Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WS) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sketched out a 200-day agenda for Republican members of the House and Senate. The schedule was laid out at a closed-door retreat for Republicans held in Philadelphia from Wednesday night through Friday. Although the sessions were not public, details were being widely reported. The schedule was an attempt to give congressional Republicans some breathing room to tackle an agenda that includes two reconciliations bills including a repeal of the ACA, two fiscal year budgets, an increase in the debt ceiling, passing a major tax cut and, as of last Wednesday, finding a way to pay for President Trump’s wall between Mexico and the U.S. The budget resolution passed a few weeks ago had directed key committees to act on a reconciliation by January 27 but that date merely empowers the Budget Committees to take control of the legislation.
Generally, new presidents have a “first 100 days” goal of fast action. There is nothing official about that number rather it is a remnant of President Franklin Roosevelt’s first 100 days at the height of the Great Depression when he signed into law 76 different bills including major ones that effected banking, agriculture and relief for the general population. The President has been taking every opportunity to sign executive orders but some of those actions may be more symbolic than real and will depend on follow up action by Congress. Others like is restrictions on immigration may run into legal blockades.
Front and center for congressional Republicans is a repeal of the ACA through reconciliation, a second budget resolution which will empower them to pass a second reconciliation, a continuing resolution that funds the government and that expires at the end of April, an increase in the federal debt ceiling by the end of March, a second reconciliation that is likely to include a major tax package and ways to pay for it through program cuts such as block grants to states.
In addition, President Trump has been invited to deliver a speech to a joint session of Congress on February 28. This speech takes the place of a formal State of the Union which is not delivered by new presidents.