Senator John McCain was one of three Republican “no” votes against the GOP health care plan early Friday morning, and is being hailed as the man who killed the so-called Obamacare “skinny repeal.”
“We should not make the mistakes of the past that has led to Obamacare’s collapse, including in my home state of Arizona where premiums are skyrocketing and health care providers are fleeing the marketplace,” McCain said in a statement.
All 48 Democrats voted no, along with three Republican senators — McCain, as well as Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine.
McCain had returned to Washington for the health care vote on Tuesday, nearly a week after his office announced he had been diagnosed with brain cancer. The Arizona senator delivered a powerful speech from the Senate floor Tuesday, focusing on a need to return to a more bipartisan approach.
It appeared Republican leaders attempted to convince McCain to change his vote before the “skinny repeal.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Mike Pence were seen before the vote speaking with McCain, but the senator stuck with his “no,” effectively ending the bill.
The relationship between President Trump and Senate Republicans has deteriorated so sharply in recent days that some are openly defying his directives, bringing long-simmering tensions to a boil as the GOP labors to reorient its stalled legislative agenda.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), head of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, announced Tuesday that he would work with his Democratic colleagues to “stabilize and strengthen” the individual insurance market under the Affordable Care Act, which the president has badgered the Senate to keep trying to repeal. Alexander also urged the White House to keep up payments to insurers that help low-income consumers afford plans, which Trump has threatened to cut off.
Several Republican senators have sought to distance themselves from the president, who has belittled them as looking like “fools” and tried to strong-arm their agenda and browbeat them into changing a venerated rule to make it easier to ram through legislation along party lines.
Some are describing the dynamic in cold, transactional terms, speaking of Trump as more of a supporting actor than the marquee leader of the Republican Party. If he can help advance their plans, then great, they say. If not, so be it.
“We work for the American people. We don’t work for the president,” Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said. He added, “We should do what’s good for the administration as long as that does not in any way, shape or form make it harder on the American people.”
The friction underscores the challenge Republicans face headed into the fall. As they seek to move beyond a failed health-care effort in pursuit of an elusive, first big legislative win, the same infighting that has plagued them all year threatens to stall their push to rewrite the nation’s tax laws, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday he wants to do beginning in September and finish by year’s end.
While some Republicans try to tune out what they see as distracting and sometimes destructive rhetoric and action from Trump, they recognize that they cannot fully disavow him without also dashing their hopes of implementing the conservative policies they championed in the campaign.
Charlie Dent’s nightmare began 28 months ago, in Chocolate World. On a pale weekend in January 2015, in Hershey, Pennsylvania, House and Senate Republicans convened at the Hershey Lodge for the party’s annual retreat. It was the first time in 10 years that both chambers would gather simultaneously. Dent was playing host, of sorts. As co-chair of the 50-odd coalition of Republican House moderates known as the Tuesday Group, the 57-year-old congressman had lobbied personally for the summit to come to Hershey, in his home district. And in a subtle acknowledgment of his group’s rising stature in the party, Dent had received his wish.
As Dent faced the press in the wood-paneled lodge, the congressman ventriloquized the GOP’s ambitions for the coming term. He predicted that the previous era of internal squabble, government shutdowns and fruitless attempts to repeal Obamacare would all be swiftly dispensed with. “I hope that we walk out of here, sometime tomorrow, with a sense of what we want to accomplish in the next 100 days,” Dent told the Reading Eagle. “We’re having a lot of discussion about political reality.”
But political reality was shifting, literally, beneath his feet. That day, on another floor of the Hershey Lodge, a rogue alliance had convened for the first time, a new gang to rival Dent’s own: The Freedom Caucus, a now 30-member group that would explode, in spectacular display, the moderate renaissance dreamed by Dent and his like-minded colleagues. The Freedom Caucus would dominate the 2015-16 term, unleashing a small tempest with its let-it-burn procedural style and eventually claiming John Boehner’s scalp.
A lot can change in two years. In 2017, it’s suddenly Dent and his almost tediously polite, be-reasonable style who is becoming a Capitol Hill bomb-thrower—vying to upend the best-laid legislative plans of his Freedom Caucus rivals and the president they hope to co-opt for their conservative agenda. Since President Donald Trump took office, Dent has lambasted the administration and House leadership on health care, the budget, the ill-fated travel ban and most of all, the ongoing Russia investigation. In the process, he has propelled the Tuesday Group into newfound relevance, say both his rivals and cheerleaders. Dan Holler, of the conservative Heritage Action group, says that, thanks largely to Dent’s showmanship, “I don’t think there can be any doubt that there’s more focus and awareness of the role the Tuesday Group plays in the conference. … I can’t remember the last time reporters staked out a meeting of the Tuesday Group.”
Dent’s moment of reinvention came this spring, when he played a central role in torpedoing the initial Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill. The standoff dealt a temporary blow to the president and winning a fleeting but politically significant victory for moderates like Dent, who maintain that Obamacare is more worthy of tweaking than scrapping. Chris Borick, a professor at Muhlenberg College who has been monitoring Dent’s career for decades, says, “That was a very important moment for the Tuesday Group and for Dent. They suddenly recognized, in this new political reality in Trump’s Washington, that they are suddenly a significant force, perhaps as much as the Freedom Caucus.”
