What will Pelosi do now?
What will Pelosi do now?
For a month now, we’ve listened to Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer place the blame for the partial federal shutdown squarely at the feet of President Trump. The Frick and Frack of Capitol Hill dug their heels in and refused to budge, despite all their pontificating about how worried they are about our furloughed federal employees. But there is trouble in Democratic paradise. Schumer has agreed with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold “competing votes Thursday on President Trump’s proposal to spend $5.7 billion on a border wall and on a Democratic bill that would fund the government through Feb. 8 without a wall.” Not only is this the first time the Senate has acted since the shutdown began but it shows a break of sorts between Pelosi and Schumer. Maybe there is reason to hope after all.
To say pressure is increasing for Congress to act is putting it mildly. Every day we see more and ore stories about the impact the shutdown is having on federal employees and their families. We’re beginning to hear about how IRS employees are failing to show up for work.The ripple effect of that one action could mean a delay in the processing and receipt of our tax refunds. The same thing is happening with TSA agents. As a result, airport security wait times are increasing and the TSA is having to call in backup security screeners. These are just two examples of what being forced to work without being paid is doing to our country.
It can’t go on.
Yet the media, like Pelosi, continues to place all the blame on the President. It accuses Trump and Republicans in Congress of trying to “corner Democrats by forcing a vote on the White House proposal to reopen the government and provide Trump with $5.7 billion in wall funding.” At the same time, it tries to present an image of a unified Democratic Party in DC, fighting the good fight and damn the consequences.
There are a couple of problems with that. First, if the Republicans were that entrenched, Mitch McConnell never would have agreed to the procedural move that will allow the two bills to go before the Senate tomorrow. He and Chuck Schumer compromised. Isn’t it strange how so many in the media are either ignoring the votes Thursday or ignoring the fact it required two men from opposite sides of the aisle to work together to get that much at least done. It isn’t much but it is a hell of a lot more than Pelosi has been willing to do.
And that is the second problem with the media’s portrait of a united Democratic Party. The fact Schumer was willing to work with McConnell to put the two bill forward for a vote shows a crack in the so-called unity. But there is another crack, a much larger one that has been ignored by much of the media.
Politico obtained a draft of a letter sent to Pelosi by members of her own party. The letter urges Pelosi “to counter Trump’s immigration proposal with her own potential compromise.” According to Politico, these centrist Dems are “sick of political posturing” and have asked Pelosi “to offer Trump a vote on his border wall or some sort of negotiated security package in February if he first signs a bill reopening the federal government.” That has to stick in the Speaker’s craw because she so loves her posturing, as we saw when she refused to consider anything President Trump offered during his address to the nation over the weekend–before she knew what the offer might be.
If the draft of the letter is accurate, we may have finally found the adults in the House. Their demands are simple and reasonable, all the more reason why Pelosi will do her best to ignore them.
Once the government is reopened, the Democratic Majority will immediately begin debate in committee on the supplemental discretionary funding request by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for border security. This will allow DHS leadership to explain in detail how the funds will be used and whether this expenditure will have the reported results presented by the President.
Guarantee a vote for the supplemental funding request on the House floor by the end of February.
As part of the supplemental funding request, members will be able to offer amendments to address the current gaps in protections for Dreamers and those enrolled in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and those currently in Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED)”
Hmm, compromise and setting goals with time limits. I’m sure that had the Speaker’s crown tilting just a little in frustration as she realized the peasants might be starting to think for themselves.
Thursday the Senate will vote on “the president’s proposal, which would provide $5.7 billion for his walland temporary protections for some undocumented immigrants, as well as a stopgap bill pushed by Democrats to fund the governmentuntil mid-February.” It is doubtful either proposal will garner enough votes to pass. However, it is a step in the right direction. As the NYT notes, t here is “hope that the votes could usher in a more cooperative phase in a crisis that has so far been marked almost entirely by partisan posturing; if both measures fall short, the votes could add new energy to efforts to negotiate a bipartisan compromise.–hopefully. It is the first compromise we’ve seen in the continuing saga of the government shutdown.”
But all that depends on what Pelosi and Trump are willing to do. POTUS has to be willing to consider alternatives and he has indicated he will give the Dems at least some of what they want if they return the favor. We have yet to see anything like that from Pelosi. Unless and until we do, we’d best buckle up and prepare for a long shutdown. The saying that it takes two to tango applies here. It takes the two of them, Pelosi and Trump, sitting down and compromising, even if it is only on a bill that will allow the government to open while they continue to discuss the other issues.
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