Tech billionaire Mark Cuban for president? Well, he's not ruling it out

Published: Monday, March 13, 2017 @ 3:45 PM
Updated: Monday, March 13, 2017 @ 3:45 PM

            Mark Cuban during a SXSW panel with Adam Lyons on Sunday March 12, 2017. (Ricardo Brazziell/American-Statesman)

Will Texas billionaire Mark Cuban run for president?

During a talk at South by Southwest, the judge of the reality show "Shark Tank" didn't rule out a 2020 race for the White House.

"I've got a lot of time to decide, and we'll see what happens," he told the crowd.

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Cuban's topic was government and tech disruption, and he spent plenty of time taking on President Donald Trump and his policies. 

"Disruptors are everything," Cuban said. "Having a unique idea and taking it through fruition is always hard. Now that we don't have an administration that's particularly tech literate, it's going to be a little more difficult."

Cuban compared Trump to the narcissistic movie character Zoolander played by Ben Stiller, and accused the president of not being tech savvy.

"He doesn't use Google," Cuban said. "Just think if your president was willing to take time to learn how to use a search engine."

Cuban, who called himself a libertarian, spoke on a panel alongside Adam Lyons, co-founder of car insurance marketplace The Zebra, which is based in Austin. Lyons landed Cuban as an investor in the company after cold emailing him a one paragraph pitch.

Cuban said that in most cases less regulation is good, but in areas such as health care and the environment, government action is needed.

"My position has evolved," he said. "In health care, those types of regulations are good. In the past I wouldn't have said that. But when we think our citizenry deserves something and it becomes a right, my preference would be to amend the constitution so health care is a right."

Despite controversy, Trump grinds out some progress in first 100 days

Published: Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 4:30 AM
Updated: Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 4:44 AM

As both parties and the White House do their very best to spin the first 100 days of the Trump Administration, it has been an at times tumultuous political start in the White House for President Donald Trump, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been able to make progress on some fronts in the opening weeks of his time in office.

Let’s take a look at where Mr. Trump has been able to push the ball down the field in his first 100 days – and where things have not gone according to plan.

1. Neal Gorsuch on the U.S. Supreme Court. When you talk to Republicans about the start of the Trump Administration, many GOP lawmakers eagerly cite this nomination. “We cannot miss that we have nominated and confirmed Neal Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA). “Confirming Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court in his first 100 days was a 30 year victory for President Trump,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR). We won’t know for many years where Gorsuch ends up on the ideological spectrum of the Court, but certainly there is no denying how important this was for Trump, and for Republicans who support him. “And I got it done in the first 100 days,” Trump said earlier this month. “You think that’s easy?”

2. Tough talk and enforcement leads to immigration slowdown. While President Trump certainly has not fulfilled all of his promises to crack down on illegal immigrants (DACA is still in effect, for example), his policy changes on immigration law enforcement seem to have had an impact, as the number of people trying to get across the southern border of the United States has clearly slowed. In December, over 16,000 families were stopped at the border – that was down to 1,100 in March. Overall in March, the number of people apprehended at the border is down 64 percent from where it was a year earlier. “These numbers are lower because we’ve shown we’re serious about border security and enforcing our immigration laws,” said Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

3. Trump, GOP try to reverse federal regulations. Whether through executive actions, or efforts within federal agencies to rewrite major rules and regulations, President Trump has certainly taken a step to fulfill his promise of overturning regulations. And Congress has chipped in as well, sending the President 13 different measures to overturn a regulatory rule of the Obama Administration. “We’ve lifted one terrible regulation after another at a record clip, from the energy sector to the auto sector. And we have many more to go,” Mr. Trump said as he signed an executive order last week. Whether you think these changes are good or bad isn’t the point – rolling back red tape and regulations is something Republicans have talked about a lot – now Mr. Trump is in position to deliver.

4. Trump follows through on tough trade rhetoric.

5. Shaking up Washington, D.C. If there was one message that I heard maybe more than any other out on the campaign trail in 2016, it was the desire of supporters of President Trump to send a message to the political establishment – of both parties. They wanted to vote for him, because he was going to shake things up in Washington. Well, he certainly has succeeded in doing that. Again – as in other examples – you may not agree with what he’s done, or how he has gone about doing it, but he certainly has introduced a different dynamic in the nation’s capital. Obviously, there is room for argument about whether shaking things up actually leads to progress.

While progress has been made on some of his goals, there are certainly other issues where the President and Republicans in Congress have not been able to push ahead and fulfill their campaign promises.

Some of those include:

+ Health care – The legislative effort to repeal and replace the Obama health law remains hung up in the House, and even if a bill gets approved there, it’s not clear what the Senate would be able to do, as Republicans remain at odds on the best way forward. The GOP was trying to get a vote in the House before the President’s 100th day, but had to abandon that plan on Thursday night. They will try again next week.

+ Infrastructure – President Trump talked a lot about how he would spur new job growth by pushing a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, using a public-private partnership to trigger work on new roads, bridges and more. But the White House has not unveiled any official proposal, and there is no momentum on it in the Congress. How do you pay for it? That was the big hangup in the Obama Administration as well.

