All this becomes more depressing once you realize the threat of a government shutdown has now become a yearly occurrence in US politics…
Here we are once again. It was that long ago that passing a yearly spending bill was just standard procedure in Congress and not political theater. But then again, those aren’t the times that we currently find ourselves in. So with the budget deadline fast approaching – a spending bill has to be passed before April 28th to avoid a government shutdown – here are the takeaways from the negotiations on the spending bill, thus far.
Takeaway #1: The government will more than likely come up with some kind of deal before the April 28th deadline. Or at the very least, a stopgap measure.
Now this isn’t to say that a government shutdown isn’t a possibility, but at this time, it’s highly unlikely. Brokers from both parties has been working throughout the congressional recess in hopes of coming to a deal. While a legitimate budget – that both parties and the White House can agree upon – is complicated, the worst case scenario at this point is a stopgap bill that gets passed and the budget fight gets passed over to a later date.
However, both sides coming up with a deal makes the most sense. For Republicans, they’re less likely to want a government shutdown since the GOP currently has a majority in both the House and Senate. So if a government shutdown were to occur, they would most likely be blamed for it. As for Congressional Democrats, the last time there was a government shutdown was in 2013, and considering the negative media response the GOP got from that shutdown, the chances they push for a government shutdown is slim.
However, a big part of the government shutdown depends on President Trump’s softening on the building of his US-Mexico border wall. Considering there’s $1.4 billion appropriated in the budget, until that is curbed (or more likely completely gone) Democrats aren’t getting behind any spending bill Republicans putout.
Takeaway #2: The problem with a spending compromise isn’t between the Democrats or Republicans, it’s with appeasing the Trump administration.
Don't let the fake media tell you that I have changed my position on the WALL. It will get built and help stop drugs, human trafficking etc.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 25, 2017
If the spending bill were just between Republicans and Democrats, then a compromise wouldn’t be that big of a problem. Both Democrats (funding for Planned Parenthood) and Republicans (cuts in domestic programs) could find a middle ground for a spending plan. However, both parties have to deal with a Trump White House.
Between President Trump pushing for appropriations on a $1.4 billion US-Mexico border wall and the proposed 15% cut on the corporate tax rate (!!!), a bipartisan bill can be tricky. While it’s very obvious that Democrats aren’t too pleased with many of the White House’s spending demands, Moderate Republicans can’t to be thrilled about these moves either. A $1.4 billion border wall or a 15% cut in the corporate tax rate will put a GIANT money sink in the budget. Even though the Trump administration looks to not care about – or at least pay lip-service – to the idea of adding significantly to the national deficit, for the entirety of the Obama administration, Congressional GOP have made it a cornerstone in their party’s platform. So for Congressional Republicans to not say anything about it now, wouldn’t be their best look…
Takeaway #3: Like it or not, Republicans need Democrats to pass a spending bill.
Yet for all the demands that the Trump administration has been making in regards to the appropriations in this year’s budget, the president may not be able to push any of it through! After the legislative blunders regarding President Trump’s executive orders on immigration and his failed push to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), the Trump administration might not have the political capital to push appropriations that would be popular with his base, but not popular with everyone else.
For the Republicans and the Trump administration to get a spending bill passed, they’ll need the cooperation of the Democrats. And for that to happen, the Trump administration needs to abandon ideas like funding the border wall or a 15% cut on corporate taxes. Because as of right now, Democrats look to have the leverage when it comes to an agreement on the spending bill. Any piece of legislation would have to go through them.
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