White House and Republican congressional officials are trying to set modest expectations for what they can accomplish on the Hill in an election year.

Be smart: Considering the legislative calendar and the midterm elections, Congress is likely to get even less done this year than it did last year.

  • Taking his cue from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Trump has cooled on welfare reform, which was to be one of the big White House priorities this year.
  • At a presser yesterday that ended a two-day retreat with GOP congressional leaders at Camp David, when a reporter asked why welfare reform hadn't been mentioned for the '18 agenda, POTUS said: "We'll try and do something in a bipartisan way. Otherwise we'll be holding it for a little bit later."
  • An administration official said of the agenda in general: "What we do get done will have to be done in a bipartisan fashion. So what are Democrats willing to do?"

A Republican congressional aide gives us this readout from the retreat:

  • "A good part of 2018 will be to remind folks how 2017 ended. Selling taxes is almost as important as passing tax reform. From employee bonuses to announced investment [by companies] to next month’s withholding changes, that puts more money in people’s paychecks."
  • Why it matters: "Can’t underscore enough how important communicating that is for November '18 prospects. The WH gets that as well."
  • What's next: "Immediate priority is budget deal. Obviously [DACA, the extension of 'Dreamer' protections'] is hanging over that. That should get worked out."
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