Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

What Really Happened at the White House

leave a comment »

Martin Longman has an interesting article in the Washington Monthly from September 6, the day after the White House meeting with Congressional leaders. He writes:

Let me just spell some basic things out that should be familiar to you since I’ve been writing about them incessantly for months, and in some cases since before the inauguration.

First, the president was sold on a dual-reconciliation strategy by Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan that he was told would enable him to repeal Obamacare quickly and then pivot to tax reform. The strategy would take advantage of the fact that Congress did not pass a budget last year to pass two budgets this year. Health care would be attached to the first budget and tax reform to the second. Using this trick, both could be passed without fear of a Senate filibuster and therefore, supposedly, without having to make any concessions to the Democrats.

This strategy did not work. It never really had a chance of working. I said from the beginning that it was doomed and I was right.

The consequences of Trump adopting this plan have been catastrophic. He hasn’t signed a single significant piece of legislation. He hasn’t been able to keep most of his key promises. His relationships with both the Republicans (for failing him) and the Democrats (for his scorning and disrespecting them) are in ruins.

So, that’s the starting point for understanding yesterday’s meeting between Schumer, Pelosi, McConnell, Ryan, and the White House team.

To make things worse, though, Ryan and McConnell came to the meeting with no plan and no prospects for accomplishing a long list of must-pass legislation through Congress in the twelve legislative days available to them in September. They could ask the president to do certain things, but the only people in the meeting yesterday who could actually deliver something for Trump were the Democrats. That’s point two.

Now, of course, everyone there had their ideological dispositions and items on their wish lists. But there were three things they all agreed on that had no real ideological component.

1. they urgently needed to raise the debt ceiling.
2. they urgently needed to pass a disaster relief bill for Hurricane Harvey.
3. they would strongly prefer to avoid a government shutdown.

For Ryan and McConnell, they knew they needed Democratic votes for the debt ceiling and that Boehner had been pushed out of power for going to the Democrats too many times to lift it. The more Republicans they could get, the better, and if they could get most of them that would be best of all. That’s why they wanted to attach the disaster relief to the debt ceiling. What they really wanted, however, was some cover so they could say the deal they came up with was Trump’s idea, not theirs.

For Pelosi and Schumer, they needed a visible victory. They couldn’t trade their votes for nothing.They were under pressure to get impossible concessions on the DREAM Act and other items, but what they really wanted was a clean disaster relief bill, a clean debt ceiling bill, and a clean continuing resolution that would continue Obama’s budget spending for the entirety of Trump’s first year in office. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2017 at 11:52 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.