Omnibus is a Latin word that means “for all.” In legislation it means cramming everything into a bill that you think can pass. That’s what we’re doing with this edition of Trahant Reports.
First up: A deal in Congress has lifted the caps from the Budget Control Act, or the sequester, and it raises the debt limit until March 2017.
This deal ends distractions such as new government shut downs or a defunding of Planned Parenthood until well after the election. Unfortunately the details, such as the actual budgets for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service, still have to be written, between now and Dec. 11
The politics of this deal are stunning, but, unfortunately, probably only temporary. More Democrats voted for the bill than Republicans. So the Republican Leadership actually picked a bipartisan course.
Any budget that passes with more Democrats than Republicans is considered awful. Even the new Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said the process stinks.
But the deal will make it easier for Ryan to govern his caucus because it takes away the threat of government shutdowns and general chaos. Ryan’s goal will be to unite the Republicans so that what ever measures come forward next will be debated within the party. At least that’s the theory.
Second item: This week there is an important race in Seattle. Debora Juarez is a candidate for Seattle City Council. She’s a member of the Blackfeet Tribe, grew up in the Seattle-Tacoma area, and is campaigning on neighborhood issues. That means things people care about: more sidewalks, better bus service, and affordable housing.
The Seattle Times said in its endorsement editorial: “In a crowded field, Debora Juarez stands out. … She would bring intellectual rigor and ideological independence to the council.”
It doesn’t get any better than this.
Of course great candidates make all the difference in elections. They bring experience and poise to the campaign. That’s why so many eyes are watching Montana right now. The only Native American to hold a statewide office, Denise Juneau, is considering a run for the U.S. House. She’s currently Montana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction and a member of the Mandan and Hidatsa Tribes. She grew up in Browning on the Blackfeet Reservation.
Two years ago there was a lot of interest in Juneau running for an open U.S. Senate seat. I thought it would have been an interesting race, but it would have been a long shot. The problem is the type of voters Juneau would need only vote in presidential election years and that race would have been a low-turnout election. So she opted to stick with the job she loves, running public education.
Juneau is now at her term limit. Her schools’ job will end. And since it’s a presidential year, the House seat is awfully tempting. It’s a seat that can be won. Stay tuned.