By Neil Munro
Democrats have successfully blocked the government’s 2018 budget for another month, giving them more time to exhaust and frustrate President Donald Trump and GOP leaders into accepting the Democrats’ game-winning amnesty for millions of illegals.
Late Tuesday, the GOP gave up on budget talks and drafted a new temporary budget plan, dubbed a Continuing Resolution, which would keep the government open for another month until February 16. That date will mark almost five months after the 2018 budget was slated to begin October 1.
If the CR passes the House and Senate, the GOP and the Democrats will get another month to develop a full year’s budget while Democrats gain another month to wear down GOP and Trump opposition to their amnesty-plus plan via top-level talks.
The Democrats’ negotiations tactics include emotional public claims of racism, televised sob stories from migrants, skewed polls, as well as intense back-room lobbying by illegal immigrants, open-borders advocates and by the CEOs whose stock-options would be reduced if a shortage of labor drives up wages.
If the amnesty does get approved by an exhausted Trump and GOP, it would wreck Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” presidency, 2018 turnout and his reelection. The approval would prove that Democrats, the establishment media, and business lobbies have the political power to simply raise the supply of cheap imported labor whenever companies are forced to pay higher wages to Americans, regardless of Trump’s stunning victory in 2016.
If the Democrats’ amnesty push is foiled, then voters will be able to decide in November if they want a Congress to reduce or raise the immigration which has helped freeze Americans’ wages since 2000.
The GOP’s short-term CR plan may get a vote in the House on Thursday, leaving the Senate little time to accept the plan by Friday night, after which the government starts closing down many non-essential functions.
Democratic leaders suggest they are willing to oppose a short-term budget — and to force a government shutdown. For example, the House Democrats’ deputy leader, Rep. Steny Hoyer, told reporters on Tuesday:
We want to keep the government open. But I will repeat, we’re not going to be held hostage to do things that we think are contrary to the best interests of the American people because we will do the right thing and [Republicans] don’t care.
House Democrats will not block the CR, predicted Virginia Rep. Dave Brat. “I don’t think anybody has any appetite for a shutdown — the Democrats don’t want to go there …. the Democrats polling looks terrible for them,” he said.
Democrats can block any budget because their minority of 49 votes in the Senate is enough to prevent passage of any budget through the Senate.
House GOP leaders have tried to win some Senate Democratic votes for the short-term plan by including several Democratic spending priorities, including a six-year extension of the CHIP health-care program for children.
GOP leaders may also need Democratic votes in the House because the GOP’s defense-industry members threatened to vote against the leaders’ budget because it does not guarantee a big increase in defense spending for the rest of the year. The extra defense money is not in the budget because Democratic leaders are demanding that any defense increase is accompanied by a similar increase in non-defense spending.
In response, some of the budget hawks suggested they will approve giveaway-amnesty in exchange for a defense increase. “Frankly, I think it’s not that hard to get a DACA deal, but the question is do [Capitol Hill leaders] want to?” Rep. Mac Thornberry, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told reporters.
GOP leaders have tried to separate the amnesty fight from the budget, partly because any separation would minimize Democratic leverage in the dispute.
But Democrats are keeping the two issues linked by claiming that the budget dispute is about several spending priorities — while also all saying those budget issues could be solved if the GOP surrenders on the amnesty. For example, Montana Sen. Jon Tester, who is facing election in November, is trying to portray himself as a Trump ally while he blocks a budget deal by demanding extra funding for health care centers. Politico reported:
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) also declined to commit to voting for a stopgap spending bill this week that didn’t address his key priorities, citing community health centers rather than DACA. Any funding bill “has to have” those priorities included, he told reporters.
The Democrats’ hide-the-amnesty strategy is acknowledged by a variety of pro-amnesty advocates and makes political sense because polls show the public strongly opposes wage-cutting mass immigration. According to CNN:
“If Democrats stay united on all issues, and (DACA) doesn’t get isolated the way it was in December, then there’s a better chance that Democrats have leverage to compel the kind of negotiations that might produce a deal in time,” Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice Education Fund, a pro-immigration reform group, told reporters …
Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia said he would “reject” any characterization of Democrats shutting down the government over DACA or anything else, saying it was essential for Democrats to stay united and keep all their issues together.
“Right now, there’s a lot of linkage with a lot of issues, and Democrats are doing, I think, the right thing in highlighting the unfinished business and the linkages, right?” Connolly said, citing children’s health insurance, veterans’ benefits, surveillance reform and DACA. “And you’ve got to use all the leverage you’ve got while you’ve got it.”
The Senate GOP’s deputy leader, Sen. John Cornyn, however, says the Democrats are holding up the budget to win the amnesty. “Democrats are holding [a budget] deal hostage for a DACA negotiation,” he said Monday.
Aided by favorable media, Democrats in the Senate are playing so tough that they plan to formally introduce their amnesty-plus plan on Wednesday.
That amnesty-plus has already been rejected by Trump on January 11 in a meeting where Trump opposed migration quotas from “shithole” countries. Since then, Democrats have repeatedly claimed that Trump can partially expiate his sins by endorsing their amnesty. “Extortion would be a good word for it, probably better than blackmail it seems,” said Rosemary Jenks, director of government relations at NumbersUSA.com. She continued:
President Trump is the is only one who is focused on how do we bring people back into the labor market … here are these Democrats saying you’re a racist if you don’t do what we say which will actually hurt poor Americans, including African-Americans
Trump and some GOP immigration experts oppose the Democrats’ amnesty-plus because it offers only token changes to the visa lottery program and to the chain-migration rules, and only offers one year’s worth of wall-building money.
The version of the amnesty-plus plan slated for announcement on Wednesday does not seem to include any additional proposals to meet Trump’s election-winning, poll-approved immigration priorities.
The amnesty-plus plan would cover roughly 3 million younger illegals, plus millions of their parents, plus roughly 400,000 Temporary Protected Status migrants, plus millions of their future chain-migration relatives.