January 21, 2019
While thousands of federal employees won't be at work tomorrow, Congress will. Instead of taking the normal week-long recess after the MLK holiday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says his members will be back at it. If the House won't vote on serious proposals to end the shutdown, he says, his chamber will.
After weeks of letting Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) duke it out with President Trump, McConnell is promising to put a bill on the table that includes "priorities from both sides of the aisle." "I intend to move to this legislation this week. With bipartisan cooperation, the Senate can send a bill to the House quickly so that they can take action as well," his office said in a statement.
Apart from re-opening the government, the Senate compromise would include the president's $5 billion for the border wall and a three-year extension on the controversial DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. "The only way out of this impasse is a bipartisan agreement, and as the Democratic leader and I have both stated here on the floor, only an all-corners, bipartisan agreement will receive a vote here in the Senate," McConnell told reporters.
Without even seeing the bill, Pelosi is calling the deal a "non-starter." (Of course, when it comes to legislation, I suppose she's never been a big fan of "finding out what's in it.") Even the Washington Post couldn't understand that, since the proposal seems to include the same things Democrats asked for. "To refuse even to talk until the government reopens does no favors to sidelined federal workers and contractors... A measure of statesmanship for a member of Congress now is the ability to accept some disappointments, and shrug off the inevitable attacks from purists, if it means rescuing the lives of thousands of deserving people living among us."
Meanwhile, President Trump fired back at some of his critics on the right, arguing that "No, Amnesty is not a part of my offer. It is a 3 year extension of DACA. Amnesty will be used only on a much bigger deal, whether on immigration or something else. Likewise there will be no big push to remove the 11,000,000 plus people who are here illegally -- but be careful Nancy!"
Vice President Mike Pence also chimed in. "This is not amnesty," Pence said on Fox News Sunday. "There's no pathway to citizenship. There's no permanent status here at all, which is what amnesty contemplates. "President Trump said 'bring me the ideas from all sides, let's put them all on the table.' The president has made it clear what he would support. Now it's time for the Senate and the House to start voting to secure our border and reopen the government."
Of course, the real problem isn't the terms of the deal. The problem is that Nancy Pelosi's party isn't interested in solutions. They'd rather drag the debate out -- putting people at risk -- to score a few cheap political points. "Democrats have to recognize that the Trump Derangement Syndrome that drives much of their base often clouds their political judgment," John Fund warns. "If they persist in viewing him as a devil they can't compromise with, they may soon find they've compromised their own standing with the American people."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.