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Congress Focuses On Averting Shutdown, But Trump Wants More In Budget Deal

Then President-elect Donald Trump meets with House Speaker Paul Ryan at the U.S. Capitol in November.
Zach Gibson Getty Images
Then President-elect Donald Trump meets with House Speaker Paul Ryan at the U.S. Capitol in November.

Congress Focuses On Averting Shutdown, But Trump Wants More In Budget Deal
Congress Focuses On Averting Shutdown, But Trump Wants More In Budget Deal GUEST: Thad Kousser, political science professor, UC San Diego

EFFORTS TO DO A PLAN TO REPEAL AND REPLACE THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT ARE UNDERWAY PICK MORE SLOW THAN INDICATED REPUBLICAN LEADERS IN THE HOUSE NOW SAY A COMPROMISE BETWEEN MODERATE AND CONSERVATIVE FACTIONS HAS ALMOST BEEN REACHED NO VOTE IS EXPECTED THIS WEEK. THE WHITE HOUSE HAD HOPED FOR A NEW VOTE BEFORE TRUMP REACHES HIS 100th DAY IN OFFICE MILESTONE. EVEN WITH THE DELAY IT IS UNCLEAR THAT REPUBLICANS WILL REACH AN AGREEMENT THAT SATISFIES HARDLINERS AND THOSE GOP MEMBERS BEING HOUNDED I CONSTITUENTS WANT TO KEEP THEIR HEALTHCARE. JOINING ME AS A POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR WITH UC SAN DIEGO. WELCOME. THANKS. BEFORE WE GET INTO THE NUTS AND BOLTS OF WHAT A REVISED HEALTHCARE REPLACEMENT PLAN MIGHT LOOK LIKE, AS A POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR, WHAT INFLUENCE DO YOU THINK THESE ROWDY TOWN HALL MEETINGS HAVE HAD ON THE HEALTHCARE DEBATE WITHIN THE GOP? THE TOWN HALL MEETINGS IN 2010 WERE WHAT GAVE RISE TO THE FREEDOM CAUCUS AND THE TEA PARTY. AND SET THE STAGE FOR THE MAJOR POLITICAL UPHEAVAL WE SAW THAT YEAR. THE ROWDY TOWN HALL CAUCUSES OF THE LEFT, HAVE SHIFTED THE BALANCE BACK TOWARD THE LEFT. THEY HAVE LEFT MANY MODERATE MEMBERS SCARED AND ATTUNED TO THE POLICY NEEDS OF THE VOTERS. MANY VOTERS AND READ STATES WERE WORRIED ABOUT LOSING HEALTHCARE. THE FIRST REPUBLICAN HEALTHCARE PLAN DID NOT MAKE IT TO THE FLOOR OF THE HOUSE. WHAT ARE THINGS THAT ABSOLUTELY NEED TO BE ADDRESSED IN A HEALTHCARE BILL REVISION. THE BIG FIGHTS HAVE BEEN OVER HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE GUARANTEED OR WILL LOSE COVERAGE CUTBACKS? MOSTLY THROUGH THE MEDICAID SYSTEM. THAT IS WHERE FOLKS IN THE TRUMP AREA HAD AN ISSUE THAT SCARED AWAY MODERATES. IF YOU CUT IT TOO MUCH YOU WILL LOSE THE MODERATES. ON THE FAR RIGHT SIDE, THE FREEDOM CONGRESS THEY WANT PLANS TO BE FLEXIBLE AND THE SERVICES THEY PROVIDE AND CUT THEM DOWN. ANYTHING YOU DO TO CUT DOWN THE SERVICES AND THEN YOU LOSE MODERATES PICK YOU PUSH ON ONE END AND HE WAS ON THE OTHER. THE CUTDOWN TO THE HEALTH AND IF IT'S. IT IS WHAT WE HEAR THAT IS IN THE COMPROMISE PICKED THE OTHER ONE IS THE NEW PLAN MIGHT LET COMPANIES CHARGE HIGHER PREMIUMS, AS LONG AS THE STATES PROVIDE HIGH RISK POOLS PER QUÉBEC GET ENOUGH SUPPORT TO PASS? WHAT WE SAW IN THE DEBACLE THAT HAPPENED LAST MONTH, WITHOUT A LOT OF COMMUNICATION, THE RIGHT OF THE REPUBLICAN CAUCUS AND THE ONLY SLIGHTLY RIGHT OF REPUBLICAN CAUCUS -- THE FEW MODERATES IN THE CAUCUS, COULD NOT AGREE ON WHAT THE SWEET SPOT WAS BETWEEN THE CUTS TO CENTRAL SERVICES. IT MAY ALLOWED ADDITIONAL COVERAGE AND PROTECTION OF THE THINGS THAT ARE POPULAR IN OBAMACARE. AND PROVIDING SERVICES TO PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS. WHICH IS A TON OF US IN AMERICA. THAT IS ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR THINGS ABOUT OBAMACARE ANY CHANGE TO THAT COULD BE POLITICALLY TOXIC AND BLOW IT UP IN THE HOUSE OR SENATE. THIS WEEKEND, WHAT HELP -- WHITE HOUSE BUDGET DIRECTOR SAID THE HOUSE COULD STILL PASS BOTH THE HEALTHCARE -- HEALTHCARE REPEAL LAW AND A BUDGET DEAL IN NEXT FEW DAYS HERE WHAT IS THE LIKELIHOOD THAT WE WILL SEE A NEW REPUBLICAN PLAN THIS WEEK? ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN. WITH THE WHITE HOUSE IS TRYING TO DO IS USE THE POLITICAL URGENCY CREATED BY THE BUDGET DEADLINE THAT IS COMING UP THIS FRIDAY. AND REALLY BE POLITICAL WITH THE DEADLINE TO GET SOMETHING LEGISLATIVELY DONE IN HIS FIRST 100 DAYS. COMING UP AT THE END OF THE WEEK. I THINK THAT IS THEIR ONLY AMMUNITION RIGHT NOW. CREATING A SENSE OF URGENCY. NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THE LEGISLATURE BELIEVE THAT. WE WILL SEE LITTLE CHANCE OF THIS HAPPENING IN THE FIRST HUNDRED DAYS. IN 200 DAYS? YES. THERE IS SPACE FOR A DEAL WITH THE REPUBLICAN CAUCUS SUPPORTING IT. THE WHITE HOUSE HAS REPEATEDLY SUGGESTED THEY WOULD FUND OBAMACARE SUBSIDIES, WHICH MAKE IT MORE AFFORDABLE FOR PEOPLE TO BUY INSURANCE ON HEALTHCARE EXCHANGES, IF DEMOCRATS WOULD AGREE TO FUND RESIDENT TRUMPS BORDER WALL PLAN. IS AS ANY SORT OF BIPARTISAN OUTREACH THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP COULD PULL OFF? I THINK THE BORDER WALL IS A POLITICAL NOTE GO ZONE FOR DEMOCRATS I CANNOT SEE DEMOCRATS EVER SUPPORTING THAT. THERE IS NOT A LOGICAL NEXUS BETWEEN THE TWO PARTS OF THE POLICY. EVENT THE REPEAL AND REPLACE BILL THAT THE PRESIDENT SUPPORTED HAD SUBSIDIES. THEY WERE DIFFERENT SUBSIDIES. IT DID NOT HELP THE POOR WORK IF YOU ARE STRUCTURING SUBSIDIES, DEMOCRATS COULD SAY WHAT ARE YOU GIVING US? IT MAKES THINGS WORSE FOR OUR CONSTITUENTS THAT BEFORE. I DO NOT SEE A BIG SPACE FOR A DEAL WITH DEMOCRATS ON TRUMP CARE. SPECTOR HAS ALSO BEEN SOMETHING FLOATED ABOUT THE NEW SPENDING BILL, PERHAPS PUTTING AN AMENDMENT ON THE NEW SPENDING BILL TO LINK IT TO FUNDING FOR A BORDER WALL. DO YOU THINK THAT WOULD FLY? CONSIDERING THE STAKES ARE SO HIGH. IF THE SPENDING BILL IS NOT PASSED BY THE END OF THE WEEK AND THE GOVERNMENT WILL SHUT DOWN. IT WOULD BE A PARTIAL SHUTDOWN. BASIC SERVICES WOULD STILL KEEP GOING I THINK THAT IS THE PRESIDENT'S BEST HOPE. YOU ALWAYS SEE SPENDING BILLS -- OFTEN CALLED CHRISTMAS TREES. EVERYBODY WAS ATTACHES SOMETHING TO THEM. THE PRESIDENT WANTS TO DO THAT. THE PRESIDENT HAS TO LOOK AT A CAUCUS THAT IS NOT IN LOVE WITH THE BORDER WALL. ESPECIALLY SPENDING U.S. MONEY THE IDEA WAS MEXICO WOULD PAY FOR IT. IF YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT THE TENS AND BILLIONS OF YOUR -- PER YEAR, THIS MAY NOT BE A HIGH PRIORITY FOR THEM. DONALD TRUMP MAY HAVE LITTLE LEVERAGE BECAUSE IF THE GOVERNMENT SHUTS DOWN HE MAY TAKE THE BLAME. MANY PEOPLE HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT THE DIFFICULTY OF GETTING A NEW HEALTHCARE BILL AND SPENDING PLAN. TO AVOID THE SHUTDOWN APPROVED BY THE HOUSE IN ONE WEEK. WHAT IS THE LIKELIHOOD THAT NEITHER ONE OF THEM WILL GET DONE? AND THE GOVERNMENT WILL HAVE A PARTIAL SHUTDOWN. SPOKE WITH ONE PARTY IN FULL CONTROL, I THINK THE CHANCES OF HAVING A SPENDING BILL IS HIGH AS WE SEE OVER AND OVER AGAIN, THE SPENDING BILL IS A CONTINUING RESOLUTION PICK IT KEEPS IT FULLY RUNNING WITHOUT RESOLVING THE QUESTION OF WHAT WE DRAMATICALLY INCREASE MILITARY SPENDING. OR DECREASED DISCRETIONARY DOMESTIC SPENDING. AND MAKE BIG CUTS TO COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND THINGS THAT MEMBERS OF CONGRESS LOVE. THAT BIG DEAL IS STILL WAITING IN THE WINGS. IT MAY NOT HAPPEN THIS WEEK. I HAVE BEEN TALKING WITH THAD HAUSER POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR AT UC SAN DIEGO.

