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    Who says they can't do anything?

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    sinister_midget
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    Who says they can't do anything?

    Post  sinister_midget on Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:29 pm

    The Do-Nothing Republican Congress Acts Fast — To Spend More Money

    Less than two weeks after Hurricane Harvey made landfall, the House passed an $8 billion bill to help the Houston region recover. So Republicans in Congress can get things done quickly, just not when it comes to enacting a conservative agenda.

    At a retreat for Republican lawmakers back in January, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan laid out an ambitious agenda they planned to achieve in their first 200 days — before the Senate would go on its monthlong break in August.

    They would: Repeal and replace ObamaCare, pass a sweeping tax reform, fund the border wall, pass a major infrastructure bill, raise the debt ceiling, scrap Obama-era regulations, and approve a conservative Supreme Court Justice.

    Had they done so, the political climate would be vastly different from what it is today. But Republicans managed to achieve only two items on the list — both low-hanging fruit — installing Justice Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, and reversing a few last-minute Obama administration regulations.

    Tax reform, on the other hand, looks increasingly unlikely before the end of the year, after the House wasted months debating a new border tax. Even now, details about an actual tax reform plan remain sparse, and President Trump is still pushing for a 15% corporate tax rate.

    As for ObamaCare, after winning three separate elections on the promise that they'd repeal it, Republicans started the year without a plan, and ended with the Senate failing to pass even an extremely watered-down "repeal" bill.

    Now Trump is pushing the Senate for one more repeal vote this year. This time it's a bill drafted by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy that would turn ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion and individual insurance market subsidies into block grants to states, which they could use to fashion their own health reforms if they want.

    But the timetable for repealing ObamaCare using "reconciliation" — which would let Republicans prevent a Democratic filibuster of the repeal bill — closes at the end of September, according to a ruling issued this week by the Senate parliamentarian. That makes getting a last-ditch repeal bill across the finish line this year even more unlikely.

    The border wall? House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said this week that the debate over funding for the border wall will have to wait until later this year, because, as he put it, "we've got a lot of busy things happening here."

    Republicans are also still trying to get the debt ceiling raised. On Wednesday, Trump sided with Democrats who want a three-month hike in the debt ceiling, which will add yet another controversial item to the Republicans' plate later this year.

    And Trump's decision to scrap the DACA program over the next six months — while absolutely the right thing to do — adds yet another hugely controversial item to the Republicans' to-do list.

    On top of that, Republicans still must pass a spending bill to keep the government running when the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.

    There is blame all around for this sorry state of affairs. Trump's fecklessness and his self-imposed distractions haven't helped. But the real culprit is the leadership in Congress. As the Harvey aid bills shows, lawmakers can get things done quickly if they put their minds to it.

    That's why Democrats were so successful after President Obama won in 2008. By the time he was sworn in, they had a long list of bills ready to go, and they were single-mindedly focused on getting ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank done as quickly as possible — before they lost their House majority.

    Democrats knew something that Republicans apparently still don't: Political capital is a use-it-or-lose-it proposition. Which is why it's Democrats, not Republicans, who are so giddy these days.

    I don't think they're as giddy as all that. But they sure do see it as a sign of hope.


    _________________
    One of the most important reasons for studying history is that
    virtually every stupid idea that is in vogue today has been tried
    before and proved disastrous before, time and again.
    --  Thomas Sowell

      Current date/time is Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:03 pm