IN TODAY’S EDITION
- Trump strikes a bargain with Pelosi and Schumer, leaving Republicans frustrated.
- Someone once argued the opposite of Obama on immigration. His name was Bill Clinton.
- Democrats used to support just the kind of tax reform Trump proposes. Do they still?
- Daily Features: Top Headlines, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.
“The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.” —Thomas Jefferson (1816)
By Lewis Morris
Republicans already have their work cut out for them this fall in trying to salvage what has largely been a disappointing year. Failure to repeal and replace ObamaCare and the shrinking promise of tax reform have left little confidence in the majority party’s ability to govern. The debt-ceiling deal President Donald Trump cut with the Democrat leadership Wednesday is all part of the game of chess, but it sure doesn’t seem helpful.
Trump agreed with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to fund the government for just three months and temporarily raise the debt ceiling, which is due to reach its limit on September 30. Republican leaders wanted an extension through the 2018 election with fiscal reforms attached. Then Trump invited vulnerable Democrat Sen. Heidi Heitkamp to ride Air Force One and campaign with him in North Dakota.
According to leftist Politico, “Republicans left the Oval Office Wednesday stunned,” while “Democrats were gleeful.” Understandable.
Trump’s flip-flop on the debt ceiling goes against his campaign promise to bring an end to the fiscal chaos that has left the government with a $20 trillion debt. It also puts into jeopardy any leverage Republicans had in crafting a long-term debt solution and pushing the remainder of their legislative agenda for 2017. The Wall Street Journal explains, “Republicans will now have to take at least two difficult votes to raise the debt ceiling, while Democratic leverage will increase when the day of reckoning comes.”
As if GOP leadership needed another excuse to fail.
We say this is a game of chess because Trump almost surely made this debt deal with Democrats for strategic reasons far beyond the question of extending the ceiling for three months, six months, or 18 months. The media is stuck playing checkers. The GOP has failed to push through various priorities, and Trump may be calculating he’s going to need Democrat help — or at least less opposition.
House and Senate Republicans have about 60 days left in the session to deliver on a list of proposals that even optimistic policy watchers say is unlikely to happen. Tax reform, hurricane relief, immigration and a whole host of appropriations bills are at the top of the list.
A nearly $8 billion relief package for Hurricane Harvey victims cleared Congress Wednesday, with a promise of more money to follow now that Hurricane Irma is bearing down on Florida.
Tax reform will have a more difficult path. Trump has offered little guidance on what the tax package might look like, and Republican lawmakers have yet to agree on a proposal that will offset much-needed tax cuts for individual and corporate earners with spending cuts. Mark Zandi, a top economist with Moody’s Analytics, noted that there is little expectation in the markets that any meaningful reform will happen. “There’s no evidence that investors or anyone else are expecting any kind of tax reform or tax relief,” he said.
Again, Republicans had hoped to use the impending debt ceiling as an opportunity to push for broader tax relief and impose spending reforms that break the seemingly endless cycle of last-minute spending measures and debt-ceiling hikes that keep the government running. The recurring drama of avoiding default and the addiction to short-term spending resolutions have kept Congress from passing comprehensive budgets for years. It has also led to bad fiscal management in Washington, where lawmakers can never seem to look beyond the next stopgap measure. It was hoped that Trump’s tough talk on getting the government’s fiscal house in order would lead to a plan that would bring an end to this madness. His deal with “Chuck and Nancy,” as he jovially referred to the Democrat leadership Wednesday, indicates otherwise.
Trump further weakened the Republican position by leaving the door open with Democrats for DACA legislation later in the year. When he rescinded Barack Obama’s executive order earlier this week, Trump left the door open for Congress to come up with a permanent solution to the issue of so-called “Dreamers.” But his chumminess with Democrats Wednesday indicated he was willing to accept a solution that did not include any enforcement provision. This was welcome news to the open-borders crowd; disheartening news for anyone seeking meaningful immigration reform.
All is not lost for Republicans, and, notwithstanding the ObamaCare failure, they should not be viewed as having completely fumbled their opportunities for 2017. There have been some bright spots, including confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and the rolling back of several Obama executive actions that will save Americans billions of dollars in regulatory costs.
These small victories will mean little, however, unless Trump and congressional Republicans can put together meaningful budget reforms. Instead of buddying up with tax-and-spend Democrats, Trump should repair his frayed relations with House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Together they can bring sanity to Washington’s rudderless fiscal policy and make a lasting impact that will boost the Republican agenda and, thus, the country.
