President Donald Trump struck out on his first attempt at dealing with Congress. The negotiating skills that he long bragged about during his campaign manifested themselves as threatening tweets. He did not bother with policy details, but instead enlisted Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to find common ground among the various factions of the Republican party. The result was a GOP failure, even on an issue as politically valuable as repealing Obamacare. Now that tax reform is on the docket, Representative Dave Brat speaks for the entire Republican party when he hopes that Trump will act differently.
So far, Trump has tried to reach across the aisle, inviting several Democrats from traditionally red states to the White House and aboard Air Force One. This may not be the change that Brat has in mind. He and his colleagues are more concerned that the president has not yet offered a tangible plan.
“I would hope everyone wants to know what’s in it before you vote on it. That’s the old [Nancy] Pelosi joke on health care, it turned into a colossal joke. ‘You’ll find out what’s in it after we pass it.’” Brat said. “This time around there is no room for error. This has got to be a home run.”
That Trump is working with Democrats does not indicate that he has a stronger grasp on the policy details in this foray with Congress. Actually, Trump appears more motivated than ever by a mere public relations win, as he expresses willingness to work with whoever can help him pass legislation with his name on it. If that involves abandoning the GOP, then so be it.
Brat, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, the group primarily affected by tax reform legislation, continued, “It is frustrating and concerning that we don’t have the details and yet we’re going to be asked in 60 days to vote on something.”