“The idea is that these initiatives will get a good footing in this legislation, and we can scale them up,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat from Maryland. “Take the child tax credit. It’s something that just took effect in a few months, and is already making a big difference, and is very popular.”
Democrats have argued for months that Americans will accept safety net proposals and other provisions of the law once they know what’s in it for them. They say the popular aspects of the measure have been obscured by infighting among Democrats, attacks from Republicans and a focus on procedural battles, interpreting recent polls as showing that most Americans do not know what is in the package. What. Also tarnishing the picture for voters, Democrats have yet to produce a final version of the law because of differences in cost and scope.
“I’ve long felt that when they see the changes and improvements that really matter to them in their kitchens and their living rooms, that changes the D.C. debate dramatically,” says Oregon’s Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat and chairman of the finance committee, said. .
Republicans have also rewarded lawmakers’ hesitation to reverse popular policies that were initially tentatively implemented, such as the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts. They were eventually extended despite years of deep democratic resistance and financial fighting, as substantial members were reluctant to accuse Congress of raising taxes.
Seeing as how they fell short in their years of campaigning to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Republicans also feel that allowing Democrats to make safety net programs a reality even for a relatively brief window should help them die. extremely difficult and politically risky.
But the legislative dynamics will be different with safety net programs enacted for a certain period of time. In the case of the health law, which was a permanent policy change, Republicans had to gather votes to repeal it and repeatedly failed. As with the programs in the budget bill, if Congress had nothing to do, they would just end up, with the vote on Democrats to find the vote to renew.
One of the rare social support programs to be canceled was the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988, with widespread bipartisan support, at the end of the Reagan administration. It was repealed a year later in a shockingly quick reversal.