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Monday, May 1, 2017

The Daily Combover - May 1, 2017

The Resistance has claimed many small victories over the last 100 days but Trump was able to get his Gorsuch on the Court and there was legitimate worry that Trump's budget proposal could destroy the social fabric of the country.

So when we first heard leaked news about the appropriations bill and it looked like something that might have been passed in President Obama's first term, it was hard not to celebrate. Let's recap:
A Republican aide told the Hill that it will take some time to post the full text of the bill. According to early reports, this is what’s included in the roughly $1 trillion package:
• $15 billion in military funding. This is a win for Republicans, though Trump had requested $30 billion in additional military funding in his budget blueprint. According to Bloomberg, $2.5 billion of the funding is contingent on the Trump administration providing a new plan to fight ISIS.
• $1.5 billion for border security, such as additional detention beds and repairing existing fencing. The money can’t go to funding a border wall or hiring ICE agents.
• $2 billion in additional funding for the National Institutes of Health, bringing its funding to $34 billion total.
• $68 million to reimburse local law enforcement for the cost of protecting President Trump when he visits his residences in New York and Florida.
• The Environmental Protection Agency will keep 99 percent of its funding, and there are funding increases for clean energy and science. Trump had proposed funding cuts for all three.
• $1.3 billion to permanently extend health-care benefits for 22,000 retired coal miners.
• $2 billion in disaster funding for California, West Virginia, Louisiana, and North Carolina, and more money for transit infrastructure grants.
• $407 million for wildfire funding to western states, and a 2 percent increase in funding for national parks.
• $100 million to combat opioid abuse.
• $295 million to help Puerto Rico keep making payments to Medicaid. Last week President Trump complained via Twitter that Democrats were threatening to shut down the government if “we don’t bail out Puerto Rico,” though Puerto Ricans are tax-paying American citizens.
The bill doesn’t defund Planned Parenthood or sanctuary cities, and Democratic leaders said they forced Republicans to withdraw more than 160 riders.
“This agreement is a good agreement for the American people and takes the threat of a government shutdown off the table,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “The bill ensures taxpayer dollars aren’t used to fund an ineffective border wall, excludes poison pill riders and increases investments in programs that the middle class relies on, like medical research, education and infrastructure.”
Essentially this bill reads as a Democratic-written bill would read had the Dems needed to appease a few Blue Dogs with some bonus military spending. And even that is at half the level the Republicans originally wanted.  The Dems made sure every poison pill was off the table. They offered up a few bones for the border but prohibited a single dime for use on the wall. And meanwhile they managed to fund health care, disaster relief, Planned Parenthood, the EPA, and actually increased funding for the NIH.

This is a win for the good guys. Or as Budget Director Mick Mulvaney put it:
I want to start by asking people to go back a couple of months to September of 2016, the last time we were talking about funding for all of fiscal year ’17.  There was some discussion at that time when President Obama was still here abound funding the government for the entire fiscal year ’17.  Can you imagine how different this bill is from what the bill that President Obama would have signed back in September?  And it’s those differences that I want to talk about today, and those differences that summarize why we think this was a really solid bill for the administration.
What did we get more money for?  We got more money for defense.  We got more money for border security.  We got more money for school choice.  Looking around here, many of you were here in March when I came out for the very first time to talk about our budget blueprint.  What did we ask for more money for? Defense, border security, school choice.  
So everything that we got in this deal yesterday, last night, lines up perfectly with the President’s priorities -- $21 billion of new spending for defense.  I can -- excuse me, I’ll put my glasses on -- that’s $9 billion to address immediate war-fighting readiness requirements, $2.5 billion for munitions, war consumerables and spare parts; $1.4 billion to modify existing deployable weapons systems.  And you can go on again and again.
We got -- we’re going to buy more MV-22 helicopters.  We’re going to buy more Apache attack helicopters.  We’re going to buy all sorts of stuff this President has indicated we need and General Mattis wants to help rebuild the military.  $21 billion is a huge increase.  We had asked for $30 billion, we got $21 billion.
By the way, I heard a report today that said it was $12.5.  I don’t know if The Washington Post is here -- I think they were the first to report that.  I’m not sure where that number comes from.  We sort of dug into it and somebody said, well, it’s really only $15 billion in OCO money, but $2.5 billion of it is contingent on the administration supplying a strategy to defeat ISIS.  We fully expect to be able to satisfy the requirements of the ISIS plan, and we fully expect for that whole $15 billion in OCO to be delivered.
That’s in addition to the $6 billion that was already underlying DOD approps bill.  That’s how we get to the $21 billion.  In fact, if you want to -- and some outlets reported this -- if you want to compare it to the FY’16 levels, year over year, it’s a $25 billion increase over FY’16.  So it’s a tremendous increase in the defense budget.
As far as border security, yeah, we agreed I think it was last Monday to not continue to push for bricks and mortar for the wall.  What did we get as part of this deal?  We got $1.522 billion additional dollars, okay?  That’s not the whole funding for the border security this year, this is just additional money. And we’ll be able to use that on things like maintenance on the existing wall -- infrastructure, roads, bridges, gates, technology, lighting -- things that will have a material impact on border security this year.
Yup, he tried his hardest to spin it as a Trump win, but clearly that wasn't happening. Minority Leader Schumer will offer helicopter funding every day of the week if the Democrats can get everything they want in exchange. About the only things we didn't get are minimum wage increases and student loan forgiveness but at this rate, we'll probably see them in October.

And of course, we all knew it was a win when rather than commenting on the bill, Trump decided to double-down on his Andrew Jackson mythology.


Catch you on the flip side.