Guest: Journalist Alice Ollstein from Capitol Hill; Plus: The high cost of cutting IRS funding and the benefits of single-payer national health care...
By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2017, 5:10pm PT  

On today's BradCast, Congressional GOP leadership continues to ram their "ObamaCare" repeal and replacement bill through House Committees, even as the future of their American Health Care Act remains uncertain with Republican opposition in both the House and Senate, not to mention growing opposition from health care advocacy groups. But that's just one of the potential battles on the near horizon amongst Republicans in the House, Senate and White House. [Audio link to show posted below.]

Donald Trump's budget proposals include a huge increase in military spending and huge cuts across the board to domestic programs --- and just about everything else --- in order to pay for it, including taxes and cuts to the IRS itself, by itself, will cost the government billions in revenue alone. (The IRS brings in $4 for every $1 that funds it --- so why would the GOP and Trump want to cut it? We discuss.)

But the question of whether Republicans in the House and Senate can come to terms with the White House, much less each other, on spending priorities is another matter entirely. Journalist Alice Ollstein of Talking Points Memo joins us from Capitol Hill today to discuss what may be ahead for the upcoming budget battle that could include, yes, another Government Shutdown (today the Treasury Department announced we will hit the debt ceiling against next week) and even an attempt by Trump to circumvent the law entirely, "because you can't legally do what President Trump wants to do," she explains.

By way of just one example of surprises that Trump may encounter even with a friendly Republican Congress, Ollstein explains: "I am hearing a lot of opposition from Republican lawmakers, especially to cuts to the State Department, saying 'We do not support cutting the State Department's budget by a third, because diplomacy keeps us safe and would make us eventually have to spend more on war.'" Those proposed cuts to State, 37% of their current budget, have already been opposed by Trump's own Secretary of Defense James Mattis, among others.

Ollstein also cites "the ghost of Ronald Reagan" as a specter that could end up haunting Trump's plans, since he seems to be following a path for radically growing the military, cutting taxes and blowing out the deficit in the bargain, a model that even Reagan ultimately had to try and roll back. "So, we'll see if this Trump plan, that is sort of Reagan 2.0, goes forward" at all, she explains.

Finally, we close today with some listener e-mail from Costa Rica, on what a national health care system, actually looks like in a civilized country...


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