Congress: Ignore Trump. Just Pass Something.

Trump Maladministration

The shutdown is Trump’s fault. Make no mistake about that. About the only consistent thing he has done over the past few days is undermine Senate negotiations with his inconsistency.

On January 9, Trump held the famous televised meeting with Republican and Democratic senators that touched on DACA, immigration reform, and funding the wall, among other things. Trump contradicted himself several times during the meeting, but in the end he said he would sign whatever deal Congress could cobble together.  “I think my positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with,” Trump said. “If they come to me with things I’m not in love with, I’m going to do it. Because I respect them.”

So on January 11, Democratic Senator Richard Durbin called Trump and said he and Lindsey Graham had a bipartisan agreement. Trump was said to have expressed approval, over the phone. But by the time Graham and Durbin got to the White House later that day, Trump had changed his mind and killed the agreement.

On Wednesday, January 17, Sarah Sanders told the assembled reporters that “we do support the short-term CR” with a six-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

On Thursday, January 18, Trump tweeted,

Of this, Dana Milbank wrote,

There was so much head-scratching at the Capitol, they had to bring in a Zamboni to clear all the dandruff.

As The Post reported, Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the chamber’s No. 3 Republican, said he was “at a loss.”

Sen. John Cornyn (Tex.), the No. 2 Republican, chalked it up to presidential confusion: “I don’t know whether it’s clear to the president.”

And Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) gave voice to the grievance of many: “We don’t have a reliable partner at the White House to negotiate with.”  …

… A plaintive Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the majority leader, essentially threw up his hands over immigration talks this week: “I’m looking for something that President Trump supports, and he’s not yet indicated what measure he’s willing to sign. As soon as we figure out what he is for, then I will be convinced that we were not just spinning our wheels.”

I liked this bit:

The New Testament warns: “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” Trump isn’t playing an uncertain trumpet so much as he is randomly switching between a vuvuzela and a slide whistle.

Yesterday, according to Michael Shear and Maggie Haberman of the New York Times, Trump and Chuck Schumer met for lunch and made a last-ditch attempt to work out a deal.

The negotiations between Mr. Trump and Mr. Schumer, fellow New Yorkers who have known each other for years, began when the president called Mr. Schumer on Friday morning, giving the White House staff almost no heads-up. In a lengthy phone conversation, both men agreed to seek a permanent spending deal rather than the stopgap measure being negotiated by lawmakers on Capitol Hill. …

… As the meal progressed, an outline of an agreement was struck, according to one person familiar with the discussion: Mr. Schumer said yes to higher levels for military spending and discussed the possibility of fully funding the president’s wall on the southern border with Mexico. In exchange, the president agreed to support legalizing young immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

Mr. Schumer left the White House believing he had persuaded the president to support a short, three to four-day spending extension to finalize an agreement, which would also include disaster funding and health care measures.

I bet you can guess what happened next: Trump changed his mind.

“In my heart, I thought we might have a deal tonight,” Mr. Schumer recalled later on the Senate floor, shortly after the government officially shut downat midnight. At 11:55 p.m., he had been greeted with a blistering White House statement that “Senate Democrats own the Schumer Shutdown.”

What wasn’t happening yesterday were negotiations within the Senate. Jennifer Rubin:

McConnell’s lack of urgency today was stunning. This situation is akin to a labor contract negotiation leading up to a strike deadline. Not to have a single joint meeting with Democrats and the president or exchange any proposals in the final day represents a stunning level of irresponsibility. Republicans control both houses and the White House; not to make every effort to initiate talks and find a solution suggests they no longer know how to cut deals.

Also, too:

Finally, having a self-described dealmaker in the Oval Office was worthless, since the dealmaker is totally incapable of mastering policy details, expressing a policy preference (and sticking with it for more than an hour) and moving both sides to conclusion. This is what comes from electing someone entirely in over his head. It did not help that Trump reportedly whined to staff about missing his party at Mar-a-Lago. His reputation as a man-child remains intact.

The art of the deal? See also He couldn’t negotiate his way out of a paper bag by Digby.

They had more than one bipartisan deal on the table that could have passed both houses. Trump said no. The government is now shut down. Mitch McConnell couldn’t even muster 50 GOP votes much less the addition ten Democrats he needed to break the filibuster. Only essential workers will be working until this is ended. And who knows when that will be?

He didn’t understand the deal and is clearly being led around by the nose by the hardliners. But he also only cares about his base. Maybe it’s time that we recognize and deal with the fact that they want him to deport the DREAMers and ban Muslims and throw black people in jail.

That’s the kind of people they are. He knows this. They want a white America. That’s what this is about.

BTW, five Democrats voted yes last night, and five Republicans voted no. If McConnell had gotten every Republican vote and kept the five Democratic votes, last night’s measure would have passed. So, strictly speaking, it really wasn’t just the Democrats who killed the deal.

I am not aware that there is any constitutional requirement to get the president to agree to a negotiation before it’s voted on in the Senate. The Senate should just ignore Trump and pass something. That something might be nixed by the House, but if it isn’t, then it should be sent to Trump to sign no matter what he says about it. Then, if he vetoes it, he owns it. Indeed, he owns the mess we’re in already as far as I’m concerned.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 20, 2018 @4:41 pm

    If you give an ape a Rubix Cube, the ape will have a better chance of figuring out the solution, than tRUMP has of how our government works, and his role in it.  

    tRUMP thought being POTUS meant you were 'King of the Jungle' –  "King Kong"- and all of the flora and fauna had to bend to you will.  He didn't understand that in our system, two other "apes" (The legislative and judicial branches) were his co-equals.

