Mar 29, 2017

Pelosi's glee over Trumpcare collapse

Andrew Harnik / AP

When Nancy Pelosi walked into her office dining room yesterday, CNBC's John Harwood called out, "Look, it's the big loser from the healthcare debate." Harwood was mocking President Trump's unconvincing claim that Democratic leaders Pelosi and Chuck Schumer were the real losers of last week's Republican healthcare fiasco.

Pelosi laughed at Harwood's joke. She said she'd read a newspaper headline that called Trump the "closer" but the 'c' was obscured by the fold. Over a lunch of chicken and avocado sandwiches, with about a dozen reporters, her mood ranged from happy to jubilant.

Bottom line: Pelosi is in a good place. She's got more leverage than she did a week ago and knows how she'll use it. House Republican leaders face a government funding crisis at the end of April and they may need Pelosi's help to pass the bill. And Trump, after failing with his Republican-only health care strategy, now wants Democrats to help him reform the tax code.

Here's what Pelosi told us:

  • She's willing to use her leverage to extract major concessions from Republicans who may need her to support their CR — the bill that funds the government — or, later in the year, the debt ceiling.
  • One way she'll use that leverage: she won't let Republicans do anything to damage the Affordable Care Act, such as cutting the payments to insurers in Obamacare marketplaces.
  • She wants Trump to move quickly on a "big jobs bill" that includes some corporate and middle income tax cuts coupled with government spending to stimulate growth.
  • But she's demanding the infrastructure spending happens on her terms. She told Trump she won't support a "tax bill disguised as an infrastructure bill." Translation: she won't back a Republican bill that spurs infrastructure development by offering tax breaks to investors. She wants the government to spend real money building everything from roads and bridges to broadband networks.
  • She thinks lowering prescription drug prices is an immediate area where Democrats can find common ground with President Trump.

Go deeper

Netanyahu says July 1 deadline for West Bank annexation won't change

Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday at a Likud Party faction meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, that his July 1 deadline for starting the process of annexation in the West Bank will not change, according to people in attendance.

Why it matters: The White House and the State Department have stressed over the last few weeks that the deadline set by Netanyahu is "not sacred" to the Trump administration — and that any discussion of annexation needs to be in the context of renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina if capacity reduced

President Trump on stage during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Ohio. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

President Trump threatened in a series of Monday tweets to move this summer's Republican National Convention from Charlotte if North Carolina's Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, doesn't allow the event to be held at full capacity.

The state of play: Mandy Cohen, the state's health and human services secretary, said last week that the GOP should "plan for the worst" as mass gatherings will be a "very big challenge" if the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to increase, per NPR.

The wreckage of summer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.