DiscoverVox's The WeedsTrump Cabinet, Obamacare Update, and Heroin

Trump Cabinet, Obamacare Update, and Heroin

Update: 2017-01-10


Sarah, Ezra, and Matt talk about the rush to hold hearings on Trump's cabinet appointees, the sudden emergence of trouble in repeal paradise, and an effort to cut down on pill abuse that backfired massively.

Following script is auto-generated by Speech to Text Technology:

the weeds is sponsored by The Great courses plus can a four month free at The Great courses plus dot com slash weeds weeds us to sponsor my nature box get fifty percent off your first order of nature boxed at com slash weeds and the Showtime original series Homeland download the Show Time app now to start YOUR FREE trial the following podcast contains explicit language or dental situation to have you received any opiate based painkillers delicate another face of the weeds boxes policy podcast apparently network I met Yglesias at joined in the studio by my colleague Sir Cliff Ezra Klein fans back together well hey it's great it was nice you guys to do to the video show with a pretty good Iraq I was thinking a bit of a microphone hog of al Qaeda to I think we should consider renaming the show to lose so are we are if you don't if you don't know we're talking about last week's interview of President Obama sitting in for Matt yes so we we want to talk about that that interview and that the larger context around the Affordable Care Act they were talking about but first I thought it would be good to touch on the confirmation hearings for Tom's cabin it which are getting underway this morning yeah not as underway as we thought no but Jeff sessions is kicking off at pretty much in peril out with with AS as we're recording John Kelly at the general who has been appointed to that part of Homeland Security and who does not seem controversial is coming this afternoon he was supposed to be that tomorrow we were going to have Rex Taylor Sen at state my pump A O at CAA and Betsy DeVos said education of all at the same time which was also going to be the same time as Donald Trump's first press conference it a million months it I would strongly suggested that Senate Republicans wanted nobody to see the hearings they've now changed their mind a little bed and Poppy has been pushed to Thursday and Davos has been pushed a full week at sea now the only conflict I guess is is Tiller seven and Trump himself which I think may actually be a really dumb idea because they may well give contradictory answers on contested farm policy questions without the ability to coordinate but it is what it is strikingly the nominees have not completed their like ethics paperwork legacy import a medic controversy here but I think might have something to do some of these things can be pushed off yes it's possible so if you know in two thousand and which McConnell had these like demands requests something like Assam was you know basically like everybody has to do other financial disclosures that it was a sort of initial below like no more Mr. Nice Senate Minority Leader unity mean was just saying like you gotta do all this exacting stuff because we're going to be looking at everyone in a very skeptical kind of light and so they did because a problem with Tim Geithner's taxes that Obama really wanted to put diner in Denver was not that controversial on the substance so he was put through but then when a similar problem showed up with Tom Daschle and his HHS nomination yet for every like Oh he's too much and Obama didn't want to have like a Team of Tax cheats so they withdrew dash under fire it all seems so quaint it certainly does seem there is with his Nanny's payments aren't like that was the Dasher and the which I will say he was a small issue like in the scheme of things but it was a really politically bad yet was a dash all left the said then went to go work as like a lobbyist but also he was a senior fellow at Center for American Progress and also had some business partnerships and one of his business partners gave him the use of a company car and actually report the company cars income to the actual amount of like the dollars involved in this was relatively small time but it's like the ex senators talking about how his may be sleazy business partnership gave him a chauffeur it seems quaint in the context of Donald Trump didn't pay taxes for who knows how long and also has not released his tax returns we have no idea what I'd like to get those right so the educator nominee has like a multimillion dollar outstanding FCC fine that he has unsettled no I'm sure that she will pay it but like the dollar amounts involved in this like she's a billionaire is all just so much bigger than anything Tom Daschle so let piece of context I think is not getting enough attention because it really helps explain though what was going on in two thousand and nine when Mitch McConnell said the letter which is probably not the very beginning it was after they'd already cleared a bunch of Cabinet nominees but he sent that letter Democrats fifty eight fifty nine senators I don't remember Franken had been seated Republicans were very very small minority but they could filibuster icon for a Cabinet nominee all they needed was forty in two thousand and thirteen Democrats made a series of filibuster changes that I am actually supportive of but one of the things those changes did impart as a response to Houck winding and grueling this nomination process had become where any tiny tax paying and you had to give in a million forms a lot it was being used as a pretext to give the minority party an excuse