Posted by: maboulette | March 27, 2017

What’s Next On the Agenda for the GOP and Trump


Ryan

Republicans suffered a bruising, self-inflicted blow Friday when they tanked their own health care bill and gave up on that long-held priority.

NOW WHAT

The question now is whether the GOP can recover and accomplish other items on the congressional agenda — whether it’s passing spending bills to keeping the government open or enacting sweeping tax reform.

“They lost their first major legislative fight and did it in spectacular fashion,” said David Cohen, a political science professor at the University of Akron.

That does not bode well, Cohen said, because “so much of politics is built on momentum,” with success begetting more success — or failure leading to more defections and distrust.

MOVE ONTO TAX REFORM

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., painted a rosy picture of the GOP’s next steps on Friday, even while admitting their failure to pass the health care bill was a setback. He said they would now move onto tax reform, deficit reduction, rebuilding the military, securing the border and boosting infrastructure spending.

EASIER THAN HEALTH CARE

Ryan and others said tax reform and other issues would be easier than health care, because there’s more agreement within the party on how to proceed.

“Republicans are moving full speed ahead with President Trump on the first pro-growth tax reform in a generation,” said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which will oversee that effort.

DIVISIONS NEED TO HEAL

But the divisions that sank the health bill are still raw, with Republicans engaged in a round of intra-party recriminations and finger-pointing.

COLLINS

Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., said tensions inside the House Republican conference are so high that some lawmakers aren’t speaking to each other and some are even “storming past each other” in the Capitol’s marbled hallways.

REASON HEALTH CARE FIRST

And there’s a reason that Republicans tackled health care first. They were rolling that into a budget “reconciliation” bill, a special framework that is not subject to a filibuster in the Senate. Anything else the Republicans do will have to win 60 votes in the Senate, where Republicans control 52 seats to the 46 Democrats and 2 independents who caucus with the Democrats. And the budget bill would set a framework for other tax and spending matters, which impact everything else the GOP does.

RETHINK LEGISLATIVE SCHEDULE

Asked earlier this week what would happen if the health bill failed, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said: “I think you have to go back to square one and rethink your entire legislative schedule.”

TAX REFORM MORE DIFFICULT

Ryan conceded that tax reform is more difficult with Obamacare left in place, because that law included a bevy of tax increases the GOP had hoped to repeal.

“That just means the Obamacare taxes stick with Obamacare,” Ryan said. “We’re going to go fix the rest of the tax code.”

REPAIR RELATIONS

He also admitted that Republicans would have to do a little soul-searching to figure out what went wrong in the health care debate — and to repair frayed relations inside the party.

“We will need time to reflect on how we got to his moment,” he told reporters Friday. “We were a 10-year opposition party, where being against things was easy to do.”

Now, he said, the party is undergoing “growing pains” as it adjusts to controlling all levers of government.

POLITICAL ANALYST

Political analyst Stuart Rothenberg called it “quite an admission” for Ryan to acknowledge the GOP is not yet a “governing party.”

“What an embarrassment. What else can you say?” Rothenberg tweeted. “They promised. They voted to repeal — until they were in charge.

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