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After the healthcare failure wrecked Trump's first 100 days, Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus — all neophytes at pushing legislation through Congress — are surveying the next phase more guardedly.
If they fail again on the scale of healthcare, at least one, and maybe even two, of this troika would be terminated. (Hint: It's not Jared.) A source who the President trusts tells me Trump is "over" Reince and it wouldn't take much more than a hiccup for Trump to fire him.
Five landmines in their near future:
President Trump has his most important foreign policy week, meeting the Egyptian President, the Jordanian King, and later in the week the big one — China's President Xi Jinping. These follow Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's well-received visit to NATO HQ in Brussels.
On China: CNN's "State of the Union" host Jake Tapper colorfully introduced Trump's meeting with Xi at Mar-a-Lago. "Awkward," Tapper said, "to suggest a round of golf with a man whose country you just accused of raping America."
The Financial Times this afternoon popped a meaty interview with Trump. Four takeaways:
White House legislative-affairs officials Marc Short and Joyce Meyer met Wednesday with Paul Ryan's chief of staff Jonathan Burks and the Speaker's policy director, Austin Smythe. The purpose of the meeting was for Team Ryan to brief the administration on leadership's efforts to craft a bill to keep the government funded at the end of April.
It was a cordial conversation, but there remain plenty of obstacles to passing a bill. Trump's legislative-affairs team still thinks it can pass the spending bill through the House with the support of Republicans. House leadership doesn't think it's realistic that the House Freedom Caucus would vote for a spending bill; so it's more advanced towards grabbing Democratic votes.
Context: Appropriators are writing a bill to fund the rest of fiscal year 2017. They need Democrats to get to 60 votes so lots of the controversial (read: conservative) stuff is being thrown overboard. The White House felt like the plans — at least where they stood last week — could've been drafted by Obama.
Sticking point: The White House wants money for the wall in the bill, and Senate Democrats have made it very clear they will filibuster that. Smart congressional staff are trying to figure out an alternative solution in that space that Democrats could live with.
Judge Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed to the Supreme Court by the end of the week, one way or another, Mitch McConnell told "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told Chuck Todd of "Meet the Press" it's "highly, highly unlikely that he'll get 60," votes, meaning McConnell will become the first Senate leader to use the nuclear option to break a deadlock for the highest court.
Key Republican Senate leadership staff and senior White House staff are assuming they won't get to 60, according to a source involved in Gorsuch's confirmation effort.
One of my favorite websites is "Brain Pickings" — lovingly curated wisdom from dead writers and artists (and some alive ones, too.) The site also does self-help.
Here are "10 learnings from 10 years of Brain Pickings":