Republican agenda sucking wind with only 30-some work days left in fiscal year 2017


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About a month—that’s how long is left on the Senate’s 2017 calendar to accomplish just a few teensy-weensy items Republicans have been salivating over for years: stripping tens of millions of Americans of health care, slashing taxes for millionaires and billionaires, overhauling the entire tax code. Man, how long they been promising to do all that if only voters would put them in the seat of power?

And then there’s the basic functions of government: providing a budget, keeping the government open for business, raising the debt ceiling so the U.S. doesn’t default and entirely trash our debt rating.

It all seemed so obvious just six months ago with Paul Ryan’s cheery can-do attitude alongside Mitch McConnell’s dour-but-steady guidance. But suddenly the walls are closing in—so much so that even members of McConnell’s own caucus are begging him to forego their August recess. The NYT writes:

“Our current Senate calendar shows only

potential working days remaining before the end of the fiscal year,” a group of 10 Republican senators wrote on Friday in a letter to Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, highlighting the deadline at the end of September. “This does not appear to give us enough time to adequately address the issues that demand immediate attention.”

The Republican Party is under intense pressure to achieve something of consequence in that limited time in order to legitimately claim that the first year of the Trump administration has been a success. So far, the ambitious agenda has stagnated without a signature achievement.

Hallelujah to that. With any luck, getting a healthcare vote will swallow the rest of July and still come up short. Then before Republicans can so much as utter the word “taxes,” they’ll be hit with an all-consuming debt-ceiling crisis since Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin has been lobbying them to lift the borrowing limit before the end of July. Of course, that crisis will be intensified by the House maniacs’ desire to tie a debt ceiling vote to spending cuts in the 2018 budget.

With an all-out GOP slugfest between the deficit and defense hawks and the handful of more moderate Republican senators who simply want to prove they can perform the minimal functions of government, lawmakers will likely manage to avert a debt ceiling disaster by the end of September, leaving no time to accomplish any other legislative goals before the end of the fiscal year.

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