As the Republicans and Democrats battle over a pending government shutdown, the great question becomes who is to blame. Democrats claim Republicans are to blame — if they would just pass a continuing resolution including a solution for DREAMers, all would be well. Republicans claim Democrats are to blame — Democrats can’t expect Republicans to just cave on their entire agenda to please Democrats. And both blame President Trump for his vagueness on the entire situation.
Here’s the reality: Democrats are to blame.
That’s because there is literally nothing that Republicans could currently offer, beyond a full-scale cave to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) demands, that would earn his support. And Democrats have openly stated that even if Republicans had 51 votes, they would filibuster the continuing resolution.
Allahpundit at HotAir has an excellent rundown of the situation:
First offer from Republicans: Let’s fund the government and pass a DREAM amnesty, as both sides want to do, and in return you give us some concessions on chain migration and the wall. Republicans have no choice but to use DREAM as leverage for those concessions despite their support for the policy because Democrats are incredibly reluctantto tighten admission policies under the best of circumstances. So how about a little something in return for DREAM, in the name of compromise? Nope, says Schumer. Won’t do it. We’ll give you a few billion in mad money for border improvements but we’re not doing anything that might move the U.S. towards skills-based criteria for immigrants and away from “bring the whole family!” policies.
Second offer from Republicans: Okay, since we’re stuck on a DREAM deal, let’s table the whole immigration issue for now and instead agree to fund the government and extend CHIP long-term, as both sides want to do. We’ll come back to DREAM afterwards when we’re not facing a hard deadline. Nope, says Schumer. Won’t do it. The amnesty fanatics in my base refuse to let us sign on to any funding deal that doesn’t include DREAM. Even though not only is DACA still in effect, the feds are letting enrollees renew their enrollments.
Third offer from Republicans: Okay, since Democrats are hung up on amnesty and worried about voting for a bill that doesn’t include it, let’s temporarily change the rules so that they don’t have to vote for the bill at all. Last night McConnell asked for unanimous consent from the Senate to let Republicans pass a funding bill with 50 votes instead of the 60 that the filibuster requires. It’s not at all certain that he has even 50 votes right now, but he was willing to take full responsibility for the bill’s passage via his caucus alone. If he found the votes he needed, the government would stay open without any Democratic assent to the DREAM-less bill. Nope, said Schumer. Won’t do it. He objected to the motion for unanimous consent. McConnell still needs 60, all but ensuring a shutdown.
All of this is more than a bit ironic coming from a guy who said that a shutdown strategy was idiotic in order to push for political wins.
So, how can Democrats emerge with a victory here? Only by banking on two possibilities: first, the possibility that Trump is so toxic that the public will blame him for things that obviously aren’t his fault; second, the possibility that Trump wants to golf so much this weekend that he simply signs off on a continuing resolution that contains a cave on DACA. That’s always a possibility — Trump has been played by Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) before, as with the budget negotiations late last year.
But if this shutdown fight continues, it will be difficult for Democrats to continue a government shutdown and stonewall funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program simply to get a win on DACA, when they could easily negotiate the DACA matter separately from the continuing resolution.