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Politics Republicans Can’t Agree on a Budget – And It’s Hurting Their Agenda

00:27  15 june  2017
00:27  15 june  2017 Source:

As Russia probe grinds on, Trump struggles to gain traction on agenda

  As Russia probe grinds on, Trump struggles to gain traction on agenda By Richard Cowan

Congressional Republicans can ’ t agree on spending priorities – a budgetary impasse that could threaten the GOP’ s agenda of trillions of dollars in tax Why Congress Needs to Look Twice at the Military Budget . It was much the same last week when Republican lawmakers skewered Education

Republicans Can ’ t Agree on a Budget – and It ’ s Hurting Their Agenda .

  Republicans Can’t Agree on a Budget – And It’s Hurting Their Agenda © iStockphoto/Library of Congress/The Fiscal Times

For the second week in a row, members of Congress have been hammering President Trump’s proposed budget for the coming year – and much of the criticism is coming from Trump’s own Party.

Congressional Republicans can’t agree on spending priorities – a budgetary impasse that could threaten the GOP’s agenda of trillions of dollars in tax cuts, a major military buildup, and savings in Medicaid, Social Security disability insurance, and other entitlements.

But there is near GOP unanimity on one point: Trump’s first full budget blueprint submitted last month is wildly unrealistic and has no chance of being approved.

Without Obama as a Unifier, Republicans Are Fragmented

  Without Obama as a Unifier, Republicans Are Fragmented President Barack Obama served as a convenient foil for Republicans, cloaking their vast internal disagreements over health care, taxes, trade and other issues. “The irony is, for years, they said it’s our fault, it’s our fault,” said Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, a moderate who said she had been waiting for the White House to try to woo her on something, anything. “It’s not Democrats who are their problem. It’s just them.”Republicans have also been stymied by Mr. Trump, who has at turns undermined their efforts to push through his agenda and distracted from it with crises largely of his making.

It ’ s holding up much of their legislative agenda too. Blessed with a surprise Republican president ready and willing to sign legislation that Barack And until an Obamacare plan is agreed to, Congress can ’ t move on to tax reform or pass a real budget for fiscal year 2018, which starts on October 1.

Why Republicans and Democrats can ’ t even agree on their own rules for disagreeing about the budget . How it resolves itself will offer some clues about whether we're headed for another summer of ad hoc budget madness or whether there is hope for a grand bargain.

While seeking major increases in spending on defense, veterans’ affairs, homeland security, construction of a wall along the southern border with Mexico, and cuts in personal and corporate income taxes, Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget would cut $4.3 trillion of domestic discretionary and mandatory spending through 2027 to bring down the deficit.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was the latest target of congressional GOP wrath on Tuesday when Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Corker (R-TN) declared that the president’s call for a 30 percent reduction in spending on State Department diplomatic activities and foreign aid was totally unrealistic.

Corker told Tillerson, after about five minutes of reviewing the State Department budget, “This is a total waste of time.  I don’t want to do this anymore.” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina seconded Corker’s comments at a separate hearing: “I think this budget request is radical and reckless.”

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  White House, Congress Republicans nearing key tax overhaul decisions <p>The Trump administration and top Republicans in U.S. Congress are within a few weeks of agreeing on central aspects of a tax overhaul plan that will determine the contours of legislation now expected in September, an administration official told Reuters this week.</p>Under pressure from business groups and rank-and-file Republicans, Trump officials and congressional leaders still need to decide how much to slash tax rates and if the package should increase the federal budget deficit, administration and congressional sources said.

Members are so afraid that a particular vote might hurt them, that they would prefer not to vote at all. So it can ’ t be the only thing Republicans fix. If Republicans took on this bold agenda , they’d probably lose a handful of votes, but if just once, a party kept their promises and went big in an

Republicans have tied their whole agenda to something that’s really hard to get done. At the beginning of this year, thinking only Senate Democrats — with the power of a filibuster — would It ’ s how President Barack Obama saw through several budgetary amendments to the Affordable Care Act.

Related:More Money for Defense? Why Congress Needs to Look Twice at the Military Budget

It was much the same last week when Republican lawmakers skewered Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson for a budget proposal aimed at bolstering Pentagon spending next year by $54 billion largely at the expense of domestic programs and departments.

Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) and other Republican House appropriators denounced Trump’s proposals for deep cuts in the National Park Service and Native American education programs as well as the elimination of funding for a pilot program to reclaim abandoned mines in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Rogers told Zinke during a subcommittee hearing that he was “flabbergasted” at the size of the cuts and couldn’t imagine them coming from an administration “that I had been led to believe was wanting to help coal country.”

