Asian markets down on fears about future of Trump agenda

Trump's pledge to cut taxes, including a lowering of the rates paid by corporations, was a pillar of his 2016 presidential campaign and provided much of the fuel for the heady stock market rally that followed his November 8 victory. If Ryan succeeded in squaring the Republican circle and managed to repeal Obamacare, it would not have been viewed in the wider world as his success - rather Trump would have been the triumphant figure. "It is so fundamentally flawed, I don't know if that is possible". Several lawmakers said a complete overhaul of the tax code - which hasn't been done in more than 30 years - would be tougher in the wake of the American Health Care Act's defeat, as might the rest of their agenda. DEMOCRATS MIGHT BE OPEN TO TALKS Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch predicted in a research note that a tax bill, "if passed at all, could be a very watered-down version of current proposals". "This is wishful thinking on their part, with little evidence to support it", he writes. We're going to have a test in the short term very soon to see which way they're leaning.

Acting like he was still in campaign mode, Trump gambled that his defiance would force Republican members to vote for the bill. They passed repeal legislation under President Barack Obama, but he understandably vetoed those efforts to erase his signature domestic initiative. The first implication of this debacle is that Trump can be challenged.

Last Thursday, for example, Health and Human Services Department Inspector General Daniel Levinson informed Congress that he is investigating the Trump administration's decision to pull advertising and outreach for ObamaCare registration in the crucial final week of enrollment. The letter serves as notice that Democrats have the numbers to block Senate Republicans from taking steps under normal Senate procedure to go after the ACA.

"The Trump administration has a spectrum of options, ranging from actively undermining the ACA marketplaces to administrative actions that start to reshape the insurance market in a more conservative mold", Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, tells The Wall Street Journal.

"It's incumbent upon those two groups, the conservatives and the moderates, to come together, hopefully in the coming days, to find consensus, to present something to the president that certainly not only gets him 216 votes, but hopefully 235 votes", he said.

However, the vote didn't exactly go to plan. Some parts of Tennessee could have no eligible insurance plans by next year.

The Texas congressman argued that while Republican leadership attempted to ignore the concerns of its most conservative members in the past, members were key players in the negotiation of the American Healthcare Act.

Republicans have a host of 2017-vintage obstacles in the way.

The new buzzword over the weekend, on both sides of the aisle, was "bipartisanship" on health-care reform but I don't think either party is honest about it. It was an alternative to liberal calls for a government-run single-payer system. Democrats can't just bask in the afterglow of TrumpCare's collapse, Dionne adds. Trump's opponents learned that they can win.

"We have to learn that we're not just the party of no", said Representative Steve Womack of Arkansas, a member of the House GOP's whip team. That he wouldn't cut Medicaid (or Medicare and Social Security, which also breaks with the Paul Ryan philosophy).

Supporters of the bill, including lead sponsor GOP Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, who chairs the Committee on Education and the Workforce, said the rule would have violated due-process rights because it required companies bidding on contracts to publicly disclose past violations of workplace or labor law or pending complaints - even if the allegations had not been adjudicated.

  • Larry Hoffman