation ever passed, it was done on a bipartisan manner. And so that is why we’re going to give it a shot,” he told reporters.

Mr. Trump also raised the subject of the young immigrants at a bipartisan meeting of lawmakers that had been billed as a discussion on a tax overhaul.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a New Jersey Democrat who sat next to Mr. Trump during that meeting, said in an interview afterward that Mr. Trump made “clear that he is open and eager to get bipartisan legislation” to resolve the issue of these immigrants.

Other Democrats at the meeting said Mr. Trump appeared willing to consider the border wall funding separately from the discussion of the young immigrants but suggested he may want a package to include new limits on legal immigration.

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D., Texas) said that Mr. Trump also urged quick action. “I don’t want to wait six months; people forget about it in six months,” Mr. Cuellar said, quoting the president.

The issue has taken on urgency since last week, when the president set an end date for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA. In March, its 690,000 participants will begin to lose their work permits and protection from deportation.

On Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) repeated his optimism that Congress can pass protections into law, saying it would “not be in our nation’s interest” to kick these people out of the country. “There’s got to be a solution to this problem,” he said in an interview with the Associated Press streamed live online.

On Wednesday, Mr. Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) met with Mrs. Pelosi and other House Democrats for what was described as a preliminary discussion on how to advance legislation addressing DACA. Afterward, people on both sides described the meeting as productive, but declined to give details.

“Discussions among the Republican conference will continue in the coming weeks,” a Ryan spokeswoman said.

Mr. Ryan has said that the protections should be paired with border-security measures, and he favors additional spending for a border wall. But he hasn’t insisted on funding for Mr. Trump’s border wall or mentioned any other contentious enforcement provisions in connection with legislation aiding the DACA immigrants.

As conditions appear ripe for a deal, some Republicans fear an agreement that is overly favorable to Democrats. Democrats have long pushed for passage of the Dream Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for many of these undocumented immigrants, also called “Dreamers.”

Conservatives say offering legal status to any illegal immigrants should come with new immigration enforcement, including measures to find and deport people living in the U.S. illegally, not just those trying to cross the border. They argue that they have significant leverage to force Democrats to accept this since DACA protections will begin to expire in March.

“Democrats have to get on board and realize they’re not going to get anything they want if they don’t help us fix the border-security issues and the interior security issues,” Rep. Raul Labrador (R., Idaho), said Tuesday.

Two Republican aides involved in the issue added that all talk of an agreement has conservatives wary, and predicted that most Republicans would reject a deal that doesn’t include substantial enforcement provisions.

Conservatives are pushing to include requiring businesses to use the E-Verify system to check whether potential employees are allowed to legally work, or measures cracking down on “sanctuary cities” that resist cooperation with federal immigration enforcement officials.

Even if Mr. Trump reaches an agreement with Democrats, it will be up to Republicans congressional leaders to bring it to the floor and sell it to their members.

Some Republicans are open to an agreement that simply pairs the Dreamer protections with border security, which could include more electronic surveillance of the border such as sensors or drones, or additional Border Patrol officers. It is unclear, though, how many votes they would bring to the floor.

Rep. Tom Cole (R., Okla.) said this week that even a Dream Act without any enforcement provisions would pass the House if it was allowed to come to the floor. But he added that “it’s a lot easier for more Republicans to vote for it” if border security measures were included.

“Clearly, we have a lot of (undocumented) folks here mainly because we don’t have adequate border security,” he said. “While you’re fixing the problem, you want to address the underlying problem.”

