The reality of working in Washington is putting a damper on President Donald Trump’s aggressive agenda, even amid his first small legislative success.
After a longer-than-expected battle to get the American Health Care Act through the House, the prospect of Trump delivering some of his biggest policy goals in quick fashion has faded.
According to Axios’ Mike Allen, the White House has shifted its timeline further into the future for many of the biggest items on Trump’s agenda.
Allen said that given the delay in the House with the AHCA and Republicans in the Senate moving to rewrite the entire bill, the administration is not expecting a healthcare bill to hit Trump’s desk until fall at the earliest.
Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, was even more pessimistic, telling MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that a healthcare bill may not even make it out of Congress before the 2018 midterm elections.
“My guess is that Leader McConnell is going to take some time here, and while he may ultimately pass a bill in the Senate, I think he will send it to conference with the House,” Coons said, referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “That conference will go on a very long time, and we won’t actually see a final product until after the ’18 elections.”
On tax reform, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin originally said he wanted to deliver legislation to Trump’s desk by the August congressional recess. The administration’s tax plan, however, has not yet been formatted into legislation. It currently stands as a one-page set of guidelines that was reportedly rushed out to show progress before Trump’s 100th day in office.
Mnuchin and administration officials have since backed down from the August deadline, with secretary calling it “not realistic at this point.”
Some elements of the potential tax reform face questionable support from key members of Trump’s own party.
House Speaker Paul Ryan’s favoured border adjustment tax (BAT) did not appear the Trump administration’s outline. The reform will also likely not be revenue-neutral, which runs counter to the goal of GOP leadership. Ryan will hit the road this week to advocate for tax reform with businesses during meetings with manufacturers in Ohio.
In addition to the healthcare and tax pushes, a series of tough legislative necessities that are not a part of the president’s agenda will have to be addressed in the coming months, including the debt ceiling and the new spending bill.
Both of these issues will likely dominate congressional attention when they come up and crowd out other flashier agenda items. Mnuchin said a fight over raising the debt ceiling would come sometime in the summer.
And the short-term spending deal reached by Congress last week only extends through the end of September. This sets up another, likely more heated, government-shutdown fight, as the next funding bill will be for the fiscal year 2018 budget.
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