One year into complete control of Washington, Republicans are still trying to come up with a governing agenda.
President Donald Trump wants 2018 to be the year of infrastructure, White House and Hill sources say. And he’ll pitch GOP congressional leaders on rebuilding the nation’s roads and bridges during a rare Camp David strategy session this weekend. But questions about how to pay for it — and whether Republicans can even find the votes for passage — are already troubling Hill leaders.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan, meanwhile, are at odds over whether to tackle entitlement reform in an election year. The Wisconsin Republican has narrowed his expectations after several GOP leaders on both sides of the Capitol expressed concern about the political optics of cutting the safety net for the elderly or poor when GOP majorities are on the line, according to two sources familiar with high-level discussions. But the speaker plans to pitch a welfare overhaul this weekend nonetheless and is already framing the changes as “poverty reform.”
On top of all that, Republicans face tough votes ahead that will require Democratic support, likely resulting in compromises that divide the party and alienate the base. Congress is eyeing a massive bipartisan spending deal to increase funding for the Pentagon and domestic programs and avoid a government shutdown in two weeks. Lawmakers also must soon raise the $20 trillion debt ceiling, a toxic vote for the right. And they’re trying to come up with a solution to shield more than 700,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation.
“We started America’s comeback with this tax reform… Now we want to complete that job: infrastructure, dealing with opioids, making sure the security of America is safe, rebuilding our military,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on Fox News before heading to Camp David Friday. “Those are the things we’re looking at and walking through with the Senate and the House on the agenda for 2018.” (Via Politico)