Write to Laura Meckler at laura.meckler@wsj.com and Kristina Peterson at kristina.peterson@wsj.com

Corrections & Amplifications 
An earlier version of this article omitted the last name of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.). (Sept. 14, 2017)

Appeared in the September 14, 2017, print edition as ‘Immigration Agreement Takes Shape.’

 https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-democrats-strike-deal-on-daca-border-security-1505355644
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Trump and Democrats reach deal to protect young immigrants — “We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly”

September 14, 2017

AFP

© Ethan Miller, Getty Images, AFP | Politicians joined immigrants on a rally to oppose President Trump’s order to end DACA on September 10, 2017 in Las Vegas, United States.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-09-14

Top US congressional Democrats emerged from a meeting with President Donald Trump Wednesday claiming progress on a deal that protects young immigrants and boosts border security, while not including a border wall.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi said they had a “very productive” dinner meeting with Trump in which the discussion focused on the fate of young immigrants who arrived in the country illegally as children.

Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama protected such immigrants, known as “dreamers,” through his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals order.

But Trump rescinded that executive order, and urged Congress to craft a legal solution within the next six months.

“We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides,” Schumer and Pelosi said in a joint statement.

The White House, which had earlier put out a muted statement about the “constructive working dinner” addressing tax reform, border security, DACA and the need for bipartisan solutions, quickly pushed back against the Democrats’ characterization.

“While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said on Twitter.

Trump maintains desire for building a wall

A Schumer aide also weighed in to clarify.

“The president made clear he would continue pushing the wall, just not as part of this agreement,” Matt House tweeted.

Trump has maintained his desire to build a wall, even threatening a government shutdown last month if he did not get his way. Funding for its construction would likely be pursued through budget talks and not DACA legislation.

But the progress that was apparently achieved at the dinner is another sign that the Republican president is comfortable dealing with the opposition, as much or more than the congressional leaders within his own party.

Last week, over the objection of House Speaker Paul Ryan, Trump struck a deal with Schumer and Pelosi to fund a hurricane relief package that also included a debt ceiling hike and three-month extension of government funding.

Donald Trump stabbed his party in the back. It might just pay off

September 11, 2017

By

Americans are fed up with political gridlock. If President Trump continues to makes deals with Democrats, the rewards would be high – but there are risks

The mainstream, “establishment” Republican leadership made a cynical calculation to tolerate Donald Trump’s dangerous faults, believing they could use him to rubber-stamp their long-sought conservative legislative agenda. They made a bargain with a con-man, and now he has betrayed them.

His deal last week with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi on debt limits and disaster spending is a huge political betrayal. But make no mistake: for Trump, it’s good politics.

Americans are fed up with gridlock and dysfunction in the Washington DC “swamp,” and they blame Republicans as much as Democrats. Furthermore, the legislation which might pass by making deals with Democrats polls well across the political spectrum.

The White House has even hinted at much broader cooperation on issues that are anathema to mainline conservatives – legislation to remedy the Daca dilemmarepealing the debt limit, which regularly puts us in danger of default, disaster aid for hurricane victims. There are rumors of some cooperation on tax reform (which give Democrats real leverage on tax breaks for billionaires.) And although nobody will admit it publicly, there is even whispered talk about fixing the problems with Obamacare.

Meanwhile, back in the “swamp”, the establishment Republican leadership, hamstrung by their own caucus’ fractious fringe, The Freedom Caucus and Republican Study Committee, cannot deliver on any of this, even if they wanted to. But Trump’s loyal base wants action.

Voters are angry at Congress, and most polling reveals that even Republican base voters support a much more progressive agenda than the party orthodoxy allows. (See herehere and here.) This empowers Trump to unhitch himself from people like Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and other establishment Republican party leaders and venture forth on his own, making deals across the aisle, catering to his base and building a cult of personality broader and more powerful than the Republican party brand.

However frightening the prospect of “Dear Leader” Trump might be, if he can find enough common ground with Democrats and Republican moderates, we might just see a breakthrough on a whole host of important legislation.

If government actually started to function again, it might ease voters’ frustration levels and lower hyper-partisan political temperatures across the spectrum. All things being equal, that’s all to the good. But all things are not equal.

Trump’s calculation ignores the one truly existential threat he faces: Russia. Trump craves adulation – praise to feed his outsized ego – and to get it he’s happy to betray friend and foe alike. But he also desperately needs the partisan protection of Congressional Republicans to shield him from Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion and obstruction of justice, which is gathering steam every day.

