Republicans have been pushing to pass a new bill, pushing for increased military funding in addition to disaster aid for the communities in the South devastated by the recent hurricanes. However, Republicans, who were once optimistic that this bill would pass with ease, seem to be facing some challenges
Those challenges in specific come from not having enough votes to pass this bill, and a deadline hurtling toward them like a freight train. GOP leaders in the house and senate suggested that lawmakers will instead do the minimum – which would be passing another short-term spending bill in order to keep the government open so they can revisit the original spending bill in the New Year.
Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the No. 3 GOP leader in the Senate, stated:
‘There’s a whole bunch of stuff that’s got to get wrapped up and loose threads out there that have to be tied together at some point, and if we end up having to do that all in the first two weeks of January, I guess that’s what we’ll end up doing.’
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a member of the House Freedom Caucus, stated:
‘I don’t think what they’re whipping right now will get 218 [votes]. I don’t think it will even be close.’
What seems likely to get a short-term fix, however, is a program set to expire that pays for veterans to seek care from outside sources from the Department of Veterans Affairs system. In addition to this, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stated that there were efforts in place to “patch” for states which are facing shortfalls from the Children’s Health Insurance Program. This program pays for healthcare for millions of children from low-income families, and the patch will make it so the program will not have to let any children go from the program.
What is still uncertain is the fate of the $81 billion House disaster aid measure. At this point, it seems as though this measure is likely to see a separate vote. Conservatives are not content with the dollar amount that comes with that plan, which contains billions in funding for California wildfire recovery. Democrats, however, would prefer to see more help for Puerto Rico.
This strategy to avoid a government shut down, due to a lack of votes to pass the proposed spending bill, seems to be the strategy most likely to move forward. It seems as though many items on Capitol Hill’s to-do-list will be pushed into 2018. This short-term measure is super beneficial for lawmakers, as it will fun the government until mid-January, giving lawmakers additional time to work on unfinished business they may have.
In a joint statement with Sen. Lamar Alexander, Sen. Susan Collins stated:
‘Rather than considering a broad year-end funding agreement as we expected, it has become clear that Congress will only be able to pass another short-term extension to prevent a government shutdown and to continue a few essential programs.’
GOP appropriators and defense hawks have balked at the prospect of another stopgap, with Rep Charlie Dent, chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on military construction and veterans affairs stated:
‘I can’t think of a bigger act of political malpractice after a successful tax reform vote than to shut the government down. Talk about stepping on your own message. I mean, how dumb would that be? But anything’s possible around here.’
It remains to be seen what will come of this situation, however, do not be surprised to hear of a short-term spending bill in the near future.
Meanwhile, the president is still on Twitter, bragging about his Tax Reform win.
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