Ryan's Tax and Spending Deal: A Lose-Lose for the American People
With a deadline looming, congressional leaders unveiled "sweeping" tax and spending legislation late last night. The result makes one wonder whether congressional Republicans negotiate directly with President Obama on these deals, or whether they just send corporate lobbyists to do so, thereby cutting out the middle man.
The Wall Street Journal reports, "The agreement…is expected to suspend for two years a tax on medical devices and delay for two years the scheduled 2018 start of the so-called Cadillac tax on high-cost employer health plans." Each of these "fixes" to Obamacare will make deep-pocketed groups that much less interested in full repeal in 2017, while the suspension of the Cadillac tax will also make it that much harder to pass the conservative alternative needed to make full repeal a reality. The delay of that tax is also a big win for labor unions.
But that's just the beginning.
The Journal writes, "In one major concession to Democrats, the spending bill won't cut off federal funding to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, as many conservatives had sought."
The Journal also reports that "the deal would adopt environmental and renewable measures that Democrats want. These include extending wind and solar tax credits, reauthorizing a conservation fund for three years and excluding any measures that block major administration environmental regulations."
And that's not all: "Lawmakers and aides said the spending bill doesn't include any restrictions on the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the U.S." (It does, however, reportedly "limit certain travel privileges granted to citizens of 38 friendly foreign countries that are allowed to enter the U.S. without obtaining a visa.")
All was not lost, however: In its print edition, the Journal reports, "In one of the biggest GOP policy victories, the spending bill includes a provision lifting the 40-year-old ban on oil exports, Republicans said Tuesday night."