Show: MTP DAILY Date: June 22, 2017 Guest: Susan Collins, Matthew Continetti, Jennifer Palmieri, Sahil Kapur, Rand Paul
NICOLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: That does it for this hour. I`m Nicole Wallace. "MTP DAILY" starts right now. Hi, Chuck.
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Hi, Nicole. Do you know what I hope?
TODD: I hope that there are no tapes of these conversations.
WALLACE: People think that we`re frenemies (ph). I love you Chuck.
TODD: I love you, Nicole. So there. But, again, there better be no tapes, you better hope.
WALLACE: I`m gone.
TODD: Thank you.
If it`s Thursday, the wait is over on the Senate`s Trumpcare plan.
(voice-over): Tonight, the new Republican health care prescription and doubts within the GOP.
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SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I think it looks a lot like Obamacare, actually.
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TODD: Can anything cure questions within the party about the new GOP bill?
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PAUL: So, yes, I think it could take longer than a week.
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TODD: Senators Rand Paul and Susan Collins both skeptics from different sides join me live.
Plus, the Pelosi factor.
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REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), U.S. HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: So, you want me to sing my praises, is that what you`re saying?
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TODD: The Democratic leader shoots back at calls from her own party to step aside.
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PELOSI: My decision about how long I stay is not up to them.
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TODD: Congress Tim Ryan a one-time challenger to Pelosi on why he continues to believe it`s time for her to go.
And President Trump now admits he doesn`t have any Comey tapes. What other big reveals has he promised but not revealed?
This is MTP DAILY and it starts right now.
(on camera): Well, good evening and welcome to MTP DAILY. I`m Chuck Todd here in Washington and welcome to a lesson in what I`m calling shock and awe legislating. Taught by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
All eyes are on Senate Republicans today as they attempt to push through a health care bill in, essentially, a week that turns out to be dramatically similar to the House health care bill with just a few minor tweaks.
It keeps some deep cuts to Medicaid and to health care subsidies for middle-income Americans. Those savings are then used to finance tax breaks on -- and some repeal of taxes for wealthier Americans and for insurance companies to remain in the market place.
The bill was unveiled today. A vote could come by the end of next week. And you could argue, it might already be on life support if you believe or listen to the actual words being said by senators and not watching their actions.
Despite some strong arm from McConnell, his members aren`t all falling in line yet. And with no Democrats expected to support the repeal, he can only afford to lose two Republican votes.
Earlier today, four conservative members, Senators Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin pulled their support for now. Thereby potentially critically wounding the efforts of their party`s leadership.
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SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: This current draft doesn`t get the job done. But I believe we can get to yes.
SEN. RON JOHNSON (R), WISCONSIN: In the end, it`s going to require bipartisan support to take a look at the root cause of what`s wrong with the health care system.
PAUL: We`re keeping the subsidies. We`re boosting the subsidies for stabilization or risk pools and I think it looks a lot like Obamacare, actually.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: By the way, I`m going to talk to Senator Paul in just a moment.
But, folks, this is a bill that was concocted, it appears to me, to simply get through the House and that doesn`t mean it can get through the Senate. And, remember, that House bill wasn`t exactly that popular inside many -- the Senate Republican Caucus when it passed.
We have new NBC News-"Wall Street Journal" poll numbers out this hour and it shows just how unpopular the House bill remains, even within the Republican Party.
Take a look at our new numbers. Only 16 percent of people think the Republican House health care bill is a good idea. 16. 48 percent say it`s a bad idea.
Still, when asked in Congress if the president should continue their efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, responses are basically split. 38 percent say yes, go do full repeal and replace. 39 percent say no.
But President Trump and Republicans can at least still count on some support from the base, while 16 percent of the overall public say the legislation is a good idea, 43 percent Republicans feel that way. That number isn`t very high but it is double the number of Republicans who think it`s a bad idea. A lot of undecided Republicans.
And among Trump voters, it`s a similar story. 36 percent calling it a good idea. Again, not a high number but it`s a lot more than the percentage of his base who say it`s a bad idea.
So, that`s the silver lining of the GOP. Even if the base doesn`t like the X`s and O`s, it seems they still want to play to win. And that could mean -- that could explain why the bill made pass anyway.
By the way, we also have brand new numbers on the Russia investigation, President Trump`s firing of James Comey, both of which were the topic of a presidential tweet storm earlier today, including one that finally answered whether or not tapes of his meeting with Comey really exist. We`ll get to that later in the show and all those polls numbers.
But we`re going to stick to health care now so let me get right to another senator that many believe is on the fence, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine.
Senator Collins, nice to talk to you.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: Thank you.
TODD: So, we heard criticism from the right from the more conservative wing of your party. You heard Rand Paul. He believes there`s too much subsidy in here. It still looks too much like Obamacare.
[17:05:05] I look at this bill, Senator, and it looks a lot different from what you and Senator Bill Cassidy were proposing way back when on this show when you said it`s, essentially, a bill that would allow states, if you like Obamacare, you can keep it.
How -- where are you on this bill because it doesn`t look like it`s a if you like your Obamacare, you can keep it.
