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.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 313166

Reported Deaths: 7228
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21496257
Hinds20294414
Harrison17814309
Rankin13573278
Jackson13411246
Madison10066217
Lee9962173
Jones8364163
Forrest7649152
Lauderdale7181240
Lowndes6370145
Lamar621686
Lafayette6171118
Washington5323133
Bolivar4797132
Oktibbeha461498
Panola4561105
Pearl River4499145
Marshall4397103
Warren4380121
Pontotoc419572
Monroe4100133
Union409076
Neshoba4026176
Lincoln3950110
Hancock377786
Leflore3487125
Sunflower335790
Tate332484
Pike3301105
Scott315373
Alcorn311968
Yazoo310769
Itawamba299477
Copiah296465
Simpson294788
Coahoma294379
Tippah287768
Prentiss279560
Adams269582
Marion268880
Leake266273
Wayne262341
Grenada260386
Covington256381
George246848
Newton246061
Winston226881
Tishomingo225967
Jasper220848
Attala214173
Chickasaw207157
Holmes188673
Clay184754
Stone182033
Tallahatchie178140
Clarke177879
Calhoun170132
Yalobusha163337
Smith162234
Walthall133845
Greene130333
Lawrence128323
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry125938
Amite122842
Carroll121728
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis106932
Tunica104826
Claiborne102230
Benton99125
Humphreys96133
Kemper95428
Franklin83623
Quitman80216
Choctaw76118
Wilkinson66930
Jefferson65428
Sharkey50317
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 530988

Reported Deaths: 10978
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson765291522
Mobile40971804
Madison34751503
Tuscaloosa25775452
Montgomery24329589
Shelby23431249
Baldwin21131308
Lee15884171
Calhoun14501314
Morgan14293279
Etowah13831353
Marshall12222223
Houston10567281
Elmore10061205
Limestone9960151
Cullman9664193
St. Clair9655243
Lauderdale9424241
DeKalb8830186
Talladega8223176
Walker7235277
Autauga6920108
Jackson6810112
Blount6660137
Colbert6298134
Coffee5511119
Dale4831111
Russell441138
Chilton4290112
Franklin425782
Covington4121118
Tallapoosa4027152
Escambia393376
Chambers3563123
Dallas3551151
Clarke351061
Marion3118101
Pike310877
Lawrence300298
Winston274472
Bibb260764
Geneva249977
Marengo249764
Pickens234461
Barbour230857
Hale222977
Butler215969
Fayette212362
Henry188744
Cherokee184845
Randolph180241
Monroe177440
Washington167339
Macon159150
Clay156256
Crenshaw152257
Cleburne148941
Lamar142535
Lowndes138853
Wilcox127130
Bullock123041
Conecuh110529
Perry107726
Coosa107228
Sumter104532
Greene92334
Choctaw60624
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