Ever since the Franklin Roosevelt administration, taking note of a president’s accomplishments within his first 100 days in office has become a clichéd way for lazy journalists to write about how an administration is doing. It’s not necessarily a good metric because quite often presidents become known more for things they did after their first few months in office. For instance, 9/11 happened long after the 100-day marker for George W. Bush, and Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act passed more than a year into his first term.
Nonetheless, April 29 will be the 100th day of Donald Trump’s first presidential term and apparently it matters inside the White House.
“One hundred days is the marker, and we’ve got essentially 2 1/2 weeks to turn everything around,” an anonymous White House official was quoted recently by Politico as saying. According to the recent report, the milestone of Trump’s first 100 days “hangs over the West Wing like the sword of Damocles as the unofficial deadline to find its footing — or else.”
Despite initially saying that he was “done” with health care after disastrous failure of the American Health Care Act — brought down by the House’s hard-right Freedom Caucus members — Trump’s top aides have been scrambling to get the competing Republican factions together this week.
Trumpcare 2.0 appears as if it will not be that different from what came before — assuming that it even happens at all.
While administration officials have been bullish in terms of when a floor vote on the GOP’s health care bill might take place, the congressional Republican leadership is far less certain. “The question is whether it can get 216 votes in the House, and the answer isn’t clear at this time,” a high-ranking aide told Politico. “There is no legislative text and therefore no agreement to do a whip count on.”
What does appear to exist is some sort of compromise that was announced by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., the leader of the House Freedom Caucus and Rep. Tom MacArthur of New Jersey, the putative leader of the more centrist Tuesday Group. The deal involves the creation of a waiver system that would allow states to opt out of mandatory benefit requirements on health insurance companies and also let them create their own “high-risk pools” of government-backed insurance for people priced out of private insurance market.
The whole thing could blow up, however, because while Meadows is said to have worked closely with members of his group during negotiations, MacArthur reportedly has not.
Simultaneously, the president and his congressional counterparts are also trying to come up with some sort of tax reform proposal.
“The president wants to get health care done and he wants to get tax done,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at a Friday briefing. “Hopefully, we’re going to get both done, but we’re going to get tax done.”
Uncharacteristically for this administration, there have not been any leaks about the exact nature of what Trump wants to do on taxes. Given the nature of the last health care bill, however, it’s probably going to be rather similar to whatever congressional conservatives have been favoring.
Perhaps sensing that the GOP might be unable to pass anything major on taxes or health care, on Friday Trump blamed the media for setting the “ridiculous standard,” as follows:
No matter how much I accomplish during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days, & it has been a lot (including S.C.), media will kill!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2017