Comey fallout weighs on the GOP

  Comey fallout weighs on the GOP Republicans are trying to figure out a way past swirling questions about ties between the Trump administration and the Russian government, with GOP strategists calling the investigation and surrounding controversies a public relations nightmare that has dragged on for too long. Former FBI Director James Comey did not inflict any deadly blows against President Trump when he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Republicans believe, but they're concerned there will be more damaging revelations in the weeks ahead.

Psychology shows that Democrats and Republicans can ’ t even agree on objective reality. It is often said that people are entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts. We should acknowledge that dictum and put more effort into living by it .

Does that mean that we can ’ t even agree on the problems we need to address? But a closer analysis of the Pew data reveals that in addition to these partisan agendas , there is an American Agenda of “top priorities” supported by majorities of Republicans , Democrats, and Independents and

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), chair of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on labor, health and education, was equally direct with DeVos in reviewing the administration’s proposed education budget said, “I think it’s likely the kinds of cuts proposed in this budget will not occur, so we really need to fully understand your priorities and why they are your priorities.”

Meanwhile, Senate Armed Services Committee Chair John McCain (R-AZ) has repeatedly complained that Trump’s proposed $54 billion boost in defense spending is woefully inadequate to rebuild the nation’s military. He insists that Trump’s proposal amounts to a mere three percent increase over former President Obama’s plan, “which has left our military underfunded, undersized and unready to meet the threats of today and tomorrow.”

Related:Senate Republicans Are Getting Closer to Rolling Back Medicaid Expansion

The House in early May barely passed highly controversial Obamacare replacement legislation that President Trump on Tuesday described as “mean” during a meeting at the White House with GOP congressional leaders. Senate Republicans, meanwhile, remain divided over their own version of the legislation, with no certainty they can meet a goal of passing legislation before a long August recess.

GOP considers cancelling August recess to salvage agenda

  GOP considers cancelling August recess to salvage agenda Alarmed by the stalemate on healthcare reform, lack of progress on tax reform and appropriations bills that are far behind schedule, Republican lawmakers across Congress are increasingly willing to consider cancelling the month-long August recess. Senate Republican negotiators reported that they are not close to a deal on healthcare reform and that scheduling a vote by July 4, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has pushed, is likely unrealistic.That impasse has held up work on a budget resolution, which is necessary to move tax reform and the annual appropriations bills.

Democrats and Republicans narrowly averted a partial shutdown of the federal government Friday night, agreeing on a budget deal and a An inability to reach a deal would have hurt federal workers, people who rely on government services and the nation' s broader economic recovery, he warned.

The outlook for an ambitious Republican reform agenda is bleak at this point, to put it mildly. The chances of a GOP-written budget plan with significant spending and tax cuts making it through both the House Republicans have driven their agenda into a ditch through a combination of inexperience

Because the Republican-controlled Congress is using special “reconciliation” rules under a fiscal 2017 budget resolution to try to expedite passage of health care reform and prevent a Democratic filibuster, lawmakers must somehow enact a final measure before they can take up a new budget resolution for the coming fiscal 2018.

By now, the Senate and Budget Committees would be well along in preparing a new budget resolution for the coming year to set total discretionary spending levels for the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to use to allocate among the 12 annual appropriations bills. Without those top-line spending numbers, the appropriators will be hamstrung to meet a September 30 deadline to avoid a government shutdown.

Related:How the GOP Health Care Disaster Is Opening the Door to Medicaid for All

However, Congress is in the throes of a budgetary traffic jam – with next year’s spending decisions beginning to bump up against unresolved budgetary action on health care reform. Until the White House and Republican leaders finally, clear the decks on health care reform – either by enacting a bill or giving up – next year’s budget resolution must be kept on hold.

Trump and GOP leaders have much riding on next year’s budget resolution. That’s because they intend to use it as the vehicle for ramming through a major tax cut over Democratic objections by invoking the budget reconciliation rules. However, GOP members appear divided over how best to proceed with a budget resolution, and whether it should include hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts in entitlements as well as major tax cuts.

GOP struggles with a budget mess, maybe even a shutdown, in the months ahead .
<p>The ingredients are all coming into place for a tense, unpredictable 2017 budget showdown and maybe even a shutdown, thanks to a Republican Party energized by Tuesday’s two House victories.</p>The wins by GOP candidates in special elections in Georgia and South Carolina sent a message that cooperating with Democrats was not necessarily a job requirement. It also emboldened conservatives seeking more clout in the GOP caucus. And that could make crafting a federal budget tougher.

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