Speaker of the House Paul Ryan issued a threat to the House Freedom Caucus in an interview that aired Thursday, warning that if they continue to obstruct President Trump’s agenda he is liable to start cutting deals with Democrats. It’s a remarkable statement from the GOP leader, indicating he doubts the ideological commitment of the Republican President and that he has reached the limit of negotiating with the conservative wing of his conference. Ryan’s interview was followed by a tweet from Trump Thursday morning: “The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don’t get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!” It remains to be seen just how serious Trump is about sticking it to the lawmakers who blocked the GOP’s most serious attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare, including whether he would support more moderate primary challengers or travel to their districts to turn up the pressure.
With health care disappearing in the rear-view mirror, Republicans are turning to tax reform and making good on Trump’s promise to promote $1 trillion in new infrastructure spending. The latter agenda item is the subject of TIME’s cover this week: “Dear Washington, we need to rebuild. Can you get your act together?” We take you inside the White House, where the Administration’s plans differ from Trump’s public comments suggesting he is ready to “prime the pump.” Instead of massive fiscal stimulus—which would pick up Democratic votes—Trump is playing in a more conservative lane, focused on rolling back or streamlining regulations. Officials argue that simply by shortening the project approval timelines they can clear the way for “trillions” in private spending on infrastructure. Call it the latest front in the White House’s war on the “administrative state.”
The Senate Intelligence Committee is becoming the credible venue for investigation of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election. The five big decisions facing Republicans in Congress. And the growing U.S. involvement in the Middle East under the Trump Administration.
Here are your must reads:
Inside the White House’s Infrastructure Plan
It’s less bipartisan than it seems [TIME]
5 Big Decisions Republicans in Congress Have to Make Soon
TIME’s Sam Frizell on the coming crises
What Will it Take to Rebuild America?
TIME’s David Von Drehle on the need for infrastructure investment
Senate Intelligence Committee Leaders Promise to Cooperate on Russia Probe
Senate positions itself as more credible than the House [Associated Press]
U.S. War Footprint Grows in Middle East, With No Endgame in Sight
Under Trump, expansion continues, but strategy is unclear [New York Times]
“What I worry about … is if we don’t do this, then he’ll just go work with Democrats to try to change Obamacare — and that’s hardly a conservative thing,” — Speaker of the House Paul Ryan on President Trump
“We have come a long way in our country when the speaker of one party urges a president NOT to work with the other party to solve a problem.” — Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) in a Thursday morning tweet
Bits and Bites
China’s President Xi Jinping Plans to Meet President Trump in Mar-a-Lago [Associated Press]
Ivanka Trump, Shifting Plans, Will Become a Federal Employee [New York Times]
North Carolina Republicans Announce Deal to End ‘Bathroom Bill’ Standoff [Associated Press]
Who is Julia Hahn? The unlikely rise of Steve Bannon’s right-hand woman. [Washington Post]