“Unless we get serious about the debt and the deficit, as it relates to doing all the things we need to do to grow the economy and create jobs, I think we’re going to see Democrats in Congress take a position on the debt and deficit – and for me it’s going to be the opening theme for November,” says a senior Democratic official. “They’re going to put taxes first.”
Some Democrats in Congress are already threatening to torpedo a major bill to reform how the federal government pays for social security, even as party leaders insist they want legislation to deliver on the president’s promise to cut the deficit in half over 10 years.
Ahead of a Congressional recess next week that’s expected to feature heavy debate on tax cuts, a congressional aide tells POLITICO that negotiations on the deal — unveiled in April by Senate Democrats — have ground to a near standstill and are unlikely to be finished this week, which is when Congress is slated to gather. The measure would attempt to overhaul the way the government pays for Social Security by putting the agency at full cost instead of a so-called solvency baseline that assumes the system will run out of money before it does. Even as it pushes ahead, though, Democratic opposition remains a serious issue. And while it is the only bill that could potentially get a large majority of votes in both chambers, there’s a good chance that House Democrats will not even put it on the floor, according to Democratic leaders and aides on both sides of the aisle.
Senior House Democrats say their priority remains the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, a high-stakes issue that may cause more friction ahead.