It seems as if everyone in Washington, as well as the media, is playing the pointing game since Friday. What is the pointing game? The Democrats are pointing their fingers at the Republicans for blame on the government shutdown. The Republicans are pointing their fingers at the Democrats. You can read all about the blame game on Twitter with the trending hastags: #SchumerShutdown #TrumpShutdown
No matter who is running the better blame game, we need to figure out why each side is stonewalling and what the issues are about. In short, Democrats want amnesty, Republicans want a wall. But if it were only so simple, the solution would be easy.
President Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) with a 6 month waiting period to allow Congress to do their job and legislate. President Obama had previously implemented DACA by executive order because he didn’t want to wait for Congress. And as discussed previously, executive orders can be repealed by the next president. This move is what the Democrats are using as their “must have” in the negotiations on the government shutdown.
In 2017, there were 800,000 individuals enrolled in the DACA program that keeps them from being deported because they were brought here illegally by their parents as a child. When the President rescinded the DACA executive order, he left it in place for a period of 6 months to allow Congress to debate it and decide on a new plan. The 6 month waiting period ends in March, so the Democrats have taken the DACA negotiations into the government funding debate as one of their tools.
Several Republicans support some sort of the proposed policies regarding the DACA recipients. But there aren’t enough that support the Democrat version of the bill as it stands. Republicans have stated that they will not vote to pass a bill on DACA without a bill that funds the construction of a barrier for the southern border of the US.
The demand by the Republicans for funding for the border wall was reportedly agreed to by Democrats on Friday, but only for a short 1-year period. Senator Schumer only proposed a 1-year appropriation, but President Trump rejected that offer because he needs a multi-year deal. This actually makes sense because we all know how quickly the government gets things done, a 1-year deal would likely barely break ground on a wall before the time and money would run out.
One could summarize the current fight like this: Democrats are fighting for the privileges of illegal immigrants. Republicans are fighting for the protection of US Citizens from illegal immigrants. And in the crosshairs as collateral damage are the men and women of the armed forces who are currently working for no pay. They will no doubt be paid for the work they do, but it won’t happen until Congress does its job and comes to a compromise on funding the government.
UPDATE: It appears that the Democrats have come to an agreement with the Republicans to fund the government for 2 ½ weeks under the assumption that they work on a bipartisan agreement to address the DACA issue. The wall funding was likely not involved in this agreement either. This does allow the government to run for the time being, but if we can’t get past this DACA issue, we could be right back in the same situation in February. Buckle up.
**Interesting to note, the current budget that they are operating on is a budget from President Obama, so one could argue that it is in the best interest of the Democrats to find a resolution soon to keep Obama’s budget allocations in place. President Trump has proposed his own budget that has big cuts to some of the Democrats pet projects, so there will no doubt be a fight over the Trump budget soon enough.