Washington Update - June 25, 2018

Billy Moore    Dc2

Over the past fortnight, the House and Senate have passed numerous bipartisan bills, including a defense authorization and dozens of opioid initiatives. After rejecting a partisan rescission bill last week, Senators plan to pass a bipartisan appropriations package next week, in contrast to the partisan spending bills passed by the House. The bipartisan approach will prevail in conference if Congress and the President are to avoid a government shutdown weeks before the November election.

The House leadership's effort to pass partisan immigration legislation failed its first test last week and looks likely to fail the second test this week – perhaps renewing interest in a discharge petition that would bring two bipartisan immigration bills to the floor. The House Budget Committee reported a partisan budget resolution for fiscal 2019 that is mostly mooted by an accelerating appropriations process that could enact spending bills before the September 30 deadline.

The House passed a farm bill on a party-line vote last week. The Senate could take up its bipartisan companion bill this week. As with appropriations, the final legislation will need to reflect the Senate's bipartisan approach.

Congressional primaries have reached their mid-point, with only two incumbents suffering primary defeat. With 19 weeks until the general election, the nation's premier election analyst Charlie Cook says it is more likely than not that Democrats will win the House majority while Republicans retain Senate control.

Congressional Republicans continue to hope the tax bill passed six months ago will rescue their House majority. Polling this month suggests voters view the tax bill negatively by a net of 6 points.

With the U.S. economy about to enter the 10th year of expansion, the major threat to continued growth is a widening U.S. trade war with Canada, Europe and China. Unless cooler heads prevail, the tariff brawl among the world's largest economies could foster a global recession.