Obamacare repeal could take years

In discouraging but perhaps unavoidable news, Politico today reports that Congressional Republicans seem to be coalescing around a plan that would include a vote to repeal the President’s signature law beginning in 2017, but with a process that will include at least a three-year delay for providing a replacement.

In other words, as critics are quick to point out, this arrangement is reminiscent of recent “fiscal cliff” standoffs that included simultaneous expiring deadlines for raising the debt limit, extending tax policy, and voting to fund the government. This time, of course, it’s healthcare for millions that is at risk instead of a government shutdown.

But fiscal conservatives should be wary of accepting this hastily drawn narrative. A bad government program was not built in a day, and rolling back this massive bureaucracy may not be able to be done overnight. Elections and Congressional majorities are temporary, and Representatives who want to roll back Obamacare are in the uniquely difficult position of needing to balance necessary deliberation with ensuring that repeal actually, ultimately happens.

It remains to be seen whether this plan will be the best way to ensure the goal of successful repeal is achieved, but with billions of tax dollars at stake and premiums quickly becoming entirely unaffordable for many Americans, taxpayers should hope for success and continue to demand solutions from every Member of Congress.

Obamacare repeal? The fight is just beginning

Writing today in Washington Post, Alan Fram highlights some serious problems for the new Republican Congress seeking to repeal the “huge and convoluted health care system.”

Heading into a united government for the first time after nearly six years of attempts and pledges to repeal, Republicans will be under pressure to move fast, but things will not be as easy as many would hope.

For one, any major change will have to be accomplished after approving new Senate procedures that would prevent Democrats from filibustering — and some portions of repeal would theoretically still require 60 votes — and some Democratic support. For another, insurance companies could continue pulling out and causing instability before a full plan is implemented. Making matters more difficult, Republicans could end up split on rolling back Medicaid expansion in the states. With many Republicans including President-elect Trump favoring keeping parts of the law such as the preexisting conditions portions, they will also have to find a way to stabilize premium costs.

All of this is not to say that ending this onerous and expensive program shouldn’t remain a top priority. But for those celebrating a November 8 win, beware that the election is only just the beginning. Rolling back any federal program, especially one so complicated and on which so many now depend is no easy task. Fiscal conservatives should prepare for a long fight ahead.

Budget Outlook: The Path Ahead

The outcome of the 2016 Presidential election has inspired a change in House Republicans’ plans for our nation’s budget. Today, Vice President-elect Mike Pence will travel to the Hill in order to shore up support for a Continuing Resolution (CR) that will lock in our current spending levels into March – giving President-elect Trump and a Republican majority in both the House and Senate a better opportunity to dictate where our limited resources are invested.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was hesitant to scuttle previous plans for an Omnibus, which would be passed in the form of three “mini-buses.” These mini-buses would pair together multiple appropriation bills (there are currently 12 appropriations subcommittees) through a full fiscal year. However, McConnell seems to be coming to terms with what some are dubbing the Ryan-Trump plan.

The budget must be agreed upon before the current CR, passed late September, is set to expire on Dec. 9th. Admittedly, short term CR’s can have some unforeseen negative effects on how departments that receive those funds operate.

In addition, a short term CR could complicate the political calculus facing the Trump administration’s first 100 days in office, by reigniting partisan debates that often accompany budget discussions. Appropriations Committee member Charlie Dent believes that funding the government will be a major headache for the Trump administration.

In the end, fiscal conservatives seem confident that they will have better luck locking in long term spending under a Republican President Trump than President Obama.

What’s next for infrastructure?

There are serious and well-documented issues with America’s national infrastructure, and fixing the problems without busting the budget remains a challenge.

And after Tuesday’s historic upset, President-elect Donald Trump is heading into office with this issue high on his agenda and a political mandate that could push his favored policies forward.

While the Presidential debates often focused more on personality than policy, plans are not nonexistent. A late-October analysis from Trump policy advisors suggested a major private-sector infrastructure plan that would be revenue neutral—and would encourage investors through tax credits. By privatizing the construction, Trump’s plan would ideally lower the cost of building infrastructure, which is usually higher when built by the public sector.

Others are skeptical about these claims, saying that it is necessary that the projects are funded in other ways in addition to the tax credits proposed. This plan is completely contingent on if Members of Congress, many of whom have openly advocated against Trump in the past, are willing to play ball.

Mr. Trump has previously suggested he would spend at least twice as much as his Democratic opponent would on infrastructure. Fixing America’s roads and bridges is a worthy goal, of course, but taxpayers should be on the lookout for whether such a plan takes aim at underlying dysfunction in the current system as previous plans have — and be ready to oppose any plan that includes massive new spending.

Final debate to cover spending and debt… finally

After two Presidential debates and one Vice Presidential debate that barely touched upon the looming $20 trillion debt and the spending that drives it, fiscal conservatives will finally have our moment in Wednesday night’s debate.

It may not be a particularly triumphant or encouraging moment. This debate will take place in a race in which fiscal conservativism is an increasingly absent factor, and both candidates’ plans are projected to lead to more spending and deficits. Both Clinton and Trump have pledged not to cut spending on Social Security, with Clinton aiming to fill the gap with taxes and Trump offering little specifics to date.

We will be watching closely and encourage anyone who cares about the nation’s financial future to do the same. Louder issues may often drown it out, but runaway spending remains the cause of our generation. Regardless of what happens in November 2016, our future is at stake.

Follow @Reduce_Spending on Twitter for live updates tonight, and click here to see a list of options to live stream the debate.

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