COLLINS: No, I agree with it that it doesn`t fit that description. And I still believe that the bill that Bill Cassidy and I introduced was a better path forward. And, ultimately would`ve attracted bipartisan support and that`s what we really need when we`re tackling an issue as difficult as health care is.
I`m still going through the text of the bill. And, of course, we still don`t have the all-important CBO analysis of the effect on coverage, on the cost of premiums, and the impact of the Medicaid changes.
But I do have concerns, particularly in the area of Medicaid and I`m worried about what the impact will be on people who are very vulnerable and have health care needs.
TODD: So, that means -- are you talking about those folks that are in that just above the poverty line but not -- right now, under this bill, would not get a subsidy. Under Obamacare would have gotten -- depending on the state, would have gotten some coverage?
COLLINS: Well, depending on the state is the key word. This bill would phase out the expansion of Medicaid to cover that very vulnerable low- income population.
Now, the good news is -- in the Senate bill is that population will, for the first time, be eligible for subsidy for their insurance if they make below $12,000 a year.
And, right now, in a state that didn`t expand Medicaid, they get no help whatsoever. And so, that is a good provision that`s an improvement over the current law --
COLLINS: -- and the House bill.
But there are deep Medicaid cuts down the road and I`m really concerned about what the impact of those cuts will be on the individuals who are covered as well as our rural hospitals and other health care providers.
TODD: Right. Look, this bill -- the House version of this bill, and if you want to say differently, go ahead, but it seems to me it`s -- they are more similar than they are different, the Senate and the House bill.
And what we learned from the Congressional Budget Office on the House bill, their big concern was, while they said, yes, this would lower premiums, that the cost of health care would go up. The individual cost to people. So, while premiums would go down, your out-of-pocket cost would likely increase.
How does this bill address that in the Senate?
COLLINS: My analysis is that out-of-pocket cuts would increase under the Senate bill as well. And that`s one of my major concerns. We`ll have to wait to see what CBO says.
But under the House bill, as you know, for that very vulnerable group, between the age of 50 and 64, living in northern Maine and with an income of only $26,400, there would be as much as an 800 percent increase in premiums as well as higher deductibles and copays.
We can`t have that happen. We`re still waiting for the analysis from CBO to see what the impact will be.
Do keep in mind that the Senate bill does adjust for income which the House bill didn`t.
TODD: Let me as you this, though. You -- look, you laid out an argument of why you`re not in favor of this bill. How much -- what is the personal level of, like, well, I don`t like this bill but I`ll support it? What is that line for you, as a Republican, as a -- Mitch McConnell says to you, don`t be the only vote -- don`t be the last vote that kills this?
We know you don`t like half of it. What is your -- you know, is it the Planned Parenthood amendment? I mean, what is your line in the sand?
COLLINS: Well, I can`t support a bill that`s going to greatly increase premiums for our older Americans or out-of-pocket cost for those who aren`t quite old enough for Medicare yet. I cannot support a bill that is going to result in 10s of millions of people losing their health insurance.
And I cannot support a bill that`s going to make such deep cuts and Medicaid that it`s going to ship billions of dollars of cuts to our state governments to those who have insurance and to health care providers, such as rural hospitals, which would be faced with a great deal of uncompensated care.
[17:10:08] So, it isn`t any one factor. I do care also about funding of Planned Parenthood but it`s all of those factors put together that will influence my decision. (INAUDIBLE) --
TODD: Can you imagine -- can you imagine enough amendments passing that it would fulfill those pledges that you just made?
COLLINS: Well, it`s going to be an open amendment process and I`m sure many of us are going to have amendments. In addition, I want to see the CBO analysis because I don`t know the exact impact yet.
TODD: All right, well then, Senator Collins, I will leave it there. As always, very thoughtful on this issue. I appreciate you coming on and sharing your views.
COLLINS: Thank you, Chuck.
TODD: Well, let me bring in tonight`s panel, Matthew Continetti, Editor- in-Chief for the "Washington Free Beacon," Jennifer Palmieri is a former Clinton and Obama communications` director, and Sahil Kapur is National Political Reporter for "Bloomberg News."
And, like I said, a little bit later in the show, we`re going to talk to Rand Paul. So, you hear, sort of, a criticism from the moderately end of the Republican Party and then you`re going to hear criticism that is built from the conservative wing.
Matthew, let me start with you. As editor-in-chief of an editorial, sort of, page director of sorts for a conservative publication, where are you on this bill?
MATTHEW CONTINETTI, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "WASHINGTON FREE BEACON": On this bill?
CONTINETTI: It is what it is. The Republicans have put themselves in this position. They need to repeal Obamacare in order to free up space in the budget for the tax cut. Historically, Republicans are terrible on health care. Not for ideological reasons. A lot of them want to have a free market consumer-driven health care system which I support. But they`re just uncomfortable talking about it.
And so, to start your whole policy process with the one issue which you`ve never had much experience or skill discussing leads to problem which we saw in the House and which we`re now seeing again in the Senate where the two ends of the caucus are fighting against the middle.
But the bill passed the House and I wouldn`t be surprised if somehow the senators in the Senate work things out as well.
