Author Archives: Sam Wice

Eliminating the Filibuster on Appropriations Bills Would Not Prevent a Shutdown

by Sam Wice — Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018

The federal government recently shut down for three days because the Senate could not pass an appropriations bill with a filibuster-proof majority.  In response, President Trump and House Republicans suggested eliminating the filibuster for appropriations bills.  However, eliminating such a filibuster would likely have prevented the Senate from considering the failed continuing resolution that Republicans […]

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Why Some of President Trump’s Efforts to Mitigate the Shutdown Were Likely Illegal

by Sam Wice — Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018

With the government reopening soon, I thought now would be a good time to examine some of President Trump’s actions regarding the shutdown.  To mitigate the immediate impact of the shutdown, the Trump administration did not shut down agencies that still had unused funds.  However, this decision likely violated appropriations law. The Constitution specifies that “[n]o […]

How President Trump Might Inadvertently Delay Paul Ryan’s Plan for Entitlement Reform

by Sam Wice — Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018

Paul Ryan has proposed that in the new year he will tackle entitlement reform.  With Democrats likely to be united in opposition, Republicans again will have to turn to the reconciliation process to avoid a Senate filibuster.  As the reconciliation process is tied to the budget process, Republicans must wait before they may consider new […]

Waiting Until January 3 to Sign Tax Reform Would Not Have Delayed a PAYGO Sequestration

by Sam Wice — Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017

In an earlier post, I suggested that Republicans should wait until January 2018 to pass tax reform so that they can delay a Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) sequestration.  President Trump appears to have taken this idea to heart and decided that if Congress did not waive the PAYGO sequestration, he would wait until January 3, 2018 to […]

Recess Appointments Revisited

by Sam Wice — Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017

In January, I wrote that recess appointments would likely return this year because the same party controls the presidency, Senate, and House of Representatives.   With an upcoming recess, I thought now would be a good time to revisit the subject and figure out why I was wrong. The Constitution gives “[t]he President [the] Power to fill up […]

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Congress Just Allowed President Trump to Estimate the Official Costs of Tax Reform

by Sam Wice — Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017

Republicans plan to pass a deficit increasing tax-reform proposal, but the Pay-As-You-Go Act (PAYGO) requires that legislation cannot increase the deficit within a five-year or ten-year window.  If legislation would increase the deficit in either window, an offsetting, automatic sequestration would kick in.  Although the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) […]

The Gimmick Republicans Could Use to Avoid a PAYGO Sequestration

by Sam Wice — Monday, Dec. 11, 2017

Republicans plan to pass a deficit increasing tax-reform proposal, but the Pay-As-You-Go Act (PAYGO) would require a sequestration, an automatic reduction in spending, if tax reform increased the deficit.  Republicans could avoid a sequestration by convincing Senate Democrats to support legislation lifting the sequestration.  Democrats, however, might not be willing to compromise on an issue […]

Government Funding Ends Today (Not Tomorrow)

by Sam Wice — Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017

This blog post updates two of my previous blog posts regarding continuing resolutions ending a day earlier than intended. Unlike the December 8 date that Congress and commentators believe is the deadline for a government shutdown, a close reading of the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 (“CR”) shows that the deadline is likely a day earlier. The […]

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Why the End of This Year Is the Worst Possible Time to Pass Tax Reform

by Sam Wice — Friday, Dec. 1, 2017

Republicans hope to pass tax reform before Christmas so that they can go back to their constituents over the Winter Holidays and talk about their accomplishments.  However, because of the Pay-As-You-Go Act (PAYGO), passing tax reform at the end of the year would be the worst possible time to pass tax reform as it would […]

What Republicans Could Do If Tax Reform Fails

by Sam Wice — Friday, Nov. 17, 2017

To avoid a Senate filibuster, Republicans are using the reconciliation process to pass tax reform.  As part of their reconciliation instructions, Republicans allowed tax reform to increase the deficit by up to $1.5 trillion over the next ten years.  Even though tax reform can add to the deficit over the first ten years of the proposal, […]