I love Fall. It is my favorite time of year. The air turns crisp, the holiday season is around the corner, and this year is surely the year that Charlie Brown will kick that football.
The Republicans look upon their works and despair, ’cause ain’t a damn thing getting done, folks. Their biggest campaign promise – to repeal Obamacare – has failed spectacularly, and it appears as though the Next Best Thing (Graham-Cassidy) is dead in the water, as well.
One of the namesakes of the bill, however, has a splendid idea.
Graham-Cassidy is almost certainly dead, but some Republicans want to press on with health care — along with tax reform — through the 2018 budget, and momentum for the idea seems to be building. That way, Sept. 30 wouldn’t be their final deadline after all. “There’s a pretty vocal do both tax reform and healthcare with FY18 reconciliation camp,” one senior GOP Senate aide told me.
Johnson and Graham might be able to force the party’s hand. “If we’re not able to pass this this week, both Lindsey Graham and I have said — we’re both on the Budget Committee — we’ll insist on a budget resolution that’ll give us the tools of reconciliation for health care and for tax reform,” Johnson told reporters Monday.
This is almost certainly a terrible idea, because if the GOP can’t even pass something so simple as a health care reform package while holding the House, Senate, and the White House, how on Earth do you think they’ll manage to do that and tax reform at the same time?
Tax reform is about to get a big push in the House of Representatives. With the fiscal year ending, and with the GOP only having one chance to pass something through reconciliation in the next fiscal year, the party seems to have been settled on tax reform as the 2017-18 fiscal year agenda item.
…Unless, of course, the foolish people in the Senate who are responsible for absolutely fumbling on health care reform also get their hands on tax reform. Which seems to be what they want. Rand Paul, who has been an utter disappointment throughout this process, seems to think that this is a good idea, which just assures me that this is absolutely the wrong thing to do.
Look, the bottom line is this: If Graham-Cassidy doesn’t pass, then it should be off the table until the 2018-19 fiscal year. The GOP screwed up on it, and they’ll have to go in to the midterm elections explaining why their promise was broken (I am willing to bet that conservatives are somehow to blame here).
But, if they can push through a solid tax reform proposal, one that ultimately lowers the taxes on the middle class and inspires economic growth, then the financial impact of Obamacare (increased premiums, co-pays, prescriptions, etc.) can be offset perhaps enough to make Obamacare less of an issue in the midterms.
It is definitely not ideal, but the GOP has left itself with no other choice here. Sucks to be them, I guess.