+ Border wall money – The White House wanted money in a stop gap budget plan to help build a wall along the border with Mexico, but basically hit a wall in Congress. First, Democrats are in no mood to help him, and there are a number of Republicans who don’t think much of the issue either. This will be a flashpoint again later this year.

+ Tax reform – While the President unveiled an outline of a tax reform plan this week, many details were still To Be Determined, and that doesn’t bode well for fast action in the Congress on a tax bill. Back in 1985, President Reagan delivered a full legislative bill to Congress on reform, and that was used as the basis for action. This time, the GOP has a one page flyer from the President. Lawmakers like to have some political cover, and the President has offered little.

+ Expectations – While President Trump grumbled a bit this week about the 100 day measurement, he set the bar pretty high on his own last year during the campaign, vowing to get ten major initiatives through the Congress. Obviously, that wasn’t going to happen, but when you look back from this point, it’s important to realize how much energy it takes – even with one party control of the White House and the Congress.


Republicans put off House vote again on GOP health care bill

Published: Thursday, April 27, 2017 @ 11:12 PM
Updated: Thursday, April 27, 2017 @ 11:13 PM

Even with another major push to get Republicans on board with a plan to overhaul the Obama health law, House GOP leaders were unable to bring the bill to the floor for a vote on Friday, still short of the support needed to squeeze out a majority for a major campaign promise.

A day of arm twisting finally ended around 10 pm on Thursday night, as House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told reporters that there would be no vote on Friday or Saturday on health care, and that Republicans would try again next week.

“We’re going to go when we have the votes,” Speaker Paul Ryan had told reporters earlier in the day, as it became painfully evident for the GOP in the hours after that statement – again – that they were short on votes.

“I think they are real close,” said Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) Thursday afternoon about the vote count, who said GOP leaders “want to be certain “before taking the bill to the House floor.

Overall, Republicans were closer than previous attempts, as more conservative lawmakers who had resisted the bill in previous weeks, got on board in recent days.

“I think the recent amendments to the health care bill have been very significant,” said Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), a member of the more conservative House Freedom Caucus, who said he was ready to vote for the bill this time.

“I commend President Trump, Vice President Pence, Speaker Ryan, and my colleagues for keeping the lines of communication open, which has ultimately led to a better bill,” said Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), another Freedom Caucus member who was ready to vote “Yes.”

But the bottom line as lawmakers go home this weekend is the same – Republicans still haven’t found the magic formula to get the health care bill through the House.

Republicans press for possible Friday House vote on GOP health care bill

Published: Thursday, April 27, 2017 @ 7:58 AM
Updated: Thursday, April 27, 2017 @ 7:58 AM

With a group of more conservative lawmakers from the House Freedom Caucus now on board, Republicans in the House are setting the table for a possible Friday vote on a GOP bill to overhaul the Obama health law, a day before President Donald Trump marks his 100th day in office.

The clearest sign of a possible vote came late on Wednesday night, as Republicans posted the text of the GOP health bill – the American Health Care Act – and several related amendments, on a website which shows the expected schedule for the House floor.

The changes included language worked out in recent days by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), which would allow states to apply for waivers to certain provisions of the Obama health law, like the law’s Essential Health Benefits.

Also posted by the GOP was a fix for the MacArthur-Meadows amendment, which would strike out language that seemingly exempted members of Congress from any changes that might be made to health insurance coverage.

But while it was clear GOP leaders were now thinking about a House floor vote, it still seemed an uphill fight to convince reluctant Republican lawmakers to vote for that plan.

“I always vote my conscience, and this will not lower premiums,” said Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), one of a group of moderates who have not been sold on GOP health care efforts so far, worried it will go against the pledge to maintain protections for people with pre-existing health conditions.

In order to set up a Friday vote, Republicans would have to first have the House Rules Committee approve a resolution setting out the guidelines for debate, including on the new amendments to the GOP health plan.

New Obamacare overhaul plan gets support from Jordan, Freedom Caucus

Published: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 @ 3:31 PM
Updated: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 @ 3:31 PM

Congressman Jim Jordan. Getty Image

Rep. Jim Jordan of Urbana and other House GOP conservatives said they will back a revised health bill aimed at scrapping major sections of the 2010 health law known as Obamacare.

The conservatives, who this March scuttled a health care overhaul bill backed by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., today rallied behind a compromise that would allow states to opt out of some of Obamacare’s mandates.

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In particular, officials in each state could ask the federal government to waive Obamacare’s requirement that private insurance companies offer individual policies that offer a broad range of medical benefits and prevent them from charging higher premiums for people with pre-existing health conditions.

“While I remain committed to replacing Obamacare entirely, I can support this new version of the bill moving forward,” Jordan said today. “It is our best chance to pass a bill through the House that will actually reduce the cost of health insurance for everyday Americans.”

RELATED: Health care repeal risky for GOP

“I look forward to working with the Senate to further improve this bill, and deliver on the promise that Republicans and the president made to the American people,” Jordan said.

But it was unclear whether the revised bill has any chance of winning enough support from House GOP moderates to gain House approval. It also is very unlikely that the bill could win the 60 votes needed to pass the U.S. Senate.

Matt House, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said House Republicans “have made their bill worse for the health of the American people in order to buy off the” votes of Jordan and other conservatives.”