Hats Off to Kevin McCarthy, the Big Winner in Yesterday’s Vote; Putin Health Rumors — Again
Author: Greg Valliere
April 27, 2023
WHILE IT’S STILL VIRTUALLY CERTAIN that the Senate will reject the deep spending cuts in McCarthy’s bill, the dynamics have changed a bit. McCarthy can say “we passed budget cuts, so what have the Democrats done?” Democrats had portrayed conservatives in the House as the obstructionists — but which side has produced a bill?
AT SOME POINT PRESIDENT BIDEN WILL HAVE TO NEGOTIATE with the House Republicans, and McCarthy begins that process with a victory. He’s been vastly under-rated by most people in Washington, including us.
TWO BIG TAKE-AWAYS: First, McCarthy is adept at horse-trading; he managed to appease the Iowa Republicans, keeping their priority — ethanol subsidies — in the bill. And he made commitments to conservatives on work requirements for people receiving government benefits. Second, McCarthy easily subdued a right wing rebellion in the House; whether he can get the activists to support a more liberal Senate bill remains to be seen.
BOTTOM LINE: Gridlock between the two houses is still likely for many weeks to come, but McCarthy has some fresh clout and the faint beginnings of a deal. The White House now has to respond.
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VLADIMIR PUTIN’S HEALTH: The rumors are back — is the Russian President ailing? Ever since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February of 2022 there have been reports that Putin is suffering from a neurological illness. Intelligence experts in the West generally dismiss these rumors; they say Putin is too healthy.
THERE WILL BE AN INTENSE FOCUS on Putin, 70, at the upcoming May Day parade in Moscow — his gait, his complexion, etc. At last year’s May Day parade, on a chilly day, he was wrapped in a blanket and appeared to be frail.
PUTIN HAS BEEN HUMILIATED by Russia’s inability to subdue Ukraine, and now it appears that China is hedging its bets on the war, unwilling to send arms to Russia. In addition to the enormous human toll in this war, the economic impact on Russia’s economy has become acute in recent weeks.
THE GREATEST RISK to Putin may not be his health. It may be the increasing opposition to him by oligarchs and the generals, who see the nation in a downward spiral that could last for years. Will they take matters into their own hands? That’s a more intriguing issue than the health rumors.
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