Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
President Trump and his chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, have realized they’re passing no major legislation through this divided Congress.
Why it matters: No sooner had Trump put out his budget than the conversation among many Capitol Hill Republicans turned to what they expect will eventually happen: No grand spending deal between Democrats and Republicans, and instead perhaps a continuation of 2019 spending levels through 2020.
Reality check: Forget infrastructure. Forget any serious action to rein in the national debt. Forget entitlement reform. Forget fixing the nation’s broken immigration system.
- And yes, forget health care. Trump may want to revisit the Affordable Care Act, but he doesn't have a lot of company in the GOP.
- Instead, the Trump team is busy figuring out ways to go over the heads of Congress. (The one exception is drug pricing.)
What to expect: More executive orders, more foreign deals sealed by a presidential signature rather than congressional approval, and more creative applications of the law — for example, declaring a national emergency to build the wall — to get Trump what he wants.