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NYT's Hulse: Trump Threats Against Defiant GOP Senators Could Backfire

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By    |   Tuesday, 01 Aug 2017 12:54 PM

White House efforts to threaten senators who refuse to back the party line on crucial votes can often backfire, The New York Times' Carl Hulse wrote in a column on Tuesday.

Hulse wrote that attempts in the past by presidents to strong-arm senators have often failed and even sometimes led those congressmen to switch parties.

The latest such threats have been made by President Donald Trump to those Republican senators who prevented the passage of a healthcare bill.

One such example, reported by the Alaska Dispatch News, describes how Alaska's two GOP senators received a phone call from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke letting them know that if the pair did not vote with the party on healthcare reform, then the state's future with the administration would be in jeopardy, indicating that key issues important to the state's economic growth would be at risk.

But Hulse wrote in The Times that the threat can work both ways for several reasons. First off, every decision the Trump administration makes on Alaska will be suspect now, and voters could determine that innocent residents were given an unfair punishment if the state suffers.

Another reason the threats could boomerang is that Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski is the chairwoman of both the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the appropriations subcommittee that funds the Department of the Interior, which means a case could be made that she has more control over parts of the agency than Zinke.

"In my experience, it is not wise for a cabinet secretary to bully the person who controls his purse strings," David Hayes, former interior deputy secretary in the Obama administration, told The Times.

"It's very curious: He seems to have the relationship backward. In many respects, she is his boss."

As far as the danger of not being re-elected due to opposing the party on the issue, another Republican senator voting against the president's wishes, Maine Sen. Susan Collins, has been praised in her state for her stance and many on Capitol Hill say voters admire independence and the resistance of pressure tactics.

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White House efforts to threaten senators who refuse to back the party line on crucial votes can often backfire, The New York Times' Carl Hulse wrote in a column on Tuesday.
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Tuesday, 01 Aug 2017 12:54 PM
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