McConnell’s Calculation May Be That He Still Wins by Losing | The New York Times


When it comes to managing Republicans’ best interests, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, rarely loses.

So it is possible that Mr. McConnell views the potential failure of a hastily written health care bill as an eventual boon.

His presentation on Thursday of the Senate’s health care measure to Republican colleagues — after the White House and key lobbyists got a peek the night before — was met with something other than unbridled enthusiasm.

According to lawmakers who were at the unveiling, members from the left and right ends of the party’s spectrum were deeply critical of the effort.

Source: McConnell’s Calculation May Be That He Still Wins by Losing – The New York Times

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Press briefing crackdown worries Trump allies | TheHill


The press briefings have gone dark.

The briefings, regularly conducted four or five times a week in both the Obama administration and in the early weeks of the Trump administration, have been held far less frequently of late.

And when the White House does give a briefing now, it’s increasingly conducted off-camera.

Source: Press briefing crackdown worries Trump allies | TheHill

Why Medicaid Is Worth Dying For | Pacific Standard


This morning, ADAPT, America’s leading direct-action disability rights group, seized the hallway and staged a die-in outside the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

There was literally blood on the floor. The images of disabled men and women being dragged from in front of McConnell’s office took over the Internet, just hours after the GOP revealed its health-care bill.

Source: Why Medicaid Is Worth Dying For – Pacific Standard

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An Insider’s Take on What Went Wrong with DHS’ Agile Contract | Nextgov.com


DHS launched Flexible Agile Support for the Homeland, or FLASH, last year. The contracting vehicle pre-approved 13 vendors that passed a technical development challenge to sell their services to DHS agencies.

Shortly after its launch, progress was halted by protests multiple times from multiple companies that didn’t make the cut and felt the selection process was unfair.

Last month, DHS moved to cancel the contract, still dogged by protests, citing concerns that it had not had enough information to “reasonably evaluate the offerors.”

DHS’ three-year, $1.5 billion contract was partially modeled after a similar effort at the General Services Administration. GSA’s tech consultancy 18F launched the Agile Blanket Purchase Agreement in 2015, which also pre-approved agile vendors, and DHS officials had adopted some of their practices when crafting FLASH, including evaluating them based on a technical development challenge instead of a lengthy proposal.

Source: An Insider’s Take on What Went Wrong with DHS’ Agile Contract – Nextgov.com

What VA Really Needs | GovExec.com


In other words, the new office would be another fox guarding the henhouse.

While nothing in the bill seems to prohibit VA employees from making protected disclosures or complaints of whistleblower retaliation to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, it is not clear why a whistleblower experiencing retaliation would want to place the matter in the hands of the VA instead of an outside, independent agency like OSC, which has been dogged in protecting VA whistleblowers in recent years.

OSC has also repeatedly voiced concerns about inadequate investigations into whistleblower concerns by the VA inspector general.

Source: What VA Really Needs – Management Matters – Management – GovExec.com

Interior Is Moving Forward With Buyouts, Leaves Door Open for RIFs | GovExec.com


Interior will rely on attrition, reassignments and separation incentives to reduce the size of its workforce, Secretary Ryan Zinke told a panel of the Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday.

Zinke noted the cuts may not go forward as requested but the department is planning to begin slashing its rolls regardless. Interior requested a 12 percent cut to its budget and a reduction of 4,100 employees.

Government Executive first reported Interior’s workforce plans last month.

Source: Interior Is Moving Forward With Buyouts, Leaves Door Open for RIFs – Management – GovExec.com

OMB Needs Bigger Budget So It Can Cut Other Agencies, Director Says | GovExec.com


Democratic lawmakers grilled the head of the Office of Management and Budget at a hearing Wednesday for boosting his own agency’s budget while slashing spending levels for most of the rest of government.

Source: OMB Needs Bigger Budget So It Can Cut Other Agencies, Director Says – Management – GovExec.com

Trumpcare secrecy: The Senate’s new AHCA health care bill is being written behind closed doors, unlike the ACA | Quartz


.. None of these critical features of democratic lawmaking—public education about the health care system, public debate between politicians over how to fix it, or basic knowledge of the political arrangements that drive lawmaking—are present now as the Senate prepares to vote on its health care bill.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has announced there will be just ten hours of debate on a bill that will affect the health of hundreds of millions of Americans, before a vote next week to meet the arbitrary deadline of a summer holiday.

This is no way to make policy.

And it would take just three of McConnell’s Republican colleagues to reveal what is happening behind closed doors.

Source: Trumpcare secrecy: The Senate’s new AHCA health care bill is being written behind closed doors, unlike the ACA — Quartz

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Trump says he doesn’t want a ‘poor person’ handling economy | The Guardian


Donald Trump has said he doesn’t want “a poor person” to hold economic roles in his administration as he used an Iowa rally to defend his decision to appoint the wealthy to his cabinet.

The US president told a crowd on Wednesday night: “Somebody said why did you appoint a rich person to be in charge of the economy? No it’s true. And Wilbur’s [commerce secretary Wilbur Ross] a very rich person in charge of commerce. I said: ‘Because that’s the kind of thinking we want.’”

The president explained that Ross and his economic adviser Gary Cohn “had to give up a lot to take these jobs” and that Cohn in particular, a former president of Goldman Sachs, “went from massive pay days to peanuts.”

Source: Trump says he doesn’t want a ‘poor person’ handling economy | US news | The Guardian

What does the special election in Georgia mean for the 2018 midterms? Two perspectives | Brookings Institution


One of the most consistent findings in political science is that an incumbent president almost always loses seats in his first mid-term election.

The average loss for a president’s party since 1862 is more than 30 seats.

Obama lost 63 Democratic seats in the 2010 election. Clinton lost 54 Democratic seats in the 1994 election. The only exception to this rule is the 2002 election which occurred shortly after the 9/11 attacks when George W. Bush was still very popular.

An unpopular president can magnify the normal tendency to lose seats.

Source: What does the special election in Georgia mean for the 2018 midterms? Two perspectives | Brookings Institution