CPI’s Weekly Compass for August 28, 2017

CPI Staff — Monday, August 28, 2017

Here are the top stories conservatives are following this week:

Conservative Godfathers – CPI Interview with Don Devine:

“It actually is a great time to be a conservative. It’s time to rebuild this great tradition of Western civilization, put it back together, and make sense of it for today’s world. We can’t oversimplify it. Freedom and tradition have so many dimensions. It is not an easy job we have, to reconcile the two principles of freedom and tradition… The country is more conservative than are the conservative Republicans in Washington. They know something is fundamentally wrong, and most people here in DC do not.” 

Read Part One of his interview here. Part Two will be available next week.

What’s Really Happening

September Chaos: Congress returns next week with a laundry list of major policy puzzles to solve, having accomplished little in the preceding 8 months. The list facing McConnell-Ryan:

  • Debt limit: Treasury funds run out mid-October.
  • Government spending: 2017 appropriations end on Sept 30, and to date none of the 13 appropriations bills have been passed by the Senate, including military funding.
  • Obamacare: Leaders have gone silent on the hopes for repeal.
  • Tax reform: Originally promised to be completed before summer.
  • Budget: Senate would need to pass new budget for 2018 fiscal year to create new reconciliation rules to allow for tax reform passing with just 50 votes.
  • Harvey relief: Cruz and Cornyn have called for federal aid.
  • Also, FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and SCHIP (State-based Children’s Health Insurance Program) need reauthorization by September 30.

President Trump lashed out at Republican leaders for failing to advance his policy agenda and doing little to avoid the looming September spending and debt crises. Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi boasts that Democrats have won every battle against GOP in 2017. Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker urged leaders to get serious on debt limit and enact real spending reforms: “Our national debt now stands at $20 trillion. That’s $146,000 for every American household… Ultimately, we need to take incremental steps to our ultimate goal: to eliminate the need for a debt ceiling increase at all. Ideally, we should not have to vote for a debt ceiling increase because the government lives within its means and produces a surplus.”

Harvey Disaster Relief: As Hurricane Harvey rips through Texas, calls for federal aid increase, it’s critical to note that government has an important role but private charity is historically more effective. In response to Hurricane Sandy, Congress and Obama passed a $60 billion relief bill filled with non-emergency earmarks ($2 million for Smithsonian roof repair, $10 million for FBI salaries) and only about half of the funds were actually spent helping disaster victims. However, over 80 private charities raised $658 million and spent 91% on Sandy relief. As the Philanthropy Roundtable notes: “Private giving is light-years quicker than government action, and it tends to adapt effectively to changing conditions on the ground… [In 2001] 73 percent of adults nationwide said charities were the most cost-effective, while 17 percent selected government agencies.”

Policy Perspectives:

Notable Events:

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