Trump's upcoming trip to Missouri comes with some tricky political baggage
All eyes are on two senators and a possible bipartisan health care push
Senators may seek a bipartisan compromise next month on health care reform. President Trump hits the road to plug tax reform. And comments by a GOP elder may complicate Trump’s trip to Missouri.
It’s all part of this week’s “Inside Politics” forecast, where you get tomorrow’s headlines today.
1) Senators reach across the aisle on health care
Congress reconvenes after Labor Day with a very full agenda: tax reform, the debt ceiling and a furious, behind-the-scenes effort to cut a bipartisan bill on health care.
As CNN’s Manu Raju explains, all eyes are on two senators when it comes to the deal-making.
“Senator Lamar Alexander, the Republican from Tennessee, and Senator Patty Murray of Washington – they’re working on a narrow health care fix to try to shore up the individual insurance markets. This, of course, after a bunch of big insurers have left some key state exchanges. It’s something that could look along the lines of insuring those subsidies that go to insurance companies, the one the Trump administration has threatened to cut off,” Raju reports.
“We know how difficult the health care (issue) is, but there is a possibility of getting something done,” he adds. “They’re trying to do something in September, something to ensure there’s some certainty before the enrollment period begins for some of these insurance companies.”
2) The John Danforth factor
President Trump has picked an interesting time to make his first trip as president to Missouri.
As Trump prepares to head to Springfield, Missouri, to tout tax reform, one of Missouri’s most well-known Republican political figures is calling Trump “hateful.” That would be former Senator John Danforth, who says the President is corrupting the GOP.
As Jonathan Martin of the New York Times reports, the Danforth pushback could mean trouble for Trump in the state.
“Danforth is not just some retired politician. He still looms large on the Missouri political landscape. He’s a mentor for a lot of folks in the GOP,” Martin explains. “It puts a lot of the current members of the party in Missouri in a tough spot. Who do they side with: the godfather of the party in their state, or of the rank and file who like Trump just fine?
“I think it gets to the larger split – a lot of folks in the party, the rank and file, are just fine with the President. The elites in the party increasingly believe that he is a perilous figure for the GOP.”
3) Trump a reluctant road warrior
Administration officials say the upcoming trip to Missouri to sell tax reform is the beginning of a more concentrated travel plan for the president.
But there are plenty reasons to be skeptical: the White House has tried repeatedly to get Trump to travel more to use his bully pulpit to push his agenda. Trips have been added to his schedule, only to fall off because Trump himself doesn’t want to do this type of travel, CNN’s Jeff Zeleny reports.
“The President simply wants to do large rallies, not more presidential, smaller things,” says Zeleny, adding that administration officials say “this is going to be one of the new themes of the President’s travel – trying to do more targeted events.”
4) Democrats facing challenges in red-state Missouri
One of the reason’s Trump honed in on Missouri is Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. She faces a tough reelection fight in an increasingly Republican state and Trump wants to put the heat on her – either to defeat her or to sway her to vote across party lines.
As Bloomberg’s Margaret Talev reports, it will be a chance for Missouri voters to see Trump in person as a red-state Democrat fights for her political survival. McCaskill was a strong Hillary Clinton supporter in the 2016 election but has talked about bipartisan outreach.
“She wishes that the president would engage more in a bipartisan fashion, whether it’s tax reform, whether it’s infrastructure,” Talev says.
There’s another situation in play in Missouri involving a Democratic state senator who reportedly posted on Facebook that she hoped Trump would be assassinated, Talev says.
“It’s not okay, and now she’s under tremendous pressure from both sides of her party to step aside. We’re going to see a lot of Democratic/Trump politics in play out of Missouri.”