The Do-Nothing, Dysfunctional Congress — What WON’T Get Passed
Author: Greg Valliere
July 17, 2019
THE HOUSE PROVIDED PREDICTABLE ANTI-TRUMP FIREWORKS YESTERDAY — the more significant opposition to Donald Trump is among Republicans in the Senate, where any resolution against him will stay bottled up by Mitch McConnell. After wasting still another day as an absurdly long summer break approaches, it’s time to take a look at what Congress hasn’t done. It’s quite a list . . .
No debt ceiling deal: The best hope for anything before September is a temporary extension, but even that looks doubtful.
No agreement on spending caps: Nancy Pelosi, emboldened, has been making big spending demands to Steven Mnuchin but it’s unclear whether he has much authority to negotiate on the budget.
No appropriations bills: The House has passed a few, all strongly opposed in the Senate. A government shutdown sometime in the fourth quarter can’t be ruled out.
No immigration reform: Both parties are talking past each other, they seemingly prefer a campaign issue rather than a deal.
No infrastructure bill: As we have predicted, this has been a spectacular flop. No one can agree on details.
No trade deal: As negotiations with China seemingly bog down, Congress can’t even agree on something relatively simple, such as replacing NAFTA with the U.S-Mexico-Canada deal.
No health care bill: The Republicans are terrified to resurrect this issue and Democrats are divided over Medicare for All. Drug price controls also appear unlikely.
No tax bill: There’s still a need to correct mistakes in the mammoth 2018 measure — and, more importantly, to address issues like the state and local tax reforms — but nothing seems to be moving.
No gun curbs: Gun control? You’ve got to be kidding.
No labor reforms: The House has passed the Equal Pay Act and will soon approve a hike in the minimum wage, but it’s unlikely that either measure will receive Senate consideration.
No campaign reform: Perhaps most egregiously, it’s looking unlikely that Congress will do anything to curb potential Russian interference in the 2020 election, despite the unanimous assessment of intelligence experts that Moscow blatantly interfered with the 2016 election.
BOTTOM LINE: There will be plenty of hearings and subpoenas from angry Democrats aimed at Trump, and Mitch McConnell will stall on everything except the confirmation of conservative young judges. But virtually no legislation will win enactment unless it’s attached to a massive spending deal in late December (a pension reform measure has a chance).
WE’LL GET THE USUAL MAD DASH just before the holidays, an embarrassingly slipshod tradition, accompanied by predictable hand-wringing about the need to reform Congress. It won’t happen; Congress is broken, trapped in an endless and increasingly bitter campaign cycle.
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