President Donald Trump won the 2016 election promising to be a dealmaker, but he has yet to score a big win in Congress after his first 100 days.
Trump tried to wrangle Congress into supporting the House Republican Obamacare replacement by using all of the social tools of the White House.
He met with conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus at the White House and moderate members of the Wednesday Group. Senior White House aides and Vice President Mike Pence hosted multiple meetings at the White House to make a deal.
“He’s thrown the doors open to the White House,” one White House aide explained to Breitbart News, ticking off the various executive meetings with members of Congress.
The meetings have gone both ways. Trump traveled to the Capitol to discuss his agenda, attending a Senate lunch where he was warmly received.
Wednesday, the president’s cabinet secretaries will propose dramatic tax reform proposals, urging Congress to rally behind his ideas to jumpstart the economy. On the same day, a plan to adjust the House replacement of Obamacare is taking shape, after conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus have drafted adjustments to the legislation.
Although congressional members have been on break for most of April, White House aides say their legislative staff has worked with the White House to develop a plan to push solutions forward.
House Republican leaders remain intentionally vague about a date on healthcare legislation, in an attempt to avoid an “artificial deadline” that cannot be met. Republicans were embarrassed after Speaker Paul Ryan canceled a scheduled vote on the healthcare bill because it lacked support.
If the House plan to replace Obamacare passes, it will be the end of an exhaustive whip process where many Republicans might not be delighted with the results.
But the White House is not entirely frustrated with Congress. With their cooperation, Trump signed 13 Congressional Review Acts to cut regulations and roll back some of the more onerous Obama-era agenda items in the federal government. Trump also extended the Veteran’s Choice Program, allowing veterans facing long wait times or are long distances from a VA hospital to seek care at a private hospital.
The “big win,” however, remains elusive, as media critics jaw about the Trump White House’s inexperience with the ways of Washington, DC, and the befuddled House Republicans, who suddenly have to lead after years of obstruction.
The future of Trump’s presidency depends on whether his White House learns to lead Congress — and whether Congress can rally behind his agenda.