Russian connections continue to beleaguer the Trump Administration.
Some drafts of the Republican replacement plans for the Affordable Care Act emerge.
And, there are mixed messages coming from the White House on immigration.
Those issues came up for discussion with Democratic Political Consultant Kevin Perkins and former Republican Congressman Bobby Schilling of Illinois during an appearance on 4 the Record.
A rough couple of days for Attorney General Jeff Sessions came to a head after the Washington Post broke the story that the attorney general had two meetings last year with the Russian ambassador the United States. This was during the presidential campaign.
The problem is that contradicts an exchange with Senator Al Franken of Minnesota asked Sessions during his confirmation hearings on January tenth.
“If there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?” asked Sen. Al Franken, (D) Minnesota on January 10, 2017.
“Senator Franken, I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate a time or two in that campaign and I didn’t have communications with the Russians,” answered then Sen. Jeff Sessions, (R) Alabama in January.
Those revelations prompted another statement from Sessions on Thursday in a different direction.
“I have decided to recuse myself from any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for President of the United States,” said U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “This announcement should not be interpreted as confirmation of the existence of any investigation or suggestive of the scope of any such investigation.”
There was pressure on Sessions to recuse himself from this case before these developments and he held off.
Democrats are still calling for his resignation.
Perkins and Schilling responded to questions of whether this was the right move and what should happen if he does wind up under investigation.
Perkins raised concerns of possible perjury and believes an independent bipartisan commission should investigate all matters related to President Donald Trump’s campaign team and interactions with Russian authorities.
Schilling says it is in the best interest of Republicans to be able to distance themselves from being considered enablers and endorsing any activity with the Russians. Schilling believes a special prosecutor makes sense to handle this.
Both agree this is not going away quickly.
President Donald Trump addressed a joint session of Congress and outlined his goals on things like immigration reform, taxes and health care reform.
He campaigned that replacing the Affordable Care Act would be easy.
Then said this about it when he met with the country’s governors and CEOs of the biggest health insurance companies.
“Now, I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject. Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated,” said President Donald Trump.
Republicans are holding their cards close to the vest on their health care replacement plan and they are struggling to unify under different options being discussed.
The president outlined his priorities during his first address to a joint session of Congress. He wants no requirement to have insurance like there is now under the Affordable Care Act. However, he does want to preserve the preexisting condition protection.
He says his plan would help people buy coverage through tax credits and health saving accounts, which is just your money that you would have to set aside, and give governors flexibility on how to manage Medicaid to make sure no one is left out of the process.
An analysis done by the Kaiser Family Foundation looked at how the benefits would change for Americans under Republican replacement plans.
The difference is how the tax credits would be calculated.
The average benefit is higher under the Affordable Care Act and increases by larger amounts than the two different Republican plans.
One plan introduced by Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price would provide the least benefit by far. That’s coming from a doctor.
Kaiser’s analysis indicates the average tax credit would drop by 36 percent by 2020 under the replacement plans proposed by Republicans.
Perkins and Schilling agree the president doesn’t look good when he says nobody knew health care could be so complicated. Schilling says Republicans know it’s a difficult issue.
The president’s basic goals are to expand choice, increase access, lower costs and provide better health care.
Who doesn’t want that?
A lot of Republicans are already at odds over the tax credits.
Schilling and Perkins discussed the realistic chances Republicans get this done and meet all those goals when the president also wants to increase military spending by $54 billion and cut taxes.
Schilling says he believes Republicans can agree on a health care plan. He says the president’s relying on business growth to pay for all of these tax cuts and increases in spending, but concedes there is a risk of increased deficits.
Perkins doubts Republicans can get it done.
The president did not outline his immigration policy other than to say he supports merit-based immigration. That day he told news anchors he’s open to a reform bill that would provide a path to legal status, but not citizenship.
Yet, he still plans to build the wall.
These are mixed messages.
George W. Bush supported a pathway to citizenship.
Democrats are still fuming at the increase in deportations.
Both Schilling and Perkins agree it is important to the country, specifically Illinois and Iowa, to adopt new immigration laws.
Schilling doesn’t believe there should be blanket amnesty.