to filibuster a nominee down the Democrats change filibuster rules so that you can no longer filibuster Cabinet nominees so now Chuck Schumer is throwing the chuckles words right back Adam and it's a good political heft what he does not have though is the power McConnell had to make those words stick Democrats have more senators than Republicans did in two thousand and nine but they cannot filibuster the nominee so really if Republicans are able to stay united they can do what they want here and so you're seeing something where yes Democrats agreed that the sort of had to be interesting question is will Mitch McConnell fold on this given that he does not actually hafta think that's important is a context for the hearings overall because when Obama put people up in two thousand and nine right Republicans were in this ten U S position that was like they could filibuster and kill anybody but the government was not going to work with nobody in any kind of cabinet positions and also what had just won a like really resounding victory there were a whole bunch of Republican senators from states that Obama had carried and the question was like then everyone was like Can Republicans kill this nomination right in the political context kept evolving over time Republicans gain more seats Obama's popularity declined the government was like less subjectively understaffed so frequently questions like can this guy get through can Republicans block an end so I see people sort of carrying that thinking over and we're like who are Democrats going to target like he can about the answers they can't block any rate like if Republicans want to confirm Ben Carson to be HUD secretary even though clearly he's an unsuitable choice he will be confirmed right if Donald Trump wants to appoint his horse to be secretary of state Democrats cannot stop it they cannot and will not stop anybody no Republicans just a tiny number of them could stop anyone because Democrats would gladly join with Republicans to block any pack but is entirely a question of What do Republicans want to do whereas Democrats are not in a way it's a it's a relief because Chuck Schumer doesn't need to look at these pics and then look at his caucus and then be like what line can I really ask Joe Donnelly whole fried who is Heidi hike am really going to stick with me and block because it doesn't matter right if these strong nominees get zero Democratic votes to get fifteen Democratic votes is completely irrelevant they're going to one where another and so it's just purely like a messaging task Write Like what do the Liberals and the party leadership when they want to say because they're not doing anything it's it's much more like a parliamentary minority who sit there like on camera there's an official opposition like what is Chuck Schumer think about Steve Nugent but it doesn't matter in the way that it did when one of the KKK matter non procedural way that you're giving Democrats a little less space to do things and I think we saw that with a thick stuff that happened we could go right that there is space to act and there are they greedily the powers are limited and proceed really there's nothing they can do to stop these confirmations of the votes are there with Republicans but I was surprised to see how quickly that turn we talked about it last week on the weeds and I think it does show a space where they can be active and can be affecting some kind of change as I think you're seeing a little but about the Affordable Care Act I don't know how far are those powers go I tweeted this is a little bit different for Democrats that is their only avenue it is not as powerful as being able to filibuster but is it is something they can be doing it is something that is like part of the conversation and I don't know how far can go but it's works at least once this year so far so I would not be totally shocked to see those sort of things like working again as we get through the confirmation process if you like yours and the Democrats like they pick the person they want to target they say look this is like public enemy number one let's throw all their effort at them I I don't know what that looks like they don't think it's it's definitely nothing yeah I agree that actually strategically puts Democrats though in in a different kind of choice at the NE than these to have which is if they want to stop a nominee with the need to do is make the nominee be unacceptable to a couple of Republican senators right so if they want to stop next to Allison for instance the way they're going to do that is not unschooling teller Senate acts on to record funding climate denial of some around the world it will be that they have to figure out a way that for the wedge between Keller sin and Lindsey Graham and John McCain on Russia and Ukraine but the other thing that me not to care about stopping leaders want to be wound right they may want to be using this to make Donald Trump look bad make his cabinet sectors look bad and creating a baseline on which they can do for future future future work and put a cork but when he uses as an opportunity to ask a question which is knowing what we know now knowing where we are now how do people people how do you feel about the Democrats' twenty thirteen filibuster changes the specific circumstances under which Democrats change the filibuster was that Republicans shifted years from they started with being really NIT picky about Obama's nominees but they shifted to the fact that they were just blocking all appointments to a couple words because they wanted to keep the National Labor Relations