Montana’s Goon in Washington

Over 20 million Americans will lose their health insurance in the U.S. Senate votes to repeal the ACA (Affordable Care Act).

However, these remain desperate times for the GOP. Earlier this week, Republicans lacked the votes to move forward on debating their reckless “health care” bills and had to call in Vice President Mike Pence to be the deciding vote. They lacked the votes thanks the brains and courage of a couple of reasonable Republicans. One of them being Senator Lisa Murkowski or Alaska.

The Trump Administration’s response was predictable: throw a tantrum and call in the goons.

The Alaska Dispatch is reporting that following the vote, Senator Murkowski and Alaska Governor Sullivan received a threatening phone calls from our very own Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior.

Early Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to express displeasure with Murkowski’s vote. By that afternoon, each of Alaska’s two Republican senators had received a phone call from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke letting them know the vote had put Alaska’s future with the administration in jeopardy.

Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan said the call from Zinke heralded a “troubling message.”

“I tried to push back on behalf of all Alaskans. … We’re facing some difficult times and there’s a lot of enthusiasm for the policies that Secretary Zinke and the president have been talking about with regard to our economy. But the message was pretty clear,” Sullivan said. The Interior secretary also contacted Murkowski, he said.

Sullivan said the Interior secretary was clear that his message was in response to the no vote Murkowski cast Tuesday on the motion to proceed with debate on the House-passed health care legislation.

Senator Murkowski’s response was more blunt:

“With all due respect, Mr. President,” she said, according to some of the people at the private White House lunch, “I didn’t come here to represent the Republican Party. I am representing my constituents and the state of Alaska.”

Two days earlier, The New York Times published a scathing expose on Secretary Zink and his corporate agenda:

“I’m a Teddy Roosevelt guy!” the interior secretary said in an April announcement that he would commence a review of the boundaries of the nation’s national monuments. “No one loves public lands more than I do.”

But as the secretary hopscotches across millions of acres of Western parks, monuments and wilderness with his Stetson-sporting swagger, a crew of political appointees in Washington has begun rolling back the conservation efforts put in effect over the eight years of the Obama administration. Many of those appointees spent the Obama years working for the oil and gas industry — and they come to the Interior Department with an insider’s knowledge of how its levers work and a wish list of policies from their former employers.

The questions has to be asked: what exactly is Ryan Zinke doing as Secretary of the Interior? He appears to be spending a lot of time vacationing in America’s most beautiful places, while his staff work to undermine public lands and public access. And when he’s not doing that, he’s acting as Trump’s goon. What exact role should the Secretary of the Interior be playing in the health care debate? That answer is “none.”

[UPDATE]

The Hill reports:

The committee led by Sen. Lisa Murkowski postponed a vote on six Trump administration nominees on Wednesday, the same day a Cabinet secretary allegedly threatened retribution against the Alaska Republican over her healthcare vote.

via GIPHY

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