In case any of the folks in Washington hadn’t noticed yet, their Christmas vacation (sorry… holiday vacation for some) is coming up fast and we still don’t have a budget agreement. But that shouldn’t be too tough to pull off in this age of bipartisan cooperation and comity, now should it?
In reality, getting any sort of spending agreement pushed through wasn’t going to be easy, but the task just become incrementally more difficult. The second highest ranking Democrat in the Senate announced yesterday that he would not support any budget agreement unless it contains the DREAM Act, replacing the Obama era DACA program which President Trump is suspending in March. (Washington Post)
A top Senate Democrat said Wednesday that he will vote against any spending bill in the coming weeks if Congress has failed to address the fate of young immigrants — raising the stakes in a looming showdown with the White House and Republicans over a potential government shutdown.
Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), the second-ranking Senate Democrat and a lead negotiator on spending matters, said he is encouraging his colleagues to join him in blocking spending legislation if the legal status of “dreamers” isn’t resolved. President Trump announced in September that he will end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in early March, putting hundreds of thousands of dreamers — immigrants brought to the United States as children — at risk of deportation early next year.
“That’s my position. There’s too much at stake here. We can’t let this to slip into January, February with a March 5 deadline. It should be done, it can be done, easily, simply and quickly,” Durbin said in an interview.
In a more sane world we might ask Senator Durbin what this has to do with the budget and keeping the government running, but this is Washington we’re talking about here. Sanity has little to do with anything. Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without some edge of your seat grandstanding on an issue the Democrats will no doubt be fundraising on all through 2018.
There was a time when I was actually considering the DREAM Act, or some slightly more restrictive version of it. My default position has traditionally been zero amnesty for any illegal aliens because it sends the wrong message. But with so much on the line, I’ve actually been considering some sort of a deal where immigration hawks agree to give in on this one, specific group, providing a path to eventual citizenship if the Democrats were willing to come to the table on related items such as funding for the border wall and expanded resources for ICE and the Border Patrol, as well as passing Kate’s Law. The problem is, they’re offering basically nothing. This is more of a hostage negotiation the way Durbin and Chuck Schumer see it. Give them what they want or turn out the lights.
If that’s the hill they want to die on, I’m all for turning out the lights this time. And then comes the Blame Game, which is like Chutes and Ladders, except with crocodiles in the pool below you. Back in the day, when the GOP was trying to defund Obamacare and a budget deal couldn’t be reached, the media was quick to bellow about the tyranny of the minority. And that was a case where the issue in question actually had a direct impact on spending and the budget. But now, if the Democrats stonewall the spending bill over an immigration issue and the government shuts down, the media will blame them, right?
Don’t make me laugh. There is no scenario where a government shutdown won’t be blamed on the GOP. With that in mind, they really have nothing to lose. If Durbin wants to close down Washington at Christmas time, I say give him all the rope he wants.