Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Spring of G.O.P. Discontent

By MICHAEL TOMASKY, MAY 19, 2017, NYT

WASHINGTON — Now that Robert Mueller has been named special counsel, we can expect congressional Republicans to attempt a return to business as usual. Of course, that’s all relative: President Trump will presumably continue to issue Twitter attacks on the investigation, leaks about his behavior are likely to continue (see the news on Friday about his comments on James Comey to the Russians) and the topic of obstruction of justice will still occupy many blocks of cable programming.

Still, you could almost hear the sigh of relief coming from Speaker Paul Ryan’s office. The pressure is off Congress to bear down on Mr. Trump, allowing the Republicans to bear down on cutting taxes and gutting Obamacare. It might even be easier this time, with Mr. Trump distracted.

But they may soon find themselves wishing for the good old days of pure presidential chaos. They’re about to learn just how ill conceived and unpopular the Republican legislative agenda really is.

Four major items loom: taxes, health care, the budget and an infrastructure bill that the administration will reportedly be sending up to Congress soon. Elaine Chao, the transportation secretary, said recently that the “principles” guiding the administration’s $1 trillion plan will be made public by the end of May.

(More here.)

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