TODD: You know, Jennifer, in a perverted way, funhouse mirror way of looking at it, I swear to God I`ve had this -- I`ve done this same story. It just was on the Democratic side of the Senate where you had Ben Nelson on one end and, oh, that guy, Bernie Sanders, on the other end, sort of squeezing the middle here a little bit.
JENNIFER PALMIERI, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, CLINTON AND OBAMA ADMINISTRATIONS: Yes. And it does -- they all -- I mean, if you -- if you take what everyone, with all four of them and now what Senator Collins said today, they all sound like people who are going to make a deal. They all sound like people who are going to eventually --
TODD: They`re looking for deals. They`re saying, hello, this is what --
PALMIERI: They`re a little transparent about it. And I think it`s really destructive. I mean, it is their -- if they pass this bill and -- you know, which I think is going to do a lot of damage, but it`s also going to be very destructive politically.
And they`re going to walk into an August -- they`re going to walk into an August recess. And you know what that August recess is going to look like. And they`re going to get destroyed in it. Because this is hurting a lot of real people.
I mean, look at just what the Capitol looks like today, you know, disabled people in wheelchairs being arrested. It is going to be very ugly. And it should deservedly so because it would do a lot of damage.
And how they reconcile this, literally and politically, and actually pass something, I still find very difficult to imagine they will do.
TODD: So, the thing that intrigues me is watching Mitch McConnell here. I mean, the guy -- one thing, I mean, you know, he`s basically said, fine. You want to criticize me for not seeing this bill? Trust me, here`s why. It`s what Matthew said.
TODD: I mean, he`s not wrong. He was trying -- in a weird way, he`s trying to protect -- as bad as this looks, I think he`s probably saying, you have no idea how bad this would be if we had an open process (ph).
SAHIL KAPUR, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, "BLOOMBERG NEWS": Mitch McConnell is an extremely strategic legislator. He doesn`t do anything by accident. The fact that he`s keeping this a secret of process and that he pretty much kept it a secret, wrote this in secret throughout, means, to me, that he calculated that that would be less politically damaging than debating these provisions in the light of day.
We just saw your pollster at 16 percent of the public dislikes this bill. People like the idea of repealing Obamacare and the abstract, because Obamacare was very effectively opposed by the Republicans at the time.
But Republicans struggle to do, as Matthew just pointed out, is agree on what the goals of health care should be. Should it be to reduce cost? Should it be coverage? Should it be to reduce the size of government? This is why you`re seeing such chaos.
CONTINETTI: Can I just say, though, the discussion we`re having today would be far, far different had Karen Handel lost in Georgia Sixth on Tuesday.
TODD: I don`t think we would -- all right, what do you think? I don`t think we`d be having the discussion.
CONTINETTI: The fact of the moral support that that victory gave to Mitch McConnell and to the administration and the Republicans who want to deliver on their promise of repealing and replacing Obamacare cannot be underestimated. And I think that`s one more reason why these type of deals that we`re talking about probably will be struck.
PALMIERI: I just wonder if McConnell really wants it. I mean, he is a -- he`s --
TODD: It`s funny you say that. You`re not the first --
PALMIERI: -- I really want to --
TODD: -- you say this from a Democrat -- I`ve had a Republicans -- a few Republicans say that, like, look, McConnell`s basically saying, I`m giving you guys a week.
TODD: And you know what? If it can`t be passed, I`m out.
PALMIERI: Yes. Yes. I`m going to put it on the floor. I`m going to get it done. I`m going to prove it can`t be done. Like George (INAUDIBLE) did at 94. And I think that, you know, he`s as wily a legislator as Mitch, certainly.
[17:15:00] And I just don`t know -- it -- because it -- how is this going to end? It does not -- it`s going to end in some kind of disaster for this party. I just don`t see how he -- how he --
TODD: I don`t know. I can picture this, though, Sahil. I can picture McConnell going to Susan Collins. Let`s say Rob Portman, too. We didn`t bring him up. I think he`s got some concerns on Medicaid, although we`ll see what Kasich has to say. Dean Heller basically put it on Sandoval, his governor, to say, you tell me whether this is a good or bad (INAUDIBLE) and I`ll vote that way.
But it feels as if -- like, McConnell may be able to say the same thing Harry Reid did to the Ben Nelsons of the world. Just get me to -- get me to reconciliation. Just get it out of the Senate for now. We`ll deal with that later. I have a feeling that will be an affective (INAUDIBLE.)
KAPUR: I think he absolutely wants to get this done. This is something he campaigned on for seven years. Republicans have campaign on this consistently. They won the House. They won the Senate. They won the White House while campaigning on this.
I don`t think he sees much on the agenda if he can`t deliver on the one thing that Republicans have obsessed about.
And if did -- if he did somehow secretly not really want this to pass, I don`t think he would have centralized the process the way he did. He could have pushed it off to the committees.
PALMIERI: I think he`s giving it the best shot. He`s giving the best shot.
KAPUR: Let them do it and eventually say, the Senate (INAUDIBLE.)
PALMIERI: I think he`s very --
KAPUR: I think he has decided that this is the best way to get it done. But he wants finality on this issue. He doesn`t want to let it hang in perpetuity.
