Jul 18

The Next Horrible

Because I am naturally cautious and have experienced too many Zombie Resurrections I’m not quite ready to declare Trumpcare staked, decapitated with a mouthful of garlic, pumped with a clip of silver bullets, dissolved in a vat of Holy Water, and shot into the surface of the Sun.

Though I certainly hope so.

The important thing to remember is however much you hate The Donald (and I hate him a lot) these are not his ideas (indeed I hold that Trump is incapable of formulating any idea that can’t be expressed in 140 characters or less and unable to retain even those longer than the attention span of a Fruit Fly), they are Republican ideas and represent the will of the Party.

The next horrible is the assault on the rest of what laughably passes as a Social Safety Net that keeps the dead bodies of old people from littering our streets. I’m talking of course about the assault on Social Security and Medicare being plotted by Paul Ryan and his gang of Granny Starvers under the guise of a Budget.

Philosophically it serves 2 purposes for Republicans. First it feeds your taxes directly into the pockets of the .01% Plutocrats under the doublespeak of “Reform”. Second it feeds that selfish Calvinist libertarian “morality” which holds that “I’m rich because I deserve it,” therefore “You are poor because you deserve it.”

Should have chosen different parents.

House GOP unveils budget plan that attaches major spending cuts to coming tax overhaul bill
By Mike DeBonis, Washington Post
July 18

House Republicans unveiled a 2018 budget plan Tuesday that would pave the way for ambitious tax reform legislation — but only alongside a package of politically sensitive spending cuts that threaten to derail the tax rewrite before it begins.

The instructions in the draft budget, however, go well beyond tax policy and set the stage for a potential $203 billion rollback of financial industry regulations, federal employee benefits, welfare spending and more. Those are policy areas where Republicans have, in many cases, already passed legislation in the House but have seen Democrats block action in the Senate.

Like the spending blueprint released this year by President Trump, the House plan envisions major cuts to federal spending over the coming decade, bringing the budget into balance by relying on accelerated economic growth to boost revenue. Under the House plan, defense spending would steadily increase over 10 years while nondefense discretionary spending would decline to $424 billion — a drastic cut from the $554 billion the federal government is spending in that category this year.

Unlike Trump’s budget, the House proposal cuts into Medicare — a program that the president has pledged to preserve. The House plan also makes a less-rosy economic growth assumption of 2.6 percent versus the 3 percent eyed by the Trump administration. Both, however, exceed the 1.9 percent figure used by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office in its most recent economic estimates.

The Ways and Means Committee, which is drafting the tax bill, would be instructed to find $52 billion in deficit savings over the coming decade. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and the panel’s chairman, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.), have said they intend to pursue a deficit-neutral reform bill, meaning the savings would have to be found in other programs under the committee’s jurisdiction — such as Medicare, disability aid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and unemployment compensation.

The Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has explored cuts to the federal workforce and to federal employee benefits, would be required to find $32 billion in deficit savings, while the Education and Workforce Committee, which has jurisdiction over college aid programs, would have to find $20 billion.

The Financial Services Committee would be ordered to produce $14 billion in savings — a figure that could allow Republicans to repeal large parts of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. The Congressional Budget Office found earlier this year that the Financial Choice Act, a Dodd-Frank repeal bill passed by the House last month, would produce about $24 billion in deficit reduction over the next 10 years.

And the Judiciary Committee would be responsible for $45 billion in deficit reduction, which is roughly the amount of savings produced under the Protecting Access to Care Act, a medical malpractice reform bill that also passed the House last month.

Both of those bills have little support among Democrats and would likely be blocked in the Senate under typical procedure. Reconciliation rules could allow Republicans to avoid that barrier.

The more profound barrier could be Republican divisions over the budget proposal itself. The effort to write a budget has been stalled for months as defense hawks, deficit watchdogs and appropriators have sparred over where to set spending levels. And while there appears to be a working accord on the House Budget Committee, it remains unclear whether the blueprint can survive a floor vote.

Members of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus have been pushing for more aggressive long-term spending cuts in reconciliation. The group’s leader, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), told reporters last week that the numbers in the draft budget could not pass the House, calling the proposed $203 billion in mandatory spending cuts over the coming decade a relative pittance in a federal budget that already approaches $4 trillion in yearly spending.

Conservatives are also pushing House GOP leaders for more specificity on the tax reform bill — in particular, an assurance that a proposal to tax imported goods known as border adjustment will not be included.

Moderates, meanwhile, are staging a revolt of their own. Twenty members of the centrist Tuesday Group signed a letter last month objecting to even $200 billion in mandatory spending cuts, arguing they are “not practical” and would “make enacting tax reform even more difficult than it already will be.”

House Republican leaders have whistled past questions about the practicality of the spending levels they are proposing and instead have made the case to rank-and-file House members that passing the budget resolution — because of the reconciliation instructions — represents the only way to ensure a successful tax bill.

Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), the vice chairman of the House Budget Committee, defended the decision to yoke the unrelated spending cuts to the tax bill.

“Are you going to use a budget simply as a vehicle for tax reform? Or are you going to be true to keeping your promise of balancing the budget?” he said Tuesday. “This budget reflects the fact you’ve got to do both. To the extent that makes it more complicated, I hope colleagues can handle that. I know they can walk and chew gum at the same time.”

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  1. Vent Hole

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