Congress returns Tuesday from its spring recess, facing yet another down-to-the-wire spate of deal-making — and a White House anxious to claim its first major legislative win.

On Friday night, the funding measure lawmakers approved last year to keep the federal government running will expire. The timing leaves members of the House and Senate just four days to reach a new agreement to fund the government, or risk a partial shutdown of federal agencies on Saturday — the 100th day of Donald Trump's presidency.

Ever aware of the consequences, House Speaker Paul Ryan says passing a spending bill is his primary goal this week — even as the White House is urging the GOP to resuscitate last month's failed attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and the president is making a fresh push on a tax overhaul.

"Wherever we land will be a product the president can and will support," Ryan said of the spending bill during a Saturday afternoon conference call with Republican lawmakers, according to a GOP aide.

Border wall funding fight

A viable spending deal will require both Democratic support and President Trump's ultimate approval, setting a potential political landmine. The White House is signaling that it wants the bill to include new funding to build President Trump's proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, though it's becoming less clear how far they are willing to push the issue.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly says Trump "will be insistent."

"I think it goes without saying that the president has been pretty straightforward about his desire and the need for a border wall, so I would suspect that he'll do the right thing for sure, but I would suspect that he'll be insistent for funding," Kelly said in an interview Sunday on CNN's State of the Union.

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus echoed that sentiment, appearing Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press. Priebus said he believes the spending bill will include "something satisfactory" regarding the funding for the border wall. He left some wiggle room for funds to be provided for border security instead of specifically for a wall.

Priebus also declined to say that Trump would veto a bill that didn't include wall funding.

Democrats have for weeks warned against such "poison pill" additions to the spending bill and say they will not support allocating money for Trump's pet project. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer basically told the president to butt out on Sunday.

"We'd ask him to let us do our work, not throw in some last-minute poison pills that could undo it and we could get this done," Schumer told reporters.

GOP revives health care push

Meanwhile, Ryan says he's encouraged by the GOP's efforts toward writing a new health care bill — one aimed at bridging the gaps between centrist Republicans and hard-line conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus.

The White House pushed for a vote this week to allow Republicans to move ahead with a tax overhaul and other priorities. But Ryan — having learned the lesson of last month's failed attempt — told Republican lawmakers on Saturday's conference call there will be a vote on a new health care bill only when enough support exists to pass it.

President Trump is driving a hard bargain in trying to force Democrats to the negotiating table. Posting on Twitter on Sunday, he appeared to renew his threat to withhold payments owed to health insurance companies under the Affordable Care Act. Such a move would force it to collapse.

But Trump also said in recent days that it didn't much matter whether another health care vote took place before or after his first 100 days were up. "No particular rush. But we'll see what happens," Trump told reporters last week.

Adding a tax overhaul to the agenda

Add to the already packed and complicated congressional agenda this — overhauling the country's tax code.

Congress is taking steps to get the ball rolling on tax legislation. The chief tax-writing committee in the House is set to hold hearings this week on the Republicans' import tax proposal known as the "border adjustment tax."

President Trump says he'll make a "big" tax announcement on Wednesday.

Trump told The Associated Press his plan will cut taxes for both individuals and businesses, but it's expected to be more of a broad outline than a specific plan.

As for the timeline, the administration now says it aims to overhaul the country's tax code by late 2017. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin initially set a goal of getting tax reform passed by August. That deadline has slipped on account of the delay caused by the GOP's failed health care bill.

Democrats, on the other hand, say tax reform won't move forward without the president first making his tax returns public — to make clear how he might benefit from the proposed legislation.

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