What About Repealing Affordable Health Care And Regulations?

There is so much froth in the mouths of those who simply do not grasp the enormity of governing. To repeal Obamacare, as some senseless ones desire, will take more than some care-free day in congress. Even Donald Trump has said that it will be met with something to replace it as millions of Americans are covered by it and it has proved to work for their health-care needs. The huge cost factors of undoing the law can not be overstated and has not been considered by the frothy ones.

Let us assume that congress wishes to use reconciliation.  To do so they must implement it as part of a budget tool.  And to do that both the Senate and the House must pass budgets. Remember how tough that is? The House didn’t even pass a budget this year. Then committees have to produce their own reconciliation legislation. Then it goes to a vote. This won’t be done as once the program is dismantled the hurdles, and costly ones at that, start to prove more onerous to cross than simply leaving intact the plan they are jazzed up about.

As to all those awful regulations that Republican carp about–well that is not as easy as it appears, either.  The Congressional Review Act allows Congress to repeal some Obama-era rules with just 51 votes in the Senate. But for that to be done in this manner the rule has to have been enacted in the previous 60 legislative days. That’s one area of low-hanging fruit for congressional Republicans, who will want to put points on the board immediately in Trump’s Washington.  But they will find not enough to make many nutty pies they so desire.

Pence Pushes Punting In Post-Election

If anyone following the budget wrangling that continues on Capitol Hill is wondering what the latest developments are….

Vice President-elect Mike Pence previewed some of the incoming Trump administration’s priorities on Capitol Hill Thursday while Speaker Paul D. Ryan sought to accommodate the next president by laying plans to punt a government funding debate into next March.  With Pence present, Ryan told a House Republican Conference meeting that they would vote on a short-term continuing resolution in the lame-duck session.  

The stopgap spending bill would maintain funding for federal agencies and programs through March 31 and replace another short-term CR that expires Dec. 9. 

While the move would sync with the Trump’s reported desire to deal with government spending in the spring, once he is in the White House, the decision drew fire from some senators, including Republicans who argued it would be better for the future administration to wrap up the funding question this year.

“We’ve got a lot of appointments to fill. The Senate’s going to be very, very busy,” said South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham. “If we do a CR to March or April, then we’ll have to deal with that at the same time we’re trying to confirm his nominees.”

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain took to the Senate floor to call backers of the continuing resolution “idiots.” 

Will Russia Guide American Foreign Policy Under Trump Administration?

Another great read from The New Yorker.

In the same interview (with The Wall Street Journal), Trump articulated a new Syria policy:

He suggested a sharper focus on fighting Islamic State, or ISIS, in Syria, rather than on ousting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. “My attitude was you’re fighting Syria, Syria is fighting ISIS, and you have to get rid of ISIS. Russia is now totally aligned with Syria, and now you have Iran, which is becoming powerful, because of us, is aligned with Syria. . . . Now we’re backing rebels against Syria, and we have no idea who these people are.” If the U.S. attacks Mr. Assad, Mr. Trump said, “we end up fighting Russia, fighting Syria.”

A careful reading of the logic behind this policy is that President-elect Trump accepts that American foreign policy should be guided by Russia. According to Trump, if Russia has an interest and military presence in a region, the United States needs to align with Russian interests or “we end up fighting Russia.” Later that day, after Trump talked to Putin, the Kremlin issued a statement welcoming a “dialogue of partnership with the new administration.”