GOP Goal For 2018: Keep Government From Collapsing

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Republicans have given up on doing anything important in 2018:

Instead, Republican lawmakers are likely to embrace a slimmed-down agenda focused on the basics, including funding the government, raising the government debt limit and striking a deal on immigration, according to GOP lawmakers and aides.

….At risk of losing one or both chambers in November, Republicans say they want to avoid controversy over policies that stand little chance of passing the Senate, where most bills need 60 votes to clear procedural hurdles. Voters are especially wary of plans to overhaul safety-net programs, which polls show remain highly popular. Republicans say they are confident the surging economy will help their electoral prospects.

Well, that’s the problem, isn’t it? Republicans almost literally have no policy positions these days that are popular. Repealing Obamacare polled poorly. Their tax bill is widely detested. No one wants to touch Social Security or Medicare even in a symbolic vote.

The only popular proposal on President Trump’s plate is his trillion-dollar infrastructure project, but Republicans in Congress aren’t interested. So that leaves two things: (a) immigration and (b) avoiding disaster. The weird thing is that a comprehensive immigration deal is actually possible. The Senate could pass one pretty easily, and if Trump then bragged that it was the greatest, toughest, most America-Firstest immigration plan ever, his base would support it and the House would probably pass it. You know, sort of a Nixon-goes-to-China thing. And it would give Republicans another big win going into the 2018 midterms.

Would Democrats buy in? Beats me. But it probably doesn’t matter since there’s no one in the Republican Party these days likely to lead the charge. Marco Rubio won’t do it again. Mitch McConnell has little interest. Trump is clueless and can’t lead anything. So I guess keeping the government open and paying its bills is all we’re going to get this year. Given the most likely alternatives, I can live with that.

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WHO DOESN’T LOVE A POSITIVE STORY—OR TWO?

“Great journalism really does make a difference in this world: it can even save kids.”

That’s what a civil rights lawyer wrote to Julia Lurie, the day after her major investigation into a psychiatric hospital chain that uses foster children as “cash cows” published, letting her know he was using her findings that same day in a hearing to keep a child out of one of the facilities we investigated.

That’s awesome. As is the fact that Julia, who spent a full year reporting this challenging story, promptly heard from a Senate committee that will use her work in their own investigation of Universal Health Services. There’s no doubt her revelations will continue to have a big impact in the months and years to come.

Like another story about Mother Jones’ real-world impact.

This one, a multiyear investigation, published in 2021, exposed conditions in sugar work camps in the Dominican Republic owned by Central Romana—the conglomerate behind brands like C&H and Domino, whose product ends up in our Hershey bars and other sweets. A year ago, the Biden administration banned sugar imports from Central Romana. And just recently, we learned of a previously undisclosed investigation from the Department of Homeland Security, looking into working conditions at Central Romana. How big of a deal is this?

“This could be the first time a corporation would be held criminally liable for forced labor in their own supply chains,” according to a retired special agent we talked to.

Wow.

And it is only because Mother Jones is funded primarily by donations from readers that we can mount ambitious, yearlong—or more—investigations like these two stories that are making waves.

About that: It’s unfathomably hard in the news business right now, and we came up about $28,000 short during our recent fall fundraising campaign. We simply have to make that up soon to avoid falling further behind than can be made up for, or needing to somehow trim $1 million from our budget, like happened last year.

If you can, please support the reporting you get from Mother Jones—that exists to make a difference, not a profit—with a donation of any amount today. We need more donations than normal to come in from this specific blurb to help close our funding gap before it gets any bigger.

payment methods

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