TODD: Jen, I`m not going to presume Democrat senators are going to call you or not call you for advice. But there`s going to be a voto-rama on amendments in here. Things like Planned Parenthood that Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski desperately want. Democrats could actually help make that happen. What do Democrats do next week during the voto-rama on the amendments?
PALMIERI: I think, the most important -- the most important role for Democrat senators is to do whatever they can to obstruct it from passing. So, if that means helping --
TODD: Even if it looks (INAUDIBLE) on some votes?
PALMIERI: Yes. I know, because it`s not. Because it is operating in a larger principle of stopping this bill. That is truly dangerous and is really going to -- is actually going to -- it`s actually going to hurt people. So, I think that they should do that with a very clear -- that means --
PALMIERI: -- talking about -- that means I`m about Russia again next week. You should do that. You should do whatever you can do that`s going to prevent -- that`s going to provoke the president into being unhelpful to stop this bill.
CONTINETTI: Because the people on the right who were criticizing it for being Obamacare like should listen to people like Jen and President Obama who clearly do not think that this bill is anything approaching Obamacare.
TODD: I know --
CONTINETTI: And the Democratic obstruction is -- may actually be the (INAUDIBLE) for Republicans to say, you know what? Maybe this is the best we can do. This is probably what we need to lay a benchmark and go -- and then go ahead.
KAPUR: I have to say, there`s no way McConnell will allow the voto-rama to simply work its will on the floor. They`re going to -- there`s going to be a deal or there`s not going to be a deal beforehand. And he`s going to decide what amendments they`re going to put on the floor and that can and everything else is going to --
TODD: Are we going to start doing things like the amendment tree? Filling the tree. I hate this. All this horrible legislative mumbo jumbo. Oh, he`s filling the tree. And I`m, like, oh.
KAPUR: There`ll be a lot of legislative mumbo jumbo but you can`t fill the tree on a reconciliation bill. It`s unlimited amendments. What Republicans can do is pledge to vote them all down if there is a deal.
Remember, they have to meet a reconciliation target. A deficit reduction the same as the House bill. That`s not going to be easy. And if you just put it on the floor and let everybody do their thing. It`s not going to happen.
TODD: By the way, we saw this happen once. Remember, during the immigration bill where Marco Rubio and the gang of eight locked arms on the voto-rama. And they voted down things, even things that they were personally uncomfortable doing.
Anyway, it`s not unprecedented to see a locking of arms on that. This is interesting. I`d kind of like to keep it going. But wait until you hear what Rand Paul has to say, I think.
You guys stay with us. Coming up, we`ll talk to Senator Rand Paul on what he needs to see changed in the health care bill to win his support. And what happens if you get enough to win his, do you lose hers?
And next, more new numbers from our NBC News-"Wall Street Journal" poll, including the president`s job approval and a first look at 2018.
TODD: Hot off the presses. More headlines from our brand new NBC News- "Wall Street Journal" poll. If you`re a Pink Floyd fan, you might say this poll is comfortably numb for the president and his party.
The president`s job approval not great. 40 percent approve, 55 percent disapprove. But that number hasn`t budged despite the Comey hearing, the special counsel investigation, the obstruction of justice allegations, his base is still there with him.
The partisan breakdown tells you everything. Republicans cheer this president by an 82 to 12 margin. But even more Democrats jeer him. 90 percent of Democrats disapprove. Now, let`s look at the generic ballot. And that ain`t looking great either if you`re a Republican. 42 percent say they want Republicans to control Congress after the 2018 mid-terms. 50 percent want Democrats in control.
And, folks, it`s early and thanks to the way our districts are drawn, you might need to look at it this way. Democrats might need an even bigger margin nationally if they want the take back the House. Eight points isn`t enough. Once they get to 10, then maybe you`re talking the House is in play.
And, lastly, there`s Russia. 53 percent says, yes, Russia did interfere in our election versus 35 percent who say they didn`t.
But check out this partisan split. Just 26 percent of Republicans agree with the intelligence community and just about everybody else in government on Russian meddling. 65 percent seem to follow the president`s lead. They say Russia did not meddle in this election. And as you`d expect, Democrats say they did, 78 to 11.
More MTP DAILY right after this.
TODD: And we are back.
Joining me now is Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Senator Paul, welcome back, sir. Good to see you.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Thanks for having me.
TODD: Let me start with what you said about the House bill. Because, to me, the criticism seems similar. You were not happy. You said the Senate has a chance to fix Obamacare after the House did not.
And you -- as part of your op-ed, you said there were many areas of reform considered repealing regulations, cutting taxes and introducing free market reforms into the system. The bill, so far, falls short on two of these three. Essentially, you said, it just cuts taxes. How would you assess the Senate bill on those three key requirements?
PAUL: I think the bills are actually very similar. Both of them do a good job of cutting the Obamacare taxes. But I`m all for that. But if you keep the Obamacare spending or you stretch it out over a many year period, you`re going to have spending without the revenue to pay for it. And so, that makes the debt worse.
The other thing is that in the current Republican bill, as it stands, they repeal two out of 12 regulations. Well, the regulations where the mandates that go into your insurance. You have to have pregnancy coverage and dental and vision and all that. That`s what added the expenditure to insurance and calls the death spiral that`s going on in the individua market.
