BY STEVE BELL FEB 2, 2017 | Reprinted from BipartisanPolicy.org
Despite the rousing reassurances by Republican congressional leaders at the GOP retreat in Philadelphia last week, it remains clear that Congress’ schedule is so jammed that the “first 200 day” pledges will never materialize. How President Trump reacts to this inevitable reality will reveal how deep the rifts remain between the president’s timetable and Congress’ legislative processes.
The first deadline Congress set for itself as it began the “repeal and replace” effort on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has come and gone. Committees were instructed under reconciliation to report legislation to repeal much of the ACA by January 27. They reportedly remain hard at work to produce these bills as soon as possible. Continue reading →
Over the past three weeks the Congressional Budget Office (better known as the CBO) has made a great deal of news.
First, opponents of Obamacare (of whom I am one) pointed to a report at the beginning of February in which the CBO seemed to claim that the law would cause the loss of some 2.3 million jobs over the next three years.
It appears that what the CBO really said was even worse: The jobs will be there but more than two million people will find it financially more beneficial to sit at home and watch NCIS reruns, leaving home only to get their prescriptions for medical marijuana filled. Continue reading →
Two seemingly unrelated news stories unfolded in Washington last week — developments that could further stoke the flames of voter discontent across America. Taken together, these reports could also label the Democrats with an ugly and hard to erase moniker heading into the November elections: They are now the Party of Debt.
The first piece of news concerned Congressional Democrats’ plan to forgo passing a budget blueprint this year – an unprecedented display of fiscal policy malpractice.
A January 2010 Congressional Research Service report demonstrates that only four times in the past 35 years have lawmakers not adopted a concurrent budget resolution (a document projecting long term spending and revenue goals). And even when the two legislative bodies have failed to reach an agreement, in every year since the enactment of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, at least the House has produced its own blueprint and given members a chance to vote on it. How do we get our fiscal house in order if lawmakers can’t even develop a plan?
Democrats might still reverse course and produce a budget this year. But as recently as yesterday, Senate Budget Committee chair Kent Conrad told the Washington Post the chances of doing so were “fading.”