Just for the record, we’ll give the last word to Ted Cruz, who had this to say on the campaign trail in 2016: “If as a voter, you think what we need is more Republicans in Washington to cut a deal with … Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, then I guess Donald Trump is your guy.”
There was a specific term Barack Obama used in his 844-word Facebook diatribe against his successor’s DACA reversal that demonstrates just how far down the lawless path today’s leftists have fallen. One of them is a phrase found in a 1995 speech by a man who, at the time, sounded much like Donald Trump does today. According to Democrat Bill Clinton in his State of the Union address, “It is wrong and ultimately self-defeating for a nation of immigrants to permit the kind of abuse of our immigration laws we have seen in recent years, and we must do more to stop it.”
That phrase “self-defeating” was echoed by another Democrat, Barack Obama, this week. In his wet blanket response to Trump’s DACA declaration, he asserts, “It is self-defeating.” Of course, Obama throughout his remarks exploited the innocence of Dreamers to distract from the fact that DACA is unconstitutional. His retort is chock-full of emotional blackmail that lacks sound reasoning in its entirety. There’s a rational argument in favor of Dreamers remaining here in America, but that’s not the debate. The debate is over Barack Obama’s breaking the law. Twenty-two years ago, even Clinton understood that the “abuse of our immigration laws” is “ultimately self-defeating.” So is leftist orthodoxy that contradicts itself.
When Donald Trump released his plan for tax reform, he highlighted four areas for specific focus. First, simply making the tax code “fair and easy to understand.” Second, lower the corporate tax rate — currently at 35%, the highest in the developed world — down to a reasonable and competitive rate of 15%. Third, via the incentive of a lower corporate tax rate, bring businesses back to American soil, which brings in trillions of dollars and in turn spurs greater economic investment and job growth. Fourth and finally, lower taxes on middle-class Americans.
None of these tax reform proposals are unreasonable or controversial. In fact, Democrats have been suggesting these reforms for years.
Democrats have promoted simplifying the tax code. In 2011, Barack Obama said in his State of the Union speech, “I’m asking Democrats and Republicans to simplify the [tax] system.” Also in 2011 Sen. John Tester (D-MT) stated, “You know, I will tell you I think tax reform needs to be part of the equation. And I think we can simplify the tax code.” And everyone’s favorite non-Indian, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), this past April introduced legislation aimed at simplifying the tax code and filing process. Declaring support for Warren’s bill, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) said, “If Washington would finally act on common sense reforms at the IRS, we can simplify tax filing and make it less expensive for taxpayers.” And this statement just two weeks ago from Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH): “I think we need to simplify the tax code.”
Democrats have said they favor lowering the corporate tax rate. In 2008, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, “America has one of the highest corporate tax rates among industrialized nations and [Treasury] Secretary [Hank] Paulson has repeatedly spoken of the need to eliminate unfair tax preferences in the code to allow for a reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35% to 30.5% or below. Reducing the corporate tax rate would help keep our companies competitive internationally.” In 2014, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) stated, “I think we all want to lower corporate tax rates.” Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) two weeks ago said, “I think we need to lower the corporate tax rate. We can’t just be the party of redistribution of wealth. We’ve got to be the party of creation of wealth.”
Democrats have connected lowering the corporate tax rate to incentivizing businesses to come back to American soil. In 2013, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) stated, “Corporate tax reform is necessary to ensure the American economy is the most desirable place in the world for U.S.-based companies to invest. We can do that by closing down tax havens that cost our country revenue and cost American workers jobs. Lowering the corporate tax rate would put companies on a level playing field with foreign competitors and reduce the incentive for them to shift jobs and profits overseas.”
Democrats have called for tax relief for the American middle class by eliminating tax loopholes. Nancy Pelosi in 2015 urged “closing special interest loopholes” and “tax reform that ensured all Americans pay their fair share.” In 2013, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said that reform was needed “by closing special interest loopholes and by no longer favoring wealth over work in our tax code.” And just days ago Sen. Heidi Heitcamp (D-ND) stated, “I’ve been pushing for both sides of the aisle to work together in Congress toward permanent, comprehensive solutions that will do away with loopholes and handouts for special interests and instead promote our small businesses, farm economy and energy industries with the fiscally responsible reforms they need to grow and expand.”
