- GOP lawmakers have questions about what they can accomplish
- House in addition to also Senate are split over tackling entitlement reform
- A brand-new president’s party usually suffers inside the first midterm election
Entering their second year of unified control of Washington, GOP lawmakers have more questions than answers about what they can accomplish, with divergent ideas over the policy agenda in addition to also political path to the midterms. At the heart of which all is usually a significant rift between the top leaders inside the House in addition to also Senate about whether to tackle entitlement reform, a longstanding GOP priority.
On key issues like health care, immigration in addition to also reining in debt through safety net programs, congressional Republicans are split, just when a more unified message might help convince voters to keep them in power.
History shows which inside the first midterm election of a brand-new presidency, the president’s party usually suffers.
GOP leaders are anxious to escape which fate.
Divisions over entitlement reform in addition to also another Obamacare repeal
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has provided few details of what he will put on the floor This specific year yet he has made clear he doesn’t plan to force controversial entitlement modifications through his narrowly divided chamber or make another attempt at a broad repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which failed last summer.
“I wish them well,” McConnell said bluntly when asked about the continued effort by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, to push forward on his repeal proposal, which fell short of the necessary votes in September. McConnell added which he wanted Graham, in addition to also the bill’s co-sponsor, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, to continue working to gather support for their proposal. yet McConnell noted which without the votes — in addition to also there’s currently no sense among top GOP aides which the votes to advance the proposal exist — the top Senate Republican is usually limited in what he can do.
McConnell would likely also have to decide, likely soon, to push forward on another budget reconciliation effort in order to provide a vehicle in which to move a brand-new repeal effort using a simple majority vote. At This specific point, there are no signs of any preparation for such an effort, aides say.
which bothers many House Republicans who pushed through an Obamacare repeal bill last year only to see which falter inside the Senate.
“There is usually some debate between Republicans, even inside the House, in addition to also certainly Mitch McConnell,” said Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina, who chairs the conservative Republican Study Committee. “yet which’s a promise we have continued to make.”
The first order of business when the Senate reconvenes Wednesday will be to swear in Alabama Democrat Doug Jones, who will slice into the GOP’s already slim advantage.
“51-49,” McConnell lamented recently, “is usually a pretty tight majority.”
The reality of the Senate math means additional Republicans — including the powerful House speaker, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin — may need to curb their ambitious policy goals because any substantial legislation will need at least nine Democrats to get the 60-vote supermajority required to pass.
Ryan’s enthusiasm to reform entitlements, something he’s pushed to do for many years, was on display in a recent Fox News interview.
“We’re going to take on welfare reform, which is usually another big entitlement program, where we’re basically paying people — able-bodied people — not to work,” Ryan said. “which is usually the perfect time to do welfare reform.”
yet which’s unlikely many Democrats would likely back such modifications, even if Trump makes a big push to sell the reforms. Even Democrats up for re-election in states Trump won — who might see a political advantage to working with him — showed only modest interest in his agenda during his first year inside the White House.
which is usually a reality McConnell coldly pointed to when he rejected Ryan’s push for an entitlement overhaul.
“I think which Democrats will not be interested in entitlement reform,” McConnell told Axios. “So I would likely not expect to see which on the agenda.”
Asked about the split, an aide to the speaker pointed to a meeting scheduled for next weekend at Camp David, when Ryan, McConnell in addition to also Trump will hash out the legislative agenda.
Another key meeting This specific week is usually supposed to take place Wednesday, when White House chief of staff John Kelly plans to go to Capitol Hill to discuss spending issues with Ryan, McConnell in addition to also the top two Democratic leaders, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California in addition to also Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of brand-new York, according to two sources.
Sen. Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina, who flew to DC last week to preside over a short pro forma session of the Senate, said he hopes Trump uses the bully pulpit This specific year to convince centrist Democrats to support entitlement reform in addition to also additional GOP goals.
“The speaker does a not bad job understanding where his votes are over there. The leader does a not bad job over here. The reality is usually a lot of what we need to do requires 60 votes,” Tillis said. “So maybe the question is usually, how can the President get to people on the additional side to produce a positive result?”
“Entitlement reform is usually not cutting, as everyone says which is usually,” he added. “which’s trying to get which on a sound fiscal footing.”
Obamacare fixes, Dreamers, infrastructure
Conservatives inside the House in addition to also centrist Republicans inside the Senate are also split on whether to pass reforms to stabilize Obamacare or to allow young immigrants here illegally who were brought to the US as children to stay permanently.
They will work to narrow those differences when they hold legislative retreats at the end of the month.
Trump will give his State of the Union address January 30, a critical opportunity to sell the nation on the GOP’s election-year agenda. Among additional items, the former real estate developer plans to push Congress to back one of his top campaign pledges: spending billions to improve bridges, roads in addition to also additional infrastructure projects across the country.