So, if you leave those regulations in place, 10 out of 12, if you tell people you can wait until you`re sick to buy insurance, that`s what`ll happen. People will wait until they`re sick to buy insurance. And you get this death spiral with the rising prices.
So, I don`t think we fixed that. Except for Republicans say, we`re going to fix it. We`ll fix it by dumping a bunch of taxpayer money into the coffers (ph) of insurance companies.
PAUL: It`s, like, $110 billion, new federal program to give money to insurance companies that makes $15 billion a year. I think it`s a crazy idea.
[17:25:02] So, we`ve got to get a long way towards repeal and market reform to get me on board. But I think we`re willing to negotiate is really what -- is the message we`re sending today.
TODD: OK. That`s an interesting way you just ended there. I have to say what you just said about the subsidies and the tax credits, however you want to describe it. But you`re absolutely right. It`s government money and it looks like it`s -- in order to pay for insurance and it goes in the insurance companies. It`s an interesting description and I don`t think many people would disagree.
How are you able -- there is -- it seems as if -- how are you able to negotiate that much differently from what this bill looks like that it would get you on board? It doesn`t sound like they can, really, get rid of those subsidies or they`re going to lose too many other senators.
PAUL: Well, that`s the jockeying that will happen now. And I think by four conservatives announcing early on that we can`t support the bill as written, we`re going to try to tug it in our direction. And we`ll see, will it be adequate for all of us to vote for it? (INAUDIBLE.)
TODD: What are you willing to ease?
PAUL: Will they come at all in our direction? That -- we don`t know that either.
TODD: Look, I know you don`t want to show your cards, in this case. But, I guess, look, you -- to get to yes, it sounds like there`s something you`re going to have to, like, go, well, I don`t like this part of it. I don`t like that part of it. But I`m willing to take one for the team.
What`s your line on that? I mean, I`m sure Mitch McConnell really wants to know. And, look, you`re -- you and your dad were always nicknamed Dr. No. And so, maybe there -- maybe there isn`t a way for you to get there.
But what is that line for you?
PAUL: You know, there are broad areas that have to be a lot better than they are, repealing regulations because that adds cost to insurance. And we`re promising people that we`re going to give them less expensive insurance.
That promise is a false promise if we don`t get rid of the regulations. So, we`re only repealing two out of 12. We could go in the right direction and repeal more. That might be helpful.
The other thing is that --
TODD: So, all 12 is in a -- all 12 does -- do not have to be met to get your vote but more than two, is what you`re saying.
PAUL: Well, what I would say is the current bill has two and I`m for 12. So, there could be a compromise somewhere in between that.
But, you know, we start with our positions. But our position had no leverage if it`s me by myself or --
PAUL: -- Ted Cruz or Mike Lee, Ron Johnson. By ourselves, we have no leverage. Together, the four of us have some leverage. We`re going to have to decide, are people willing to tug the bill in a direction more towards the marketplace, less regulations but also subsidies, in the sense that we cannot subsidize something through borrowed money.
This year, Congress will borrow $500 billion to meet our traditional expenditures, Medicaid, Social Security, Medicaid that we had before Obamacare. We didn`t have enough money even for the (INAUDIBLE) we had before we (INAUDIBLE.)
TODD: Senator, what bill is going to -- what bill isn`t going to have some subsidies here? What bill isn`t going to create a deficit problem here? Do you really think the bill, as you`ve seen, even if they amend a couple things here, and -- honestly, do you really think that it`s ever going to get that close to make you feel comfortable on the -- on the fiscal side of things?
PAUL: We`ll see. The thing is the subsidies, right now in this bill, we think may exceed Obamacare. So, you know, we can`t, with a straight face, vote for something you`re calling a repeal bill.
I think when we look at the individualized CBO scores on Monday, I think that the Obama subsidies and the Republican subsidies are going to be virtually identical. And there`s a chance that Republican subsidies are actually more generous than Obamacare subsidies which I think would be alarming to those of us who are for repeal.
I think also, when you look at it, the actual spending of year by year, we are estimating that the first couple of years, this bill may spend more than Obamacare because they`re promising the savings in the outlying years.
PAUL: And this is a traditional trickery of Washington. Promise people something in year nine and 10. And when year nine and 10 comes, you change the bill.
TODD: I`ll gladly pay you a quarter for that hamburger, sir.
TODD: No, but let me finish with this, though, because a lot of your -- I know I`m about -- I probably haven`t looked yet but I`ve got a bunch of tweets going, hey, I like -- KY connect. Ask the senator why he wants to get rid of KY connect.
PAUL: You know, --
TODD: It has -- it has been running better than most exchanges.
PAUL: In our state, most people got Medicaid. About 450,000 people got Medicaid that did not have insurance. So, people say, well, yes, they now have access to health care. And if we are honest about it, that might not be so bad. Honesty would be that we paid for it.
Under Obamacare, we just said the federal government would pay for it. But the federal government has nothing more than a printing press. We run a deficit every year. We have a $22 trillion debt.
TODD: No, it raised a bunch of taxes to pay for this.
PAUL: No, it goes through the federal government. And the federal government really runs at a deficit.
TODD: I know that.