Board and the DC Circuit like understaffed to the NLRB could not legally put out rulings and to the DC Circuit overturned that like any executive branch regulations that that Obama did so Democrats uncorked the nuclear option because I think they had no real choice other than to do it but I think he was right because where we wound up in twenty thirteen Wright was just a sort of accelerating logic of filibuster where it's each time either party successfully filibusters anything it shifts the ratchet and that parties interest groups you know get that much more like Why are you fucking mess mind blocking that Marge blocking that and it's it is too much to ask of a political system to have one party affirmative fully endorse the other party is the logical priority it's white like he was crazy for Republicans to be preventing broke Obama from staffing the NLRB it was also crazy to ask Republicans to endorse Obama's NLRB appointees like that didn't make sense that the paradigm that we shifted to where like Trump can have whichever education secretary Republicans want him to have and Democrats can complain about it because they disagree with them that's to me the correct model for governance and to say that like routines staffing of the federal government requires bipartisan collaboration is like he is genuinely too much of people and it's comes from an era in which the public was not paying attention to politics and the parties were not sorted well by ideology so that something like this guy's brother plays golf with my ex staff you know it's just like a it's a logic is a very it's a mid twentieth century logic where if something really weird happens there might be a filibuster but normally everyone will get eighty votes and it doesn't work anymore and it's easy to sort of say Ohio Democrats you know have egg on their faces they wish they had done this but I think a lot they themselves are glad he would be super annoying for Chuck Schumer to need to navigate the Shoals of like we need to be reasonable unlike keep the government operating but also like half my constituents think Donald Trump is going to institute a fascist dictatorship like do we collaborate do we resist it's like it so much easier to be in a position just look at these people and say You know what I genuinely think James Madison is a reasonable choice for defense secretary so I will vote for him and I genuinely think that's it evokes is not a good education secretary so I will vote no and I just know that like if Republicans want to put these people in the going I think that's like better I think I think Democrats in their hearts are happier to just be able to say what they think AI AI generally and doors of I guess we have full agreement of pro filibuster changes over time to add to man's answer but I found a very interesting and generally like agree with that and that long term these are like the right changes to make and that they do take some pressure on Democrats in ways that are not initially obvious all make the counter argument I raced her She also think the list changes were appropriate but I want to air out the other side here so I think the counter argument is that matters right about the context in which those changes are made and he's also right about the one way ratchet of fill the string and norms breaking but one thing Democrats for not thinking about when they made those decisions was that the next president might be Donald Trump changing the filibuster makes a lot more sense in a world where you assume boundaries and to some degree norms of candidate selection operate so not having a filibuster on Cabinet nominees of President Marco Rubio you President John Casey Corey president Jeb Bush or even President Carly Fiorina that's one thing not having it when you have President Donald Trump having another spaces to write something we should maybe talk about later is a way that reconciliation is getting better I can say she's getting enlarged to allow more of the Obamacare replacement process to run through it I don't actually buy that argument I think that one I think that that's actually not the correct way to protect against norm breaking politicians like Trump I think the Republican Party for one will have any protection it's going have to come from a little though then even though I would say is it within his cabinet picks I don't think she has been very norm breaking I think for the most part and I can name a couple I think to Voss is a little bit strange just in the sense of like being very cruel and qualified for the office I think Carson is pretty cool and qualified for HUD but even so there are pics to I don't think are great I think mostly we see as he's picking highly ideological Republicans usually Republicans with a reasonable record in public office and these are just this is very similar to what you would have gotten not exact but if you had had President Ted Cruz or President Mike Huckabee who would have had in some ways not dissimilar ideology but would have been very different in their political compartment and the feeling of warmth that they created in American politics and mention that I really kind of not experience the experience cars and Evo Devo says At last I keep forgetting so it wasn't just her and says They also the agencies raided don't maybe I'm totally wrong but I don't expect them to be the focus of the Trump administration so they don't like ones that are as alarm raising the education for example and we'll talk about this more next week I just don't expect like a lot to happen to education over the next four years later