Apparently, all of us ungrateful peasants aren’t quite ready for the proverbial kleptocratic Eden the GOP seeks to be our new form of government, and it’s causing them some sleepless nights. And all I can say is “Good on ya mate!?
Politico is reporting that House leader Kevin McCarthy is admitting to allies that the reconciled tax bill will not be brought to the floor next week for a vote. That’s right, he’s not talking about this week, he’s talking about next week. He even admitted that the committee was scheduled to work through this weekend past on trying to hammer out a unified bill that can be voted on.
A couple of points to bring up here. Furst of all, as Lawrence O’Donnell liked to point out, and of which he has direct knowledge, having once been a senior Senate Democratic staffer, normally the conference procedure is a joke. While both parties are represented, the party in power sits down, and hammers out what few differences there are in the competing bills before voting on the compromise and sending it back to the individual chambers to vote on. This is normally a smooth process as both chambers agree on a general principle, and the main task is solving petty differences and refining language to match. The current GOP can’t even agree on where to go to lunch.
Second indication that all is not well in the land of Oz. McCarthy announced that the House will be in session next week, the week of December 18-22 to work. But not on this bill. This is strange because the original congressional calendar had both the House and the Senate off next week to start their holiday recess. If they’re not going to be working to swell the ranks in the debtors prison, what the hell are they going to be working on? And, what good will it do them to pass something if the Senate is not in Washington to vote on it? Considering the fact that legislators love their time off almost as much as they love corporate donations, I don’t see much getting accomplished next week amidst all the House pissing and moaning.
Third, this is not a good sign. While God knows I’m not privy to the inner workings of the reconciliation committee, one merely needs to be able to read to find that there are serious problems with this process. I think that one of the problems was the sloppiness of the way it was written. Who in their right minds are so careless that they accidentally eliminate $300 billion in tax breaks for the very people they are trying to benefit. Also, there were a lot of promises made and arms twisted, especially in the Senate, to get the bills passed. GOP strategy early indicated that several things that were promised to get votes could be jettisoned in committee to sync the bills. This is leading to a possible revolt in both the Senate, where the margin is narrower, as well as in the House, where hammering the state and local tax deduction, as well as capping mortgage interest deductions could lead to a mass defection of GOP incumbents in traditionally blue, high tax states.
The last thing is time. Trumplethinskin set a self imposed deadline of Christmas for his “Big, fat, beautiful tax cuts,” end of the year at the latest. If the tax cut plan isn’t voted on this week, they’re seriously boned. Simply because the two week continuing resolution expires a week from Friday, on December 22nd. Screw taxes, next week is going to be dominated by trying to hammer out an agreement to keep the government running, and I can damn near guarantee you that the Democrats are not going to let the leverage of a Christmas government shutdown slip through their fingers. DACA, CHIP, and a host of other popular liberal causes are going to have to be settled, nobody is going to have the time to dick around on tax cuts for the super rich. And if anybody out there honestly believes that congress will reconvene in the week between Christmas and New Year’s to work on taxes, seek professional help.
Seldom can anyone accurately predict what will happen in the Thunderdome of politics, but this much seems clear. Meeting the Trump imposed deadline for passage of the tax bill is getting more and more unlikely, and every day that goes by only tends to further diminish its chances of passage before the end of the year. And once next year rolls around the clock is no more generous, primaries are going to be fast approaching, and with it the start of the actual 2018 election season. This could get interesting, don’t touch that dial.