By Kevin Price, Editor at Large, TDB.
Normally when an election is over, expectations are very low for much being accomplished until the next session of Congress. That is not the case with this Congress, which has been very busy in the final weeks with criminal justice reform, tax cuts 2.0, and more. Normally, the threat of a government shutdown makes both parties act quickly to, at least, make such short. Although this is only in its six day, and the longest lasted 26 days, there is a sense this could be one of the longest ever. Congress is not in session and there seems to be very little likelihood it will meet any time soon to address this event that is raining on the holidays and contributing to chaos on Wall Street.
Nobody expected Trump to develop a conciliatory tone. It is just not his style. The Democrats have measured the ability to compromise as a sign of good government, but are not budging on this issue. They are adamant that they will not go near the $5 billion Trump is demanding and saying that $1.3 billion is the most they are willing to spend, but Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has said the Democrats were willing to go over $1.5 Billion earlier this year. He argues, how can Trump be expected to begin negotiations with the Democrats maintaining a position like that?
The “digging in” of the heels of Democrats may be attributable to the fact that they simply want to see this GOP Congress to fade away before they take any action. Currently, and until January, this Congress is entirely in the GOP hands, and it has been very busy.
In these last few weeks Republicans in both Houses of Congress has literally stolen an issue that the Democrats have claimed for decades — criminal justice reform.
The Times USA quotes Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) who proposed the legislation for reform that eventually became law. Paul said the night of the vote in the Senate that, “‘As a leading voice for criminal justice reform who has introduced and cosponsored nearly a dozen bipartisan bills to fix the problems that still plague our justice system, and someone who has loudly and successfully pushed for getting this important piece of legislation to the Senate floor for a vote, I am absolutely thrilled with tonight’s passage of the First Step Act,’ said Sen. Paul. ‘True to its name, this prison and sentencing reform bill is a much-needed first step toward shifting our focus to rehabilitation and reentry of offenders, rather than taking every person who ever made a mistake with drugs, locking them up, and throwing away the key.’
“For decades this has been a wedge issue of the Democrats to differentiate themselves from Republicans. However, in spite of decades of talking about it, they have taken very little action. The passage of this bill could profoundly impact the voters views of the GOP when it comes to civil liberty issues.”
Meanwhile, the US House passed sweeping tax reform legislation that would make the cuts passed earlier this year more permanent and would restructure the IRS. Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) of the House Ways and Means Committee, wrote in USA Daily Times, “The House Ways and Means Committee, which I lead, is working to pass crucial disaster tax relief for the families in 14 states and territories struggling to recover from devastating natural disasters. It is irresponsible to wait until next year and it is my hope that Republicans and Democrats come together this week to help those trying to rebuild. This legislation also delivers bipartisan relief from some of Obamacare’s most egregious taxes, expands and enhances retirement and education savings, and reforms the IRS into a taxpayer first agency.”
Kevin Brady provided the following statement to The Daily Blaze about the IRS reform efforts, stating:
“This is the first major step in over 20 years to transform the IRS and I applaud my Republican and Democrat colleagues for passing this bold package. These proposals will offer clarity and certainty to taxpayers by reigning in enforcement powers, calling for modernization of its IT infrastructure, and refocusing the agency on putting taxpayers first.
“I especially want to thank Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Lynn Jenkins and Oversight Ranking Member John Lewis for their over two years of work on this legislation. I urge the Senate to quickly send this historic bipartisan achievement to the President’s desk.”
Obviously nobody is meeting in the Capitol to take action on anything. This shutdown, has literally shutdown a busy GOP driven legislative process. Many are wondering if that is why the Democrats allowed it to get to this point in the first place.
Kevin Price is Editor at Large of The Daily Blaze, a nationally syndicated journalist, and radio host of the Price of Business show. He has twice received the prestigious George Washington Honor Medal in Communications.