Yesterday afternoon, Senate Democrats and Republicans struck a bipartisan, two-year budget agreement — one that notably excludes a solution for the immigration crisis surrounding recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and sets up yet another confrontation next month over immigration. It remains unclear whether this spending agreement can make it through the House of Representatives. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has promised not to support the deal unless Republican leadership promises to bring an immigration compromise to the floor.
So as of Thursday morning, nothing is truly settled. The deal features large increases in both military and domestic spending, something sure to rankle individuals in both parties. But President Trump is happy, which probably means that Democrats not only don’t understand their own plight but are actively determined to fritter away the massive advantage they’ve enjoyed over their unpopular adversaries for the last year. If they don’t come to their senses soon and renew their heroic fight against the president’s agenda, they might find themselves in the minority for the rest of the decade.
First, this deal represents a dramatic turnabout for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and his Senate allies, who just last month briefly shut down the government over the fate of the DREAMers. Extensive polling suggested voters blamed President Trump and the Republican Congress for the dysfunction, and during the abortive crisis, the president’s post-holiday polling bump was erased in a matter of hours. Progressive foot soldiers were fired up and ready to go for a bare-knuckle fight to save the DREAMers. Had party leaders held firm, they might have delivered a crippling blow to the president and the anti-immigrant hardliners who have his ear.
But Democratic leadership mysteriously capitulated, demoralizing activists, granting President Trump a public victory and the right to brag about how he had stared down his opponents just days before he could project his preferred narrative unchallenged to tens of millions of viewers during the State of the Union address. The president’s approval rating is now floating up near his high-water mark of 40 percent (dream big, kids!). In retrospect, this sequence of events could not possibly look worse for Democrats.
But what’s done is done. Today, Democrats are choosing to trust the good word of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has earnestly promised to bring an immigration bill to the floor of the Senate as long as Democrats vote to keep the government open. If this is anything like the 2014 re-election night promise to pursue bipartisanship, we should be skeptical. And the tentative deal presents an opportunity for fresh brinksmanship in the House, where party leaders are bitterly disappointed — Democrats by the failure to address the DACA crisis in the spending deal, and hardline Republicans by the growth in domestic federal spending that they had hoped to direct exclusively to the Pentagon or to rich people.
Several significant questions hang over D.C. this morning. First, will House Democrats swallow this …read more
Source:: The Week – Politics