National Harbor offers beautiful views of the Potomac River, the Washington, D.C. skyline, and the river’s peaceful shore leading toward Mount Vernon. While the views may be peaceful, the political landscape in Washington has been anything but.
Having taken the majority in the mid-term elections last year, Democratic members of the House have aggressively opposed President Donald Trump, and the Republican Senate majority on numerous issues and have undertaken several investigations of the president, his businesses, and people within his administration. The president, as those on social media know, has been equally vocal in defending himself as well as attacking the investigations into his campaign, and Republicans have largely stood by him.
Passing legislation in any Congress where the two chambers are controlled by different parties has always been difficult, and the same has held true in 2019. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the minority leader, has accused Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the majority leader, of turning the chamber into a “legislative graveyard” as House-passed legislation has been dead on arrival. However, Republicans have cheered McConnell’s focus on approving judicial nominations, which has taken place at a record pace. As of March, roughly 20 percent of federal appellate court judges were appointed by Trump.
Though strife continues to make the front page, the administration and Democratic congressional leaders are seeking to find areas of common ground. With elections next year, both sides want to seem capable of governing and offer voters tangible proof that they can get things done. While the details remain a minefield, both sides have identified infrastructure – and potentially addressing “surprise” healthcare bills and the costs of prescription drugs – as a potential avenue for bipartisan legislation. In fact, infrastructure is expected to be a priority issue through the summer months, and Democratic leaders have been working directly with the president on legislation to invest as much as $2 trillion in repairing our nation’s infrastructure. However, finding a source of that funding could raise difficulties for congressional Republicans.
Hanging over all of this is the end of the federal fiscal year Sept. 30, by which time legislation to keep the government running will have to have been approved by Congress and signed by the president. Neither party wishes to see a repeat of the partial government shutdown earlier this a year, and talks have begun between congressional leaders and the White House toward a two-year deal that would fund the government and lift spending caps on defense and domestic spending.
While both sides seek to work together on some issues, it remains to be seen if those efforts can overcome the politics surrounding the president and the increasingly contentious House investigations into his administration and his personal conduct.
If you’d like to learn more about the D.C. political landscape and how it is impacting the property/casualty insurance industry, be sure to visit with government affairs staff members while at the 124thAnnual Convention.
Article Posted: 06.03.19
Last Updated: 06.03.19