January is the new December in Congress.
Lawmakers dashed out of Washington Thursday night after approving a short-term bill to run the government through Jan. 19. December was supposed to be an epic month on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers expected brawls over a host of seemingly intractable issues like military funding, disaster aid and DACA. Then there was the GOP aim to finish tax reform.
The tax bill was the easy part. Republicans wrapped that with relative ease on Wednesday – and proceeded to shelve virtually every major issue until January.
Even Ray Guy never punted like this.
Did the holiday spirit simply prevail on lawmakers? Or, basking in the afterglow of tax reform, did Republicans simply come to their senses and realize it wasn’t a good idea to mess with a government shutdown at Christmas?
But in the end, Democrats wanted to ditch Washington too. Democrats noted that the GOP controls both the House and Senate. If Republicans managed to discombobulate their tax reform victory by stumbling into a government shutdown around the holidays, fine. But if Republicans got their act together, Democrats knew the issues wouldn’t dissolve over the break. Democrats would hold even more leverage in January. Plus, Democrats thought they could force the president’s hand on a number of subjects just days before the State of the Union speech on Jan. 30. [...]
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, lamented that lawmakers would face the same crises in 2018.
“I guess we’d better recharge our batteries. It’s like Groundhog Day. Over and over and over again,” said Cornyn. “It’s maddening.”
Congress can't be trusted to pass a spending bill, much less regulate every area of American life. Let's return decision-making authority to the people and the states, and keep the irresponsbile federal government from gaining even more power and influence.