President Donald Trump promised to drain the swamp, but to one of his most controversial political allies, that morass has widened — to now encompass the Republican Party. Appearing on Fox News’ “Hannity” show in October, former White House strategist Steve Bannon called the GOP a “globalist clique.” Bannon, who is executive chair of the far-right Breitbart News Network, promised to use his media platform and funding connections to challenge every Republican incumbent (apart from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz) with his own “coalition” of candidates for the 2018 midterm elections. “We are declaring war on the Republican establishment that does not back the agenda that Donald Trump ran on,” Bannon said, adding that it would be a long-term effort to first replace Republican incumbents, and then Democrats. That has put some Western Republicans in Bannon’s crosshairs, as senators from Utah to Arizona have been either tepid in their support, or outright critical of Trump. Here’s a list of potential targets:
Sen. Jeff Flake, Arizona
Flake has been one of Trump’s most outspoken Republican critics from the get-go.
Republican efforts in Congress to “repeal and replace” the federal Affordable Care Act are back from the dead. Again. While the chances for this last-ditch measure appear iffy, many GOP senators are rallying around a proposal by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), along with Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)
They are racing the clock to round up the needed 50 votes — and there are 52 Senate Republicans.
Betting that thin is in — and might be the only way forward — Senate Republicans are eyeing a “skinny repeal” that rolls back an unpopular portion of the federal health law. But experts warn that the idea has been tried before, and with little success. Senators are reportedly considering a narrow bill that would eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s “individual mandate,” which assesses a tax on Americans who don’t have insurance, along with penalties for employers with 50 or more workers who fail to offer health coverage. Details aren’t clear, but it appears that — at least initially — the rest of the 2010 health law would remain, including the rule that says insurers must cover people with preexisting medical problems.
In remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that “we just heard from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that under such a plan … 16 million Americans would lose their health insurance, and millions more would pay a 20 percent increase in their premiums.” A bipartisan group of 10 governors – including Ohio’s John Kasich and Nevada’s Brian Sandoval – signed a letter echoing these concerns and urging the Senate to reject it. But earlier in the day, some Republicans saw this concept as a means to advance the debate.
Senator Martin Heinrich is signing onto legislation that would keep the so-called “Cadillac tax” in the garage before it is even implemented. Heinrich will cosponsor legislation by U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., to repeal the tax that is part of the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare overhaul law that went into effect in 2013. The tax is one portion of the law that has not yet went into effect and isn’t scheduled to do so until 2018. Heller’s effort is a companion piece of legislation to a bill in the House by U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., which seeks to do the same thing. “Doing away with this onerous tax on employees’ health coverage before it goes into effect will protect important benefits for workers and ensure businesses and families get a fair deal,” Heinrich told New Mexico Political Report in a statement Thursday morning shortly before the legislation was unveiled. “I’m proud to join Senator Heller and Congressman Courtney in leading this bipartisan effort to ensure millions of middle-class families who rely on employer-based health care aren’t unfairly penalized because of this tax.”