EXBR

White House Health Care Full-Court Press Changes Few Minds
Trump, Ryan lack needed 216 votes in House, says Freedom Caucus chairman

President Donald Trump and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price arrive in the Capitol to meet with the House Republican Conference about the party’s health overhaul bill on Tuesday morning. Despite Trump’s full-court press, there was little evidence he changed many minds. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A White House in full-court press mode deployed President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to call out and fire up Republican members about the party’s health care overhaul bill, but there was scant evidence it worked.

Trump made a rare morning trek to the Capitol’s basement in his quest for the 216 Republican votes, where he addressed the GOP House caucus with his signature brashness: Members present said he called out reluctant members, including Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, by name. A few hours later, Pence tried to keep skeptical GOP senators in the loop about what kind of bill they might soon receive.

Appreciation | Jimmy Breslin and the Art of Describing Washington
Book by New York newspaperman is an invaluable portrayal of Capitol Hill

Jimmy Breslin found his muse in the late Massachusetts Democrat Tip O’Neill, above, whom he portrayed in his book “How the Good Guys Finally Won” as a consummate professional. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Jimmy Breslin will always be remembered as a New York newspaperman. But he also made an indelible contribution to documenting the Watergate scandal and in doing so, breathed life into some of Capitol Hill’s most influential characters. 

The hard-boiled columnist, who died March 19 at the age of 88, brought the full force of his observational skills to his 1975 book “How the Good Guys Finally Won.” Breslin made a career out of focusing on big stories through the perspective of working stiffs, so it’s no surprise he latched on to two methodical House Democrats who took on President Richard Nixon, fresh off a landslide 1972 re-election victory and whose team seemed to be brushing off the Watergate break-in.

Opinion: The Trump White House: A Modest Proposal
Forget Orwell. Jonathan Swift is more appropriate for this president

Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s budget director, doesn't think much of Meals on Wheels . (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If Big Brother does one thing well, it’s stay on message. Big Brother has a consistent voice. Big Brother would not allow the FBI director to testify before The House Intelligence Committee. Big Brother would not allow for broadcast of the hearing. Big Brother would cancel the hearing and air two minutes of hate. Big Brother does not exist. We are not living in “1984.”

Like a lot of Americans, I revisited “1984" after 20 years on the shelf. The most in-vogue dystopian novel is popular for obvious reasons. Orwell’s view isn’t even his most apt for these times (that would be “Animal Farm”). It may seem like we’re living in a time of Newspeak and never ending war, but we’re not headed to Oceania.

GOP Warns Comey About Cloud Over Trumpland
White House continues to push allegation of wiretapping

FBI Director James B. Comey, center, and National Security Agency Director Michael S. Rogers arrive to testify at the House Intelligence Committee hearing on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s top spokesman wants the world to “take no for an answer” on whether there was collusion between Russian officials and the former reality television star’s presidential campaign, even while the House Intelligence Committee chairman says “a big gray cloud” is hanging over Trump’s associates in the form of an FBI investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

“There is a big gray cloud that you have put over people who have very important work to do to lead this country. The faster you can get to the bottom of this, it’s going to be better for all Americans,” California Republican Devin Nunes said to FBI Director James B. Comey at the conclusion of a nearly six-hour hearing on the intelligence community’s conclusion that Moscow directed a campaign to disrupt the election and help Trump win the White House.

Rising Waters at Home Cause Republicans to Buck Party in D.C.
Moderate Republicans are out front on climate change threat

New York Rep. John J. Faso is one of several GOP freshmen concerned about climate change. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Whipping out his iPhone, New York Rep. John J. Faso scrolled through text messages from his wife until he found the photo he sought. 

“There’s my wife’s car in the driveway,” he said, pointing to a lump covered in snow. “So there was no climate change that we were worried about in the last couple of days.”

What It Costs to Educate New Members of Congress
Recent House disbursement report includes total for fall orientation, though number could grow

Newly elected Minnesota Rep. Jason Lewis arrives at the Capitol Hill Hotel in November 2016 — the day freshman members checked in for orientation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As empty nesters know, getting a freshman prepared for college can be expensive.

The same goes for a freshman in Congress.

A Seminal Day in Trump’s Still-Young Presidency
Budget blueprint set to be released on same day as key health care vote

President Donald Trump faces one of the most consequential days of his presidency so far on Thursday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

An amped-up Mick Mulvaney on Wednesday stood at a White House podium, speaking quickly and unsure of what day it was. The new Office of Management and Budget chief’s demeanor, in many ways, was a fitting symbol of a frenetic presidency that faces major tests Thursday.

Outside the Beltway, President Donald Trump rallied his base Wednesday in Tennessee’s “Music City” and called for a “new Industrial Revolution” in Michigan’s “Motor City.” Those vibes give way Thursday a possible turning point in his 55-day-old presidency.

Liberals Put Political Money in Spotlight of Gorsuch Fight
Senate Democrats urged to probe nominee’s views on campaign finance law

North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, seen here meeting with Judge Neil Gorsuch last month, is facing pressure from liberals and conservatives ahead of the Supreme Court nominee’s confirmation hearings. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic lawmakers and liberal interest groups are intensifying their pressure on senators to probe Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s views on campaign finance law during his confirmation hearings next week.

“He does not come into this with the benefit of the doubt in his favor,” said Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Judiciary Committee member. The panel is scheduled to begin the Colorado judge’s hearings at 11 a.m. Monday.

Is Trump Review Just Al Gore Reinventing Government 2.0?
Clinton-era staffers see flaws aplenty in new effort

Clinton, right, tasked Gore to head his Reinventing Government initiative. On Monday, Trump promised a similar review of government efficiency, but there are key differences in who has the authority to carry it out. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Donald Trump, ever the marketer and salesman, says past presidents’ attempts to shrink the federal government “never” accomplished that goal “to the extent” he will. Yet, many parts of his soup-to-nuts review resemble a Clinton administration effort to “reinvent” the federal apparatus.

The new president signed an executive order Monday that launched the latest try at shrinking government, eliminating redundancies and cutting costs. The missive orders all government agencies to propose ways to reorganize operations and pare unnecessary programs, which the White House claims will produce a significant restructuring of the federal government.

GOP OK With Trump Rally Delaying Labor Nominee
Tennessee event conflicted with confirmation hearing

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., talks with reporters before a GOP caucus luncheon. On Wednesday, he will join President Trump at a rally in Nashville. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Despite hammering Democrats for slowing Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominations, Senate Republicans don’t mind delaying a confirmation hearing this week so the president can rally the base on Wednesday and sell a Republican-crafted health care bill. 

But GOP sources were quick Monday to defend the delay of a Cabinet-level nominee’s hearing, saying replacing the 2010 health care law is equally important. The situation is the latest example of the bumpy ride many of the 45th president’s top nominees have had.