PAUL: We don`t (INAUDIBLE) traditional.
TODD: If you look at the bill within its own silo, it was designed -- those taxes were designed to pay for this.
PAUL: Right. And there`s some chicanery in how we come up with the mathematics.
What I would say is that Medicaid in order to be paid for, if you really want to expand it, let the states pay for it. Why do we do the trick of saying the federal government should pay for it? Because one, we just borrow it. If Kentucky had to pay for it, that`s the question. Would they like Medicaid expansion if we had to double the state income tax and double the sales tax?
I think you will get some push back. That`s the balance we need. People need to see the payment and they need to see the benefit and make a clear cut judgment, do you want to pay more taxes or something? Most things in Washington are slide of hand and is done through borrowing. And we are running an annual job seat (ph) of 500 billion. You can match it up anyway you want. We are spending more than comes in for all of our programs.
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR, "MEET THE PRESS DAILY" SHOW HOST: Senator Rand Paul, I appreciate you coming on and bringing your perspective.
PAUL: Thank you.
TODD: Always appreciate it, thanks.
TODD: All right. Viewers, you figure it out. Susan Collins and Rand Paul. Are they nosed -- hard-nosed? You tell me. I`m curious. You heard them both. Still ahead, are Nancy Pelosi`s days as house democratic leader number comes to Tim Ryan who challenged Pelosi for a leadership spot last fall and lost joins me to discuss the new calls for a change at the top.
TODD: Up next, Congressman Tim Ryan on the Democrat leadership and message dilemma. Plus, another Trump Twitter claim comes up short. But first, Courtney Reagan with the "CNBC Market Wrap." Hello, Courtney.
COURTNEY REAGAN, GENERAL ASSIGNMENT REPORTER FOR CNBC: Hi, thanks very much, Chuck. The stocks in Wall Street end the day mix. The health care sector rallying no after Republicans unveil the bill to repeal Obamacare. The Dow shed 12 points, the S&P lost just 1, and the Nasdaq gained 2 points. Health insurance and hospital stocks did surge though following the release of the Obamacare repeal bill.
Johnson & Johnson gained 1 percent. United Health Group rose nearly 1 percent as well. Oil trying to rebound from back-to-back sell off of a day after sinking to its lowest price since August. Crude futures for August delivery climbed 0.6 percent. That`s it from CNBC. We are first in business worldwide.
TODD: Welcome back. Following this week`s defeat in Georgia, handful of house Democrats began to publicly waiver in their support of leader Nancy Pelosi.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
FILEMON VELA, U.S. CONGRESS REPRESENTATIVE FROM TEXAS: As long as Nancy Pelosi is the leader of the Democratic Party, it is going to be very difficult to win the house seat that lead to win in 2018.
SETH MOULTON, U.S. CONGRESS REPRESENTATIVE FROM MASSACHUSETTS: I think across the board of the Democratic Party, we need a new leadership. It is time for a new generation of leadership in the party.
KATHLEEN RICE, U.S. CONGRESS REPRESENTATIVE FROM NEW YORK: Nancy Pelosi was a great speaker. She is a great leader. But her time has come and gone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: About a dozen Democratic members actually met privately this afternoon to discuss a potential change in leadership. Pelosi was defiant though this morning at a weekly news conference and she praised her own tenure.
(START VIDEO CLIP) NANCY PELOSI, MINORITY LEADER OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: I am proud of the energy that we have had and frankly my leadership in terms of keeping everybody together. You want me to sing my praises, is that what you are saying? Why should I, well, I am a master legislature. I am a strategic politically astute leader. I think I`m worth the trouble, quite frankly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: The top three house Democrats has had a remarkable longevity. Some would say to a fault the trio of Pelosi, Maryland Steny Hoyer, South Carolina Jim Clyburn has remained unchanged since 2007. Even after Democrats lost the house in 2010, they have lost a net of 40 house seats since taking over a decade ago.
The average 10-year in office for the three leaders is 30 years, average age 77. Joining me now is Ohio Democrat, Tim Ryan. He of course publicly challenged Nancy Pelosi for the role of house democratic leader last November, lost, but got a bigger number than many people thought. Congressman Ryan, thanks for coming on.
TIM RYAN, U.S. CONGRESS REPRESENTATIVE FROM OHIO: Thanks, Chuck.
TODD: So, I know a lot of people have been talking you today, even talking to a lot of my folks, but you just got out of this meeting. Cedric Richmond I know is in that meeting. He said something interesting. He said, when talked about the idea of Pelosi needing to step aside, he said, well, I think what we need is just an internal conversation and a family conversation, and I think we really need to have that.
It was reminded, did that happen in November, and he said, no, I am not sure that happened. Do you believe your challenge which was I think designed to start this conversation actually did not work when it comes to starting that conversation?
RYAN: Well, in some sense it did not work. I think we got some reforms and most of them internal with vice chairs and communication teams and all of that that we have internally within our own caucus. But clearly it is June now and we still don`t have a cohesive economic message that`s actually penetrating in some of these southern districts that are very difficult to win and the only way to win really is with a strong economic message.
I think that we came up short because we did not have that full conversation that`s mind boggling to me that it is June and some of our leaders are saying we really need an economic message and we have been saying that for a while now.
