Welcome to WHAT NOW, a morning round-up of the news/fresh horrors that await you today.
It was the Republican motto that launched a thousand campaign ads: policy priority no. 1 was repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, the supposedly failing landmark healthcare law signed by President Obama.
As of yesterday, though, repeal-and-replace is dead, along with a last-ditch effort by Mitch McConnell to repeal now, replace later. Now, Republican lawmakers can leave their healthcare disaster behind and move on to tax reform, another red meat issue for conservatives.
But insider Republicans have acknowledged to multiple publications that a large-scale reform of the tax code could prove an even heavier legislative lift than healthcare. A fiscal year 2018 budget, unveiled by the House budget committee on Tuesday, is already facing the same divisions that killed the Senate healthcare bill: resistance from both moderates and far-right Freedom Caucus conservatives.
The only other major legislative issue that Republicans had started making noise about was a massive, feel-good infrastructure bill—which has shown zeros sign of materializing. All told, it’s looking more and more likely that Donald Trump, the man who promised that he, and only he, could fix the country’s problems, will have no major legislative accomplishments to his name when his first year in office ends. (For context, the Affordable Care Act was approved by the Senate on Christmas Eve of Obama’s first year in office, and the $787 billion stimulus was passed weeks into his tenure.)
So cheers to a great (horrendous) first six months in office, where Trump has managed to tear apart immigrant families, roll back protections for trans people, attack voting rights, put a far-right judge on the Supreme Court...and fail to pass even a single important bill through Congress.
- The White House announced it would nominate former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman as the new U.S. ambassador to Russia, but managed to spell his name wrong.
- A Minneapolis police officer said he was startled by loud noises before a second officer shot and killed Justine Ruszczyk, an Australian native. Officer Mohamed Noor, the cop who fired on Ruszczyk, isn’t speaking with state investigators in the case.
- Trump corralled Russian President Vladimir Putin into a second chat on the sidelines of the recent G20 summit in Germany, this time over the dessert course at a dinner for world leaders and with only a Russian translator present.