The Corner


Making the Most of the Lame Duck

President Donald Trump walks with House Speaker Paul Ryan in Washington, D.C., June 19, 2018. (Joshua Roberts/REUTERS)

I write to echo, strongly support, and amplify the message in Deroy Murdock’s excellent column here today: Congress should work around the clock for the next six weeks to pass every possible bit of conservative reform before the Nancy Pelosi/Maxine Waters/Jerry Nadler Democrats take control of the House in January.

As Deroy writes, 2019 and 2020 surely will see not a single legislative advance of reformist conservatism. Hyper-left-wingers will control the speakership and the chairmanship of major committees, and their only interest will be to block conservative initiatives, investigate Trump, and possibly impeach Trump, Brett Kavanaugh, and any other Trump-related official to whom they can pin a charge.

The time to act, therefore, is now — and it’s up to outgoing Speaker Paul Ryan to make it happen. Deroy offers a very strong list of items that need passing.

Obviously, and unfortunately, many of them can still be blocked via a Democratic filibuster in the Senate.

This, then, is the key, and it’s the main point that needs amplifying: No matter what the cost in lost sleep or extra effort, Congress should, this very month, pass an official Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2020.

The resolution should explicitly create room for replacement of Obamacare (preferably with a form of the Santorum/Heritage/Galen Institute proposal developed this past spring), so it can be accomplished via “reconciliation” procedures that are not subject to a filibuster. As Deroy notes, with Jon Kyl having replaced the late John McCain in the Senate, the votes should now be there in the Senate for some version of Obamacare repeal.

(After talking with parliamentary experts at length, by the way, I am convinced there is a way, within congressional budget rules, to actually pass discretionary appropriations via reconciliation as well, and Congress should try to cement in place some 2020 spending cuts in that fashion — making that portion of any budget reconciliation bill severable from the rest if a Senate point of order prevails against it.)

Finally, to Deroy’s list of possible bills to pass during the “working duck” session, I would enthusiastically add permanent repeal of the medical-device tax that from 2013-16 cost tens of thousands of jobs and harmed an unknowable number of patient lives by delaying production of health-improving treatments. The tax is currently suspended through 2019, but it should be permanently killed and buried.

Conservatives everywhere should take up the call to arms issued today by Deroy. And both House and Senate leadership should listen, and act accordingly.

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