As the Stomach Churns Open Thread: Budget Drama Update

Politics: the science of who eats… and who gets eaten.

Given what Paul Ryan and his fellow Trump enablers have been shoveling out to the rest of us, they’re all gonna spend their next million or so reincarnations as dung beetles…

[C]ongressional Republicans were jolted Wednesday morning by phone calls from White House officials, who confided that President Trump was unhappy with the party’s nearly finalized spending deal.

Trump had been up since dawn, keeping an eye on cable-television programs and venting to friends and aides as snow blanketed the executive residence…

Allies of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) were alarmed, the people said, once again realizing that only Trump speaks for Trump.

They had been hammering out the details of the spending package with the White House’s legislative staff for weeks and were planning to give a brief update to the president in the afternoon, followed by final votes in both chambers later this week. The people familiar with the discussions were not authorized to speak publicly.

But as senior aides tried to sell Trump on the deal all week, he had hesitated to embrace it. In recent days, he has insisted to associates that congressional Republicans “owe” him more money for the wall since he has raised them millions for their reelection bids and signed the GOP-authored tax bill into law, according to one person close to Trump…

A White House official, meanwhile, said Trump loyalists who dislike Ryan and McConnell, such as Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), have only stoked Trump’s gut feeling that the spending deal is lacking. They also have told Trump that he will be criticized for such a large sum of spending…

Ryan arrived at the White House around lunchtime in his caravan of SUVs. Vice President Pence attended the meeting, as did senior aides to the attendees. McConnell joined by speakerphone.

Over the next 45 minutes, gathered together in the residence, they all made their pitch to Trump in support of the spending agreement, the people said. They argued that he was getting money for the border wall at a level the White House had been signaling was acceptable. They told him that he was also getting infrastructure funding — one of his priorities. They told him the significant tick up in funding for the military was included and politically popular. These were all arguments he had heard before, from his own senior aides…

Eventually, Trump sighed and said he’s fine with the bill — and the meeting soon ended, with Ryan ducking out into the snow. A reporter for NBC News snapped a blurry picture of the speaker being whisked off in the snow.

White House officials and congressional Republicans quickly moved to issue statements affirming Trump’s support, almost “wishing it into reality,” as one official said late Wednesday afternoon. In private conversations at the Capitol, aides shook their heads at another dramatic encounter with Trump, another time when he had nearly brought his party to the brink of a shutdown…

“Our” hero, the Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver of Janesville. I’ve been working on this post for a good half-hour — has Donny Dollhands refudiated Pauly Blue Eyes yet?








Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: Who Does the NRA Actually Represent?


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Ever wonder if maybe the monsters are already here on Maple Street?


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And speaking of politicians who are neither Democrats nor helpful when it comes to gun safety measures…
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Repub Venality Open Thread: Paul Ryan Is Not A Serious Person…

But he’s very much a serious threat to those of us not in the top 0.1%…








Oligarch Open Thread: Koch Bros, Still Monsters

The Boston Globe:

“We’ve made more progress in the past five years than I had in the last 50,” declared Charles Koch, the 82-year old billionaire, addressing a group of about 550 donors who gathered in Indian Wells for the Kochs’ winter policy and politics weekend seminar.

But this era of gains, which brought them a massive tax cut, a queue of conservative federal judges, and an administration full of friendly regulators, could all be gone if Democrats claw back control of the government.

So the vast network has pledged to devote around $400 million toward politics and policy in the midterms to hold the GOP majorities in both chambers. That’s 60 percent more than the network spent in 2014, when Republicans picked up nine seats in the Senate and 13 seats in the House of Representatives.

The sum includes $20 million that Koch and his brother David plan to put behind efforts to popularize the $1.5 trillion tax cut. The network spent $20 million last year pushing the legislation.

“We have a ways to go,” said Koch, teeing up his Big Ask to the well-coiffed group of donors who contribute at least $100,000 a year to Koch-aligned groups. “So my challenge to all of us is to increase the scale and effectiveness of this network by an order of magnitude. By another 10-fold on top of all the growth and progress we’ve already made. Because if we do that, I’m convinced we can change the trajectory of this country.”…

Voters have been skeptical of the tax law in part because much of the benefit is focused on businesses like those run by the Kochs and their allies. The tax cuts directly benefit Koch Industries by $1 billion to $1.4 billion a year, according to a recent analysis from Americans for Tax Fairness, a liberal advocacy group.
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Wednesday Morning Open Thread: There Will Be Blood (From GOP Turnips)

When it comes to the modern GOP, we’re speaking of people who could fvck up a one-car funeral procession. Unlike most monstrosities, this bill has at least two very obvious fathers, both of whom I shall take delight in seeing suffer for its every real & imagined failures…

House Republicans thought they had finished their tax work on Tuesday afternoon when they passed a version of the bill 227 to 203. But the effort hit a snag Tuesday afternoon when the Senate parliamentarian ruled that three of its provisions violated that chamber’s Byrd Rule — guidelines on what types of legislation can pass with a simple 50-vote majority.

To comply with the Byrd Rule, the Senate made minor tweaks to the bill before passing it, requiring the House to vote again as the two chambers must pass identical versions. The House is slated to vote Wednesday midday, and none of the changes are expected to cost the plan GOP support.

Despite the delay, Republicans celebrated Tuesday in anticipation of their plan passing, their first major legislative victory of the Trump presidency.

Trump has for months pushed Republican lawmakers to send him a tax plan by Christmas and promised in a tweet to hold a news conference at the White House around 1 p.m. Wednesday after it clears Congress…

Nobody’s gonna waste much energy holding Trump to account over this, because (a) he’s done nothing but kibbutz the whole process from the sidelines, like any other Fox-News watcher; and (b) there’s so many other terrible things Trump has done as primary actor. But if I get my Winter Solstice wish, neither the Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver or the Bug-Eyed Kentucky Chelonian will be able to go out in public without umbrellas, for fear of people spitting at them…


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