Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Shitholes, shithouses, and a shutdown - Dodgy Donnie screws up and blames everyone else

Dogged Democrats, Recalcitrant Republicans, and Terrible Trump, are all playing political pickleball with 800,000 people - the DACA recipients facing deportation just because they were brought here as young kids. And as a government shutdown looms, GOPlins are blaming Dems, Dems are blaming GOPlins, and the President stirs up the very large pot of shit by calling immigrants’ home origins “shithole countries”. To top it off, the defenders of the President and his vulgarity claim that he really said “shithouse.” (You can’t make this shit up. I’m with Sen. Dick Durbin on this one - there’s a difference? That’s desperation defense!) To really top it off, the shitty shutdown, if it does occur, lands on Scriber’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Sky Island Scriber.

You can read all the gory details in the NY Times report, As Shutdown Talk Rises, Trump’s Immigration Words Pose Risks for Both Parties. At the time of this writing (5:30 AM, Jan. 16th, 2018), there appears to be no deal in the works. Senators Lindsey Graham (R) and Dick Durbin (D) proposed a deal to Trump that appeared to contain the elements that Trump wanted. And then in that contentious “shithole” meeting, Trump blew it up.

Here are some reactions as reported by the Times to the current state of affairs which is: “President Trump’s incendiary words about immigration have dampened the prospects that a broad spending and immigration deal can be reached by the end of the week, raising the possibility of a government shutdown with unknown political consequences for lawmakers in both parties.”

“We’ve got people running for president all trying to find their base, and then you’ve got people from Trump states that are trying to continue to legislate the way we always have — by negotiation,” [Sen. Claire] McCaskill said. “And never the twain shall meet.”

But Republicans face their own uncertainties. With their party controlling the White House and both chambers of Congress, they could receive most of the blame for a shutdown, even if Senate Democrats effectively block a spending plan that does not extend the immigrant protections of an Obama-era program known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

"To believe that you can successfully blame Democrats for a shutdown over the DACA debate is na├»ve,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina. [Scriber: Graham no doubt has in mind the fact that the GOPlins control every branch of government.]

Here’s just one of the divisive issues separating all three parties.

Under pressure from immigrant rights activists, Democrats are likely to resist broader efforts to limit immigrants from sponsoring their family members, an idea that Democrats view favorably as “family reunification” — a part of American immigration law for decades.

Apparently Dems favor families more than do Republicans. (I thought that family integrity was a Republican value.)

Here’s another sticking point.

[Marc Short, the president’s legislative director,] also urged Democrats to put off efforts to address immigrants from Haiti, Honduras, El Salvador and other countries who have been in the United States under a program called Temporary Protected Status. The Graham-Durbin plan called for issuing new visas for those immigrants after the Trump administration said they would end T.P.S. status for people from those countries.

“I don’t think we envision it as part of this deal,” Mr. Short said of the T.P.S. program. “That expands it into comprehensive immigration reform.”

For Democratic lawmakers, the pressure from their left flank to demand relief for the Dreamers is only rising.

“We are going to be telling Democrats the following: If you vote for a spending bill that does not include relief for Dreamers, you are voting for funds that will be used to deport Dreamers,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, an immigrants rights group.

But the wisdom of eventually forcing a shutdown to shield the migrants is dividing the party.

Some Democratic strategists, such as former Representative Steve Israel of New York, said Democrats should seize their leverage now that Republicans already have enough political headaches, namely the president’s historic unpopularity.

“They absolutely have the upper hand as a matter of policy and as also as a matter of politics,” said Mr. Israel. “Republicans cannot afford to shut down the government in one of the roughest midterm environments they’ve ever had. Democrats have the upper hand and they should play the upper hand.”

Yet to other Democrats, forcing a government shutdown in the same fashion that congressional Republicans did in President Barack Obama’s second term would be to take a considerable political risk, the legislative equivalent of the nuclear option.

“It looks like a big Washington mess to people,” said David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s former top strategist. “Dealing with Trump is obviously a very, very difficult issue not just for Democrats but for Republicans because he is so mercurial and unreliable. The question is: Have you reached that point now where you want to employ what is the most explosive tool in your toolbox?”

Stay tuned to see what kind of package gets delivered to the nation on Scriber’s birthday.

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