WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump could be on the verge of marking two significant legislative accomplishments at the start of his presidency. Yet he’s displayed a curious disconnect with Republicans on Capitol Hill, raising questions about how deeply he is delving into the specifics of legislative sausage-making.
In interviews and Tweets, Trump has been notably off-topic and off-message about the state of affairs in Congress.
His recent description of the health care bill suggested he was unfamiliar with how the bill addresses coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Congressional leaders and White House aides have struggled to agree on the level of optimism and timing for a vote.
During tense budget negotiations last week, Trump was sounding off about issues — health care for miners and a finance package for Puerto Rico — that were not major points of contention in the deal, which came to together Sunday.
It all added up to a portrait of a president who, even while he’s eager for legislative victories, pays little attention to the nitty-gritty details that can make or break them on Capitol Hill.
President Trump defended his work on the latest proposed health-care bill on Sunday, April 30 during an interview on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” saying, “We really have a good bill. I think they could have voted on Friday. I said, ‘Just relax, don’t worry about this phony 100 day thing. Get the good vote and make it perfect.” (Reuters)
The White House on Monday struggled to explain the president’s assertion that the health care bill guaranteed coverage for people pre-existing conditions.
“Pre-existing conditions are in the bill. And I mandate it. I said, ‘Has to be,’” Trump said Sunday on CBS News.
The legislation being considered by House Republicans, in fact, does not require such coverage. It would allow states to opt out of the requirement under certain circumstances — a concession that won over conservatives while alienating some moderates. Trump also asserted the bill allows insurance sales across states lines, something that’s not in the bill at all.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said that ensuring “coverage of pre-existing conditions is at the core” of the effort to repeal and replace the law. “So that is something that he is ensured is in the current bill and we’ll continue to push for to make sure that coming…