The truth is that Congress and the White House were never really close to a fiscal 2018 deal last December and aren't that much closer to one now a few weeks later in January. When the witching hour for the current continuing resolution arrives on January 19th, the most likely congressional response by far is...wait for it...yet another CR that expires in the middle of February or early March.And why does the Budget Guy think that Trump might turn down a short-term funding bill and set up a shutdown? Because Collender says that Trump desperately wants to distract from the headlines of this week which show him to be an unstable fool with little knowledge of policy. Which means Trump may choose the "stir up the rubes with racism" tactic.
Congress adopting this fourth CR in the first four months of the fiscal year normally would prevent a government shutdown. This year may be very different, however, because President Trump may well decide to veto it.
The most prominent [emotional issue] by far is Trump's continuing demand that Congress provide funds for his wall between the U.S. and Mexico and a legislative fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Both are political red meat issues for Trump voters and were the subject of Trump tweets last week.Which is all the more reason that Democrats shouldn't go along with any funding bill until they get Republicans to back off of their smear tactics and obstruction in the Trump-Russia scandal, and should demand that DACA and no funding for a wall be included in any funding bill. It's also good politics that's on the side of a majority of Americans, and will further underscore Trump's lack of mental stability and the GOP's gutless enabling of the senile nutjob.
Trump made an emotional appeal to his base this past Friday night by sending Congress a formal request for $18 billion to immediately start construction of his wall. Given that his fiscal 2019 budget is legally required to be released by February 5, that is, less than a month from now, Trump could have easily waited and made his proposal a cornerstone of next year's budget debate. Instead, he chose to up the ante over the funding fight that's coming in less than two weeks.
It's not insignificant (and probably not coincidental) that the Trump proposal for immediately funding his wall came very late on the same day that Michael Wolff's book "Fire and Fury" was formally published, and several days after politically explosive excerpts from that book became a source of nonstop embarrassment and frustration for the president.
Another thing Dems should demand in any funding bill is to reauthorize and full pay for the CHIP program. This program for children's health insurance had its authorization run out on October 1, but was given an extra $2.85 billion in the last funding bill that went through Congress in December, with the intent to fund it through March.
However, as Gideon Resnick of the Daily Beast notes, this latest amount of CHIP funding will run out in several states sooner than that, and requires action now in order for coverage to continue in many places.
The $2.85 billion in December did provide a lifeline, albeit a short one, to states where children’s coverage had been immediately threatened. That money was allocated less than a week before Alabama had intended to send post-Christmas notices informing families that they would be freezing enrollment for their All Kids program on January 1 and then would begin disenrolling children on February 1. In Connecticut, where prior to the December deal officials had warned that the state’s program covering some 17,000 children and teenagers would end on Jan. 31, is now funded only through February 28.And a newly-released analysis from the Congressional Budget Office shows that the cost to reauthorize CHIP will be much less than previously anticipated. Why? Because as Resnick tells us, the most recent tax bill will change insurance choices and costs.
As the clock runs out on funding for children’s insurance, the Congressional Budget Office Friday estimated that a five-year reauthorization would increase the deficit by just $800 million between 2018 and 2027. It had previously estimated that cost at around $8.3 billion. Ironically, the steep decrease is attributed to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate in the Republican tax bill.In other words, reauthorizing CHIP would get more children covered by the government compared to them having to go through the Obamacare exchanges, but it is also cheaper to taxpayers because there is less need for tax write-offs for coverage through the exchanges.
“CBO and JCT (Joint Committee on Taxation) expect that premiums for coverage through the marketplaces will be higher in the absence of the mandate penalties than they would otherwise have been,” CBO explains. “As a result, the federal cost of enrolling a child in coverage through the marketplaces will be higher. Thus, funding CHIP for five additional years—causing some children to be covered in that program rather than through the marketplaces—would result in a larger reduction in spending related to the marketplaces than in the prior estimate.”
Sounds like a no-brainer to me. And if Republicans won't agree to the easy, cost-effective move to reauthorize CHIP for the next 5 years, then Dems have no other choice if they want to be a responsible political party.