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Opinion: Why a DACA Fix Next Year Would Come Too Late
It takes months for the government to ramp up a new program

Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo, right, here with Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton, broke with his party this fall when he announced he wouldn’t support any bill funding the government beyond Dec. 31 until the DACA issue is resolved. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As Congress speeds toward its year-end pileup of “must pass” legislation, a legislative fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, remains in the balance. President Donald Trump insists it should not be tied to the annual appropriations scramble. But many Democrats — and a few Republicans — are calling for the issue to be addressed this year, with some threatening to withhold their votes to fund the government if legislation for so-called Dreamers is not attached.

Beyond the political posturing and jockeying for leverage, there is a pragmatic reason why any fix, if that is what both parties really want, should happen this year: it takes months for the government to ramp up a new program.

Opinion: How Debt Limit Drama Gets Resolved Is Up in the Air
Policymakers have always extended limit just in time — but the script is now flipped

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is resorting to so-called extraordinary measures to pay the government’s bills after the debt limit suspension ended Dec. 8. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the first year of the Trump administration, Capitol Hill has specialized in drama. From health care to taxes, decisions affecting large swaths of the economy have come down to the last minute. Months of wrangling over the repeal of the Affordable Care Act culminated in an ignominious defeat. Tax reform also came down to the wire in the Senate, narrowly squeaking through in a middle-of-the-night roll call. Next up, a debt limit drama could be on the way.

The debt limit’s suspension quietly ended on Dec. 8, the same day policymakers chose once again to punt on negotiating a budget agreement. In what has become ordinary practice over the past seven years, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the implementation of so-called extraordinary measures — accounting maneuvers that temporarily give Treasury extra borrowing room (and thus, cash) to pay the government’s bills while operating at the debt limit. BPC’s projection is that those measures would last until March, although tax reform, spending cap adjustments, and additional disaster relief could shorten the time frame.

At Odds with NRSC, Montana’s Rosendale Stands by Roy Moore
Rosendale is running for GOP nod to take on Tester

Montana State Auditor Matt Rosendale is running for the GOP nomination to take on Democratic Sen. Jon Tester. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Montana State Auditor Matt Rosendale said he supports Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore "until he’s found guilty of a crime" and praised his public service in a Thursday radio interview. 

Rosendale’s comments put him at odds with the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which cut off ties to Moore, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has called on Moore to step aside

Opinion: Al Franken and the Long Goodbye
Minnesota Democrat handled difficult speech about as well as he could

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken and his wife, Franni, leave the Capitol on Thursday after he announced on the Senate floor that he will resign his seat “in the coming weeks.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Claiming the distinction of being, at 6 feet 9 inches, the tallest senator in history and ignoring the pesky detail of having lost an Alabama Republican primary to Roy Moore, Luther Strange delivered his farewell address Thursday morning.

It was a good-humored speech filled with predictable references to “this hallowed institution” that was in keeping with Strange’s short-lived Capitol Hill career as the appointed fill-in for Jeff Sessions, now the attorney general.

Report: Arpaio Unable to Cite Evidence Against Flake’s Son
Comes after Flake's son filed malicious action suit

The son of Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., is involved with a lawsuit with former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was unable to cite any evidence while on the witness stand Wednesday in a malicious prosecution suit filed by the son of Sen. Jeff Flake.

Last month, Flake’s son Austin filed his suit against Arpaio, saying the sheriff pursued charges against him and his then-wife in 2014 for the deaths of 21 dogs at a kennel his in-laws managed.

Opinion: The Need for a Royal Distraction on This Side of the Pond
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle offer relief from White House and congressional dysfunction

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement on Nov. 27 and will marry at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle in May 2018. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Though it was heresy in some quarters at the time, I cared not one whit when Prince Charles took Lady Diana Spencer as his bride — and yes, it was pretty much him choosing her as a suitable spouse. I did not indulge in the ritual some Anglophile friends bragged about, setting clocks to wake up to view the 1981 spectacle in real time while nibbling on some British-like snack.

I did not care about the carriage, the bridal party or the design of the wedding dress. These were folks with a guaranteed income, home and life, and I had more serious concerns.

Opinion: Bottom of the Ninth
Republicans must deliver on tax reform

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul D. Ryan can’t afford another failure like the attempt to repeal the 2010 health care law, Winston writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

“Something has to change. The middle class is shrinking and this is our last chance. This is the bottom of the ninth and there are two outs.”

These were the sobering words of a middle-aged man in a postelection focus group conducted for the Congressional Institute in one of the swing Rust Belt states that tipped the scales for Donald Trump. In all the focus groups I did during and after the last election, this man, more than any other, captured the underlying emotions that drove so many voters to cast their ballot not only for Trump but for a Republican Congress who together, they hoped, would deliver dramatic change.

Opinion: A Tribute to John Anderson — A Passionate Moderate
Independent presidential candidate radiated honor

In a partisan era, it is worth pausing to remember passionate moderates like John Anderson, Shapiro writes. (Ira Schwarz/AP file photo)

Every political reporter remembers his or her first time — that is, the first time they sat with a presidential candidate in a car cutting through the dark New Hampshire night listening to the dreams of a man who wanted to lead the nation.

For me, it was November 1979, with the Cold War raging, militant students occupying the American embassy in Tehran and Jimmy Carter in the White House. The candidate I was profiling was ten-term Illinois Rep. John Anderson, who was animated by the outlandish fantasy that he had a chance to defeat Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination.

Opinion: Wall Street’s Moral Superiority
Private companies act quickly while Congress dithers

The accusations of sexual harassment against Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., would have promptly gotten him fired had he been an anchor on Fox News or NBC, Patricia Murphy writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When Wall Street, Hollywood, cable news and even Silicon Valley are beating you by a mile on the road to dealing with questions of morality, respect and human decency, you can rest assured you’re doing it wrong.

Washington, you’re doing it wrong.

Lawmakers Add to the Mix in Same-Sex Wedding Cake Case
Oral arguments before the Supreme Court scheduled Tuesday

Sen. Ted Cruz wrote in a brief filed with the Supreme Court that a case involving a baker who declined to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding “goes beyond a cake.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers weighed in on the legal issues before the Supreme Court’s oral arguments Tuesday about whether a Colorado baker who calls himself an artist can decline to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.

As Republican lawmakers led by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said in a brief filed with the court, “This case, of course, goes beyond a cake.”