Trump Coverage Drowns out Republicans' Agenda

By Ferrechio, Susan | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, May 18, 2017 | Go to article overview

Trump Coverage Drowns out Republicans' Agenda


Ferrechio, Susan, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


Republicans on Capitol Hill spent last week fending off mobs of reporters who rarely asked a question about the GOP agenda.

Instead they wanted to know how Republicans feel about the escalating problems bubbling up from the Trump administration.

Drowned out were the talks about GOP's efforts to reform the tax code and repeal Obamacare, which led some to speculate that the Republican agenda has essentially been sidelined, perhaps permanently.

That's not true, say GOP lawmakers, who blame the Capitol Hill media for downplaying coverage of their agenda in favor of round-the-clock reporting of Trump's troubles.

"Today, I have dealt with healthcare, we've started to wade into actual tax reform," Sen Jim Risch, R-Idaho, told the Washington Examiner. "We can't make headlines, though. How can you make headlines when there is already a headline: Trump did ... fill in the blank."

Republicans are indeed working intensively on plans to make major reforms to the tax code as well as repeal and replace Obamacare.

The House Ways and Means Committee held its first major public hearing on tax reform on Thursday and has been meeting privately for weeks with lawmakers as well as key players in the Trump administration, including Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., denied the problems at the White House are interfering with completing tax reform.

"Our goal, and I feel very confident we can meet this goal, is calendar year 2017 for tax reform," Ryan said last week. "And I think we're making good progress."

In the Senate, Republican lawmakers meet daily to discuss how to write legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, while two separate working healthcare groups are holding several meetings each week.

"We are doing stuff all the time," said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. "All the press wants to cover is whatever is going on at the White House."

A new study backs up the GOP's complaint.

Harvard Kennedy School's Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy issued a report last week that found Trump was the topic among all news stories 41 percent of the time during his first 100 days in office. That's triple the level of coverage for previous presidents.

Almost all of the media coverage of Trump was negative, Harvard's analysis found, "setting a new standard for unfavorable press coverage of a president."

Trump's problems have literally migrated to Capitol Hill.

A half-dozen committees in the House and Senate are delving into allegations that Trump campaign officials colluded with Russian operatives ahead of the November election. …

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