Dear Commons Community,
Senate Democrats voted yesterday to reopen the government without a legislative fix on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program, and accepted a deal that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was willing to give Democrats on Friday ― the promise of a vote on a DACA bill and a three-week government funding extension. As reported in The Huffington Post:
“The liberal base of the Democratic Party may be upset that it took less than a DACA fix in exchange for ending a shutdown, but that’s only relevant if you actually think Democrats could have gotten a DACA bill as a result of this shutdown ― and that the shutdown wasn’t hurting Democrats at all.
Republicans were happy to claim throughout this three-day government funding lapse that Democrats had made a strategic error in blocking a government funding bill.
It’s also inaccurate to say Democrats didn’t get anything over the last couple of days. McConnell made stronger statements in support of an open debate on a DACA bill on both Sunday night and Monday morning, making it more difficult for him to wriggle out of not putting forward an immigration bill that has Democratic support or controlling the amendment process so that Democrats don’t have a chance to change the bill.
If ― as progressives were happy to tweet Monday ― Democrats shouldn’t trust McConnell, forcing him to make more explicit promises on the Senate floor, promises that will surely be thrown back in his face should he fail to live up to them and there is another shutdown, that isn’t to be taken for granted. And if the Senate were able to pass a bipartisan DACA bill, while also demonstrating that a more conservative DACA bill currently making its way through the House doesn’t have the votes in the Senate, they make it much easier to argue that it’s Republicans like Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) who are shutting down the government by not giving Democrats a vote in the House.
The Democratic position of not voting for a government funding bill until there’s a DACA deal seems much more reasonable if there’s actual legislation that’s passed the Senate and is being ignored in the House. You’d be certain to hear the words, “Give us a vote, Mr. Speaker!”
The reality of this shutdown standoff is that it’s hardly over. Democrats agreed to a continuing resolution that will keep the government open for 17 days. They took the Children’s Health Insurance Program off the negotiating table with a six-year extension of the program. And they gave up hardly any leverage to do so.”
Donald Trump was missing throughout the weekend’s negotiation. Maybe that was a good thing!