Friday, June 16, 2017

Conservatives in Congress are threatening to hold Trump’s agenda hostage

Tara Golshan · Monday, June 12, 2017, 11:19 am

The most conservative faction of House Republicans is posturing to derail President Trump’s tax plans — an issue on which he desperately needs a legislative win — if he and GOP leaders do not agree to sweeping cuts to food stamps and other safety net programs. Their demands would amount to even more pain for the poorest Americans than Trump has already proposed, in order to fund tax cuts that would primarily benefit the very rich.

That faction, the House Freedom Caucus, has been emboldened by extracting key concessions from Trump in order to pass his health care bill through the House last month. Its members are now effectively threatening to impound a budget resolution that is crucial to any hopes Republicans have of cutting taxes this year, unless the party agrees to $300 billion in social service cuts.

The Freedom Caucus is feeling the strength of its leverage over GOP moderates and the administration — it knows that without its members’ votes, the budget is doomed, and with it, for the next year at least, any hope of passing tax cuts through the Senate on a strictly party-line vote.

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