Conservatives who want to appear grateful to Donald Trump have another reason to focus to the exclusion of everything else on the Gorsuch nomination and confirmation (and perhaps the persistent rumors of additional SCOTUS vacancies): The appropriations deal the White House and congressional Republican leaders cut to avoid a government shutdown is almost impossible to spin as anything other than a major disappointment to the right. The Washington Post’s James Hohmann lists eight major ways in which Trump “got rolled,” ranging from the ban on use of new homeland-security money for border wall construction, to higher (not lower) nondefense discretionary spending, to the removal of 160 specific conservative policy “riders.” On some very early disputes, like Planned Parenthood funding, Republicans caved early (though they are still promising to take care of that priority in the Zombie Trumpcare bill).
In terms of enacting the funding bill, the White House better hope that congressional Democrats view it as a victory and vote for it. Because a lot of conservatives may defect, according to the Washington Examiner:
Conservative Republicans are already shaking their heads at the spending deal reached late Sunday to keep the government open until the end of September, Rep. Jim Jordan said Monday.
“I think you’re going to see a lot of conservatives be against this plan this week,” he said on CBS, adding that he’s “disappointed.”
Jordan reminded everyone that it was the expectation of something very different that convinced his fellow House Freedom Caucus members to vote for the short-term funding bill enacted last December that expired on Friday:
“We did a short-term spending bill so when Republicans controlled the government we could do the kind of things we campaigned on,” Jordan said.
“We make this job too complicated,” he said. “Our job is to do what we told the voters we were going to do.”
There is another alleged benefit of the deal to conservatives that the White House was quick — probably too quick — to claim:
The White House agreed to punt on a lot of the president’s top priorities until this fall to avert a shutdown on Friday and to clear the deck so that the House can pass a health-care bill. “This is going to be a great week,” Gary Cohn, Trump’s chief economic adviser, said on CBS this morning. “We’re going to get health care down to the floor of the House. We’re convinced we’ve got the votes, and we’re going to keep moving on with our agenda.”
This message may be aimed at consoling conservatives given the Freedom Caucus endorsement of Zombie Trumpcare. But if he’s wrong and they don’t have the votes you will have a fresh and very bitter disappointment to conservatives. And unless something changes dramatically, of course, the disappointment is inevitable after Zombie Trumpcare dies in the Senate if not in the House.
Yeah, conservatives should dwell on SCOTUS.