With 2017 in the rearview mirror and primaries for midterms just a few months away, Trump and Republicans have laid out their legislative priorities for 2018. In 2017, Congress came up short on accomplishing a lot of what they planned; healthcare reform efforts failed several times, infrastructure funding efforts were put on hold, DACA reform laws failed to make it to a vote before the program expired. Congress’s only major legislative achievement was the passage of the Republican tax reform bill that was signed into law by President Trump in the final days of December. However, a rough first year for the Trump presidency hasn’t prevented the GOP from planning an ambitious list of 2018 legislative priorities.
Speaker Paul Ryan said that the House of Representatives will be focused on Medicare and Medicaid reform. Ryan wants to reform these programs to create a “patient centered” healthcare system. Democrats want to make a deal with Republicans regarding the DACA program, while Trump wants to get funding for a border wall. Trump hopes to make a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to fund his border wall in exchange for protection of illegal immigrants that were protected by President Obama’s DACA executive order. Trump also hopes to revisit healthcare reform after efforts to repeal Obamacare last year failed twice. However, Trump’s biggest priority is getting an infrastructure funding package passed. An infrastructure funding bill would give much-needed repairs and updates to American transportation systems.
With a slim 51-49 Republican majority in the Senate, legislation will likely need complete Republican support, as there is only room for one Republican defection if Mike Pence breaks a tie vote. The Republican agenda is ambitious, but will only be completed if Republicans work with Democrats to pass legislation.
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