When the Democrats won the House of Representatives in 2018, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) vowed to stymie President Donald Trump’s agenda. Now, it appears she is poised to deliver on her promise.
On June 19, House Democrats pushed through a $1 trillion spending bill designed to create obstacles for several of the president’s key policies. But what is the true objective of this legislation?
Democrats Target Trump’s Policies
Democratic lawmakers passed their spending package in a 226-203 vote, with seven Democrats opposing the measure along with all Republican representatives. The legislation incorporated two of the largest spending programs: one for defense and the other for labor, education, and health and human services.
But the interesting aspect is that it directly targets the president’s funding objectives. It completely discarded his major requests, which include cuts to the State Department and the National Institutes of Health. The Democrats also rejected Trump’s proposal to increase defense spending and eliminate advanced energy research.
If passed by the Senate, the bill would also remove the Mexico City policy, which ends U.S. funding of foreign groups that promote abortion. Notably, it would prohibit the United States from pulling out of the 2015 Paris Climate Accord. The measure also would prevent funding for the transgender military ban.
What’s the Objective?
The proposed legislation seems to be a blatant attempt to roll back policies championed by the Trump administration, another grand act in the D.C. political theater. It is highly unlikely that the Republican-controlled Senate will pass this bill with enough votes to override a veto. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) explained that only a bipartisan agreement would succeed. “It’s not pointless, but — it’s pointless,” he told Politico. “Until they strike a deal on the budget caps, we’re blowing through them, and we have the sequester as a backstop. So is this really a good exercise to be doing? I don’t think so.”
So what game are the Democrats playing?
There are several potential motivations for the Democrats’ ill-fated proposal. It is possible that Pelosi is looking for some leverage to pressure Trump and the GOP to sacrifice crucial components of their agenda later in the year. If a budget deal isn’t reached by the fall, the government could experience a complete shutdown, which would be much worse than the partial shutdown that occurred earlier in 2019.
The Democrats could be planning to use the threat of a shutdown to force Trump to give in to their agenda. With the left-leaning corporate press ensuring that the blame would be anchored on the president, this could be a shrewd move on Pelosi’s part.
Another reason could be that the Democrats are attempting to discern which parts of their agenda might be more palatable to the public and the rest of Congress. The measure will surely be aggressively debated on the floor and in the media, and this could help the left better understand public opinion on the issues they are bringing forward.
Finally, this move could also be the Democrats’ way of appealing to their base, demonstrating how valiantly they are taking on the evil Trump administration. Even though the measure is not likely to pass, it could persuade Democratic voters to show up at the polls for the 2020 election. Of course, all three of these reasons could be in play. However you analyze it, clearly, the GOP and the Democrats are headed toward a bloody political brawl next year.
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