So far, Republicans in Congress have been doing just that. Despite the fact that most of them either openly dislike, distrust or disdain Trump, they have been careful to support their fellow Republican in the White House. But now he has stung them with the worst wound of all: betraying his own party. If he keeps it up, all bets are off.

There was already a constant undercurrent of murmuring among Republicans that they would be better off with Pence. Now that Trump has monumentally pissed them off, there’s no reason to pretend anymore. If he keeps siding with Democrats over his own party, Mueller would be doing them a favor.

In the short run, Trump’s gambit may be popular with voters, and if we’re lucky, it might even do some real bi-partisan good. But when time rolls around for Congress to judge “high crimes and misdemeanors,” just watch the Republicans abandon him.

  • Joe McLean is president of the Crockett Policy Institute, a non-partisan think tank

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/11/donald-trump-betrayed-republican-party

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We may be witnessing a turning point in the Trump presidency

September 10, 2017

Image may contain: 1 person

By Michael Goodwin
New York Post

Keep these numbers in mind: 316 to 90 and 80 to 17. They were the lopsided votes in the House and Senate in support of the deal President Trump made with Democratic leaders on storm aid, the debt limit and government funding.

Remarkably, all the no voters were Republicans.

The numbers shout that we are witnessing a potential turning point in the Trump presidency, one that could further shake up Washington and rattle the calcified political parties.

Frustrated by the failure of GOP majorities in both chambers to pass his agenda, Trump followed through on threats to work with Democrats.

Signs suggest it was not a one-off deal, as the president already is discussing other topics with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma helped spark his decision. Trump was clear that, especially on storm relief, he wanted fast, bipartisan action that reflected the way ordinary Americans were helping each other, especially in hard-hit Houston. With Irma aiming at Florida and the southeast, the president recognized that the public would have rightly viewed political squabbling during national emergencies as an infuriating failure.

Still, the circumstances didn’t stop all the GOP grumbling, with some Republicans astonished that a president from their party had accepted Dems’ terms on the debt limit to get a quick deal. Not surprisingly, Trump was hardly apologetic, firing back on Twitter: “Republicans, sorry, but I’ve been hearing about Repeal & Replace for 7 years, didn’t happen!” — a reference to the failure to overturn ObamaCare.

He also issued a warning on tax reform, tweeting: “Republicans must start the Tax Reform/Tax Cut legislation ASAP. Don’t wait until the end of September. Needed now more than ever. Hurry!”

The developments show the president shedding the party straitjacket and being true to his disrupter candidacy. If he continues and is successful, he could create a new coalition that includes revolving members of both parties, depending on the issue.

That’s an ambitious scenario, given the hyper-partisan atmosphere in Washington and the cultural and political chasms across the country. But at least the president is proving in the short term that it is possible to get things done — and get them done quickly, a point he emphasized by signing the legislative package as soon as it reached his desk.

Naturally, the prospect of a bipartisan approach alarms both ends of the political spectrum, with leftists angry that Schumer and Pelosi dared to even talk to Trump, let alone make a deal. That attitude is both a cause and effect of the gridlock that has gripped the capital for the better part of two decades and turned compromise into an insult.

Yet beyond the professional activists, ideologues and consultants, much of America yearns for more government cooperation and less combat.

Like children watching their parents fight, most voters just want a productive peace, not an endless battle for ­total victory that yields nothing of common value.

Above all, they want a government that works for them, not one fixated on partisan scorekeeping and ideological litmus tests.

But it would be Pollyannaish to think that gridlock is just a big misunderstanding that can be resolved at a beer summit. There are legitimate differences between the parties’ reigning philosophies, and most major issues do not lend themselves to simply splitting the difference.

Debts and deficits, for example, can’t be resolved without goring somebody’s ox, and lawmakers are elected on the promise to make sure their backers are spared the bloodletting.

