GOP postpones Senate healthcare vote

(28 June 2017) The Trump agenda suffered a major setback yesterday after GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell was forced to postpone the vote on the controversial Better Care Reconciliation Act.  The GOP had drafted its bill to repeal Obamacare in secret and allowed less than a week for public scrutiny, a move with later backfired after a damning report from the CBO on Monday compelled several Senators to remove their support. While McConnell intends on bringing it to a vote by mid-July, it is unclear if the differences between the moderate and conservative wings of the party can bridged by that time. 

The failure to get the much-hoped for "big win" for Trump's legislative agenda has again put this administration back on its heels. There are large fissures in the GOP which not even the famously deal-making Trump can easily fix.  The larger problem for Trump and the GOP is that without passage of the health care bill, the more important tax reform bill likely cannot move forward either. 

Last week, I suggested that Trump's fortunes were improving in the month of June as evidenced by the special Congressional election wins and the absence of any personally damaging revelations in the Comey testimony and the Russia investigation.  I also thought that his luck could carry over into this week and help the Senate GOP pass the health care bill.  Well, I guess even Jupiter's beneficence has its limits.  Jupiter is still a positive planetary influence for Trump because 1) he is running the Jupiter-Jupiter dasha period and 2) transiting Jupiter is in conjunction with his natal Jupiter and aspects his Sun.  He is still subject to some very afflicting transits by malefic Rahu (North Lunar Node) to his Mars and then of course the Saturn conjunction to his Moon-Ketu (South Lunar Node) combination. These are both very stressful patterns that strongly suggest he will be under significant pressure for several more months. 

But the ongoing double Jupiter influence may be one reason why he is surviving in the White House to the extent that he is, albeit with an approval rating below 40%.  The Jupiter influence may be why the Russia investigation is less likely to find an impeachable smoking gun this year, and therefore why he can avoid resigning.  When Jupiter shines down on you, it acts as a kind of protective shield against those kinds of worst-case scenarios. 

Trump did earn a win on Monday, however, as the Supreme Court partially allowed his travel ban to go into effect thus restricting immigration and travelfrom majority Muslim countries. Trump didn't hesitate to claim victory and, indeed, it was a major shift for travel ban which had experienced nothing but judicial resistance in the lower courts.  So the week hasn't been a complete write-off for President Trump.

One reason why I thought the GOP health care bill had a decent chance of passing was that the Obamacare horoscope looked to be under pressure at this time.  The Mercury-Mars conjunction lines up very closely with Ketu (South Lunar Node) in the chart for the moment when President Obama signed the ACHA into law.  I thought the Mars and Ketu components in this alignment would reflect a very stressful situation with respect to Obamacare and its survival.  I therefore assumed that it might have equated with the successful Senate bill passage.  This was a misinterpretation on my part, however, as it may have only highlighted a near-death experience for Obamacare.  Stressful yes, but not fatal.

There are more difficult transits in the Obamacare chart this summer so we cannot rule out a successful Senate vote.  The interpretative challenge for astrologers is to try to distinguish between various events that may impact the viability of Obamacare.  Obviously, if the Senate bill is passed then that would show up in the Obamacare chart as a negative influence.  But so would news of another insurance company pulling out which would hasten its underfunded "death spiral". 

The last week of July and first week of August could also reflect a stressful period for Obamacare.  The Sun-Mars conjunction aligns with the natal Mars on July 24th and then Mercury opposes Neptune on the natal MC/IC on August 9th.  Although this may not look overly terrible, but it is not positive.  Whether or not it is sufficiently negative to coincide with something as significant as a GOP Senate health bill passage is harder to say. 

Even if the Senate does eventually pass the GOP health bill this summer, there would still be several important steps before Obamacare was formally repealed.  It's a very complex legislative labyrinth that I don't pretend to fully understand.  As I wrote back in March, the Obamacare horoscope looks more afflicted in 2018, especially in the late summer and fall.  This is the time when Saturn will station retrograde in Sagittarius directly opposite the Ascendant and Moon.  This seems like a more likely astrological alignment we would expect for a major or even final defeat for Obamacare.  Formal repeal could well happen then, just before the critical mid-term elections in November 2018.

Weekly Market Forecast

Financial markets have been fairly mixed over the past week as investors are weighing the possible fallout of a delayed or failed Trump agenda.  US stocks have pushed higher in Wednesday's session as the Dow is again trading near its all-time high.  European and Indian stock markets have been somewhat weaker, however, on concerns about a possible withdrawal of central bank liquidity from both from the Fed and the ECB. 

In last week's market forecast, I thought that stocks would be more prone to declines.  This hasn't quite panned out as expected as the Mars-Jupiter square aspect may be seen as a bearish influence.

The rest of this week could actually be somewhat positive as Venus enters sidereal Taurus.  It may even be enough for a positive weekly close.  Next week also has some bright spots as the Sun aligns with Jupiter and Neptune in the middle of the week.

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.