One has to wonder what’s in the minds of the Republican leadership in Congress.
With Trump in the White house and a majority in the Senate and the House, they seem intent on blowing the opportunity to govern.
Faced with a militant unified Democrat minority, they don’t seem to know what to do. They squabble and argue and go weak in the knees when faced with opposition to an agenda clearly favored by their constituents.
They have been calling for a return to budget sanity and regular order but no – can’t do it they say. We don’t have the votes so we’ll just give up and not even try.
Who needs a budget anyway? Who needs a Republican majority that refuses to do what it promised to do?
Letting the Democrats continue the Obama destruction derby is not a viable agenda.
Take a stand and make the case. That’s what you’re there for.
GOP may skip budget, kneecapping 2018 ambitions
Lacking the votes and fearing political blowback, Republicans are unlikely to deploy powerful budget procedures to enact their agenda.
From Politico: By RACHAEL BADE and SARAH FERRIS, 01/10/2018
Republican leaders are considering skipping passage of a GOP budget this year — a blow to the party’s weakened fiscal hawks that would squash all 2018 efforts to revamp entitlements or repeal Obamacare.
White House and Hill GOP leaders discussed the possibility of forgoing the painful budget process during last weekend’s Camp David legislative summit, according to four sources familiar with the talks. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has argued that he cannot pass controversial deficit-reduction legislation using powerful budget procedures with his new 51-vote majority — and wasn’t even sure he could find the votes for a fiscal blueprint in the first place.
Abandoning the budget, however, would be an embarrassment for Republicans, who for years railed against Democrats when they avoided one of the most basic responsibilities of Congress.
But more importantly, it would mean the GOP’s 2018 agenda would be sharply limited: Only with passage of a joint House-Senate budget can Republicans deploy reconciliation tools, which allow them to circumvent the Senate filibuster and bypass Democrats, as they did on last year’s successful tax bill and failed Obamacare repeal push.
That means no entitlement reform or welfare overhaul in 2018, a key priority for fiscal conservatives eager to shrink the now $20 trillion federal debt. Instead, President Donald Trump wants to focus on enacting a massive infrastructure package with help from Democrats. And conservatives are not happy about it.
“It’s legislative malpractice to throw reconciliation out the window,” Dan Holler, vice president of Heritage Action, told POLITICO on Wednesday.
Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), a House Budget Committee member, responded similarly when asked what he thought of the idea: “It’s another data point in a long series of unfortunate data points on fiscal discipline. … In the same way a budget is important for determining spending for a family, it’s one of those absolute necessities and basics of financial discipline in government.”
Talks to forgo a GOP budget this year come at a breaking point for many fiscal hawks.
Congressional leaders are knee-deep in bipartisan spending negotiations that are shaping up to be a nightmare for conservatives, potentially raising federal spending by more than $200 billion over two years, with few — if any — ways to pay for it. In the same month, Congress also plans to send Trump an $80 billion-plus disaster relief package, the largest of its kind, with no offsets. And just this week, House Republicans announced a plan to debate a return of earmarks, which conservatives have called the “gateway drug” to spending.
It’s the latest sign of the decline of the party’s fiscal conservatives under Trump, who has shown little interest in cutting government spending and has begun to mold the party into his own image. The discussions also reflect the reality of the GOP’s slimmed-down Senate majority and the difficult politics of an election year that threatens Republicans’ hold on Congress.
GOP sources familiar with the discussion have cautioned that the 2018 agenda is far from set in stone. What’s more, leaders haven’t ruled out trying to pass messaging budgets in their own respective chambers, even if they don’t adopt a unified budget that allows for reconciliation.
The House GOP, for instance, will probably have to try to pass such a document to keep its more conservative conference happy. But GOP leaders are under no illusion that such a plan could pass the Senate.
It’s one of the reasons some GOP leaders have discussed “deeming” top-line spending numbers — simply setting total spending levels without passing a budget. One idea that’s surfaced includes deeming numbers as part of any budget accord with Democrats in the coming days and weeks.
That’s unlikely to halt the push from some House Republicans for a budget, however. House conservatives say they are itching for a fiscal brawl in 2018, even if it means going up against GOP leaders.