And why Congressional Republicans are so furious over it.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, then GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump had promised to make amazing deals in the White House that would help the American people.
If you talked to Trump supporters, it was actually one of the major reasons they voted for him. Many had thought that he would be able to broker newer/better deals since he was a businessman.
Well, on Wednesday, President Trump most definitely did make a deal… but it was with the Democrats.
So explaining what the actual deal is and why it has Republicans extremely upset might get a little complicated, so let’s break it down into parts.
What’s in the Deal That President Trump Brokered Between Himself and Democrats?
The deal itself is pretty benign. The three things that it does are:
- Provide the first batch of money for Hurricane Harvey relief.
Increase the debt ceiling so the government doesn’t go into default.
Fund the government, thus avoiding a government shutdown.
In reality, all three items on its agenda needed to happen by the end of this month. This is essentially what both Democrats and Republicans wanted. So with this deal, Congress has essentially avoided disaster.
If This Deal is Something Both Republicans and Democrats Want, Why are Congressional Republicans So Furious About It?
As with everything in Washington, the devil here is in the details. Specifically, in the details regarding the raising of the debt ceiling and government funding.
President Trump and Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer had agreed to raise the debt ceiling and fund the government for only three months. This is something, when raised to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan just an hour before the meeting happened, had said it would be unacceptable.
Reports are stating that Republicans wanted to raise the debt ceiling for a much longer time; ideally for an 18-month period, which would have moved the debt limit passed the 2018 Midterms. This was important to the Republicans for a variety of reasons:
- Generally, the majority party in Congress would rather not have multiple legislative fights over raising the debt ceiling or funding the government. Considering legislative failures are usually blamed on the ruling party in Congress, in this case that would most definitely be the Republicans, their best interest was to avoid these fights entirely till after the 2018 Midterms.
- While no party should want a government shutdown or government default, having this spending battle happen again in December just gives the Democrats that much more leverage in implementing their legislative goals (ie legislation protecting Dreamers, funding of government programs, ect). The reason is Democrats know that if either the debt limit isn’t raised or the government shuts down, the Republicans would be the ones getting blamed for it. In turn, that gives the Democrats leverage in their December talks.
- While President Trump insists that this deal with the Democrats will free up more time for Republicans to tackle one of their biggest legislative goals during this term, comprehensive tax reform, all it actually does is make it almost impossible to achieve that goal in 2017. With the Republicans having to negotiate another debt limit increase and spending deal with the Democrats in December, realistically that leaves only two months for them to come up with legislation on tax reform. Considering how complicated comprehensive tax reform is – along with how fractured the Republican Party currently seems to be on the issues of government spending – it’s a safe bet to say that tax reform in 2017 isn’t going to happen.
So far this legislative cycle, President Trump and Congressional Republicans haven’t been on the same page. Considering President Trump is now throwing out the idea of doing away with a debt ceiling limit all together – which the most conservative voices of the GOP are fervently against – it doesn’t look like they’ll be seeing eye-to-eye anytime soon.
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