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Comey's Firing Could Hamper GOP Legislative Efforts

Image: Comey's Firing Could Hamper GOP Legislative Efforts
President Donald Trump (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

By    |   Wednesday, 10 May 2017 09:30 PM

Congressional Republicans already were having trouble passing key legislation such as an overhaul of healthcare, but that might have gotten even harder after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday.

They have a narrow 52-48 majority in the Senate with several members facing re-election in tight races next year. With Democrats joining forces to attack the president's action as a move to avoid investigation, coupled with their legislative moves to slow the process, Republicans could face an uphill slog.

Republicans on Wednesday were repeatedly asked about Comey's firing amid allegations from Democrats that Trump dumped Comey over fears of his investigation Russia tried to influence November's election in his favor.

Politico reported the GOP Senate lunch Wednesday was a respite from repeated press questions and the lawmakers' talk stuck strictly to business: repealing and replacing Obamacare.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was the only person in that meeting to breach the Comey issue, saying he does not think there should be a special prosecutor appointed to look into the Russia issue.

"Absolutely [Comey's firing is] important, but in terms of the issues before us, I don't think it affects us," Louisiana GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy told Politico.

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker concurred, saying, "The healthcare effort right now is 100 percent Republican. Issues that you deal with that are done in a bipartisan way, sometimes it has an effect. In this particular case, it's having zero effect . . . there was no discussion."

But New York Rep. Pete King did concede there would be temporary setbacks.

"Anytime you have a controversy like this, at least in the short-term, it will be a hindrance going forward with legislation — that's just the reality," King said. "Yesterday, everyone was talking about healthcare. Today, all anyone is talking about is Comey and the FBI and Russia."

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz supported Comey's firing, but admitted it was making things tougher.

"That's always a concern," McClatchy quoted Cruz. "We have a narrow majority in the Senate, and we have a job to do."

A vote Wednesday proved that, as three Republicans joined the Senate's 48 Democrats to squash an effort to repeal an Obama-era rule limiting methane gas emissions.

Trump should take that vote seriously, Darrell West of the center-left Brookings Institution told McClatchy: "It could spread to other issues."

When Maine Sen. Susan Collins was asked by reporters if the Comey firing could affect the healthcare push, she replied, "I think it already has."

Some Republicans said, while the Comey issue is dominating Beltway babble, their constituents care more about other issues.

"The media enjoys this a lot more than normal people do," said Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma.

One issue where Trump might find trouble is in getting Democrats onboard his tax plan, according to Politico.

"His agenda was on life support already," a senior Democratic aide told the website. "He just pulled the plug himself."

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Congressional Republicans already were having trouble passing key legislation such as an overhaul of healthcare, but that might have gotten even harder after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday.
legislation, partisan, Congress, repeal and replace
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2017-30-10
Wednesday, 10 May 2017 09:30 PM
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