Taking the Temperature on Capitol Hill

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March 7, 2017 5:48 PM

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After spending a few days in Washington, there was one word spoken often by Congressional staffers – uncertainty.  No one knows how the big issues will handled by this President and this Congress.

Tax reform is something nearly all elected officials say they want.  So, you would think passage of a new tax overhaul will happen this year? It’s unlikely, for one big reason.  Although there is a consensus tax reform is needed, there is no consensus on the specifics of such a bill.

Then there is the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.  Republican House members have voted at least 54 times to repeal the health care law, but have never had agreement within their own caucus on what a health care replacement law would look like.  Enacting a replacement health care plan looks like an uphill climb.

President Trump wants to slash most federal agency budgets and shift the money to the Pentagon and Homeland Security.  When the public finds it difficult or impossible to obtain service from the Veterans Administration, Social Security or the IRS, members of Congress will be hearing from their constituents.

The unproven allegation that the previous occupant of the White House, Barack Obama, wiretapped the Trump campaign, will not help Donald Trump’s credibility with a majority of the public.  When our chief executive needs to make his case to American citizens on an important issue, the president needs credibility.  At the moment, White House credibility has taken a big hit.

Ohio Governor John Kasich recently emerged from a meeting with President Trump, essentially saying we may not like the pilot of the airplane, but we all still want to land safely. In other words, we all have a stake in Donald Trump’s success.

My take on the Capitol Hill mood, within both political parties, was a nervous one.  People are worried about the basics of governing, but most are also concerned about a president without much credibility trying to handle an international crisis, which is bound to happen at some point.

Personally, I am holding on to my seat and saying some prayers that the airplane is on the way to a safe landing.

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