>>>NO ADMINISTRATION HAS
ACCOMPLISHED MORE IN THE FIRST 90 DAYS, THAT INCLUDES ON
MILITARY, ON THE BORDER, ON TRADE, ON REGULATION, ON LAW
ENFORCEMENT. WE LOVE OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT.
AND ON GOVERNMENT REFORM. WE’RE ALSO WORKING WITH CONGRESS
ON TAX REFORM AND SIMPLIFICATION, AND WE’RE ON
TIME IF WE GET THAT HEALTH CARE APPROVAL.
SO PRESS EVERY ONE OF YOUR CONGRESSMEN, PRESS EVERYBODY
BECAUSE WE WANT TO GET THAT APPROVAL.
IT JUST MAKES THE TAX REFORM EASIER AND MAKES IT BETTER AND
IT’S GOING TO MAKE IT STEEPER. IT’S GOING TO BE BIGGER, AND
THAT’S WHAT WE WANT TO DO. WE’RE IN VERY GOOD SHAPE ON TAX
REFORM. WE HAVE THE CONCEPT OF THE PLAN.
WE’RE GOING TO BE ANNOUNCING IT VERY SOON. BUT HEALTH CARE, WE
HAVE TO GET THE HEALTH CARE TAKEN CARE OF.
AS SOON AS HEALTH CARE TAKES CARE OF, WE ARE GOING TO MARCH
VERY QUICKLY. YOU’RE GOING TO WATCH — WE’RE
GOING TO SURPRISE YOU. RIGHT, STEVE MNUCHIN, RIGHT?
>>JOINING US ON THE SET IN WASHINGTON COLUMNIST FROM THE
WASHINGTON POST GEORGE WILL AND FROM THE WHITE HOUSE NBC NEWS
WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT KRISTEN WELKER.
KRISTEN, WE’LL START WITH YOU. PRESIDENT TRUMP ONCE AGAIN
TURNING HIS ATTENTION TO HEALTH CARE YESTERDAY.
WHAT ARE YOU HEARING? >>I WAS WITH HIM IN WISCONSIN
WHEN HE MADE THOSE COMMENTS, MIKA.
HERE IS WHAT I CAN TELL YOU BASED ON MY CONVERSATIONS WITH
TOP OFFICIALS HERE AT THE WHITE
HOUSE, THERE IS A REAL PUSH TO REVIVE HEALTH CARE REFORM.
THE REASONS ARE POLITICAL AND PRACTICAL.
IT WOULD GIVE HIM MORE MOMENTUM TRYING TO GET SOMETHING BIG DONE
ON TAX REFORM. THE PRACTICAL SIDE OF THIS, WE
TALKED ABOUT THIS ALL WEEK. HE NEEDS TO REPEAL AND REPLACE
OBAMACARE IN ORDER TO GET SOME OF THOSE BIG TAX BREAKS PAST AS
PART OF A PACKAGE. THEY WERE RELYING ON THAT MATH.
WITHOUT THAT MATH, TAX REFORM COMES A WHOLE LOT MORE
DIFFICULT. SO WHAT IS GOING ON BEHIND THE
SCENES. TOP ADVISER STEVE BANNON AND THE
PRESIDENT HAVE BEEN WORKING THE PHONES.
ONE ADVISER SAID THEY HOPED TO HAVE SOMETHING DONE AS EARLY AS
THIS WEEK. WHEN YOU ASK WHO THEY ARE
WORKING WITH, WHAT’S THE COALITION, THEY ARE STILL TRYING
TO WORK WITH FREEDOM CAUCUS. IF YOU RECALL SAME CAUCUS SANK
THEIR CHANCES FOR HEALTH CARE REFORM FIRST TIME AROUND AND
MODERATE REPUBLICANS. STILL NOT A REAL EFFORT TO REACH
OUT TO DEMOCRATS ON THIS. SO THAT’S THE SENSE BEHIND THE
SCENES. IN TERMS OF WHETHER THIS IS
ACTUALLY GOING TO GET DONE THIS WEEK, IT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE
THAT’S A REAL POSSIBILITY. AND ALSO IT’S WORTH NOTING THAT
THIS WHITE HOUSE HAS BEEN GETTING A LOT OF CRITICISM, THE
PRESIDENT GETTING CRITICISM FOR CHANGING HIS TONE ON CAMPAIGN
PROMISES. YESTERDAY’S COMMENTS CAME AS
PART OF A BROADER KIND OF RETURN TO HIS POPULIST MESSAGE, TALKING
ABOUT CREATING JOBS, REPEALING AND REPLACING OBAMACARE AND
GETTING SOMETHING BIG DONE ON TAX REFORM.
BUT THAT REMAINS A REAL QUESTION MARK AND A REAL ROADBLOCK TO
GETTING SOMETHING DONE. I SHOULD SAY ON HEALTH CARE,
THAT REMAINS ROADBLOCK GETTING SOMETHING DONE ON HEALTH CARE.
