Select Site 


Another Stalemate & Possible Shutdown Loom Over Congress

At the start of 2017, Congressional Republicans laid out an ambitious conservative agenda. In their “200 Day Plan”, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled an extensive to-do list at their party retreat. It included repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, instituting massive tax cuts, passing a major infrastructure bill, securing increased funding for border protections (including President Trump’s wall) and slashing funding for safety net programs like Medicaid and Medicare.

Fast-Forward to the start of 2018 and the GOP has only fulfilled one of these goals—narrowly passing their tax cut legislation in December—and it doesn’t look like they’ll be able to make much headway on the rest of their to-do-list this year. Over the weekend, Congressional Republican leaders and members of the Trump administration gathered at Camp David and discussed the possibility that they might not pass a joint House-Senate budget in 2018, a decision that would greatly limit the scope of what the GOP would be able to pass this year.

With only a 51-49 majority in the Senate after Doug Jones’ win in the Alabama special election last month and the prospect of midterm elections in 11 months, Senate Majority Leader McConnell has expressed a reticence to pursue another wave of ACA repeal efforts or a major overhaul of safety net programs like what was alluded to by Speaker Ryan last month. The complete lack of Democratic or Independent support for both ACA repeal and reductions in safety net programming mean that Congressional Republicans could only pass legislation through reconciliation, a process that would require joint House-Senate budget. And, even then, GOP leadership could only afford to lose 1 Republican Senator if they wanted a bill to pass.

However, the inability to make good on their lofty legislative goals from last year may be the least of the Congressional GOP leadership’s problems right now as a government shutdown looms on the horizon. With the continuing resolution (CR) that was signed before Christmas scheduled to run out next week, Republican leaders are struggling to come up with even a short-term deal that would satisfy enough of their own party’s defense hawks and garner enough Democrats to pass.

On the one hand, many conservatives in the House have expressed opposition to another short-term CR—which would be the 4th such measure in 4 months—complaining that the lack of a full, Fiscal Year 2018 spending bill unduly harms the military. Democrats, for their part, appear to be unwilling to agree to a long-term funding measure without a deal to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipients.

The next stopgap spending bill being proposed by GOP leadership would likely last for about four weeks, providing them with the time they say they need to work out a deal. Unfortunately for those hoping to avoid a government shutdown, that reasoning may be losing its persuasiveness among many Republicans who were told the same thing back in December. After months of uncertainty, some Republicans are saying they need to see evidence of a deal to raise the budget caps for defense spending before they sign off on another CR. For their part, Democrats are still demanding parity in defense and non-defense increases.  

Posted By: AIDS United, Policy Department - Friday, January 12, 2018

comment Comments (0)

Type the code below into the textbox.

No comments added!

An AIDS-Free Generation
is possible.

We can't get there without you.

Click here to make a tax-deductible donation today.

Thank you for contacting DC Web Designers. We will be in touch shortly.

ERROR: Message Not Sent!