Zing boom tararrel!
Come December we suspect the Democrats are going to roll out the barrel, and, yes sir, they’re going to have a barrel of fun.
So what was he thinking–President Trump, that is. Well, he wasn’t. Not really. Tying the funding for Hurricane Harvey relief to a debt ceiling extension measure was a dubious idea to begin with unless someone thought it presented an opportunity to (1) secure a very long-term extension of the debt ceiling beyond the 2018 mid-term elections, or (2) do away with the ceiling altogether. In any event, neither objective was accomplished. The ninety-day extension will end at the very time President Trump wants to get his cherished tax reform plan through Congress, and maybe progress on other key initiatives such as immigration, health care, and government spending. The pressure will be much greater on Trump than on Schumer and Pelosi not to let the government be shut down over a tax measure that will be seen as benefitting wealthy tax payers. Trust us, a government shutdown over the debt ceiling would hurt Trump and the Republicans far more than it would hurt Schumer, Pelosi and the Democrats. This, the Art of the Deal? We don’t think so.
Lifting the debt ceiling was not an immediate requisite to funding for the Harvey disaster anyway. Ryan and other leading Republican House members had, as a matter of principle, intended to advance an initial disaster-relief bill that wasn’t tied to an increase in the debt ceiling. While there was no question that the debt ceiling had to be addressed, it didnt have to be coupled with initial disaster relief for Hurricane Harvey. House conservatives wanted to tie raising the debt to fiscally responsible concessions on federal spending and leave the debt-ceiling provision out of the disaster funding package.
The original White House disaster aid request was to include $5.5 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $450 million for the Small Business Administration, which would have covered funding demands through the Sept. 30 end of the federal fiscal year. Then, raising the debt ceiling could have been dealt with as an entirely separate matter and for a decidedly longer period of time.
Mitch McConnell, running things in the Senate, would have joined disaster relief money and a much longer increase in the debt ceiling and passed the two together. That would have would kicked the debt ceiling vote past the 2018 elections. Such a bill might have lost some votes in the House, but it probably would have passed. Now, it would appear, that Schumer and Pelosi can hold all manner of Republican initiatives, such as tax reform, hostage to a debt ceiling increase in 90 days. The Democrats came to the White House meeting this week with few cards to play, and yet seemed to parlay a weak hand and into a royal flush. Come December, when the Administration won’t be able to get much done without a debt ceiling deal, the Democrats are going to be sitting with a very strong hand. It will be a hand dealt to them by none other than President Trump,
We suspect the Democrats are going to have a good December. How good? Click (or paste and copy) this link and picture Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi leading the party. https://playback.fm/charts/top-100-songs/video/1939/Will-Glahe–his-Orchestra-Beer-Barrel-Polka-Roll-out-the-Barrel .