Mitch McConnell, Cave Man
Having largely sat out the government shutdown, which is now in its one millionth day, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stepped up with a bold new plan to do virtually nothing: He's scheduled a vote Thursday on two different bills to reopen the government. Just a small problem: One includes funding for WALL and immigration provisions no Democrat will vote for, and the other is the same as a non-WALL stopgap funding measure passed by the House already, which may or may not get the 60 votes needed to proceed, but which Donald Trump has pledged to veto, lest Ann Coulter yell at him.
The Trump-supported bill is pretty much the same as the "compromise" Trump put forward in a weekend speech, but actually worse, if you can even believe it. It would include $5.7 billion to start building WALL, and would delay for three years deportation of the roughly 700,000 "Dreamers" -- young people brought to the US without documentation as children -- and of another 300,000 immigrants granted Temporary Protected Status by previous administrations. But it wouldn't offer any path to citizenship for any of them -- just a vague promise Trump wouldn't deport them for three years. And considering that federal courts have already blocked Trump from arbitrarily rescinding both DACA and TPS, the "compromise" is no deal at all -- Trump didn't even consult Dems on it.
Trump isn't even getting any help from his new Supreme Court toadies. The Court decided yesterday not to hear a case challenging Trump's attempt to end DACA, putting the kibosh on Trump's prediction that the Supremes would rule for him and force Democrats to accept his shitty "deal." The case will continue its way through the courts now, so nothing's settled, but Trump won't get the instant ruling he'd hoped for.
In addition to the unacceptable non-compromise on DACA and TPS, the Trump-supported bill adds in one more poison pill that wasn't even in Trump's dumb weekend proposal, as the Washington Postnotes:
The legislation specifies that children younger than 18 from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala could not apply for asylum at the U.S. border and instead would be turned away, because of a new requirement that they apply from their home countries. The law would also set a new cap of 15,000 on the number of children who could qualify each year for the asylum program.
Additionally, the legislation says children could qualify for asylum only if they had a U.S.-based guardian to care for them. Immigration experts said the changes would effectively bar Central American minors arriving at U.S. borders from access to asylum.
Hey, now that's the art of the deal: Not only does this crappy used car you don't want come with air already in the tires at no extra cost, we'll also throw in some spikes that will randomly pop up out of the driver's seat! WHY WON'T YOU JUST SAY YES ALREADY?
Don't expect anyone to explain why the asylum restrictions were added to a proposal Dems already opposed; WaPo notes a "spokesman for McConnell's office directed questions about the proposed asylum changes to the administration," and that nobody at the White House would respond to a request for comment, because why would they ever talk to the enemies of the people?
The other bill to be brought up for a vote Thursday -- the result of an agreement between Yertle and minority leader Chuck Schumer -- will be a straight continuing resolution that the House passed earlier this month. It contains no money for WALL and is virtually identical to the CR the Senate passed by a voice vote just days before the shutdown began, in December (of 1903, as we recall). It would fund the government (with no WALL) until February 8, which when the Senate first passed the thing would have been a couple of months but is now just a few hundred Trump lies away.
Again,the votes to actually pass it may not be there, only this time on the R side, since few Republican senators want to risk the wrath of Emperor Babyshits. And as we note, even if enough Republicans join Dems to get it to 60 votes, Trump is unlikely to sign the thing. It's still worth pressuring GOP senators to vote for, since you never know -- Trump might get so wrapped up in Twitshitting that he forgets to actually veto it, after which the bill would automatically become law. Hell, even a non-filibuster proof majority would send the message that Congress is getting tired of the endless shutdown.
And just in case you hadn't noticed, McConnell has actually caved (NO CAVE!) from his prior position on the shutdown. He had until recently promised that he would absolutely not allow any vote ever on any bill to end the shutdown unless Trump supported it. But here's the Senate, about to take a vote tomorrow on just that. Does it mean the bilious old fucksnapper is likely to prove more flexible if more Republicans -- say, something close to a veto-proof majority -- break with the president because people are hurting? We have no illusions McConnell would ever act for the good of the country, but if he decides it's finally gotten bad enough for the GOP, he might yet cave further.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.