Paul Ryan is taking a trip to the border -- but his staff isn't saying much about it
The White House is trying to speed up plans to repeal and replace Obamacare
Rep. Paul Ryan’s secretive trip to the border, President Donald Trump’s moves on Obamacare and Steve Bannon’s media victory – those stories and more fill out this week’s Inside Politics forecast.
1) The House speaker’s staff tries to keep his border trip quiet
Rep. Paul Ryan is headed to the US-Mexico border this week. His staff is keeping quiet on the details. The other members of Congress who are joining Ryan on the trip aren’t being so tight-lipped.
CNN’s Manu Raju shared some details from his sources on the Hill. “Congressman John Carter, of Texas, told reporters last week one of the reasons they are going down there is to look at what can and can’t be done in terms of building the wall along the border with Mexico – whether or not they can actually fulfill Donald Trump’s main campaign promise,” said Raju.
“It comes, of course, as a number of Republicans and conservatives, in particular, are concerned about the price tag of this wall, upwards of $20 billion – and demanding spending cuts to pay for the wall.”
2) Picking up the pace on repealing and replacing Obamacare
At a rally Saturday, Trump said that a plan to deal with Obamacare was coming in the next few weeks. The President was scheduled to meet Sunday at Mar-a-Lago with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget. As Julie Pace, of the Associated Press tell us, this isn’t the first meeting on this subject.
“This is the third such health care discussion in the last four days, This is good news for Republicans who are starting to feel like they are a little out there on their own on health care, going to all the town halls and getting a lot of pushback. The next benchmark is early March when the White House says they will be putting out this mystery plan on Obamacare repeal and replace.”
3) The battle with the media is a big win for Bannon
The attacks on the press aren’t a new strategy for Trump or his White House, but not everyone in the administration is enthusiastic about going after the media.
As The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza explains, the administration’s apparent determination to continue take on the media is a big win for a certain member of Trump’s staff.
“There’s a debate between the usual factions, including Steve Bannon, who is very much in favor of going after the media and making this sort of a Trump talking point all week.,” Lizza reports.
“Other people who actually talk to the media a lot more were not so excited about this. One senior white house official said that’s great for him. He (Bannon) never talks to the media.”
4) How CPAC went from Cruz territory to Trump territory
The annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is coming up this week. Trump has gone to CPAC before, but the landscape has definitely changed since then. This year, he’s in luck because the terrain is likely more friendly than in years past. The Daily Beast’s Jackie Kucinich explains the shift.
“This has traditionally been an event much more favorable to the Ted Cruz wing, the more religious conservative wing of the Republican party, but now that Trump populism has taken over. It will be interesting to see how that changes this – this longtime event in Washington – in terms of the tone and in terms of the discussion.”
5) The DNC leadership race will shape a party in need of a reboot
The Democratic National Committee will choose its new leader on Saturday.
Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Congressman Keith Ellison are the clear favorites. Sources tell CNN the two had dinner together recently, sparking some intrigue about whether they could strike some kind of deal. Both campaigns have said that’s not happening.
As CNN’s Nia-Malika Henderson tells us, the race is a real sign of a party struggling with its identity.
“The chatter shows how desperate the party is to bridge the Bernie Sanders-Obama-Clinton divide,” Henderson said.
She also said people should keep watching the other candidates, even if they don’t win. One to watch closely may be South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
“While he’s a long shot to win this race, several Democratic source told me he will emerge from this race as a rising star in a party that desperately needs to figure what’s next.”