I’m tempted to say that the Democrats caved, but I’m withholding judgement.

Remember, yesterday, when I said that I hoped the sight of millions of women marching across the United States put a little steel in the backbones of Congressional Democrats? Well, it seems not to have worked. This afternoon, the government shutdown ended, as a number of Democrats voted with Republicans to pass a temporary, three-week spending bill. I can see the logic in it, as the deal not only got the government up and running again, but secured a six-year extension for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides health care for 9 million kids growing up in poverty, while, at the same time, giving us another crack at DACA in three weeks. Personally, though, I would have preferred to see the Democrats hold out longer, in hopes of forcing a vote on DACA right now, as I think we owe it to those 800,00 young American immigrants facing deportation to fight for their rights and remain faithful to the promise that was made to them. While it’s true that there’s nothing precluding us from having that showdown on February 8, when, once again, we’ll find ourselves needing to negotiate a long-term funding package, I just feel like we should have pushed harder now. While the plight of the Dreamers may be a bit abstract to some of us, the truth is that deportations could begin as early as March 5, and every minute counts. People’s lives are literally hanging in the balance, and, in my opinion, it’s not only a fight that we should be having, but it’s a fight that we should be able to win, seeing as how a large majority of Americans believe there should be a path toward citizenship for these young adults who were brought to the United States as children.

It’s difficult for me to imagine that we’ll have any more leverage in three weeks that we had right now, but apparently some seem to think that, when February 8 comes, if Congress still hasn’t addressed DACA, it’ll be more obvious as to who’s at fault, as we now have a promise from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that we’ll have a real up-down vote on the matter between now and then. Of course, he promised his fellow Republicans, Susan Collins and Jeff Flake, that they’d get a DACA vote in return for their votes on the recent tax bill, and, as we know, he never kept his word to them.

I guess we won’t know whether or not the Democrats played this correctly until we see how it all washes out. I just hate being in a position where the fate of 800,000 young people depends on Mitch McConnell to keep his word. And I can’t help but think that Democrats chose to accept the agreement more out of fear than out of concern for these young American immigrants. Yes, I know that it can’t be easy standing up to the onslaught of attacks from the far right, blaming you for stopping death benefits for the families of American vets, or suggesting, as the following ad from the Trump camp did yesterday, that you’d be “complicit” if an immigrant were to commit murder on U.S. soil. But I can’t help but think that we should have at least waited until we knew what the American people were thinking, and had a better sense as to how strong our hand was. [As I understand it, Democrats didn’t see any polling data before deciding to accept the terms of the agreement.]

And it’s not just that I feel like we turned our backs, at least for the moment, on the Dreamers. There’s also the matter of the 2018 elections, and the fact that we need bright, motivated and energetic people who are excited about contributing their time to the cause. And I just don’t see how backing down from fights like this helps in that regard. I suspect that most people on the left want a party that stands up and fights, even when the going gets tough. But maybe that fight will still happen, and maybe it’ll be an easier fight to have, knowing that we’ve already secured funding for the health care of those 9 million kids in poverty. I just want to know, at some point, that my party is going to articulate what it believes in with conviction, and make it clear that there are some things worth a fight.

I could go on, but, really, you’d probably be better served just listening to tonight’s episode of Pod Save America.

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11 Comments

  1. wobblie
    Posted January 22, 2018 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    ” I just want to know, at some point, that my party is going to articulate what it believes in, and make it clear that there are some things worth a fight.”

    Don’t hold your breath. The Republicans keep moving to the right, while the Democrats (who after all want to “compromise”, move to the new “center”) which is again farther to the right. It does not matter what the people want. It should be obvious that the current Democratic Party is incapable of resisting the corporate domination of our body politic.

    In a couple of months (weeks), when the Supreme Court issues its 5-4 decision in NLRB v Murphy Oil, they will be well on there way to eviscerating any viable resistance.

  2. anonymous
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Trump, always a class act, had this to say on Twitter about the end of the shutdown.

