Last week President Trump made deal with Chuck and Nancy for a 15 billion Hurricane Harvey aid package that included a 90 day suspension of the debt ceiling. This was a complete surprise to Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan. The conservative pundits on cable news and talk radio were completely surprised too. The only surprise I had that it took only almost 9 months into the Trump Presidency for it to happen. This is what I feared about a Trump Presidency. Trump is not an ideological conservative and that the Republican establishment refusing to work on enacting his agenda would send him into the arms of Chuck and Nancy.
Trump was smart by not allowing himself to be dragged into a debt ceiling fight that would hold up the aid to the Hurricane Harvey victims. A competent and effective Republican leadership should have been present working to find spending reductions in exchange for the 90 day debt ceiling suspension. There is currently a bipartisan effort in the senate to come up with an Obamacare fix. This would not be a repeal and replace bill. This Obamacare fix bill will pass with the same coalition that passed the Harvey aid and 90 day debt ceiling suspension bill. Democrats who have been firm in resisting Trump now have precedence to vote for an Obamacare fix bill and maybe tax reform that is watered down.
Repeal and replace plus tax reform are the cornerstone of the Trump economic growth agenda. This agenda is now in jeopardy. I am a supporter of the Freedom Caucus in the House, but was disappointed by their unwillingness to make any real concessions on the repeal and replace bill. The bill did pass, but in a form that could not be supported in the Senate. The Senate deserves equal blame for not passing a repeal and replace bill that had a chance to be signed into law. They were previously able to pass a repeal bill knowing it would not be signed into law by Obama.
The Republican controlled Senate and House have shown they are incapable of accomplishing anything. The repeal and replace bill could have given Republicans 60% to 70% of what they wanted. Now, it looks like maybe 40% to 50% and that will be the same for a watered down tax reform bill. I hope this a wake up call to the Republican leadership in the Senate and House, but I am not hopeful. The Republican Party will be irrelevant if the Trump, Chuck, and Nancy have another win on healthcare. A bad bill with bandaids will be kicked down the road to float in a watered down tax reform bill that will come after.