Sunday morning talking heads

A rare legislative accomplishment in Congress brings out the GOP’s big guns to celebrate on the Sunday shows. The star guest on “This Week” is Paul Ryan, who’ll be asked why the AHCA is already dead on arrival in the Senate if the bill is as good as he says. The White House, meanwhile, will send out its top wonks to do battle with skeptical hosts: It’s HHS head Tom Price on “Meet the Press” and “State of the Union” and OMB chief Mick Mulvaney on “Face the Nation.” If you’re tired of health-care wonkery, though, and eager for some cloak-and-dagger politics instead, try Reince Priebus on “Fox News Sunday.” Priebus was the focus of two separate profiles this week describing how thin the ice would have gotten beneath his feet if the AHCA had tanked again. Bad vibes:

President Trump placed much of the blame for his first, failed push to repeal the Affordable Care Act in March on Mr. Priebus, the harried and ambitious former Republican National Committee chairman. He told aides that he believed the damaging loss had resulted in no small part from Mr. Priebus’s too-rosy vote-count predictions and his too-cozy relationship with Speaker Paul D. Ryan, a fellow Wisconsinite.

After that defeat, Mr. Trump’s staff noticed that the president had adopted a practice of merging the two men’s names into one long “Ryan-ce,” according to several West Wing aides…

In recent days, Mr. Priebus cut back on his stalking-butler tendency to hover over the president, realizing his antsy boss had grown resentful of his constant companionship. “What are you doing in here? Don’t you have health care to take care of?” Mr. Trump asked Mr. Priebus at one recent meeting around his desk, according to a senior White House official.

His relationship with Ryan suffered too as Priebus’s anxiety about another high-profile health-care failure climbed:

When the MacArthur-Meadows deal looked close to being done, Priebus called a White House meeting with Ryan and asked him to cancel a looming two-week congressional recess in order to finish the bill.

The meeting quickly went off the rails, however, when Ryan refused. He argued that members needed space before the House took another crack at repealing Obamacare.

“There will be calls for you to resign,” Priebus told Ryan, according to two people in the room.

The good news: Reince’s job is safe for now. At least until the next bill goes down in flames in the Senate.

Speaking of which, the second guest this morning on “This Week” after Ryan is Susan Collins, one of the likeliest no votes on whatever the Senate ends up cooking up. If McConnell loses her he can afford just one additional defection (Rand) before there’s no further margin for error. The full line-up is at the AP.

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David Strom 1:31 PM on October 04, 2022