Tax reform is another issue that won’t go quietly. There’s a reason why there hasn’t been an overhaul of the revenue system since 1986.

Then there is the fact that gridlock offers advantages to incumbents. It allows them to raise money and hold onto their jobs by pledging purity, no small matter when everything from gerrymandering to technology means most pols are threatened more by primary opponents than by general elections.

But the big picture is that most Americans feel government in general and Washington especially has little concern for their lives and problems.

The tiresome duels of rehearsed talking points that offer no possibility of compromise reflect a broken model of politics.

Indeed, Trump’s promise to change Washington was a key ingredient in his victory, and he may be uniquely positioned to carve out a new model. Throughout his business life, he’s been on both sides of big issues, and comes to the presidency with less of a fixed political core than anyone in ­recent memory.

That’s made him understandingly suspect to many conservatives and his inexperience has been compounded by mistakes, but that outsider, pragmatic perspective can now work in his favor. If he can find both common ground and real solutions, we might look back one day and see a more bipartisan approach to governing as the one silver lining of the weather calamities of 2017.

Liberals’ ‘supreme’ smugness

Since labels are everything, a friend offers a new one: liberal supremacists.

It fits those who demand safe spaces and want to erase history. They’re the ones whose argument starts and ends with “shut up.”

Take Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who revealed herself to be a liberal supremacist through badgering insults to Amy Coney Barrett, a Trump nominee to a federal appeals court. A law professor at Notre Dame, Barrett’s sin is to be too much of a devout Roman Catholic for Feinstein’s refined taste.

“Whatever religion is, it has its own dogma,” the California Democrat declared. “The law is totally different. And I think in your case, professor, when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you….”

Abortion was the topic, and critics were quick to accuse Feinstein and other Dems who joined her chorus, of declaring that “No Catholics need apply” and setting an illegal religious test for public office. Bet they wouldn’t do that to a Muslim.

Then again, maybe they would because liberal supremacists have their own dogma. They believe they are smarter and better than everybody else.

http://nypost.com/2017/09/09/we-may-be-witnessing-a-turning-point-in-the-trump-presidency/

Trump Defends Legislative Deal With Democrats, Citing Senate Rules

September 8, 2017

On Twitter, president warns of GOP  ‘death wish’ in party-line legislation

Image may contain: 1 person, standing

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump made a case for working with Democratic leaders on legislative deals over the objections of fellow Republicans in tweets Friday morning.

Mr. Trump said that it was a “death wish” for GOP legislators to pursue bills on party lines, noting Senate rules require that most legislation pass with 60 votes, and the Republicans control only 52.

He also cited GOP lawmakers’ failure to pass a bill overturning and replacing the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

“Republicans, sorry, but I’ve been hearing about Repeal & Replace for 7 years, didn’t happen! Even worse, the Senate Filibuster Rule will never allow the Republicans to pass even great legislation. 8 Dems control—will rarely get 60 (vs. 51) votes. It is a Repub Death Wish!” he wrote.

The tweets come at the end of a week in which Mr. Trump scrambled the partisan equation by siding with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer, a New York senator, and Nancy Pelosi, a California congresswoman, on a three-month deal that tied an extension on government borrowing and spending to hurricane relief.

GOP leaders had argued against the proposal, though House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) later suggested that it was specifically tied to the need for swift action on hurricane relief.

On Thursday, Mr. Trump also praised the deal in remarks to reporters and said that it could reflect a new order of business in the capital.

“I think we will have a different relationship than you’ve been watching over the last number of years,” he said. “I hope so. I think that’s a great thing for our country. And I think that’s what the people of the United States want to see.”

Mr. Trump also invited his vice president, Mike Pence, to echo his remarks.

“For me it was a great moment,” Mr. Pence said. “And I think the American people and this president welcome a break from the harsh partisanship that has defined this city too long.”

