Late last night, House GOP leadership announced a compromise bill that will (temporarily) end all the Congress-created crises by setting the federal budget and suspending the debt limit through the end of the Obama presidency.
The House is expected to vote on the bill tomorrow (Wednesday). A draft of the bill is available here.
What it doesn’t do, from the perspective of the Right Wing:
- It doesn’t try to force through the Keystone XL Pipeline.
- It doesn’t try to de-fund Planned Parenthood.
- It doesn’t try to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
- It doesn’t try to voucherize Medicare.
- It doesn’t try to privatize Social Security.
What it doesn’t do, from the perspective of the Working Class:
- It doesn’t rein in corporate giveaways to stockholders, such as dividends and buybacks. (Trillions of dollars that corporations could have used to create jobs, pay fair wages and make long-term investments.)
- It doesn’t end the tax preference for unearned income. (Most investment income is still taxed at about half the rate of wage income.) Ending this tax preference could end the budget deficit.
- It doesn’t eliminate the Social Security wage cap (which would strengthen Social Security, long-term).
- It doesn’t raise the minimum wage.
- In its current form, it doesn’t do much to reverse previous cuts to Food Stamps, veterans benefits, and other safety-net programs. It doesn’t mention the 2.1 million American workers who are long-term unemployed… or the 1-in-five American children who are living in poverty.
What it does do:
- It loosens the Sequester budget restrictions, both for defense and non-defense spending – and it also increases an off-budget military spending account.
- It completely rewrites the procedures governing IRS audits of business partnerships. (Call me cynical, but I’m guessing that part of the bill was written by somebody’s lobbyist.)
- It diverts some Social Security tax revenue into the Social Security Disability Trust Fund, and *privacy alert* it also creates a new information clearinghouse (presumably, to be used to detect fraud).
- It reduces payments to some Medicare providers and regulates the increase in Medicare supplement policy premiums.
- It renames the small House rotunda… in honor of the House Freedom Caucus.
It does some other things. Please take the time to read through the bill yourself – and encourage your Congressional representatives to do the same. Contact information for those representatives is available here.
Having watched this impossibly deadlocked Congress — and its impossibly intransigent Right Wing…
Personally, if this “grand compromise” happens, I don’t expect anything else to get through this Congress until President Obama leaves office. (Remember, GOP extremists have been working to “submarine his presidency” since the very first day of his first term.)