    “Big win for Republicans as Democrats cave on Shutdown.”

    What a great deal maker. What a great consensus builder.

    FWIW, he doesn’t yet have the money for his wall. So he hasn’t won.

  3. JM
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Democrats caved. The only positive way to spin it is that they got CHIP solidified so that can’t be used as a bargaining chip for immigration talks.

    Democrats are 10-ply soft.

    Lot of possible Presidential hopefuls voted No at least.

  4. Steve P
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    I’m tempted to think DACA isn’t worth the political cost this group of fossilized Demosaurs is willing to pay when the chips are down. They folded. On the bright side no stupid wall yet.

  5. EOS
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Don’t let the Democrats or Mark obfuscate. There are 790,000 DACA individuals and 3.5 (or more) million Dreamers. The terms are not synonymous.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/01/18/there-3-5-m-dreamers-and-most-may-face-nightmare/1042134001/

    The Dreamers are not protected. They entered our country illegally and did not register or apply for citizenship.

  6. Iron lung
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Yawn

  7. Lynne
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Like always, they have to weigh how a narrative that they shut down the government and all that entails against a narrative that they are standing strong and fighting for certain immigrants. Even those who are very pro immigrant don’t like the idea of soldiers going without pay. These shut downs hurt people too.

    It is important to remember too that Democrats are a big coalition party that includes many people with different ideologies. I am not sure all Democrats are on the same page in part because as wobblie points out as the GOP has gone off in one much more conservative direction, centrist Republicans are joining Democrats but they are bringing their conservative ideology along with them.

    Wobblie is wrong though that it does not matter what the people want. It does but only if they vote. And not just for president, in *every* election but especially things like midterm primaries. The choice of who the party nominates is with us, the people. That is especially so in Michigan where you don’t need to be a member of the party to vote in the primaries. I might agree that many government representatives care more about reelection than the actual will of the people but we can make the will of the people turn into votes which will move them.

  8. Debbie Dingell
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    The most basic responsibility of the Congress is to fund the government. Yet, since September 30th, the end of the fiscal year, Republicans who control the House and Senate have failed to pass a long-term spending bill. Instead, we’ve lurched from month to month, funding the government for just weeks at a time and kicking the can down the road on critical priorities for the American people

    This is unacceptable. I have voted for short-term bills in the past to give us time to resolve these issues, but last night, I voted against another short-term continuing resolution – the fourth since last October – because we cannot continue this way. It hurts our military readiness and injects uncertainty into our economy.

    As Defense Secretary Mattis said, “It just creates unpredictability… It makes us rigid. We cannot deal with new and revealing threats. We know our enemies are not standing still… So it’s about as unwise as can be.”

    It is time to stop governing by crisis. Congress must pass a long-term funding bill that provides certainty to our military and addresses the priorities of the American people. With so many unresolved and pressing issues, including the opioid epidemic, pension crisis, disaster relief and our broken immigration system, Republicans and Democrats must sit down together and get the job done.

    I am committed to working in a bipartisan manner to achieve these goals. You can’t run a business based on month-to-month budgeting, and Congress shouldn’t run the government that way either. We must continue to stand up for our values and provide certainty to the American people.

  9. Citywatch
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Just called the White House to see what they are saying about the shutdown. I am paraphrasing here, but it goes something like this:
    “Unfortunately we cannot answer your call because Congressional Democrats are holding government funding hostage, including funding to our Troops and other national security priorities, due to an unrelated immigration issue.”

  10. Citywatch
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Called the White House yesterday. UNBELIEVABLE! call for yourself 202.456.1111

  11. BK
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Quitely no one has caved. Schumer fleeced Trump and go him to declare victory. Let’s just say the CHIP kids were hostages and we got them out for pizza.

    Now we have to be ready for February 8th some of us need to be in Washington. We need to write and organize. Let them declaree victory before the end of the hand. Feb 8th gives us 3 weeks before the end of the program. However we need to be on this with force.

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