TODD: Well, where is yours? Why don`t you do it? Why wait for the leadership if they`re not going to do it?
RYAN: Well, my microphone isn`t quite as big, but I have been out there pounding the pavement on economic message. I think we need to get these jobs that cannot be outsourced. That needs to be the main thrust of the Democratic Party. Do things that like getting broadband in every corner of the country, redo our energy grid, create a smart grid that`s more secure, more safe and is a lot smarter.
These are jobs that actually we have to dig up in the ground to make sure that we get these things implemented and those jobs cannot be outsourced, Chuck. Those are two main things that will get people back to work. When you look at things like broadband, for every 10 percent penetration that you get, you will get about a 1.2 percent increase in your GDP.
So these are things that aren`t just make work, they`re actually going to change the trajectory of the economy. And there`s a lot of us talking about these things, but clearly at the national level, it is not penetrating.
TODD: Well, there has been a lot of I guess questioning as to why that is. I think I heard Joe Crowley, things that the Russia investigation has made it harder for you guys to come up with an economic message, and that the divide inside the party about whether do you want to focus more on Russia or focus more on the future and that the two are sort of competing with each other. What do you make of that?
RYAN: Well, there is some truth to that. The reality of it is we cannot just talk about how much we dislike Donald Trump or we cannot just talk about Russia because people back in Ohio are not really talking that much about Russia, about Putin, about Michael Flynn. They`re trying to figure out how they`re going to make the mortgage payment, how they`re going to pay for their kids to go to college, what their energy bill looks like.
And if we don`t talk more about their interest than we do about how much we are so angry with Donald Trump and everything that is going on, then we are never going to be able to win elections. Look, we got house committee having an investigation, the senate committee, Mueller is doing his investigation. Let that play out and lets come hard at the American people saying, look, this Democratic Party is going to do the things that Donald Trump said he was going to do.
He said he was going to get wages up, he said he was going to get the economy going. He hasn`t done a lick of that. He has betrayed the very voters who put him in office. If we don`t come and say, look, give us another chance, here is what we are for, broadband, smart grid, getting the federal government and other communities to make investments, then we are not going to able to win these races.
TODD: Let me go back to the Nancy Pelosi question here. Senator Richmond was asked about this idea. Should there be a change or not? Look, he`s in that place where I think a lot of house Democrats talked to me about this, they say, she was a great leader, great fund raiser, all of these things, but she has been overly demonized.
But he suggested this. Maybe Democrats should fight back and actually try to fix her perception problem with the public and he said the following. It will cost money and it will be an expensive endeavor, but I think we have run away from the entire issue.
I don`t ever think we fought back on it. At some point, we need to talk about Nancy and what she has done. If she comes to you, Tim Ryan, and says, lets do this economic message, hey, we need to fix my own personal politics here to help Democrats overall, are you for that?
RYAN: Look, I got a lot of respect for Nancy Pelosi and she has been unfairly tarnished in so many different ways. But, I am not so sure it is a good idea for us to spend, it would have to take hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to compete with hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars if not a billion dollars over the last 10 years spent demonizing her.
That`s a huge endeavor for us to undertake. I think we need to focus on the people who are running. We have some good candidates who ran on a couple of races and we need to get these candidates and be able to support them and support them early. I don`t know if it is a good idea to spend all that money trying to re-brand and undo something. I think the genie is out of the bottle.
That`s why I ran in November, Chuck, because I am making the same argument now that I made then, is that, look, we got to increase our chances to take the house back. You know, it is just like an athletic team. You got to make sure you increase your chances. What`s the best thing that we can do to help us win? Right now, unfortunately, our national brand is an impediment to so many people in really tough districts where three, four, five points make a big difference.
TODD: Bottom line, do you think Nancy Pelosi is perceived as the potential next speaker of the house in October of 2018? That is the -- Democrats if they win the house, that`s what it is, and that`s what voters believe. Do you think that will cost Democrats` chance of the house?
RYAN: I think it potentially could, yes. Donald Trump is president. God knows what he will do between now and election day and God knows how many Republicans will support him, for example, with this health care. They are throwing millions of people off of their health care, budget that`s gutting major programs that create opportunity and put money in the pockets of so many marginalized communities around our country.
Who knows what he will do, but I think it does reduce our chances of doing it. I`m not saying it can`t be done, but it does reduce our chances to make that happen.
TODD: Let me ask you this, other than hand wringing, having these private meetings, what can you do about this now? Do you think some things need to be done now?
RYAN: Well, I think really try to put forward an economic message and myself and a couple other people are talking about how we do that right now, a real robust bold message that would create.
TODD: I am talking about the Pelosi situation. How do you force a vote on a leadership position if you think it needs to be done?
RYAN: Well, I don`t know. I mean, that`s why people are meeting to talk about what`s the way forward. Is it inevitable that we are going to keep the current leadership or is there another road that people want to go down? Look, I`ve tried to do this in November. The caucus needs to make a decision. Do you want to go into the midterm elections with Speaker Leader Pelosi as our leader or do you want to make a change in the caucus? You got to make that determination.
TODD: Tim Ryan, Democrat from Ohio. Appreciate you coming on and sharing your view, sir.
