The editors of National Review point to a problem with the spending deal that I hadn’t considered: it may end the chance for a conservative legislative achievement in 2018. Here’s why:
A two-year spending deal means Republicans probably won’t go to the trouble of passing a formal budget for 2019. That would mean no chance for a so-called reconciliation process that could allow them to enact meaningful legislation with only 50 votes in the Senate.
If Republicans accept this deal and then forgo the reconciliation process, they will have given up their chance to pass a law without Democratic support, and measures such as easing the Obamacare regulations that will contribute to higher premiums in the coming years or reforming welfare will stand no chance of making it through Congress.
If the budget deal were fiscally responsible and otherwise favorable to conservative interests, giving up the legislative opportunity would probably be worth it. But the deal isn’t. And, in addition to the defects I pointed to here, the deal is brimming with special tax breaks for favored interests.
Thus, the NR editors conclude:
Republicans interested in passing major conservative reforms in 2018 — which could be the last chance for years, if Democrats succeed in taking the House later this year — should reject this deal and push for something better. Another year of unified Republican control of the elected branches of government in Washington is a terrible thing to waste.