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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

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Confirmed Cases: 20573

Reported Deaths: 878
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Hennepin6918534
Ramsey231697
Stearns192312
Nobles14572
Anoka116455
Dakota105935
Olmsted55110
Washington50626
Kandiyohi4541
Clay36623
Rice3652
Scott3462
Wright2401
Sherburne2081
Todd1970
Benton1662
Carver1612
Mower1501
Steele1400
Martin1245
Blue Earth1121
St. Louis11113
Pine850
Freeborn840
Winona7715
Carlton730
Nicollet683
Cottonwood620
Polk582
Otter Tail550
Itasca527
Goodhue522
Watonwan500
Chisago481
Dodge430
Meeker420
Crow Wing421
Le Sueur411
Chippewa400
Jackson390
Morrison380
Murray350
Becker320
Lyon310
Douglas290
McLeod260
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Waseca240
Rock210
Unassigned199
Fillmore171
Mille Lacs161
Wabasha160
Swift150
Sibley120
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Wilkin113
Norman110
Kanabec111
Cass113
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Brown112
Pipestone100
Marshall80
Pennington70
Pope70
Aitkin60
Wadena60
Yellow Medicine50
Koochiching50
Lincoln50
Mahnomen51
Renville50
Lac qui Parle30
Red Lake30
Big Stone30
Redwood30
Traverse30
Grant20
Houston20
Clearwater20
Hubbard10
Kittson10
Lake10
Roseau10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 17227

Reported Deaths: 456
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk3714108
Woodbury255524
Black Hawk167639
Linn92775
Marshall86611
Dallas84914
Johnson5987
Muscatine54339
Wapello5004
Crawford4772
Tama39023
Louisa3347
Scott3319
Dubuque31916
Jasper25616
Buena Vista2310
Pottawattamie2106
Sioux1990
Washington1798
Allamakee1184
Wright1170
Plymouth1080
Warren1060
Story941
Poweshiek888
Bremer676
Henry611
Clinton601
Boone540
Des Moines531
Mahaska526
Cedar451
Guthrie433
Taylor370
Benton371
Jones360
Monroe334
Iowa320
Clarke320
Osceola320
Shelby310
Buchanan310
Clayton303
Marion290
Webster271
Fayette260
Hamilton260
Madison241
Monona230
Cerro Gordo221
Lee220
Winneshiek210
Davis200
Lyon190
Grundy190
Harrison190
Floyd181
Jefferson150
Cherokee150
Butler150
Mills140
Delaware140
Humboldt130
Sac130
Greene130
Keokuk130
Hardin130
Howard120
Hancock120
Appanoose123
Audubon111
Jackson110
Cass110
Ida100
Page100
Clay100
Winnebago100
Carroll90
Van Buren80
Franklin80
Dickinson80
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Chickasaw80
Kossuth70
Emmet70
Lucas60
Montgomery60
Union60
Adams50
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