DC Digest – April 21, 2017

In Today’s Issue:
  • Healthcare is Back (?)
  • Shutdown Clock
  • DACA Case
  • NSF Recommendations
  • March For Science


Leaders of the House Freedom Caucus and the Tuesday Group, an informal caucus of about 50 moderate Republicans, have been talking and have produced a series of changes to the GOP health-care bill. This document represents the most recent summary of negotiations between moderate Republicans and the House Freedom Caucus:

Hot Doc

The new legislation hasn’t been whipped by GOP leaders, meaning they have not argued the position to their colleagues and round up the necessary votes to put the bill through. The GOP leadership in the House is skeptical of a vote next week. Many members of the House Freedom Caucus are skeptical about this compromise and are still advocating for a complete scrapping of the ACA.

Congress doesn’t come back until Tuesday, which puts a theoretical vote on Thursday or Friday. The government shuts down Friday, April 28.


The text of the fiscal 2017 funding package might debut Friday, April 21. The possibility that congress will draft a short-term (one- to two-week) Continuing Resolution is high in order to buy time to finalize a larger spending package.

Poison Pills

There are five remaining pressure points that could create a shutdown-spurring impasse — either on the April 28 deadline or in the weeks to follow (if Congress does indeed ‘punt’ with a short-term CR). Those issues: border wall funding, language that would prevent money from flowing to “sanctuary cities,” extra defense spending, Obamacare subsidies and coal miner benefits.


Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday, April 20 the administration plans to release its tax reform proposal “very soon” and promised a sweeping overhaul of the tax code will get done.

Speaking at a conference of international financial firms in Washington, Mr. Mnuchin said Treasury is “pretty close to being able to bring forward what’s going to be major tax reform.” Mnuchin also called the updates the “most significant change to the tax code since Reagan.”

The White House’s original schedule for tax reform completion was this spring. The schedule was then adjusted to next August and has since been pushed back to the end of this year.

Axes to Taxes

Of Interest…

The sheer number of players in tax reform will complicate any effort to overhaul the tax code. Cut just one break and lawmakers risk the anger of well-funded interest groups or coalitions, which inevitably try to position their tax benefit as the one singlehandedly responsible for boosting the economy or helping the middle class. Here’s a run-down of the big parties in play:

Death and Taxes… and Interest Groups


DACA recipient Juan Manuel Montes, 23, was deported to Mexico in February. There is some debate about his DACA status and whether DHS was involved in the deportation or if Montes left the country on his own will. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel.

There are many aspects of the case to iron out. The Duke Office of Government Relations is monitoring the situation closely.


The National Science Foundation (NSF) requests recommendations for membership on its scientific and technical federal advisory committees. For more information and on how to nominate someone, see below:



The March for Science is this Saturday, April 22. Many members of the Duke scientific community are joining to highlight the importance of federally sponsored research. Duke University conducts over $1 billion of research each year and over half of that funding comes from the U.S. government. Learn more about the March below. 

Beware the Ides…