RYAN: Thanks, Chuck.
TODD: Just ahead, the conclusion of President Trump`s tale of the tapes.
TODD: Welcome back. Tonight, I`m obsessed with something President Trump suggested was true, never technically said it was true, that few people ever believed was true, in which today he admitted wasn`t true.
This afternoon, the president tweeted the following. "With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are tapes or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings."
Well, stop the presses. Raise your hand if you thought there were tapes with or without quotation marks. Of course, this is not the first time President Trump has rolled out the red carpet for an announcement that never came. Remember his claim that his investigators couldn`t believe what they were finding out in Hawaii about President Obama`s birth certificate?
Well, apparently there was no reason for the investigators to believe what they were finding because they didn`t find anything. In fact, no one ever found the investigators either. It`s also been two and a half months since the president told "The New York Times" that he has evidence former national security advisor, Susan Rice, committed a crime and that he would reveal it at the right time, or about the promise that Mexico would pay for the wall.
Apparently, the sun is going to handle that one when the wall is built. That`s right, solar-powered wall. Mexico won`t build it, but the sun will, sun will pay for it. Finally, let`s not forget the president`s promise that he will release his tax returns as soon as the audit is over. Raise your hand again if you expect to see reporters pouring over his tax numbers any time soon. We`ll be right back.
TODD: Welcome back. "Lid" time, Matthew, Jennifer, Sahil. All right. Let`s talk about Tim Ryan and Nancy Pelosi.
JENNIFER PALMIERI, FORMER CLINTON CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Why are you looking at me?
TODD: It`s your party, Jennifer.
TODD: Look, Nancy Pelosi is not going anywhere, is she?
TODD: Should she?
PALMIERI: I think that was pretty apparent. Let me say I hate about Democrats that the first reaction to the loss in Georgia is to figure out how do we blunt Republican criticism of us as opposed to what is our good offensive message. I feel like it would be much productive to focus on that. I would also note that it`s June of the first year of a presidency.
So, the notion that why don`t the Democrats have a good national economic message, you wouldn`t have a means of communicating that at this point under any circumstances. So, I think that there is -- I know that there`s a lot of people including Tim Ryan that are working on what is the best economic message going forward would be. I think the most important thing for the party to be doing now is recruiting really great candidates.
The way you do that is by keeping Donald Trump`s approval rating low. So the fact that there is a lot of focus on Russia, tactically, it is something that Democrats should not be concerned about at this point and they should be doing the work of developing the best economic answers that we have for next year.
TODD: That was the most interesting thing. Two Democrats today, I`ve seen Joe Crowley and now Tim Ryan sort of concurring on this Russia thing, which is sort of like, let it stay over here. We don`t have to amplify Russia. Let others amplify Russia, which also sounds like at times Bob Corker and John McCain.
MATTHEW CONTINETTI, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF THE WASHINGTON FREE BEACON, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR TO THE WEEKLY STANDARD: If had there been evidence to the Russia story in terms of collusion that was being implied when the investigation opened a year ago and when the so called steal dossier was disclosed earlier this year, that might have helped the Russia story. Maybe Democrats will be more eager to talk about it. But we had a year of the investigation. We don`t have conclusive evidence.
PALMIERI: It`s not over.
CONTINETTI: We now have an investigation into obstruction of the crime that doesn`t seem to have been happened. So, how are you going to talk about your economic message when you`re continually talking about Russia? Your point about it having tactical sense of continually lowering his approval rating might be the case but you`re still not going to have an affirmative way to talk about jobs. I also say.
CONTINETTI: . Donald Trump`s economic plan. Trump took the economic agenda from the Democrats. What would the traditional democratic economic plan be?
CONTINETTI: Infrastructure and protecting jobs from going oversees.
TODD: You`re on the hill, let`s talk about the brass tacks (ph) of whether there`s always a lot more Democrats behind the scene in the house that will tell you Nancy Pelosi will go and the ones that will do it in front of the camera.
SAHIL KAPUR, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER FOR BLOOMBERG POLITICS: Right.
TODD: I mean, that is what we know. If there was a secret ballot, she would be in more trouble than I think she`s in.
KAPUR: Right. The gamble that Democrats are taking here is her fund raising ability and the fact she has been very, very effective in many ways throughout a decade and a half now as leader, whether that outweighs the fact that every Republican on every ticket up and down the ballot can campaign against her and proved effective. There`s nothing that Jon Ossoff said that connected him to Nancy Pelosi really. He ran as a moderate who is going to cut spending and yet they ran ads linking him to her and it worked.
TODD: I think that`s the bind that house Democrats are in.
KAPUR: Yeah. TODD: They don`t like.
PALMIERI: Focus on what you can control and what your offensive message, not what the Republicans are going to make their attacks on you.
TODD: They keep pulling the seats. Anyway. Thank you very much. We`ll be right back.
TODD: Well, that`s all for tonight. We`ll be back tomorrow with more "MTP Daily." Friday version. Wait until you see some parts of our NBC Wall Street Journal poll that tell you we`re not in a post-truth world, we`re in a post-substance world. "For the Record" with Greta starts right now. Greta, take it away.
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