The workload they’re facing would be tough for a functional Congress

September 5th, 2017 at 9:01 am

Just a quick note of the mass of portentous stuff on Congress’s plate as they return to DC this week.

–The debt ceiling.

To do: They’ve got to raise it by late-Sept., maybe mid-Oct. at the latest.

Frictions: Hard-right typically wants to extract promises of less future spending, but grownup R’s are calling for a clean bill.

Probabilistic Outcome: Look for some House R’s to team up with D’s to pass clean bill on time. I’m 85% confident they’ll do the right thing here.

–Funding the gov’t and paying for Harvey recovery.

To do: Congress must appropriate funds to run the gov’t be the end of Sept.

Frictions: Trump’s wall was a big stumbling block here, but with Harvey recovery in the mix, he appears to have backed down.

Probabilistic Outcome: There’s no chance they’ll pass a budget through “regular order,” so we’re looking at another budget patch/”continuing resolution.” Prior to Harvey, I had the shutdown as a coin toss at best. Updating priors, I’d put it at 25% tops. In fact, I now expect emergency funding for Harvey (which doesn’t count against the official budget caps) to be in the CR.

–Tax reform

To do: R’s want to pass a big, regressive tax cut.

Frictions: Remarkably, they still don’t have a plan. But they’re working on it. They’ll unlikely to get help from D’s on tax cuts, so this is about getting their majorities on board. I’d guess their biggest task is coming up with payfors and figuring out how to sell the big increase in the deficit that these cuts will engender, at least as scored by CBO/JCT. (“Bespoke” scores, with dynamic scoring tricks, will be more favorable, of course.)

Probabilistic Outcome: I think the likelihood they get this over the legislative bar this year is low, around 20%. Next year…well, let’s cross the bridge when we get to it.


To do: A new entry, thanks to the Pres. And just a completely, freakin’ horrible idea. Trump wants to phase out the program that blocks deportation for undocumented immigrants who’ve been here since childhood. He’s supposed to announce today that he’s giving Congress 6 months to either legislate the program or end it.

Frictions: Xenophobia intersecting with our dysfunctional immigration laws. It’s possible that there’s bipartisan support for DACA, but I don’t see how they get to ‘yes’ in six months.

Probabilistic outcome: I don’t have a good feel for this yet, but I’ll say 50% with downside risk. And I really hope I’m being pessimistic. Also, I could see the volatile Trump say “never mind” at some point.

Healthcare and North Korea are also in the mix, with the thermonuclear sabre rattling among the latter really existentially scary. As my title suggests, for a functional Congress is mid-season form, this agenda would pose a challenge. For these guys and gals…Oy.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

4 comments in reply to "The workload they’re facing would be tough for a functional Congress"

  1. Smith says:

    They get paid $175,000 per year, not including generous health benefits. Representatives get an additional $1 million for expenses and staff, Senators get $3 to $4.8 million for expenses and staff, depending on size of state. Then there are the long recesses in between sessions, maybe justifiable when a trip home meant a few weeks travel by horseback or coach.
    The debt ceiling played out differently under Obama vs Clinton. Why Democrats are unable to make Republicans pay for their tax cuts I don’t know. Probably because they are rich and crooked and rely on wealthy donors. Otherwise you make a fuss we need to raise taxes on rich people to reduce the debt.
    Harvey recovery money is a perfect time to offer amendments on toxic waste cleanup and climate change studies.
    Why do ever use the term “reform”? How wrong you are; you’re defeated before you start. It’s corporate tax reduction. Who should pay more taxes, people or corporations? The middle class, or big companies with private jets? Do we need less money to repair bridges and dams or more? Do we need a bigger deficit or a smaller one?
    DACA Why aren’t you pointing out they are picking on young adults but the older ones who supply a pool of exploited labor are protected by big business. That is why DACA gets attention, it satisfies anti immigrant (and racist) sentiment without harming important Republican and corporate donors.

  2. Brett Showalter says:

    DACA is irrelevant. Especially with the Trump administration pumping temporary visa’s and illegal immigration from Asia to new heights.

  3. Kevin Rica says:

    DACA was never Constitutional. The President and prosecutors may have the right to exercise some discretion in whom to prosecute, but the office does not confer the right to confer residence and work authorization without legislative authorization. Claiming humanitarian justification does not make it constitutional, it just explains the motive for violating the constitution.

    Those who encouraged and aided illegal immigration and actively obstructed enforcement of the law are the ones who caused this humanitarian crisis. Congress needs to fix it, but should also close the loopholes that have vitiated the enforcement provisions of the Simpson-Mazoli Law (Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act). Above all, the need to get tough with those who obstruct enforcement of the law. They, not those who are labeled and marketed as “Dreamers” are those who deserve to be punished as harshly as the Eighth Amendment allows.

  4. Dale Jake Corner says:

    lets talk about what the reality of the economy is currently.

    Here are the facts.

    A. The major companies have been infiltrated by people who Hate America and with it Americans.
    B.. The companies and the managers at the hiring and firing level are only hiring scapegoats, people to blame when things go wrong so they can keep their over paid luxury jobs. Or people who fit into a view of philanthropism.
    C. The median income of the common man has been chipped away to the point where people do not really have that much extra spending money. So, they don’t hire service people as much. Then they also do not have extra money to spend.
    D. The children for several generations have been taught over liberalized and socialized ideas and ideals by a bunch of wishing well teachers, who, have moved so far from reality that they attempt to fail anyone who disagrees with their own political agenda. Or does not fit into their far left false reality view of the world.
    E. An entire generation of high intelligent, strong young men, have now been left to work in dead end go nowhere jobs, while a bunch of snot nosed rich boy baby brats are handed everything without having to work for it.

    If you think that is bad. Or I am some kind of asshole for saying it. You should see what the rest of the alphabet I have written about it has to say.

    I have the solution, but no one wants to hear it. Because everyone refuses to listen.