Republicans may control Congress, but Democrats and the bipartisan Washington establishment hope to shore up two key portions of Obama’s legacy in early 2018. They believe Congress can be pressured into spending tens of billions of additional tax dollars to prop up a collapsing ObamaCare and also granting amnesty to hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens.
ObamaCare is in crisis. Premiums are skyrocketing, insurance companies are pulling out, and the Congressional Budget Office has predicted that 13 million people will refuse to participate once the legal requirement terminates at the end of next year.
The Washington establishment’s answer – their standard answer to almost everything – is to pour even more tax dollars into supporting failure. If the system doesn’t work, drown it in a sea of money so that it won’t collapse and expose Obama’s failure to deal satisfactorily with health care.
Unfortunately, a vote on this increased subsidy to the health insurance companies is all but guaranteed. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) bartered her vote for the tax bill in exchange for a vote on higher subsidies. The idea has substantial Republican support in the Senate, and it may be up to House Republicans to shoot it down.
On the positive side, there is also talk of repealing some of ObamaCare’s taxes which have not yet gone into effect. Such repeal, along with the already accomplished repeal of the requirement to buy health insurance, would continue along the path of piecemeal abolition of ObamaCare after the failure of all-at-once repeal.
Democrats and the establishment also expect to use the next government shutdown deadline (January 19) to win approval of full amnesty for the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens covered by the temporary amnesty of Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which exempted them from deportation and allowed them to take jobs from Americans. Their goal is an amnesty that allows the illegals to become citizens and then bring in relatives or legalize the relatives already here illegally. They hope to get this without making concessions, or at the most making a few concessions that will have no significant effect on the continuing flow of illegal immigration and on illegal aliens currently in the U.S.
House conservatives, including members of the Freedom Caucus, have said that they are working on a bill that would include significant measures dealing with illegal immigration in return for some degree of amnesty for those covered by DACA. The amnesty might stop short of allowing citizenship. Whether that will be the case, and whether the bill will contain truly effective measures to secure the border and deport illegals now in the country, remains to be seen. It seems doubtful that the Republican leadership in either house will be enthusiastic about a bill which brings on a partisan confrontation by diverging too much from what the Democrats demand.
If President Trump’s populist-conservative agenda is to make further progress in 2018, it will start with the votes on ObamaCare and DACA. Conservatives must keep pressure on Congress, where the business-as-usual attitude still prevails except when they hear from their constituents.
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