Quick Takes: Obamacare Survives, But What About CHIP?

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* Dylan Scott is one of the few people raising an alarm about the fact that funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides coverage for 9 million children in this country, expires on September 30th.

…any action on CHIP was sidelined when Republicans decided to make one last attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare with the Graham-Cassidy plan. That bill fell short on Tuesday, leaving Congress just a few days to act before the program’s funding is technically expired…

There were reports earlier this month that Republicans wanted to tuck some Obamacare repeal provisions into the program’s funding extension…

“If they put it on the Senate floor, how do they prevent amendments to it or prevent people from pursuing agendas?” Lesley said. “That’s what keeps leadership from even wanting to put it on the floor.”

The clock is ticking, though.

* Mike Allen brings us this report about the mad boy-king.

In private, President Trump has taken to physically mocking M&M: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (slumped shoulders; lethargic body language) and Sen. John McCain (imitating the thumbs-down of his historic health-care vote).

Trump is venting about his frustration with what he considers failed leadership by Senate Republicans as he takes his lumps this week in wars with, well, everyone.

* According to Steve Benen, Speaker Paul Ryan had to stoop pretty low to ensure Republican support for their party’s new tax plan.

After months of closed-door talks, Republicans are reportedly going to unveil some of the details of their tax-reform package today, and in the wake of the health care fight, GOP leaders are feeling understandably anxious. If this initiative comes up short, too, Republicans are going to have a tough time justifying the scope of their failure.

With that in mind, the Huffington Post reported last night that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) not only hosted a meeting with his Republican conference yesterday; he also invited a special guest: Corry Bliss, executive director of the American Action Network, a dark-money group allied with the House GOP leadership.

As the story goes, Republican lawmakers were shown a series of commercials AAN has put together on tax reform, which may air in members’ districts to pressure them to toe the party line. As one member told the Huffington Post, “Like a teacher showing the kids a paddle on the first day of class, the blatant implication was that those who misbehaved would be spanked.”

Another described the presentation as “kind of creepy,” which, I suspect, was part of the point.

* Apparently Vladimir Putin was willing to support anyone but Clinton.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was the beneficiary of at least one of the Russian-bought political ads on Facebook that federal government officials suspect were intended to influence the 2016 election.

Other advertisements paid for by shadowy Russian buyers criticized Hillary Clinton and promoted Donald Trump. Some backed Bernie Sanders and his platform even after his presidential campaign had ended, according to a person with knowledge of the ads.

* Last night, Democrats racked up another pair of special election wins – in both Florida and New Hampshire. Daniel Donner is keeping score.

Democrats are, on average, overperforming Clinton, overperforming Obama, and overperforming Democrats who ran for the same seats in prior years. And, they’re flipping Republican-held seats — eight of them so far!

Out of all the special elections with typical Democrat vs. Republican dynamics, Democrats have overperformed the 2016 presidential margin by more than 10 points in 25 of them. Republicans have overperformed by more than 10 points in just four — but one of those was actually a Democratic flip! On average, Democrats are doing about 13 points better than Hillary Clinton.

* Finally, Michelle Obama was in the news today. Listen to what she says in this clip.

I was reminded of that time about nine years ago when Alicia Keys showed up at the Def Poetry Jam.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.