Write to Louise Radnofsky at louise.radnofsky@wsj.com

 https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-justifies-legislative-deal-with-democrats-citing-senate-rules-1504879990

Senate eyes bipartisan approach to Obamacare fix, defying Trump — “We need to be averting steep insurance rate hikes.”

August 2, 2017

AFP

© GETTY/AFP/File | Bipartisan efforts to fix the US health care system gather steam after the failure of Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A bipartisan approach to fixing rather than repealing the existing health care reforms gathered pace Wednesday, after Republican and Democratic senators joined forces to begin work on shoring up the insurance markets.In a clear effort to move beyond the health-care rancor of recent months, Senate Health Committee chairman Lamar Alexander and the panel’s top Democrat Patty Murray announced comprehensive hearings, beginning the week of September 4, aimed at averting potentially steep insurance rate hikes next year.

Congress should focus on the actions needed “to stabilize and strengthen the individual health insurance market so that Americans will be able to buy insurance at affordable prices in 2018,” Alexander said in a statement Tuesday.

In the House of Representatives, a similar appeal to bipartisanship has led some 40 lawmakers, about evenly split between the two parties, to create a Bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus to quietly go about drafting ways to stabilize the health care industry.

The moves could be seen as a rebuke to President Donald Trump after his efforts to dismantle Obamacare collapsed in Congress, and as he mulls scrapping federal contributions to subsidies that help low-income Americans purchase health care through the program.

Trump has branded the subsidies “bailouts” to the insurance companies.

But Alexander warned that “Americans will be hurt” if the government does not honor its commitment to paying the so-called cost-sharing reductions, or CSRs.

In order to compensate for the added costs, the US government is paying some $7 billion directly to insurers this year — a figure expected to rise to $16 billion in 2027.

Premiums in the individual market could spike 20 percent if the government CSR payments end, according to the health-focused Kaiser Family Foundation.

Alexander and Murray plan to invite a broad group of witnesses to their hearings, including state insurance commissioners and governors, patients, health care experts, and insurance companies.

The Senate’s top Democrat, Chuck Schumer, said Wednesday he was “very happy” to hear Alexander was committed to a bipartisan process, after several Republican efforts to roll back the Affordable Care Act crashed.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sounded committed to moving beyond a partisan push to rip out Obamacare, saying the chamber would soon “turn its collective attention” to tax reform.

Chuck Schumer: Trump threat against health funds ‘childish — But plenty of Senators have ideas on a way ahead for health care

August 1, 2017

Chuck Schumer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate’s top Democrat accused President Donald Trump on Tuesday of childish behavior by threatening to halt federal payments that help millions afford health coverage, saying such a move would impose a “Trump premium tax” by forcing consumers’ insurance costs upward.

The criticism by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., came after repeated threats by Trump to halt the expenditures, which Trump and other Republicans call bailouts.

It also came as the No. 2 Senate Republican leader seemed to suggest that the two parties should try working together on health care.

Citing the Senate’s “fragile majorities,” Texas Sen. John Cornyn said “We are forced to work together to try solve these problems, and I think frankly bipartisan solutions tend to be more durable.”

Cornyn didn’t specify what issues the two sides could address together. But his comments followed last week’s crumpling of the Senate Republican effort to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Along those lines, Senate GOP health committee chairman Lamar Alexander of Tennessee discussed health care Tuesday at a private meeting with the panel’s top Democrat, Patty Murray of Washington.

Attention has been focused on the White House, where Trump has repeatedly threatened to cut off federal disbursements insurers use to lower out-of-pocket costs for low- and moderate income consumers buying individual policies. The payments total $7 billion this year and are helping around 7 million people afford coverage.

Last week, Trump tweeted that if the Senate didn’t approve health care legislation, “BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies” would end “very soon!”

“His only stated reason is petty, is childish,” Schumer said Tuesday. He added, “You don’t hurt innocent people, Mr. President, when you lose politically. That is not presidential, that is not frankly what an adult does.”

