As the mainstream media once again loses its collective mind over Trump's "shithole" comment, Congress, after expressing optimism just a few days ago, has once again descended into complete chaos with any hopes of a bipartisan immigration deal seemingly being tossed...well, down the "shithole."
Unfortunately, this particular descension into chaos, unlike most of the others which are cleverly manufactured by seasoned politicians purely for soundbites on CNN, carries with it some real world economic risk as it could very well result in a government shutdown starting next Friday. In fact, earlier this morning, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) confirmed as much when he held a press conference saying that all hope of a bipartisan deal "died yesterday."
"So here’s what we’re going to do: We’re going to prepare our bipartisan agreement for introduction into the Senate next week. If the Republican leadership has a better alternative, bring it forward. If they don’t, for goodness sakes, give us a vote. I’ll be on the phone today with my Republican colleagues and my Democratic colleagues begging them to support this measure."
"Time is running out. We have to get this done. I thought we might get a bipartisan agreement approved by the White House, died yesterday. We have to do this and show leadership in Congress to solve this important challenge."
As Bloomberg notes, the chaos on immigration comes a week before the current government spending authorization expires on January 19th. Of course, as our readers are aware, even though Republicans hold control of Congress, their narrow 51-seat advantage in the Senate means they will need at least 9 Democratic votes for any stopgap funding measure as well as for a broader budget agreement. Meanwhile, Democratic leaders have insisted that Congress must pass a law protecting some young immigrants along with the funding.
After bizarrely telling a bipartisan group of lawmakers earlier this week that he’s willing to sign whatever compromise on immigration they present, Trump vehemently rejected a plan worked out on Thursday and savaged the proposal on Twitter as “a big step backwards.”
The so-called bipartisan DACA deal presented yesterday to myself and a group of Republican Senators and Congressmen was a big step backwards. Wall was not properly funded, Chain & Lottery were made worse and USA would be forced to take large numbers of people from high crime.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
....countries which are doing badly. I want a merit based system of immigration and people who will help take our country to the next level. I want safety and security for our people. I want to stop the massive inflow of drugs. I want to fund our military, not do a Dem defund....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
....Because of the Democrats not being interested in life and safety, DACA has now taken a big step backwards. The Dems will threaten “shutdown,” but what they are really doing is shutting down our military, at a time we need it most. Get smart, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
Of course, not everyone took offense to Trump's comments even if they probably would have chosen some slightly more eloquent adjectives left to their own devices...
Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas said that, like Trump, he wants family-based immigration available to DACA recipients to be limited to spouses and minor children. Other family members, including siblings, parents and adult children, would be excluded. He also said he wants to eliminate the visa lottery program, which is intended to promote diversity among those coming to the U.S.
“The diversity lottery is a joke,” Cotton said Thursday. “It serves no humanitarian or economic purpose whatsoever. It should just be ended.”
Meanwhile Iowa Representative Steve King, one of the most vocal anti-immigration members of Congress, even celebrated Trump's choice of wording while taunting Democrats in the following tweet.
So what say you...will Washington's flip-floppers find a way to fold again or will the federal government be shut down as of next Friday?