I think it feels a bit like a non norm breaking cabinet and the ones that are especially norm breaking seem to be agencies that aren't going to get as much attention in the trunk of a station that could be completely wrong protection I am most agree but to me this really actually strengthens the case for the changes because you imagine if Trump had done something really alarm me right I mean if he had said with a center for OPEC right if he had said OK Jared Kushner is going to be secretary of defense one good thing about the Democrats not being able to filibuster is it doesn't let Republicans say to themselves Oh my guide this is a disaster but fighting Trump would also be a disaster so I'm going to just let Democrats block it for me because that then turns the question of like should my unqualified son in law be secretary of defense into a partisan issue when like it is and it shouldn't be really good that the country is not going to function unless the Republican Party put some kinds of constraints on Donald Trump and creating a situation where we Republicans know that they have to do that if they want something to happen is appropriate I mean I think they won't do it and we're going to regret the fact that Donald Trump Institutes an authoritarian dictatorship that lasts for millennia but like it's going to be because Senate Republicans don't care to stop him and like it's entirely on them it's entirely foreseeable I highly doubt it will last more than fifty or sixty five years I think it is important that Orrin Hatch is able to sit alone in office and say to himself Chuck Schumer does not have the power to prevent Donald Trump from installing wildly inappropriate federal officials I have the powers Chuck Schumer does not have the power I need to decide what Heavenly Father wants me to do and to do the right thing as an ethical human being I think that all fifty two Republicans have completely failed at that but that's on them and like they know it's on them to New Year's a clean slate it's a good time to sort of take stock think about how to improve your lives make the most your time one great way to do that is watch the engaging video lectures The Great courses plus ad is over a thousand to choose from you can dive in to say whatever you want great things and neuroscience behavioral economics so I resigned and been watching the History of the Supreme Court which is really interesting I think a lot of us think of as sort of a handful of famous civil rights era Supreme Court decisions are well versus Wade the nineteen century court but so that laid the groundwork for its institutional role and a time when American politics it was quite different it is fascinating so you really can kind of like understand the context of today's politics but with three courses plus you feel you watch this with an unlimited number of lectures starting pickup from any device even you know you can watch any smartphone on the bus abit then relax on the TV homies on your computer tablet were ever to sign up for the great courses plus right now listeners get the first full month for free if you use a special URL to use a special URL we get credit for it you get a free My The Great courses plus dot com slash weeds Senate The Great courses plus com slash weeds I'm going to say it another time it's The Great courses plus dot com slash we are gonna love it I really do think one of the most interesting confirmation series is going to be new chance at Treasury no reason to dig into that that'll come later but that is that is another one where I think you have a qualified nominee you have an extremely unpopular nominee does in the basic facts of his biography running one of the most important agencies in government and on an issue said Democrats are most keen to fight on and I'm just going to be fascinated to see how it plays out to be fat but what's playing out right now who I hated that as good as the Affordable Care Act The wrens Democrats are up all watching college football talking about American health care yeah so we are fucking and that can be the name of your characters to life cover the Affordable Care Act both Eric left I can and has gotten gotta figure that out and was of this issue I was going to move on to a newbie trying to get out the back at uni year respite here enjoying Street and to anyways the Erie Arts and so on these past two weeks of really surprise me I A as we listeners know about a month ago I would've told you I give a talk in Colorado I said like Obamacare has done a good getting repealed like I'm getting married in March is going to be gone before I get married again to that I think it was really premature and I have started to doubt my certainty on Obamacare repeal watching Aladdin helpings of it all to hell and there's really two things that have shaped how that may be less certain reveal happened I still think reveals most likely outcome I just don't think it's the only outcome anymore the first says all these fractures in the Republican coalition around appeal and delay where you sing a lot of Republicans I am anything what unites them really is that they come from states that are very high Obamacare enrollment or there's nothing really ideological that seems to make them who really oppose the idea of appeal and delay which was this Republicans kind of way to repeal Obamacare and have the facts kick in about two years now and recently came up with a replacement plan I think we're up to ten senators as of Monday it end of the fifty two Republican senators to voice some level of concern like they haven't voted yet but Tanner