Senator Bob Corker said the GOP's budget resolutions for fiscal 2018 are a "ruse" and a "hoax" and he was absolutely right. And you don't have to take my word for it.
While I've predicted this since the beginning of the year, we finally have our first solid indication that the federal government will be funded through the remainder of fiscal 2018 with yet another continuing resolution or something very similar.
This news comes to us from a report that Speaker Paul Ryan privately told members of his caucus that an extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program could be attached to a year-end omnibus spending bill for funding the federal government.
WASHINGTON ― House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) privately conceded to a group of House conservatives on Tuesday that he plans to include a legislative fix for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children in a year-end spending deal. [...]
Two other Republicans, who were not part of the discussion but were briefed on it by a member who was in attendance, said they heard the speaker was clear that DACA would be part of a year-end deal. Ryan’s office did not return a request for comment.
Senator Corker called their budget resolution a "hoax" because passing a resolution is not the same thing as actually drafting and implementing a new, comprehensive budget through the appropriations process. Republicans pass resolutions every single year, but Congress has not completed the appropriations process since Republicans took control and there's little reason to think they'll do so anytime soon.
The possibility of the government being funded through the remainder of the fiscal year at current funding levels also means there will be no spending cuts to pay for their package of tax cuts for the rich, at least not over the next year. The Senate budget resolution for fiscal 2018 included $1.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, but that's not going to happen. It was never going to happen. That's why Senator Corker called it a "hoax."
Now, why would Speaker Ryan be willing to add an extension of DACA to the next big continuing resolution?
Ryan reportedly believes he will need Democratic votes to pass a year-end spending deal that preserves the status quo because, as you know, Republicans are barely capable of wiping their own asses. Asking Republicans to preserve and maintain a basic level of governance is a bit like asking kids to eat Lima beans.
If we assume Republicans will be no more willing (or even capable) to complete the appropriations process during an election year, it now seems plausible that we could still be on an Obama-era budget in fiscal 2019.
At that point, why bother? I don't want to get carried away, but if Democrats manage to retake control of at least one chamber of Congress, it's possible we'll still be on an Obama budget at the end of Trump's first term. It's also remotely possible that could happen even if Democrats don't retake control.
Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi deserve credit for seeing this coming and getting ahead of it. They convinced Trump to support a three-month spending deal in September and they convinced Trump to say he would support a legislative extension of DACA.
Assuming Ryan needs Democratic votes to avoid a government shutdown and prevent a breach of the debt ceiling, Democrats have all the leverage to preserve current levels of government funding and extend DACA.
That's not to say that Democrats won't have to give up something, like increased border security funding that doesn't include Trump's fantasy wall, but I would say that's an acceptable price to pay for codifying DACA into law.