Don't look now, but the party that can't even pass its own healthcare legislation after seven years needs to come up with a budget in less than four weeks or the government shuts down. Stan Collender:
Funding for the federal government will run out at midnight on April 28. If some type of new appropriation isn't enacted by then, there will be a government shutdown the next day.
You would think the Republican-controlled Congress would want to deal with this immediately, especially in the aftermath of the Affordable Care Act repeal/replace debacle.
But the Senate will be in recess from next Friday until April 24 (the House comes back on April 25) and isn't planning to consider a new funding deal until then. Once it comes back to Washington, Congress will be in session for less than a week before the shutdown will begin.
President Trump has proposed $18 billion in cuts to domestic programs for the rest of fiscal 2017 that the White House will want included in the new funding bill. He's also proposed initial spending for a wall between the U.S. and Mexico and to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
Congressional Democrats are against the president's proposals. While they're very likely to vote against the funding bill no matter what, House and Senate Democrats are almost guaranteed to vote against it if any of these hot button items are included.
And guess what? The GOP budget might not even make it out of the House.
Republican leaders are eager to avoid a government shutdown but the demise of their Obamacare repeal could leave some conservatives spoiling for a fight that raises the odds of a standoff.
The House Freedom Caucus, which helped bring down the GOP health-care bill, says Republicans have yet to notch a significant victory, despite controlling both chambers of Congress and the White House. One top promise they and other conservatives had to hoped to deliver on with the Obamacare repeal was defunding Planned Parenthood over its provision of abortions.
Now, their next chance comes with a spending measure needed to keep the government operating after April 28, when current funding runs out. But Democrats, and some Republicans, strongly defend the group, which provides many health services to women. The battle, which nearly led to a shutdown in 2015, could be enough to set Congress on a path to another one.
“I’m very concerned and we are going to have to try and work in a bipartisan fashion,” Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, an Arizona Republican, said Monday.
House Speaker Paul Ryan suggested Tuesday that the spending measure was the wrong place to wage the Planned Parenthood fight.
“We think reconciliation is the way to go” on defunding the group, Ryan told reporters, referring to the mechanism Republicans were trying to use for the health-care bill that allows them to avoid a filibuster from Senate Democrats.
But to do that, it will have to make it past the same GOP House Freedom Caucus that scrapped Trumpcare because it wasn't draconian enough. Anyone want to take bets on whether or not this turns into a disaster?
Too late, I'm thinking.