The Progressive-Democrats, especially those in the Senate, have shown their true colors as they voted last Friday to shut down the Federal government, voting to block a temporary funding agreement that would have kept the government open for another month. I wrote earlier about that shutdown’s practical effects.
Here’s what the Progressive-Democrats voted to kill: six years of funding for CHIP, so now some millions of children in our poverty-level families will have no access to health insurance. DACA reform so that those illegal immigrant children could have some hope for their future.
CHIP funding was in the stop-gap bill, but now there’s no funding for it, and the program has expired.
DACA reform was not in the bill, having nothing to do with funding, but the Progressive-Democrats, led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D, NY) demanded it be included or there would be no votes from his Party (in the event, five Progressive-Democrats from Republican States whose seats are in jeopardy in this fall’s elections, knowing their Party would kill the funding, cynically cast their meaningless votes for the bill). It didn’t matter to these worthies that DACA had until early March to be negotiated or that there already exists bipartisan agreement on the outline and substance of a DACA proposal that could have been debated and voted up by the end of January in a separate bill. Schumer and his Party cronies demanded their DACA right damn now. Their attitude has badly poisoned any future DACA negotiations, perhaps fatally.
It gets worse. There was nothing in the bill to which Progressive-Democrats actually objected. It funded the government for a time, which the Prog-Dems claim they want. It funded CHIP, which the Prog-Dems claim they want. It funded defense, which even Prog-Dems claim they want. The clean funding bill just didn’t have all the other, unrelated, things the Prog-Dems also demanded.
When Schumer went to the White House late Friday before the vote to deal personally with President Trump, he went with a Christmas tree of Progressive-Democrat demands beyond just DACA for inclusion in the stop-gap bill, including for instance, bailing out public union pension funds, added spending on opoid programs, and on and on. That Christmas tree is what Schumer was talking about when he said after the meeting that progress had been made, but “we still have a good number of disagreements.” All of these extras also could have been negotiated and voted on in the ensuing period.
Not good enough. The Progressive-Democrats voted to shut down the government because the stop-gap didn’t have DACA and Schumer’s Christmas tree. Party ego before national weal.
Remember this next fall.
Update: The Senate, on another cloture vote later this morning, voted 81-18 to end the filibuster and bring the bill to the floor for an up or down vote. The bill is changed trivially–the funding period is good for three weeks instead of four–but otherwise, it’s the same bill. Because of that period change, though, it has to go back to the House, where I expect it’ll be voted up forthwith and sent to the President for prompt signing.
In return, Senate Republicans promised negotiations on DACA and on immigration and a vote on DACA. The DACA debate has been going on, all along, as noted above.