Until, that is, the Freedom Caucus struck back. It unfolded like a literary twist: Dent’s rivals in the Freedom Caucus formed a furtive alliance with Rep. Tom MacArthur of New Jersey, Dent’s own Tuesday Group co-chair, whose last-minute deal secured the revised bill’s passage. Dent called the vote a “terrible mistake.” But this Friday, Dent was vindicated, when Republican Senators John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins dealt fatal blow to Obamacare repeal in Congress.
All this marks a new turn for House moderates. In years past, they might quietly thumb the legislative scales to little fanfare. In the Trump era, though, Dent and his allies have brought the fight into broad daylight—and raised a weighty question for the direction of the Republican Party. With a party leader—the president—so utterly unmoored from ideology, who will prevail in the Trump era: The pragmatists, who are convinced of the party’s need to broaden its appeal, or its purists, equally uncertain and heartened by Trump’s ideological opacity as means to finally achieve their Tea Party dreams?
“Everybody is trying to figure out the dynamics that are going to dictate how the House Republican Conference acts,” Holler says. And at the center of the unfolding clash in the party—over health care, infrastructure and tax reform—is the quiet congressman from central Pennsylvania.
Read More at Politico
Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona wrote that his party is in “denial” about President Donald Trump in a column in Politico on Monday.
Flake, who is up for reelection in 2018 and is one of the more vulnerable GOP senators in the upcoming election, held little back in the Politico op-ed, describing an executive branch “in chaos” and a president who has “seeming affection for strongmen and authoritarians.”
The Arizona Republican also took issue with his party’s mission while President Barack Obama was in office.
“Who could blame the people who felt abandoned and ignored by the major parties for reaching in despair for a candidate who offered oversimplified answers to infinitely complex questions and managed to entertain them in the process,” he wrote. “With hindsight, it is clear that we all but ensured the rise of Donald Trump.”
“I will let the liberals answer for their own sins in this regard. (There are many.) But we conservatives mocked Barack Obama’s failure to deliver on his pledge to change the tone in Washington even as we worked to assist with that failure,” he continued. “It was we conservatives who, upon Obama’s election, stated that our number-one priority was not advancing a conservative policy agenda but making Obama a one-term president — the corollary to this binary thinking being that his failure would be our success and the fortunes of the citizenry would presumably be sorted out in the meantime.”
He said conservatives were “largely silent when the most egregious and sustained attacks on Obama’s legitimacy were leveled by marginal figures who would later be embraced and legitimized by far too many of us.”
“It was we conservatives who rightly and robustly asserted our constitutional prerogatives as a coequal branch of government when a Democrat was in the White House but who, despite solemn vows to do the same in the event of a Trump presidency, have maintained an unnerving silence as instability has ensued,” he continued. “To carry on in the spring of 2017 as if what was happening was anything approaching normalcy required a determined suspension of critical faculties. And tremendous powers of denial.”
Dating back to the presidential campaign, Flake has been one of Trump’s most vocal critics among Republican senators. He wrote that he’s been “sympathetic to this impulse to denial” that he earlier mentioned. But he added that the Constitution does not provide much of an ability for others in government to “do something about an executive branch in chaos.”
“There was a time when the leadership of the Congress from both parties felt an institutional loyalty that would frequently create bonds across party lines in defense of congressional prerogatives in a unified front against the White House, regardless of the president’s party,” he wrote. “We do not have to go very far back to identify these exemplars — the Bob Doles and Howard Bakers and Richard Lugars of the Senate. Vigorous partisans, yes, but even more importantly, principled constitutional conservatives whose primary interest was in governing and making America truly great.”
Flake ended his piece by providing three suggestions for his party.
“First, we shouldn’t hesitate to speak out if the president ‘plays to the base’ in ways that damage the Republican Party’s ability to grow and speak to a larger audience,” he wrote. “Second, Republicans need to take the long view when it comes to issues like free trade: Populist and protectionist policies might play well in the short term, put they handicap the country in the long term. Third, Republicans need to stand up for institutions and prerogatives, like the Senate filibuster, that have served us well for more than two centuries.”
Read More at AOL
Over the past decade, California has passed a sweeping set of climate laws to test a contentious theory: that it’s possible to cut greenhouse gas emissions far beyond what any other state has done and still enjoy robust economic growth.
Now that theory faces its biggest test yet. Last August, the State Legislature set a goal of slashing emissions more than 40 percent below today’s levels by 2030, a far deeper cut than President Barack Obama proposed for the entire United States and deeper than most other countries have contemplated.
So how will California pull this off?
On Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new law expanding the state’s cap-and-trade program, which is expected to play a big role. But cutting greenhouse gases this deeply will involve more than cap and trade. The state plans to rethink every corner of its economy, from urban planning to dairy farms.
No one knows yet if it can succeed. “You can think of California as a giant laboratory” for climate action, said Severin Borenstein of the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.
