If the House Republicans can’t repeal and replace Obamacare, what can they do? Can they cut taxes, or increase the debt ceiling, or pass a budget? And if they can’t pass anything in the House, how do they get anything through the Senate? I don’t think Paul Ryan and the Republicans are especially at fault. Congress has failed as an institution. It’s broken, and needs reform. But it can’t reform itself, because it’s broken.
Paul Ryan is a creature of Congress and wants it to function like a normal legislature, under “regular order”, where bills are heard in committee, and follow normal procedures to a floor vote. It doesn’t work any more, and my suspicion is that we’ve seen the last gasp of regular order.
Instead, later this year, we’ll get a monster of an omnibus appropriation bill, which won’t be subject to filibuster. And we’ll get it at the last minute, when Congressmen are under the gun, and a government shutdown and default on the national debt are at hand. According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, that should be in October or November.
Trump predicts an Obamacare explosion, and his administration has a certain amount of leeway to time that explosion. I’d set things up so it blows up in September, right before the debt ceiling has to be raised. By then his tax initiatives should be stalled somewhere in Congress, and the fight over the budget should be in high gear. So you roll everything into one bill — Obamacare R & R, the tax cuts, the budget and the debt ceiling. Up or down. Do you default on the debt, stand idly by while Obamacare explodes, pass up a chance to start an economic boom with a tax bill, and go without a budget and shut down the government? Or do you keep the government functioning normally, pass a budget, avoid a brush with national insolvency, pass a tax bill that will ignite the economy, and fix Obamacare? Yea or nay?
One thing that won’t come out of the Monster Omnibus Bill of 2017 is a reduction in deficit spending. I’d be shocked if we didn’t add over half a trillion to the national debt, probably closer to a full trillion. But, don’t worry. We’ll get around to taking care of that down the road a little bit.
It is against this political backdrop — a completely dysfunctional Congress, unable to restrain its spending — that the Nashville Convention of States will occur. While it deliberates, during the week of September 12th, all hell will be about to break in Washington. The full crisis will not have come to a head, so we should get plenty of media coverage.
And what a contrast it will be. In Nashville, two or three hundred men and women, the political leadership of forty or more States, gathered to calmly and intelligently discuss a matter of great importance — putting an end to these crazy antics in Washington, and forcing Congress to balance its books through one or more fiscal restraints, by a Constitutional Amendment from the States, and the people. These are the very same people who may soon assemble in the first Amendment Convention in American history. They’ll all want to make a good impression.
People will look at that and say, Why doesn’t Congress act like that?