Saturday, December 19, 2015

A Christmas Congressional Compromise for Citizens

As I write this column, Speaker Paul Ryan announced that negotiators would unveil their trillion-dollar government-spending bill. The package is finalized just one day before the deadline to keep the government funded. This will ensure that Congress needs to pass another short-term funding bill to avert a government shutdown.

From the point of view of Ryan, the package is a true compromise stating that there are wins and losses for both parties.

I must say that this is a good sign. It has been a long time coming that the leaders from both sides of the aisle in Washington, D.C. start compromising and thinking of the interests of the American people for a change.

Lawmakers have closely watched the moves of Speaker Ryan since his election as a speaker a little more than a month ago most specifically the massive spending bill.

“Democrats wanted to see how involved they would be in the process while conservative Republicans wanted to see procedural changes in how different factions of the GOP were included.”

The compromise seems to satisfy most of the lawmakers momentarily. He does not think he has tamed his right flank, members of the House Freedom Caucus, however.

He says, "I reject the premise of taming any person."

For the benefit of his GOP constituents, Speaker Paul Ryan told House Republicans on Monday night that the yearlong $1.1 trillion government-funding bill contains policy victories for the GOP, but not as many as lawmakers will want.

Negotiation has been mainly with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for several days on the policy specifics of the massive spending bill, and an accompanying package to extend business-focused tax breaks.

According to press reports, Ryan declined to get into specifics about the bill on the call, but promised he would go through the details of the legislation in a closed party meeting, and would talk to the press about what he considers "wins" in the legislation. For example, Republicans have secured the lifting of a decades-old ban on exporting U.S. oil. But, GOP attempts to insert language into the bill to impose tougher controls on Syrian and Iraqi refugees were unsuccessful.

The expectation is that the omnibus package will get larger support from Democrats this time around. It is certain that some in the GOP will be disappointed. Republicans will likely carry the tax package, however.

It looks like government employees, and even Congress, will have a merrier Christmas this year due to this package!

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