If California prevails, it could provide a model for other policy makers, even as President Trump scales back the federal government’s efforts on climate change. The state may also develop new technologies that the rest of the world can use to cut emissions.
And if California falters, or if the experiment proves too costly? “Other states and countries will be watching that, too,” Mr. Borenstein said.
Read more at the New York Times.
A year ago, dressed in suffragette white and addressing a cheering, weeping convention, Hillary Clinton stood for possibility. Now she is a reminder of the limits women continue to confront — in politics and beyond.
More than 40 years after women began pouring into the workplace, only a handful have made it all the way to the top of corporate America. The percentage of chief executives of Fortune 500 companies who are women just passed 6 percent, creeping up (and occasionally dropping back) at a glacial pace.
Why don’t more women get that No. 1 job?
Consider the experiences of the people who know best: Women who were in the running to become No. 1, but didn’t quite make it. The women who had to stop at No. 2.
What their stories show is that in business, as in politics, women who aspire to power evoke far more resistance, both overt and subtle, than they expected would be the case by now.
The impact of gender is hard to pin down decisively. But after years of biting their tongues, believing their ranks would swell if they simply worked hard, many senior women in business are concluding that the barriers are more deeply rooted and persistent than they wanted to believe, according to interviews with nearly two dozen chief executives, would-be chief executives, headhunters, business school deans and human resources professionals.
What they say: Women are often seen as dependable, less often as visionary. Women tend to be less comfortable with self-promotion — and more likely to be criticized when they do grab the spotlight. Men remain threatened by assertive women. Most women are not socialized to be unapologetically competitive. Some women get discouraged and drop out along the way. And many are disproportionately penalized for stumbles.
“For years I thought it was a pipeline question,” said Julie Daum, who has led efforts to recruit women for corporate boards at Spencer Stuart. “But it’s not — I’ve been watching the pipeline for 25 years. There is real bias, and without the ability to shine a light on it and really measure it, I don’t think anything’s going to change. Ultimately at the top of an organization there are fewer and fewer spots, and if you can eliminate an entire class of people, it makes it easier.”
Jan Fields worked her way from crew member at a McDonald’s restaurant to become president of McDonald’s USA, the No. 2 position at the company. She was fired in 2012, blamed for the first monthly drop in profits since 2003 during a strategic push for higher prices. From her perspective, she was making bold changes necessary for the company’s survival; McDonald’s has struggled in recent years amid increasing consumer consciousness about health.
She’s blunt about the life of a woman near the top.
“You’re the only woman,” she said. “It’s very lonely. I was at a high level playing in a golf foursome with all high-level men. One said, ‘I didn’t know you knew how to play.’ I said, ‘You never asked me.’ I never drank with them. I never tried to be one of the guys. I spent more energy on performance.”
Read more at The New York Times.
Katherine Krug has raised over $1 million on Kickstarter. She’s the first solo female entrepreneur to do so.
Krug is the founder and CEO of BetterBack, a company that build devices, notably its namesake product designed to help with lower back pain. She took to Kickstarter to secure pre-orders after putting in $10,000 of her own cash into the development of the product. Launched in 2014, she’s now raised over $3 million through crowdfunding, and more than $1 million exclusively on Kickstarter. With no outside investments thus far, Krug argues that crowdfunding is an ideal platform for female entrepreneurs who’ve only been able to secure a small slice of investment dollars.
“Crowdfunding has democratized access to capital and removed all the gatekeepers. There is not a room full of men to pitch to,” she says. “The only people you have to pitch and satisfy are your future customers. This should make crowdfunding incredibly liberating for women and other underrepresented groups in entrepreneurship.”
Right now though there are a lot more men than women using crowdfunding to secure seed funding, however. According to researchby PwC and The Crowdfunding Center, women are better at raising money through crowdfunding: Women are 32 percent more successful than men at hitting their fundraising goals and secure higher pledge amounts than their male counterparts.
For Krug, who started this business out of her apartment, there are other added bonuses to raising money using crowdfunding. She refers to it as “liberating” because “venture capital considers $100M, $500M, $750M businesses to be failures,” she says. “When you move away from traditional financing, you can build a business that lets you focus on what you love and what you want to do versus being in a race to do things other people want you to do to get an outcome that is best for investors.”
BetterBack, for instance, operates with a work-from-home team spread around the globe. “I very much believe we are at our best when we bring our whole selves to everything we do, rather than trying to balance work and life.”
Krug herself has spent four months working from places like South Africa, the Philippines, and Italy. “Each quarterly planning cycle, I set both business and personal goals,” she notes. With a 50-50 male-female ratio at the company, Krug is not looking just for female talent.
“I try to build systems where work becomes a conduit for personal growth, not just making money. I spend time in the interview process and through one-on-ones understanding what people’s goals are in their life broadly and then I work hard to support them.”
This alternative work culture, she says, stems from the freedoms of being a bootstrapped and crowdfunded company. And she’s hoping that more entrepreneurs follow suit, particularly women.
Read More at Forbes