    The parties need to duke-it-out over policies and laws in their respective chambers in the House and Senate – complementing 'Baby Donnie' tRUMP all throughout the process – assure him this is "Base-Approved," give him his signing pen, and cheer his signing.

    And if any Congress(wo)man or Senator tells tRUMP anything but what's approved, s/he will lose their gym, shower, sleep-over, and cafeteria privileges – along with other perks – until the end of the tRUMP presiDUNCEy! 

    In other words:  Don't confuse the stupid!

     

     

  2. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 20, 2018 @5:30 pm

    Also too – The best part of today's government shutdown is that it's on the day that marks (like pee on newly fallen snow) the 1st Anniversary of tRUMP's inauguration:  Day 1 of the tTUMP presiDUNCEy.

    Surely you remember that day!  The day that all of the "Fake News" mediums misunderestimated the size of the largest crowd ever at a Presidential Innauguration – because the aerial shots didn't account for every attendee having a person on their shoulders, and another on that person's shoulders, and one more on top if that.  So the actual crowd was 4 X's the reported size!

    THE FIRST "FAKE NEWS" FAIL!!! 

    A government shutdown, keeping tRUMP from going to a profit-making party (fundraiser) at Mar-a-Lago,  celebrating his 1-Year Anniversary.

    How perfectly appropriate, or appropriately perfect! 

    The only way it could be better, is if he had to refund the $100,00 and $250,000 fee for the party (political – or personal – fundraiser)!!!!!

  3. csm  •  Jan 20, 2018 @8:35 pm

    That they won't just ignore Trump and pass something, because they are a bunch of cowards, too afraid of that crazy monster of a base and their ignorant leader, both of whom the GOP is responsible for creating.  The GOP not only owns the shutdown, but everything that exists in the environment this disaster lives in.

  4. Doug  •  Jan 20, 2018 @8:56 pm

    A question that's not being asked by either side is conditional in nature but not unlikely. Democrats may have a majority in the House and Senate in a year.

    What do the Republicans want the rules to be in 2019 if that happens?

    They have a year to set the norms for the US Congress. If they allow the minority to attend policy meetings, express their input and request compromises and consideration, that's exactly what the rules should be if/when the Democrats are in charge. For the rest of the year, Democrats need to ask, publically and loudly when they are excluded – "Are you going to be OK about it when we do that to you?"

    Second thought: Digby brings up a good point which the Democrats aren't asking out loud. Since you are fighting a deal on the Dreamers tooth and nail what are your secret plans for them? (In Germany in the 1930s the plans were mass extermination.) What is the GOP planning for 700,000 residents who are hated by Trump's base? 

    The GOP is wearing out the word, "unrelated" about the Dreamers. We're not supposed to ask about their disposition until the House or Senate introduces a bill on the Dreamers? Trump created this crisis. He asked Congress to solve it. Solutions have been proposed and rejected. WTF does Trump intend? I don't know that Trump intends to apply microwave technology to mass extermination, but if that's not his plan, what is it?

  5. drickard  •  Jan 20, 2018 @9:43 pm

    I wouldn’t think it would be that hard to get DOPUS to sign a bill, regardless of contents. Just put a fake title–say, TRUMP CONQUERS THE WORLD AND MAKES AMERICA WHITE AGAIN–on the cover sheet, put in a (short, heavily-illustrated) executive summary that praises Twitler’s leadership and d1ck size, and bring in some Russian models to keep him really distracted…

  6. joel hanes  •  Jan 20, 2018 @11:19 pm

    Jennifer Rubin still doesn't quite get it.

    <em> suggests they no longer know how to cut deals. </em>

    Decades of epistemic closure and propaganda media have convinced the Republican base that to compromise, to cut a deal, is to lose.   The base has turned on its masters and is holding them to that conviction, and Sen. McConnell, drunk with power, is leading them on.

    <b>They strongly feel that they should never have to compromise</b>, even if they don't have the votes.   They don't intend to compromise.  They have chosen this hill to die on.

  7. Gerald  •  Jan 22, 2018 @3:25 am

    I am done with all this head scratching and "confusion" about what Dotard 45 did or didn't do that is being made by folks who WANT  you abd I to believe that Dotard 45 is apart and somehow seperate FROM the GOP/Republican Party!

    THIS IS the very same bunch of folks that obstructed the TWICE elected African-American POTUS for 8 years AND shut down the US government just FOUR years ago!

    THESE people who ARE the current GOP/Republican Party ARE a clear and present danger to OUR NAtion and democracy!

    They control ALL 3 branches of government AND just signed into law the largest transfer of wealth to the already wealthy in American history!

    THAT is called a clue!

    WAKE the fuck up!!!!!!

     

  8. Billikin  •  Jan 22, 2018 @6:22 pm

    IMO, the shutdown is the Republicans' fault. They know that Trump is weak, and is very unlikely to veto whatever they send him. Trump nixed the bipartisan proposal, but a bill is something else. If Trump vetoes a bill he will own the shutdown. They have every chance of coming up with a win-win-win bill, which gives something to each party, and lets Trump claim victory, as well. As Senator Graham says, the members of Congress and the Senate should do their jobs.