already like on the fence there was a letter that I am five Republican senators put out Monday night where they said I am they want to basically push back some of the timeline on the repeal and away work so that's one thing happening on the Hell is other dynamic developing in the states where Republican governors are starting to lobby legislators against repeal and delays things to be very bad for my state this is particular states that expanded Medicaid I'm Ohio Governor John Key is a Michigan Governor Rick Snyder both really cautioned against dismantling the health care law and those Republican party up until November eight was very united on Obamacare like they knew exactly what to say relaxed up a message I have not up until now unseen such fractures in the Republican Party around the Affordable Care Act and they do speak to the fact that we talked to before it is is it is hard to take health insurance away from twenty million people and I think I had overestimated the ease with which Republicans would do this because I'd seen the ideological consistency so far I still think they'll figure out a way to get it done but to me it feels alot like as of I remember this like two thousand and nine maybe this law would pass maybe it wouldn't like it feels very uncertain and I honestly do not know what is going to happen in the next few months I cannot believe professional politicians have allowed this to happen to themselves I keep sort of walking around this issue and just staring at it and remember that I have been more skeptical of appeal and delay than others have the A I others have others have been less skeptical than I have been I like you but I mean in the world Republicans were not the skeptic over appeal and delay they thought this was a good idea so we had President Obama Sarah and I did an interview Pres Obama which is on the weeds you can scroll backwards in our feets one back roads and listen to it and it's a it's a really interesting discussion seventy minutes of Obamacare if you're into this issue if you're not into this issue I urge you to check it out the main thing Obama does in that interview and he does a lot as he keeps coming back to what sounds like a pretty easy challenge he keeps saying and maybe ask a female to like lupus N but he keeps saying listen I am happy to support a bill that is better than Obamacare if you've got this terrific replacement just show it to me if you can cover more people and can be cheaper to show me now what he's doing there is clever but it shouldn't be it should not be clever to just say Show me your bill and show that does a better job than my bell but the scene that Obama is picking on and the thing that is beginning to split Republicans apart they have done something that was very politically cynical but long term problematic Bay spent years attacking Obamacare in the ways and for the reasons In Which is probably unpopular so things are unpopular Obamacare a lot of people remain uninsured a lot of the insurance is very narrow networks lot of interest is very high deductibles is very high premiums the insurance doesn't cover as much as people wish it did all these things from popular I agree with all these criticisms and Republicans have been talking about this all the time Mitch McConnell did a Fox News op Ed but I was on Face the Nation on with him this weekend I was on after him and I was watching him and he said he went off on Obama case it's of twenty five million people uninsured it's deductibles are high people have by this bad insurance that they then can't afford to use here's the problem the Republican plans do not fix any of these problems to make the Morse what Republicans don't like about Obamacare is it has high taxes has a lot of regulations it's a big intrusion of the government into the private market it is that it is by Barack Obama that has an individual may be there all these things they really dislike and that there are alternatives really do facts the problem is what Republicans dislike and what the public dislikes are not the same as Republicans start looking at this they're realizing that the reason they don't have replacement is it they have never had an answer to this fundamental question Phil Kline who is at the Washington Examiner is a good conservative right on health care for this piece and he said if Republicans cannot admit that their plans cover fewer people because they're comfortable with the government not covering everyone and also allow higher deductibles because they want that kind of innovation in health insurance and they're completely screwed on this issue and the other thing I'll say that I think Republicans have really not appreciated it is not uncommon in American politics to try something difficult like privatizing Social Security or reforming the entire healthcare system and fail but usually when you do that you can actually does Fallon walk away the thing it just doesn't work and you think this doesn't happen right that's what happened with George W Bush is what happened with every present it right health care before what repeal delay does is that if you fail you've created a rolling catastrophe that is your fault it means you can never stop you can't walk away into a more popular issue because already the marketplaces are destroying your having to take votes every six months that all of your conservative base are furious about extending the timeline on repeal and delay the Democrats are getting emboldened like the public is getting angrier
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Trump Cabinet, Obamacare Update, and Heroin