McCain set to derail healthcare bill again Tolkien and Trump’s tough talk
As a children’s classic reaches a milestone, many of its themes are still relevant today.
Arizona Republican Senator John McCain has declared his opposition to the party’s last-ditch effort to repeal and replace ‘‘Obamacare’’, dealing a likely death blow to the legislation and, perhaps, to the Republicans’ years of vows to kill the programme.
It is the second time in months that 81-year-old McCain has emerged as the destroyer of his party’s signature promise to voters.
‘‘I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried,’’ McCain said yesterday of the bill, cowritten by Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, his best friend in the Senate, and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. ‘‘Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will affect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it.’’
McCain, who is battling brain cancer in the twilight of a remarkable career, said he could not ‘‘in good conscience’’ vote for the legislation.
This has all but ensured a major setback for US President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and appears likely to deepen rifts between congressional Republicans and a president who has begun making deals with Democrats out of frustration with his own party’s failure to turn proposals into laws.
With McCain’s defection, there are now two declared GOP ‘‘no’’ votes on the repeal legislation, the other being Rand Paul of Kentucky. With Democrats unanimously opposed, that is the exact number McConnell can afford to lose. But Maine Senator Susan Collins said yesterday she, too, was leaning against the bill, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was also a possible ‘‘no’’.
Trump called ‘‘sad’’ and thing’’ for three McCain’s opposition ‘‘a horrible, horrible the Republican Party. But he said he would continue the fight to repeal Obamacare, even if it meant going back again and again.
Meanwhile, Trump has injected himself into a bitter US Senate primary fight in Alabama, putting to the test his ability to enlist his antiestablishment voters to come to the aid of an endangered Republican incumbent. Trump spoke at a rally in Huntsville, Alabama yesterday on behalf of Senator Luther Strange, who was appointed after the seat was left vacant when Jeff Sessions was named Trump’s attorney general.
Strange is trying to ward off a challenge from Roy Moore, an archconservative former state Supreme Court justice, in a runoff election next Polls show the race to be week. close.
A win by Moore could embolden other insurgent candidates to challenge Republican incumbents in next year’s congressional elections, and perhaps give an edge to Democrats in some of those races.
Republican leaders fear that candidates who are too far to the right could lose to Democrats, who are seeking to wrest control of the House and the Senate in the 2018 midterm elections.
Trump is also weighing the next iteration of his controversial travel ban, which could include new, more tailored restrictions on travellers from additional countries.
The Department of Homeland Security has recommended that the president impose the new, targeted restrictions on foreign nationals from countries it says refuse to share sufficient information with the US or haven’t taken necessary security precautions.
The restrictions could country, officials said.
Trump’s ban on visitors from six Muslim-majority nations, which sparked protests and a flurry of lawsuits, is set to expire today, 90 days after it took effect. vary by
Tolkien’s The Hobbit turned 80 this week. It’s a tale well known to Kiwis, not least because Godzone is officially the incarnation of Middle Earth.
Some of the major themes of The Hobbit, and its accompanying Lord of the Rings trilogy, hit home here in Manhattan as the United Nations General Assembly convened. Tolkien, a veteran of World War I, infused his novels with imagery from the battlefield and the lessons of war, including who ultimately bears its cost.
This week, those themes resonated as the American president – before the annual gathering of world leaders on East 42nd Street – threatened to annihilate North Korea.
Trump’s threat to destroy another UN member, from the UN podium, was unheard of in an organisation dedicated to maintaining peace and security and achieving international cooperation. And that’s saying something, considering Libya’s Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and Cuba’s Fidel Castro had at other times taken that stage.
It’s not to say, of course, that North Korea’s aggression is anything
US President Donald Trump addressing the UN General Assembly this week. Below, Tolkien characters Gloin and Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit.