Every night, before I go to bed, I hit my knees, well, my right knee, the left one still burns from getting it replaced eight years ago, and I pray for Trump’s continued futility. Waddaya know, apparently this “your lips to Gods ear” thing really works!
So far, the USS Trumptanic is making a full ship scrape on the legislative iceberg. He failed at healthcare, in fact tying up a half a legislative year on something he promised to sing on day one. Other than a few “vanity” bills, all of his accomplishments have comr from Executive Orders, and an unbelievable number of them have been blocked by federal courts. He got his head handed to him by Pelosi and Schumer in the September debt ceiling continuing resolution. Now, his entire Presidential street cred for his first year rests solely on taxes. And bollixing it up, as usual.
Politico is reporting that Mitch McConnell is desperately trying to sell more concessions than a corn dog booth at a county fair on his tax bill. Right now, it appears that he has at least 6 GOP holdouts, including two in the Senate committee that could sink the bill in committee and prevent it from even getting to the floor. McConnell was hoping to bring the bill to the floor for a vote by Friday, ubut with the bill appearing stalled in committee, and with Senate debate rules, it is looking difficult to see how he does it. And with only something like 10 more days when both chambers of congress are in session together, it’s tick, tock, tick, tock.
This whole mess is something that we have grown used to over the last few years of GOP control of congress. Even before Trump, the Republican caucuses in both chambers were fractured, but more so in the House. The Tea Party Freedom Caucus basically exists to neuter the federal government like a three month old kitten. They want to starve the government like a dungeon prisoner in a Dumas novel. The more moderate members refuse to vote for anything that would strip the budget of legislative goodies that their constituents enjoy, and in some cases rely on. Both sides are ideologically entrenched, making any kind of compromise extremely difficult for Ryan.
And into this witches brew you can now toss in a generous pinch of pure ground Trump wort. Guess who two of the minimum six GOP Senate holdouts are for this tax bill. How about Ron Johnson from Wisconsin, and Bob Corker of Tennessee, both of whom sit on the committee that could shitcan the bill without going to the floor, and both members whom are retiring to avoid having to be associated with The Inglorious Basterd anymore. Jeez, if Trump was any better of a negotiator, the Electoral College would be demanding a recount right about now.
But the problem extends deeper than just personal animosity towards Trump inthe Senate. Not even including Corker’s possible desire to stick one right in the Orange Julius’ eye, there is a substantative issue, and is it a doozy. According to Politico reporting;
Johnson and a fellow former businessman, GOP Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, are demanding more generous tax treatment for so-called pass-through businesses. Yet the changes they want are expensive, and tax-writers would have to find savings elsewhere to ensure the bill ultimately costs no more than $1.5 trillion over a decade as required under a budget framework.
This can be the kiss of death for Trump and McConnell, and it’s potentially a die-if-you-do,-die-if-you-don’t scenario. If McConnell doesn’t make the adjustment, those two Senators vote against the bill and kill it in conference. But if he does add that sweetener without finding offsetting cuts to other things to keep the deficit increase under $1.5 trillion, he loses the possibility of voting on it in the Senate without a filibuster. And the Democrats will filibuster the bill if possible as sure as I’m sitting here typing.
I have always felt that this was a stretch. The GOP is under a year end time constraint that is only partially self induced. In reality, it’s induced by deep pocket donors, who are threatening to cut off donations for 2018 if they don’t get their tax breaks. Under ideal conditions this would have been a difficult task in a time frame where there are less than 15 days left in the year when both chambers are in session simultaneously, especially considering the fact that the bills would have to go to conference to merge them. But Trump has made it worse, not only by alienating critical votes that McConnell needs for passage, but also by insulting Schumer and Pelosi, getting them up on their ind legs over the continuing resolution that must be passed by December 12th to keep the government open for business. Those negotiations will now take time that was desperately needed for the tax bill.
The Republicans are screwed either way. If they get the tax bill through, it’s a transparent giveaway to big business and deep pocket donors, and piss off voters who see their taxes go up. And if it doesn’t go through, the GOP not only goes into the 2018 midterms without a single piece of substantial legislation under their belts, but alos likely without deep pocket donations to fund their campaigns. I dunno about you, but I am sooooooooo loving all of this “winning.” I’m not tired of it in the slightest bit.