Trump Shakedown: Attempt to Threaten Senate Can Backfire

Donald Trump

Trump apparently lost his patience when it comes to the Republican healthcare reform plan, which is now stalled in the Senate, as his latest ill-conceived attempt to strong-arm the GOP-controlled chamber shows.

Trump Threatens Congress

He recently threatened that the bailouts for members of Congress would end “very soon,” just like health insurers’. ‘Bailouts was used in all caps… twice:

Threatening Congress, however, is not a wise move, as the same folks Trump is now picking on might one day impeach him. Plus, the President did not just target Democrats or some elected officials. His threat was aimed at everyone in the U.S. Congress, including top-level staffers.

In Trump’s words, ‘bailout’ means a subsidy by the federal government to local governments to help them lower prices of health insurance for lower-earners to affordable levels. Reuters found that these subsidies cost the U.S. government around $8 billion. The money enables many disadvantaged Americans to have access to healthcare as cutting the subsidies altogether could boost the price of coverage by 20% per year.

Obamacare Needs Federal Subsidies

The subsidies are a critical factor for Obamacare to work, and Trump’s job is to enforce them. However, it is the U.S. Congress that ultimately decides how much money goes to states. It is unclear if a court would ever side with Trump on killing the subsidies after Congress has decided to keep them coming.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized Trump for his latest threats, urging him to stop “playing with people’s lives.” Instead, Trump should start acting presidential, Schumer thinks.
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