One of the things that I enjoy the most about the fall is watching people cry when their college football team loses. The first reason for this is that I think that learning is pointless so I do not really understand the whole idea of college. The second reason is that I am very proud to live in a country where people believe that cranking beers and chicken wings in front of a TV screen that is showing a football game will actively help your team win.
Anyway, one of the most famous college football teams ever is Notre Dame, which is from a place called South Bend, Indiana. In approximately 1850 Notre Dame was the best football team in the USA, but ever since then they have been more overrated than Marco Rubio. This is due to the fact that they have the same problem as Rubio and the Republican Party: terrible recruiting in minority communities and an over-reliance on white players from Ohio and Indiana.
It is important to understand Notre Dame football because its team usually behaves the same way during December as Congress. Both of them are extremely predictable when the game is on the line. In the fourth quarter of a big game, Notre Dame is usually focused on advancing the ball backwards and occasionally throwing a Hail Mary pass that probably won’t get caught. In the fourth quarter of the calendar year, Congress is basically doing the same thing. With the legislative game clock running down and an agenda that is always behind the chains, the House and Senate are usually in a must-pass bill situation for all of December. Party leaders like Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi will focus on confirming the president’s appointments and advancing months-old bills to keep the government funded. But there is always the chance that they’ll call a trick play to try and bomb one last policy package into the Oval Office endzone. Sen. Harry Reid and the Godfather aka Mitch McConnell pulled this off when they passed Obamacare (Reid) and Trump’s tax cuts (McConnell) in the last seconds of 2009 and 2017. But Speaker John Boehner got absolutely creamed when he tried to dial-up a run-pass option on immigration reform in 2013 and fumbled the hand-off to his own party.
The best bets to make — and the questions that are giving legislators and lobbyists major wedgies up and down Pennsylvania Avenue — is whether or not Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump are going to put together one such touchdown drive for a major legislative victory in 2019, or if Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats will just run out the clock. There are three possibilities for offensive package and all of them have bipartisan support. I will rate their chances of passage here
— The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement (New NAFTA) – 30 percent
— Gun control – 10 percent
— Prescription Drug Price Control – 9 percent
And then there is the most likely outcome for every session Congress:
— Doing nothing – 51 percent
I promise to give you a write-up on each of these but for today I am going to pipe you over the head with some big picture points about these bills, because I guarantee you that PredictIt is going to start creating all sorts of markets on what will happen before the end of the year.
— Christmas time is when Santa brings huge legislative wins because party leaders love to hold Average Joe Congressmen’s Christmas vacation hostage unless they vote for a controversial bill.
— Sept. 30 is the deadline for Congress to pass the appropriations acts that actually fund the government, which they haven’t done. So that will take up basically all of this month and might even poke into October.
— None of the policy bills in question — USMCA, guns, or prescription drugs — can pass in an election year so we will 100 percent see committee chairmen and party leaders going ape to get them done by Christmas.
— These bills can’t pass in 2020 because there is honestly just a 0 percent chance that Nancy Pelosi and her woke mad dogs are going to give Donald Trump a massive win to campaign on.
— In the next month, we will probably learn that two of these three bills are completely out of the question.
— In the months after that, a betting market on any of these three packages could flip 1000+ times as new Fake News Media stories come out detailing dumb stuff like how Kevin McCarthy is too depressed from all the GOP Congressmen retiring to give a crap about policy; or how Chuck Schumer is too busy seeing Joe Biden hair plugs guy to move a major bill. But end-of-the-year legislative packages are like Big 12 football games — whoever has the ball last wins them. The winner probably won’t be clear until the last few seconds of the 2019 game clock wind down.
Check back later and I will let you know what I think about each proposal. But for now the big take away is that Congress can be extremely flighty at the end of the year. Remember, Notre Dame doesn’t get into the college football playoffs because they are actually good, they get in because they have a flashy name that excites a corrupt governing body. That is basically the same thing as getting Donald Trump hyped enough about one of these bills that he pops a bone from the media spotlight and just jams it through any hole he can find. But like I said, usually this goes the wrong way for Congress — and Notre Dame too.