Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Deal or no deal in the next two years?

Deal or no deal in the next two years?

Here is how it will likely play out.  The GOP will have to tread carefully on compromising with the White House with an eye to keeping their base happy, but  the White House has even less motivation to compromise since the lame duck President is not up for reelection.  There may be some deals, but they will be few and far between. Otherwise, it is back to ye ole gridlock .

One reason, among others, that Republican Cory Gardner beat Democratic Senator Mark Udall in Colorado was that he convinced voters that he was the one to end gridlock and reach across the aisle.  Now the new GOP Senate majority will have to make good on those words.  If the more radical GOP dominated  House  bills are taken up by the GOP senate and passed on to the White House while  knowing in advance the President will veto them,  the GOP’s intentions to reach across the aisle will look like an empty gesture.

Where there is most likelihood of bi-partisan deals is when a large number of their respective base supporters would not be ticked off or the legislation would meet a need felt by all sides or create some jobs. Observers believe that means mostly infrastructure improvements, corporate tax reforms, trade agreements, and maybe some energy export legislation.

If the GOP Senate sends legislation to the President on tax policy that does not make the middle class feel better about their economic situation, or opposes minimum wage,  or equal pay, and yet continues the great income disparity, they may give  Democrats a campaign gift for 2016:  class warfare…the rich vs the middle class.  Here is where the GOP has the most incentive to compromise and Democrats should be willing, too.  It would make both parties look good.

Where there is least likely to be a deal is with Obamacare. The President will use his veto pen if the GOP legislation weakens the financing mechanism, or otherwise fundamentally tinkers with health care reform. Essential to the financing mechanism are the individual and employer mandates which broaden the pool to keep it affordable and fiscally sound and able to cover pre-existing conditions. The GOP has not yet agreed on a financially feasible way to allow the millions who like and need their Obamacare plans to keep their Obamacare plans.

 If the GOP Senate continues to oppose comprehensive immigration reform, and fights the President over executive action, they may find themselves up a creek. Opposing legislation containing a dream act and a pathway to citizenship may inspire a stronger Hispanic turnout against the GOP in 2016.  If the GOP softens its position to appeal to Hispanic voters, their own party may revolt.  So many of its newly elected senators ran on anti-immigrant platforms.

The president also has every reason not to compromise on the immigration issue, either. He needs to make good on promises to the Hispanic community he has made and broken so many times. Any more delays or tepid deals would hurt the 2016 Democratic candidate, since a fed up Hispanic community could sit on their hands or split votes.

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