When you look at them together, there’s no doubt that the Trump White House and GOP Congress are showing a consistent and dangerous pattern of going around existing rules, precedents and procedures to enact their preferred policies.
At least so far, their highly novel interpretations and uses of the policymaking process haven’t been illegal. More than anything else, the ways the GOP is applying the rules appears to be designed to prevent House and Senate Democrats and even dissident Republicans from having any impact on the outcome.
They also appear to be desperate attempts to expedite the process so that the changes can be put in place without too many people knowing exactly what’s being changed.
But six months after the start of the Trump administration and this Congress, the GOP’s pattern of ignoring established legislative procedures is so persistent that it now has to be assumed to be its preferred way of doing business.
Consider the following, all of which have occurred since just January.
1. The year started with the GOP’s unprecedented plan (look here and here) to do two budget resolutions and two reconciliation bills in the same year so both healthcare and tax reform could be adopted without any worry about Senate Democrats getting in the way with a filibuster.
The first — fiscal 2017 — budget resolution was nothing more than a way to put the reconciliation instructions in place so the Affordable Care Act could be repealed. Over the strong objections and disappointment of many members of the House Freedom Caucus, that budget resolution made no decisions about…wait for it…the budget. At best, that budget resolution was pro forma. At worst it was a sham.
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