Democrats' shutdown deal looks worse and worse

There are, as you may have heard, three entities involved in turning a bill into a law: The House, the Senate and the...

Posted: Jan 23, 2018 1:53 PM
Updated: Jan 23, 2018 1:53 PM

There are, as you may have heard, three entities involved in turning a bill into a law: The House, the Senate and the White House.

That fact, which most of us learned in a civics class in our teen years, appears to have been missed by Senate Democrats in their decision Monday to cut a deal with their Republican counterparts and reopen the government -- a deal that continues to look worse with each passing hour.

What Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer allegedly wrung out of his Republican counterpart Mitch McConnell in this agreement was an assurance that the Senate would take up legislation to deal with DACA -- the program that allows people brought to the country illegally as children to remain -- in the very near future.

OK. Let's examine that claim first. What McConnell said repeatedly was that it was his "intention" to move to a debate over immigration. Intention is not a promise. And a conversation -- and even a "level playing field" (McConnell's words) on who can offer amendments to an immigration bill -- is not a certain vote or a certain victory.

For the sake of argument, say that McConnell is good to his word and some sort of bipartisan consensus emerges around a bill that balances protections for those covered by DACA with ramped-up funding for Trump's border wall.

The legislation passes the Senate. That's Step 1.

Step 2 is the House, which, at least until the midterm election this fall, is controlled by Republicans. And which is considerably more conservative ideologically than the Senate.

Already there are signs emerging that any sort of immigration bill that passed the Senate would be dead on arrival in the House.

"The House wasn't part of that deal," House Majority Whip Steve Scalise told Politico's Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman on Monday. "It's good for everybody to put their ideas on paper but ultimately there are things that can and cannot pass in the House. And we have to work through those details and we're working through them."

Ahem.

Step 3 is the Trump White House.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders repeatedly refused to answer Monday afternoon whether the White House supports a path to citizenship as part of a DACA deal. On Tuesday morning, in an interview on CNN's "New Day," Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said the White House's willingness to sign onto any DACA deal "depends on what we get in exchange." He added: "What do we get for border security? What do we get for the wall?"

Cough.

And, I haven't even broached President Donald Trump himself! Trump has veered wildly between signaling openness to a comprehensive immigration deal and rejecting Schumer's offer of border funding last Friday. He seems to be in the latter camp now or, at least he was Tuesday morning.

"Big win for Republicans as Democrats cave on Shutdown," tweeted Trump. (And, no, I have no idea why "Shutdown" is capitalized either.) "Now I want a big win for everyone, including Republicans, Democrats and DACA, but especially for our Great Military and Border Security. Should be able to get there. See you at the negotiating table!"

Throat clear.

The point here is that even in the best case scenario -- McConnell is good to his word, immigration legislation passes the Senate -- the prognosis for that bill making it through the House and being signed into law by Trump is not at all good.

The Schumer deal reminds me of when the Oklahoma City Thunder traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets. In the immediate aftermath of the deal, you could see ways in which it might maybe make some sense. But, the further you got from the deal -- and the better Harden played -- the more one-sided, in Houston's favor, the trade looked.

That's what this shutdown deal looks like to me. Schumer gave in for the potential promise of a discussion about immigration in the Senate. With no such promise in the House or from the White House.

Is it possible Schumer can make lemonade out of lemons -- and then convince the Republican-led House and Trump that this deal is in their interests -- between now and February 8? Sure. But, it's a long shot -- and that's putting it nicely.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 443562

Reported Deaths: 5918
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin921721468
Ramsey39534730
Dakota32680325
Anoka30733358
Washington19904223
Stearns17728184
St. Louis13503239
Scott1185394
Wright11519102
Olmsted1031671
Sherburne813664
Carver689336
Clay646678
Rice597866
Kandiyohi551571
Blue Earth536333
Crow Wing478173
Otter Tail451362
Chisago447932
Benton416085
Winona384546
Douglas371566
Nobles366346
Mower360127
Goodhue342857
Polk327056
McLeod322244
Morrison309343
Beltrami307446
Lyon299035
Itasca281543
Becker280638
Isanti280640
Carlton278042
Steele27019
Pine264413
Freeborn238720
Todd230529
Nicollet222636
Brown212634
Mille Lacs212145
Le Sueur207615
Cass204723
Meeker198233
Waseca188015
Martin168826
Wabasha16802
Roseau165216
Hubbard147638
Redwood138827
Renville136339
Houston133613
Dodge13244
Chippewa130732
Cottonwood125618
Fillmore12135
Wadena118214
Rock109412
Sibley10767
Aitkin106733
Watonwan10598
Faribault103814
Kanabec96818
Pennington96715
Pipestone93423
Yellow Medicine92614
Murray8625
Jackson85010
Swift83017
Pope7355
Marshall70115
Stevens6968
Clearwater68314
Lac qui Parle65416
Lake62615
Wilkin6219
Koochiching58410
Unassigned49468
Lincoln4811
Big Stone4523
Grant4257
Norman4218
Mahnomen4077
Kittson36819
Red Lake3154
Traverse2443
Lake of the Woods1771
Cook1130

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 302245

Reported Deaths: 4203
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk45206441
Linn17616270
Scott15300161
Black Hawk13616228
Woodbury12927175
Johnson1198649
Dubuque11275148
Pottawattamie8896112
Dallas879569
Story860433
Webster467269
Cerro Gordo461966
Sioux453151
Clinton447161
Warren436237
Marshall425161
Buena Vista391129
Muscatine384375
Des Moines379140
Plymouth348667
Wapello340097
Jasper317855
Lee312528
Marion300452
Jones269149
Henry262630
Carroll252833
Bremer241648
Crawford227822
Boone215316
Washington213831
Benton207943
Mahaska190636
Jackson190531
Tama185357
Dickinson183526
Delaware171836
Kossuth170141
Clay165519
Wright162324
Fayette159022
Buchanan157820
Hamilton157728
Harrison153862
Hardin153729
Winneshiek153019
Clayton150448
Cedar150019
Butler146123
Page143515
Floyd137436
Cherokee137325
Mills135516
Lyon133332
Poweshiek131424
Hancock128524
Allamakee126327
Iowa122522
Calhoun12189
Grundy119422
Jefferson119123
Winnebago118029
Madison11789
Mitchell115034
Louisa114129
Cass112141
Chickasaw110511
Sac110115
Emmet109931
Appanoose109038
Union108122
Humboldt104219
Guthrie102124
Shelby101126
Franklin100918
Unassigned9180
Palo Alto9009
Keokuk84225
Montgomery84022
Howard82119
Monroe80418
Clarke7757
Pocahontas77211
Ida73730
Greene6867
Davis68421
Adair68220
Lucas6458
Osceola6349
Monona62916
Worth5943
Taylor5909
Fremont5025
Van Buren49412
Decatur4784
Ringgold4269
Wayne41421
Audubon4118
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