>>NBC’S KRISTEN WELKER, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
GEORGE WILL, IF YOU IN CONGRESS, MEMBER OF FREEDOM CAUCUS, DOING
TOWN HALLS AND YOU GET A CALL FROM STEVE BANNON POTENTIALLY
ABOUT HEALTH CARE, ARE YOU LURCHING TO THE PHONE AND
DESPERATELY HOPING FOR STEVE BANNON’S ATTENTION AND SAYING
YES, I’M IN. >>STEVE BANNON SUMMONED FREEDOM
CAUCUS TO THE WHITE HOUSE CAMPUS AND TOLD THEM THERE WAS NO
CHOICE HERE. THEY HAD NO CHOICE.
GROWNUPS DON’T LIKE TO BE TOLD THAT.
IF I WERE IN CONGRESS I W I WOUE A MEMBER OF THE FREEDOM CAUCUS.
I WOULD SAY, I’M ELECTED HER TO EXERCISE MY OWN JUDGMENT.
THESE ARE SPLITTABLE DIFFERENCES.
THE FREEDOM CAUCUS HELPED SINK THE RYAN BILL BUT HARDLY DID IT
ALONE. THE DECISIVE BLOW CAME FROM A
NEW JERSEY POLITICAL FAMILY THAT’S BEEN IN POLITICS SINCE
CONTINENTAL CONGRESS CAME OUT AGAINST IT.
HE’S NOT CHOPPED LIVER, HE’S CHAIRMAN OF THE APPROPRIATIONS
COMMITTEE. THERE WAS DEFECTS FROM THE RIGHT
AND LEFT, FOR A BILL BY QUINNIPIAC HAD 17% OF THE
AMERICANS. >>HAVE YOU SEEN SOMEONE
DOMINATE POWER IN WASHINGTON SO MUCH AND BE SO INEFFECTIVE AT
THE SAME TIME PASSING ANY LEGISLATION.
>>THE PROBLEM IS THEY STARTED WITH SOMETHING, AS THE PRESIDENT
SAID, WHO KNEW HEALTH CARE WAS SO COMPLICATED.
THE ANSWER IS ANYONE WHO PAID ANY ATTENTION TO THE DEBATES FOR
THE LAST SEVEN OR EIGHT YEARS. THEY WOULD BE BETTER OFF IN SOME
WAYS IF YOU HAD DIVIDED GOVERNMENT BECAUSE THEN HAVE YOU
TO DEAL WITH THE OTHER SIDE. WHEN YOU HAVE A NARROW MAJORITY,
WHICH THE REPUBLICANS IN THE HOUSE REALLY IS, YOU HAVE A
FACTION AND CAUCUS KNOWS. >>IF YOU HAVE A FACTOR BLOCKING
YOU. DO YOU THINK IT’S POSSIBLE TO
CARVE OUT DEMOCRATS FOR HEALTH CARE REFORM BILL?
>>NO. BY NOW REPEALING AND REPLACING
OBAMACARE MEANS STAND UP TO REPUDIATE THE LAST
ADMINISTRATION.
IT’S ASKED A LOT TO ASK DEMOCRATS TO DO THIS.
>>HOW DO YOU RESOLVE THIS. YOU HAVE DEMOCRATS FIGHT TO THE
END TO SAVE OBAMACARE. YOU’VE GOT REPUBLICANS WHO
REALLY DON’T HAVE ANY OPTION. THEY HAVE BEEN PROMISING THEIR
VOTERS FOR SEVEN YEARS THEY WERE GOING TO REPEAL OBAMACARE.
THAT’S WHY THEY PICKED UP MOST OF THOSE 62 SEATS IN THE HOUSE,
WHY THEY PICKED UP A DOZEN OR SO IN THE SENATE, A DOZEN OR SO
GOVERNORSHIPS, 1,000 STATE LEGISLATIVE SEATS.
IT’S HARD TO WALK AWAY FROM THAT PROMISE.
>>HARD TO WALK AWAY FROM THAT PROMISE.
THE ONLY WAY THIS WORKS OUT IS IF MITCH McCONNELL AND CHUCK
SCHUMER WORK OUT A DEAL. I DON’T SEE ANY OTHER WAY OF
DOING IT. IT STARTS OVER THERE.
SOME FAIT ACCOMPLI PRESENTED TO THE HOUSE AND THE PRESIDENT GETS
BEHIND IT AND MAYBE SOMETHING HAPPENS.
I DON’T THINK IT’S PROBABLE, MAYBE THEY WILL PLAY IT IN THE
HOUSE, I DON’T SEE IT HAPPENING.>>A WASTE.
>>SAM STEIN AS YOU BROUGHT UP EARLIER, AS STEVE BANNON
THREATENED FREEDOM CAUCUS, DONALD TRUMP THREATENED
DEMOCRATS SAYING I’M GOING TO BASICALLY GUT THIS BILL WITHOUT
YOU IF YOU DON’T SUPPORT IT. >>YEAH, IT’S JUST SORT OF
BIZARRE NEGOTIATION STANDPOINT. HE THREATENED FREEDOM CAUCUS AND
THEN WENT TO WORK FOR THEM. THREATENED DEMOCRATS AND SAID
MAYBE I’LL CRAFT A HEALTH CARE BILL WITH THEM, AND THEN
THREATENED THEM ALL OVER AGAIN. MAYBE I’M NAIVE.
