Monday, December 14, 2015

What is Going on in Congress?

You know at this point I think most of us who have watched Congress during the Obama years are pretty jaded. I mean this is America. After watching this GOP primary thus far-and it's surely only going to get better

what can really shock us at this point?

I would think nothing, yet this is throwing me for a loop:

"Congressional leaders say they are nearing the end of negotiations over a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill, and will likely release it within the next 48 hours."

"The government runs out of spending authority on Wednesday, so Congress must clear the package by then, or pass another short-term spending bill to avoid a government shutdown."

"Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has publicly and privately vowed to give lawmakers three days to review the spending bill before a vote. The federal government is operating on a short-term spending bill that expires Wednesday night, although congressional leaders are likely to have to enact another one before they finish work on the final spending package and a parallel "tax extenders" bill."

"The spending and tax bills are separate proposals, but they are being negotiated together, and if lawmakers hit a snag on one, it would impact the other."

"Republican and Democratic leadership aides worked through the weekend, swapping plans and trying to narrow their differences ahead of the deadline. Most recently, Democrats and Republicans were exchanging proposals related to the lifting of the longstanding ban on U.S. oil exports, with significant attention being paid to tax credits for refiners impacted by the move. Democrats have agreed to go along with ending the ban if Republicans drop a number of demands on environmental policy, but so far, GOP leaders have been reluctant to do so."

"There also has been a lot of discussion between the two sides over a popular child tax credit in the tax extenders package."

"Jennifer Hing, spokeswoman for the House Appropriations Committee, said "negotiations continue."

"Ryan met with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for dinner in the speaker's office on Friday night, following up on a call the two had earlier in the day."

"If clinched, the deal would score a major win for congressional Republicans by lifting the decades-old embargo on exporting oil from the United States while likely delivering to Democrats several years of tax credits for wind and solar energy, expanded childcare tax credits and the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, in addition to fending off abortion riders and language aimed at unions."

"Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is testing out his leverage given the expectation that Senate Democrats will provide most of the votes for the omnibus; a senior aide said he’s still prepared to walk away from the deal if he senses Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Ryan are asking for too much."

"Even so, aides have already begun writing the legislative text for the agreement and have been in constant horse-trading mode over the particulars, including how long the renewable tax credits last and changes to how the United States accepts refugees from the Middle East. But sources in both parties said they are far closer to an agreement on Monday than negotiators were on Friday evening."

Read more:

Actual governing. I thought I was beyond shocking. Imagine Paul Ryan actually calling Nancy Pelosi on purpose and eating with her in public. Boehner never would do this for fear the Freedom Caucus would start a rumor that he had cooties.

I've suggested before that the end of Boehner-and then Kevin McCarthy's implosion-could mark the nadir of House dysfunction. If they actually pass this Omnibus bill we have something we haven't seen in about 10 years.

Don't get me wrong. To say that there is actual governing going on shouldn't be such high praise. . But you have to roll before you crawl. It at least is something like functioning government. Kudos to Ryan.

Of course the one guy who isn't there for it is Marco Rubio. You know I'm no Chris Christie fan but the NJ bully had it right yesterday. To not do his job with the excuse that the President is a Democrat is pretty feeble. Like Christie said, if he can't make anything productive out of his position then he should quit-as the people of his state in Florida have asked him to do.

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