It appears that the Republicans in Washington have no capacity to lead and pass their rhetorical agenda.
Despite the flurry of activity, the prospects of quick action on taxes are dim because Congress has so many other things to deal with. Mr. Trump is expected to release a budget next week. That will set off a new debate about cuts to domestic programs and increases in military and border security spending for 2018. Congress faces an October deadline to pass a funding bill for next year. Otherwise, parts of the government will shut down.
Republicans in Congress must separately approve a budget resolution this summer if they want to use the reconciliation process to pass a tax overhaul with a simple majority in the Senate. That will determine the scope of the tax legislation that Republicans can pursue if they choose to exclude Democrats from the process. Health care legislation that is being put together in the Senate could lead to additional delays.
And to top things off, Republicans and Democrats must reach a deal this fall over raising the debt ceiling.
“I’m not optimistic that we can have actual legislation on the president’s desk in calendar year 2017,” said G. William Hoagland, vice president of the Bipartisan Policy Center and a former director of the Senate Budget Committee. “There are a lot of other things on their plate, and they don’t have that many days left.”
2018 is shaping up as a Democratic sweep. Who will turn out to support a party that can’t get anything done even when they own Congress and the Presidency?