Here’s how Republicans are redrawing their legislative agenda
Shortly after President Donald Trump took office, the White House and Congressional Republicans laid out an aggressive first year agenda so packed with major items that House Speaker Paul D. Ryan stressed not the first 100 days, but the first 200 when talking about the party’s plans.
For Mr. Trump, the first 100 days is approaching late next week, on April 29. (Prepare yourself for a spate of stories then).
For Congress, the first 200 days ends July 25, essentially at their August recess. After withdrawing their initial health care bill, Republicans — now nearly half of the way to their self-imposed 200-day mark — have been forced to redraw their calendar as well.
Here’s what that looks like.
The original plan: Pass three major items in 2017
- Affordable Care Act repeal and replace by April. Republicans hoped to have their marquee reconciliation bill to the president by the end of March.
- Tax reform: by May or August. In November, Treasury Secretary-designate Steven Mnuchin said it would happen in the first 90 days, which would be by this week. Congressional Republicans offered a slower timeline, hoping to pass a tax overhaul by August.
- Infrastructure: by 2018. Congressional Republicans told reporters in January that the hope was to pass an infrastructure plan by the end of the year.
The plan now
- Affordable Care Act repeal and replace: no date. Speaker Ryan has reversed course and says he will no longer set a timetable for passage of a central piece of health care legislation. Talks among Republicans continue, with some hoping for a vote as soon as next week. Or it could be derailed further.
- Tax Reform: after August. Mnuchin told the Financial Times this week that it is no longer realistic to expect tax reform by August. The treasury secretary did not go into more detail, but that timing makes it more difficult to put major tax changes into place next year. In addition, looking at the Congressional calendar, that means September and October are the most likely months for a final tax reform debate, timing which may directly overlap with another funding battle.
- Infrastructure: unclear. Consistently seen as the “we’ll get to it after everything else” item, there is a chance that an infrastructure plan could be bundled in with tax reform in the late summer and fall or with a spending bill at various points. Or it could be punted to 2018. Its timeline and shape are the least clear of the three policy areas.