IF YOU WANT TO WORK WITH PEOPLE, YOU DON’T SPEND YOUR TIME ON
TWITTER MOCKING THEM AND CALLING THEM STUPID.
YOU TRY TO ACTUALLY PICK UP THE PHONE, BRING THEM TO THE WHITE
HOUSE, SIT DOWN, GO OVER COMMON GROUND, TALK ABOUT EXCHANGES AND
IDEAS. THIS WHITE HOUSE DOESN’T SEEM
CAPABLE OF DOING THAT. I’M NOT SURE EXACTLY WHEN THEY
ARE GOING TO BREAK OUT THIS IDEA THEY CAN JUST MOCK PEOPLE AND
BADGER THEM INTO SUBMISSION. IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY.
>>GEORGE WILL, HAVE YOU SEEN ANY EVIDENCE THIS PRESIDENT IS
LEARNING ON THE JOB HOW TO DEAL WITH CONGRESS?
ANY EVIDENCE AT ALL. >>THAT’S THE LEARNING CURVE.
FLAT AS NEBRASKA. THE PROBLEM IS THAT THREE
ELEMENTS OF OBAMACARE TURN OUT TO BE EXTREMELY POPULAR.
ONE, WHICH ISN’T THAT IMPORTANT, IS KEEPING YOUR CHILDREN ON YOUR
FAMILY PLAN UNTIL AGE 26. THE SECOND IS THE BAN ON DENYING
INSURANCE TO THE PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS.
>>RIGHT. >>ONCE YOU COMMIT TO THAT, ALL
KINDS OF THINGS FOLLOW FROM THAT.
BUT MOST IMPORTANT WHAT WE REALLY LEARN IN THIS DEBATE IS
THE EXPANSION OF MEDICAID IS THE ESSENCE OF OBAMACARE.
AND WHETHER OR NOT PEOPLE FAVORED IT WHEN IT HAPPENED, BY
NOW ALL KINDS OF STATES HAD WHAT THE COURT CALLS RELIANCE
INTEREST. THEY BUILT THIS INTO THEIR
BUDGETS AND PEOPLE HAVE CHANGED THEIR BEHAVIOR.
IT’S REALLY HARD TO UNWIND. >>IS IT RIGHT THEY HAVE TO
START WITH OBAMACARE REPEAL? THEY SET IT AND SAID WE’LL MOVE
ON, NOW GO BACK. WHY DO THEY HAVE TO DO HEALTH
CARE FIRST? >>THEY HAVE TO DO HEALTH CARE
FIRST BECAUSE, A, THEY SAID THEY WOULD.
THE PRESIDENT SAID THEY WOULD REPEAL IT DAY ONE AND REPLACE IT
BY SOMETHING FABULOUS. DETAILS TO FOLLOW.
S.E.C., THEY HAVE TO DO IT BECAUSE IT IS TANGLED UP WITH
TAX REFORM, WHICH THE PRESIDENT REALLY CARES ABOUT AND OUGHT TO
CARE ABOUT MORE. IT’S TANGLED UP BECAUSE SOME OF
THE TAXES, A GREAT MANY OF OBAMACARE, ARE RELATED TO WHAT
YOU CAN DO TO BE BUDGET NEUTRAL IN REFORMIEFORMING TAXES.
SO YOU CAN’T MOVE UNTIL YOU MOVE THE IMMOVABLE.
>>AND GEORGE BRINGING UP THE POINT ABOUT MEDICAID.
IT IS REALLY THE INTRACTABLE ISSUE.
NOT ONLY AS FAR AS OBAMACARE GOES BUT POLITICALLY BECAUSE THE
FREEDOM CAUCUS IS NOT GOING TO SUPPORT AN EXPANSION OF
MEDICAID. THEY ARE NOT GOING TO SUPPORT
THAT PART OF THE BILL. BUT IN THE SENATE, GOOD LUCK
GETTING THE REPUBLICAN SENATE TO SUPPORT ANYTHING THAT GUTS THE
MEDICAID PORTION OF THIS BILL. IT’S JUST NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.
>>GEORGE WILL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR BEING ON THE SHOW THIS
MORNING. GOOD TO HAVE YOU BACK ON.
COMING UP — >>BY THE WAY, YOU WENT TO
OPENING DAY AGAIN FOR THE NATIONALS.
>>DID YOU LOVE IT? >>LIFE BEGINS ON OPENING DAY.
>>YES, IT DOES. >>IS THIS THE YEAR FOR OUR
NATIONALS? IS THIS THE YEAR, GEORGE?
>>THEY WILL GET THROUGH OCTOBER AND OCTOBER IS