Obama’s statute requires that insurers reduce costs for many customers. But a federal court has blocked the federal reimbursements to insurers, saying the funds have yet to be properly authorized by Congress. Trump and Obama before him have continued the payments temporarily.

The payments to insurers are backed by Democrats and some Republicans because many experts say that even the threat of cutting them off is already prompting insurers to raise prices and consider abandoning some markets. Kristine Grow, spokeswoman for the insurance industry group America’s Health Insurance Plans, said halting the federal payments would boost premiums for people buying individual policies by 20 percent.

Schumer said by blocking the money, the president would “impose a Trump premium tax of 20 percent higher premiums on the American people next year.”

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had his chamber considering nominations Tuesday for a second consecutive day and didn’t even mention his party’s health care flop in his day’s opening remarks.

On Monday, several top Republicans said that at least for now, they saw no clear route to the 50 votes they’d need to get something — anything — refashioning the nation’s health care system through the Senate.

Their drive to tear down Obama’s law crashed with three disastrous Senate votes last week. Their mood didn’t improve after a weekend of tweets by Trump saying they “look like fools” and White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney using TV appearances to say they should continue voting.

Mulvaney has “got a big job, he ought to do that job and let us do our jobs,” Cornyn said. He also said of the former House member, “I don’t think he’s got much experience in the Senate, as I recall.”

“It’s time to move onto something else, come back to health care when we’ve had more time to get beyond the moment we’re in,” said Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, another member of the GOP leadership. Asked about threats by conservative groups to attack GOP lawmakers who abandon the fight, Blunt said, “Lots of threats.”

While the leaders stopped short of saying they were surrendering on an issue that’s guided the party for seven years, their remarks underscored that Republicans have hit a wall when it comes to resolving internal battles over what their stance should be.

Last week, Republican defections led the Senate to decisively reject one proposal to simply erase much of Obama’s statute. A second amendment was defeated that would have scrapped it and substituted relaxed coverage rules for insurers, less generous tax subsidies for consumers and Medicaid cuts.

Finally, a bare-bones plan by McConnell rolling back a few pieces of Obama’s law failed in a nail-biting 51-49 roll call. Three GOP senators joined all Democrats in rejecting McConnell’s proposal, capped by a thumbs down by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell Abandons Health-Care Bill

July 18, 2017

Majority leader says “it is now apparent” Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare won’t be successful

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell withdrew the GOP’s health-bill overhaul late Monday night.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell withdrew the GOP’s health-bill overhaul late Monday night. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON—Senate GOP leaders gave up their effort to dismantle and simultaneously replace much of the Affordable Care Act, after the defections of two more Republican senators left the party short of the votes needed to pass President Donald Trump’s top legislative priority of his first seven months in office.

In a stinging defection for party leadership, GOP Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas on Monday night became the third and fourth Republicans to oppose the latest version of the GOP bill, which would roll back and replace much of the Affordable Care Act.

Senate Republicans had already lost two GOP votes, from Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine, and the new opposition from Messrs. Lee and Moran meant Senate leaders didn’t have enough support to advance the bill in a procedural vote.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, Ky.) acknowledged the defeat. “Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful,” he said in a statement.

Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!

In a strategy facing long odds, the majority leader said the Senate would instead vote in coming days on a bill the chamber passed in late 2015 to unravel most of the ACA, which former President Barack Obama vetoed in January 2016.

Conservatives in both chambers and Mr. Trump have pressed to repeat the vote on the 2015 bill, which Mr. McConnell said would come as an amendment to the health-care bill passed by the House in May and would allow for a two-year transition.

“Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!” Mr. Trump tweeted shortly before Mr. McConnell’s statement.

Mr. Trump had embraced the idea earlier in July when it was proposed by Republican Sen. Ben Sasse, who noted that 49 sitting GOP senators had voted for a sweeping repeal bill earlier.

But many Republican senators have balked at this strategy, saying they wouldn’t feel comfortable rolling back the ACA without being able to tell their constituents what would supplant it.

