Predictions are dangerous things in a bizarre and chaotic world but here goes.
Mental health reform will succumb to the chronic inability of Congress to do anything. The election may be the biggest culprit. Democrats in the Senate may decide, seemingly have decided, that in an election year it is more important to get vulnerable Republican senators to vote on gun control legislation than it is to pass a basically innocuous mental health bill that everyone can celebrate as an earth shaking change. So they seen intent on adding gun control as an amendment to the mental health bill. Many of them I think may even believe that a mental health bill that even implies that it in some way deals with the the problem of violence in this country is a lie and a lie not worth being part of. And I think they accurately understand that 1) Such a bill will give Donald Trump comfort in the presidential election and 2) A bill that even implies that mental health is the driving issue in the violence that seems endemic to this country will make any real attempt to address violence more unlikely. The conflict about Obama’s Supreme Court nominee has left bipartisanship in short supply and from what I understand Sen O’Connell is unlikely to ask any Senator to do anything they will have to defend in their re-election. I understand that a lot of arm twisting is going on to get everyone in line but the success of that is yet to be seen. The other variable out there is that there are some big ticket items like the IMD exclusion out there and this does not seem like a big ticket Congress.
What I have been told is that the Murphy Bill stuff in the House is a mess. He simply won’t bend and I think they are hoping that if the Senate will act they can put something in his face that says you have to bend if you want this to happen. Personally I think he is content being a matryr. He had found an issue he can ride for years and there is no reason to believe he won’t.
I think the Freedom Caucus will free the House in the end from the danger of doing anything substantial about anything substantial.
The clock is ticking. The calendar is moving. The election will soon be all that is on anyone’s plate. There is still a window of opportunity to make something happen but it is getting smaller I think.
So knowing full well predictions are shaky at best and knowing full well we could wake up tomorrow to news of a “breakthrough” I believe it is not yet the end of the road. And dependent upon who actually wins elections we may come back next year to a brand new ball game.