With 12 legislative days left until the Christmas break, Republicans and Donald Trump are running out of time. Without a single major bill passed since taking control of the White House, they are making a list and checking it twice.
Day 1 – Revise the tax code. With little room for dissension, Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson has already said that the proposed tax legislation would benefit larger corporations at the expense of smaller businesses. Further, the Wisconsin Budget Project, found that low and middle-income taxpayers will generally be paying more taxes and will have less access to affordable health care. In 10 years, three-fifths of Wisconsin taxpayers (those making less than $94,700) would pay about $365 million more, while the top one percent of Wisconsinites would save an estimated $201 million that year.
Day 2 – Debate why many of the tax plan’s provisions provided to help low and middle-income households are temporary and the tax breaks aiding corporations are permanent.
Day 3 – Explain to the estimated 13 million Americans, who are expected to lose their medical coverage and see a 10% spike in premiums, why tax breaks for the wealthy were provided on their backs.
Day 4 – Address the Children’s Health Insurance Program funding. This money helps children and pregnant women access healthcare. However, the funding ran out at the end of September. If it is not replaced, it would place a significant hole in Wisconsin’s Medicaid budget.
Day 5 – Make a decision on DACA policies that are set to expire in March 2018. Roughly 800,000 young immigrants would like the gift of not worrying about being deported. In Wisconsin, 7,600 young people have passed background checks and work legally in the country. Ending DACA would cost Wisconsin more than $427 million in annual GDP losses.
Day 6 – Decide how to tell Americans that they are going to pay for Trump’s Mexican border wall.
Day 7 – Hear the bill to stabilize and extend the funding for the Affordable Care Act. The Alexander-Murray Obamacare-stabilization bill, is truly a bill just waiting around for Republicans on Capitol Hill. Wisconsin officials have said they believe if federal Taylorsubsidies for low-income health plans ended, premiums for those plans could rise 36 percent next year.
Day 8 – Focus on getting timely and adequate disaster relief funding for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
Day 9 – Vote on reauthorizations that allows the National Security Agency to survey communications without a warrant and the National Flood Insurance Program.
Day 10 – Avoid a government shutdown
Days 11 – Avoid a government shutdown.
Day 12 – Come up with a plan to deal with Alabama’s Roy Moore being elected to the US Senate.
For now, we all wait to see what the remaining 12 working days for Congress brings. Given the divisive, dysfunctional, and demoralizing leadership we have seen so far this year, I’m ready for the eggnog!