Mr. McConnell’s latest tactic applies new pressure to conservatives who have so far blocked a bill they have said falls short of ACA repeal by offering them the chance to vote on exactly that. And while it is unlikely to become law, it also offers a way to move on from a bruising fight.

With 52 Republicans in the Senate, Mr. McConnell needed to secure at least 50 GOP votes, with Vice President Mike Pence casting a tiebreaking vote. No Democrats were expected to support the bill. The opposition from Messrs. Lee and Moran ended a frenzied period of negotiations aimed at shoring up faltering GOP support.

“In addition to not repealing all of the Obamacare taxes, it doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle-class families; nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations,” Mr. Lee, one of the Senate’s most conservative Republicans, said in a statement Monday night.

Mr. Moran said he objected to the process used to craft the Senate GOP health-care bill, which he said “fails to repeal the Affordable Care Act or address health care’s rising costs.”

Messrs. Lee and Moran are likely to face backlash from Mr. Trump and his supporters, who were eager to see Republicans keep their seven-year promise to repeal the 2010 health law.

Their move comes as a surprise to many in Washington, since Mr. Moran rarely breaks with GOP leaders and Mr. Lee has often voted in step with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), who introduced a key measure that GOP leaders incorporated into the bill last week.

On Monday night, the White House issued a statement that repeated a stance the president’s officials have taken in recent days—that GOP senators have no choice but to act.

“Insurance markets continue to collapse, premiums continue to rise, and Obamacare remains a failure. Inaction is not an option,” a spokesman said. “We look forward to Congress continuing to work toward a bill the president can sign to end the Obamacare nightmare and restore quality care at affordable prices.”

Republicans’ struggle to pass a health-care bill has exposed divisions within the party that could imperil other key items on their legislative agenda, including their yearslong push to overhaul the tax code.

Many had expected the next defection to come from the more centrist GOP senators, who have wavered over the latest version of the health-care bill, including Sens. Dean Heller of Nevada, who is up for re-election next year, and Republicans concerned about the bill’s cuts to federal Medicaid funding, such as Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.

Democrats said it was time for Republicans to begin to work with them on strengthening the health-care system.

“This second failure of Trumpcare is proof positive that the core of this bill is unworkable,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said Monday night. “Rather than repeating the same failed, partisan process yet again, Republicans should start from scratch and work with Democrats on a bill that lowers premiums, provides long term stability to the markets and improves our health-care system.”

The downfall of the bill is a tough blow for Mr. Trump, who has made it clear that undoing the 2010 law is a priority and has leaned heavily on fellow Republicans to make it happen. Mr. Trump said recently he would be very angry if the repeal legislation didn’t make it to his desk, and he was meeting Monday night with a handful of Republican senators to discuss the legislation.

Earlier Monday, the president promised Republicans would replace the law with “something that is going to be outstanding” and “far, far better than failing Obamacare.”

“We’re going to get that done,” he said, “and I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has already encouraged states to apply for waivers giving them more flexibility in enforcing the law and structuring their Medicaid programs. The waivers allow states to require many people to work to obtain their Medicaid benefits, among other changes.

Insurers will immediately be looking for assurances that the cost-sharing subsidies will be paid, said Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation. The drop-dead date for insurers will be mid to late September, when they have to sign contracts for 2018.

The individual insurance market has been stabilizing in most of the country and could continue just fine, Mr. Levitt said, but insurers will be reading the tea leaves for whether the Trump administration will make the subsidy payments they are expecting and enforce the individual mandate.

There are still some fragile markets, especially in rural areas, and they will likely require some shoring up to make sure insurers are participating and premiums are affordable, he said.

Write to Kristina Peterson at kristina.peterson@wsj.com and Stephanie Armour at stephanie.armour@wsj.com

Appeared in the July 18, 2017, print edition as ‘GOP Abandons Senate Health Bill.’

https://www.wsj.com/articles/gop-senate-leader-mcconnell-abandons-health-care-bill-1500348064

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