Will Democrats stand by their words, or will they continue to play the politics of obstruction opposing Trump at every turn? We’ll find out soon.
15 states sue Trump administration over decision to end DACA (National Review)
Funding for sanctuary cities stripped in late House vote (Washington Examiner)
Collusion! Facebook sold 2016 election-related ads to “shadowy Russian company” (ArsTechnica)
Democrat IT staffer who fled the country strikes deal to return, face charges (Washington Examiner)
Book by Hillary Clinton’s pastor will be pulled from shelves due to extensive plagiarism — she wrote the foreword (The Washington Post)
EPA workforce approaching lowest levels since Reagan (The Washington Free Beacon)
Black parents sue school, claim bullies abuse daughter for “acting white” (PJ Media)
National Cathedral: Time for Confederate windows to go (Hot Air)
Reports: Israel bombs Assad regime chemical weapons facility (CNS News)
Policy: A DACA deal should include real enforcement (Investor’s Business Daily)
Policy: Waiting to raise interest rates is a mistake (U.S. News & World Report)
For more, visit Patriot Headline Report.
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MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST
- Just War or False Peace? — Well-meaning peace advocates do not recognize the truth of Ronald Reagan’s slogan, “Peace Through Strength.”
- Hillary’s Blaming Bernie — “His attacks caused lasting damage … paving the way for Trump’s ‘Crooked Hillary’ campaign.”
- Elected Democrats’ Anti-Christian Bias Is Troubling — Dianne Feinstein grills one of Trump’s judicial nominees for the gross sin of being a Catholic.
BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
- Victor Davis Hanson: Beware of Narratives and Misinformation
- Cal Thomas: On Taxes and Immigration: Look to Hungary
- Hans von Spakovsky: Andrea Mitchell Is Wrong About the Term ‘Illegal Aliens’
For more, visit Right Opinion.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Hans von Spakovsky: “In her ‘reporting’ on the ending of the DACA program, Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC asserted that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was wrong to use the term ‘illegal alien,’ which she deemed both ‘offensive’ and ‘not correct.’ But ‘illegal alien’ is in fact the correct legal term. … The politically correct term ‘undocumented immigrant’ that she and others insist on using is a made-up term used by progressive groups and media sources to extinguish the line between legal immigrants and illegal aliens. That makes it easier for them to claim that anyone who wants our immigration laws enforced is ‘anti-immigrant.’ As civil-rights icon Barbara Jordan (who chaired Bill Clinton’s Commission on Immigration Reform) aptly said, ‘We disagree with those who would label efforts to control immigration as being inherently anti-immigrant. It is both a right and responsibility for a democratic society to manage immigration so it serves the national interest…. Unless this country does a better job in curbing illegal immigration, we risk irreparably undermining our commitment to legal immigration.’”
Upright: “It was recently disclosed that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security had warned the Obama administration in 2016 that antifa was a domestic terrorist organization that aimed to incite violence during street protests. That stark assessment and antifa’s subsequent violence make the recent nonchalance of local police departments with regard to antifa thuggery seem like an abject dereliction of duty.” —Victor Davis Hanson
For the record: “Another argument the Left raises appeals to our sense of fairness. ‘These kids didn’t break the law, their parents did. We don’t hold children responsible for their parents,’ progressives say. Oh, but they do. They are holding an entire generation responsible for the sins of their grandparents and great grandparents, especially if they happened to live in a southern state. Those kids are routinely told that they are benefiting from white privilege, and they must make amends for that ‘original sin.’” —Gary Bauer
Demo-gogues: “This is the first president in modern time, in the lives of these Dreamers, who has been anti-immigration, rejecting the idea that immigration is the life blood of our country.” —Nancy Pelosi
Braying Jenny: “Here at Planned Parenthood, we firmly believe that every person has the right to live, work, and raise a family freely and without the threat of deportation or separation.” —Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood (Well, not EVERYONE…)
Alpha Jackass: “Our legal system is structured to favor private property. … If I had my druthers, the city government would determine every single plot of land, how development would proceed. And there would be very stringent requirements around income levels and rents. That’s a world I’d love to see.” —Mayor Bill de Blasio effectively endorsing the end of private property
And last… “It is remarkable to find Obama condemning Trump for ending a program Trump has not actually ended, while simultaneously defending DACA on prosecutorial discretion principles, which Obama invoked but did not follow, and which Trump is actually following while preserving Obama’s unconstitutional program. Perfect.” —Andrew McCarthy
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