The Wall Street Journal published a quick summary of the big month that lies ahead for the Republican controlled Congress and Donald Trump, highlighting how much has to be done in a very short amount of time. However, it is this tidbit hidden sixteen paragraphs down that has commanded everyone’s attention over the past 24 hours:
As it became clear Mr. McConnell couldn’t summon enough Republican votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Senate majority leader stopped responding to the president’s chitchat, the people familiar said.
“Mitch?” the president said when Mr. McConnell fell silent in one call. “Are you there?”
Mr. McConnell waited a beat, then responded. “Yes, Mr. President. Back to the bill,” according to those familiar with the talks.
Between tax “reform” (part of this plan may include a provision to tax your 401k contributions up front to help pay for the massive tax cut for the rich that will be at the heart of this deal), an aid package for Hurricane Harvey (and probably one for Irma now that it seems like it will hit land in Florida), raising the debt ceiling, Trump’s wall and anything else that may come up in the next month, Congress has a lot on its plate—even for a normally functioning legislative body. Given that the Republicans control all facets of the federal government and still haven’t been able to get anything done, we could easily see this spat between Trump and McConnell escalate even further if nothing serious is accomplished in what is likely to be the last productive legislative session before members begin campaigning for 2018.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.