I was disappointed in the $1.3 trillion budget bill that was hammered out late Friday between the Congress and President Trump. First of all, it was another last minute, haphazard deal, which, sadly, appears to be the only way our government can function. Secondly, it featured a $60 billion increase for the military, which, for the most part, I support, and a plethora of other “goodies” (some legitimate, some not), but nothing for DACA and a puny couple of million for the border wall. Moreover, how many legislators do you think actually read the 2,000+ page opus? How many do you suppose are actually cognizant of what is in the bill? If I had to bet, I would guess “very few.” I hate to quote Nancy Pelosi, but I believe she was correct when she said of the ACA “you have to read it to know what’s in it.”
Afterwards, at the post-signing press conference, the President admitted he was not happy with the deal. “I will never sign another bill like this again,” he blustered, as he stood beside a sizeable stack of paper representing a printed copy of the bill . There was a goodly amount of “pork” in the bill, but, in reality, he was stuck between the proverbial “rock and hard place.” If he had vetoed the bill, a government shut-down would have been likely for which he would have been blamed by the Congress, the media and the public.
One might say that a deal in which everyone gets some, but not all, of what they want, and no one is completely satisfied or dissatisfied is a good deal. After all, that is the essence of compromise. Trump got his increase in military spending, the Dems got money for their domestic programs, and many congressmen got some “pork” in an election year.
Fine and good, but border security and DACA were left out in the cold, which befuddled me. DACA was a “no-show, and border security got a pittance, barely a down payment on the $25 billion the President had sought. The DACAs were not the only losers in this deal. All Americans will be more vulnerable from terrorism, crime and illegal drugs. And, don’t forget, the politicians who continually perpetuate this situation are protected behind their walled-in communities (How ironic is that?) and 24/7 security.
According to CNN the Dems were “fuming” at the GOP and Mr. Trump. Illinois Representative Luis Gutierrez, a strong advocate of immigration reform, opined “anyone who vote[d] for the Senate budget deal is colluding with this President and this administration to deport Dreamers.” The absurdity of this statement aside, this is a prime example of how Mr. Trump gets blamed for things not of his own doing. He wanted to include the law-abiding Dreamers in this bill, 1.8 million of them, in fact, which is more than the number identified by DACA supporters. Also, according to a recent CBS poll, nearly 90% of Americans support allowing law-abiding DACAs to stay. That’s pretty decisive, as it is virtually impossible to get 90% of Americans to agree on ANYTHING. But, the Dems did not support their inclusion because, in exchange, it would have meant funding for the border wall. Apparently, they would rather see both programs fail than both succeed.
So, the DACA and border wall issues will remain in limbo for the foreseeable future, and the administration will keep trying. Some personal observations regarding DACA:
- I believe the Dems legitimately want to allow the DACA people to remain, but they want to keep them in limbo as they perceive it to be a viable campaign issue for the 2018 mid-term elections and beyond. They will seek to blame the GOP and Mr. Trump for their plight.
- The Dems are anticipating that, eventually, the DACAs will become loyal Democratic voters, either when they attain citizenship or before then. (I suspect that, in some states, some of them have already been voting.)
- Some employers, both GOP and Dem, prefer to keep the DACA people around to serve as cheap labor.
As we know, in politics, things are rarely as they appear to be.