DC Digest – April 11, 2017

In Today’s Issue:
  • Government Shutdown
  • Durham Chamber Defends Research Funding
  • What to Expect

FOUR SCORE AND A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

Appropriators from both chambers say the Trump administration cannot realistically make changes to the bipartisan budget talks which have stretched throughout nearly a year. Lawmakers have just four working days to finish negotiations when they return from their two week recess if they wish to avoid a government shutdown on April 28.

DURHAM CHAMBER OF CONGRESS

The Durham Chamber of Commerce joined more than 65 chambers of commerce across the country through the Business for Federal Research Funding in urging key congressional appropriators to support critical research accounts that are subject to widespread cuts in the Administration’s 2018 budget request, including cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

“We ask that your committees finalize the fiscal year (FY) 2017 omnibus while incorporating your committee’s priorities, which were voted on in the spring of 2016. Furthermore, we ask you to provide robust funding to research accounts as you craft the House and Senate Appropriations bills for FY 2018.”

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING

The 100th day of Trump’s presidency is April 28. As we near the end of his first legislative run-of-show, the Office of Government Relations thought now would be a good time to ask several large questions about the direction of his administration and how much new policy is both feasible and likely to occur.

Can President Donald Trump figure out how to pass his big-ticket policy items? 

Will spending bills, tax reform, and an infrastructure package go the way of the Affordable Care Act repeal efforts? Republicans are under increasing pressure to deliver any legislative victory in the face of a stacked agenda, divided Congressional factions, and a polarized public.

When will the administration fill out the ranks of the federal government? 

Currently, almost every agency and department – from the Treasury, OMB, and the Pentagon, to the Education Department — is short-staffed. The White House has confirmed 22 people out of 533 Senate-confirmed positions that the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service considers ‘essential.’ This says nothing of the thousands of lower-level political jobs throughout the agencies. It is not clear that the administration considers filling these jobs a priority.

How will his administration reshape the judicial system? 

Getting Neil Gorsuch confirmed to the Supreme Court has been the bright spot of Trump’s first months in office. Look for the administration to score some other wins by picking conservative judges for over 100 lower court appointments. This will reshape the judicial system for years in ways that will favor conservatives.