Trump’s ‘compromise’ is a bait-and-switch sham


Compromise is impossible with someone incapable of acting in good faith, who repeatedly lies and reneges on agreements, never intending to follow through on any agreement. It’s like nailing jello to the wall.

President Trump and Republican leaders are engaged in a hostage taking demanding ransom to release the hostages: $5.7 billion for Trump’s “big beautiful wall” on the Mexico border in exchange for ending the government shutdown.

Make no mistake, extortion and hostage taking are criminal acts, not mere policy disputes. It is criminal misconduct that cannot be rewarded (which Democrats have regrettably done in the past in order to end GOP shutdowns of the government) because it only encourages further criminal misconduct.  There is a federal debt ceiling extension pending in March, and the federal budget due at the end of the fiscal year on September 30. Trump and Republicans will do this again.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., argued Tuesday that President Trump made a “bad faith” offer to end the shutdown over the weekend, and is still holding federal workers hostage to his border wall demand. Schumer: Trump using ‘hostage tactics’ in shutdown talks:

“It was not a good faith proposal. It was not intended to end the shutdown,” Schumer said on the Senate floor, adding that it’s only intent was to “shake things up” in negotiations. “The president’s proposal is one-sided, harshly-partisan and was made in bad faith.”

The bait-and-switch was revealed when “The Enemy of The People,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, filed the Senate bill for Trump’s “compromise” with himself. The Trump-McConnell access of evil included measures in the bill not mentioned by Trump in his Saturday speech. Republicans load spending bill with hard-line measures targeting asylum:

A 1,300-page spending bill released by Senate Republicans Monday night contains provisions to restrict asylum and other hard-line immigration changes that make it unlikely to generate bipartisan support.

Democrats already were poised to reject President Donald Trump’s proposal to pass his $5.7 billion funding request for a border wall in exchange for temporary protections for some immigrants brought to the United States as children and others covered by a humanitarian status. But hawkish measures embedded in the Republican spending bill will give Democrats even more reason to spurn the legislation.

This is a Stephen Miller special,” Kerri Talbot, a director with the Washington, D.C.-based Immigration Hub, told reporters Tuesday. “It’s a Trojan horse with many extreme immigration proposals included.”

One policy change in the bill would bar Central American minors from seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, except under certain circumstances. Instead, children from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala would be required to apply from their home countries or in one of five other countries in the region. Children would need a parent or guardian in the U.S. to qualify for the new pathway.

Moreover, the number of children who could be admitted through the new asylum channel would be limited to 15,000 annually. Under current law, asylum admissions are not capped.

Furthermore, the Republican spending bill would toughen the overall standard for asylum for children from those countries. The secretary of Homeland Security would need to consider an asylum grant for those minors to be “in the national interest,” a hurdle that would be heaped on top of existing requirements.

The legislation also would allow Central American minors who don’t qualify for humanitarian relief to be swiftly deported to their home countries pending agreements with those governments.

“Any senator who is genuinely concerned about maintaining America’s commitment to protecting asylum seekers and refugees cannot support this bill,” said Greg Chen, director of government relations for the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) called it “even worse than advertised” in a press release.

“The Enemy of The People,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, plans to hold a vote on this bill on Thursday, and a vote on a Continuing Resolution (CR) spending bill to fund the government only through February 8. Senate Leaders Plan Competing Bills to End Shutdown:

The Senate will hold competing votes on Thursday on President Trump’s proposal to spend $5.7 billion on a border wall and on a Democratic bill that would fund the government through Feb. 8 without a wall. It will be the first time the Senate has stepped off the sidelines to try to end the monthlong government shutdown.

The procedural move by Senators Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, and Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, is the first time the parties have agreed to do virtually anything since the shutdown began Dec. 22. With most Republicans united behind Mr. Trump’s insistence that any legislation to reopen the government include money for a border wall and most Democrats opposed to the linkage, neither measure is expected to draw the 60 votes required to advance.

That means Friday is likely to come and go without action to end the shutdown, forcing 800,000 federal workers to go without a paycheck for the second time this month.

As Greg Sargent of The Post says, Trump’s phony ‘compromise’ has now been unmasked as a total sham:

President Trump and his allies have spent days talking up the idea that his new proposal to reopen the government constitutes a “compromise.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has vowed to bring the proposal to a vote this week, arguing that it’s a “compromise” that includes “priorities” that “both sides” want. Vice President Pence insisted that it’s a “compromise” that has been offered in “good faith.”

But on Monday night, Senate Republicans released the bill text of this supposed “compromise.” Surprise: It has been so loaded up with poison pills that it looks as if it was deliberately constructed to make it impossible for Democrats to support.

If so, that would be perfectly in keeping with the M.O. that we’ve already seen from top adviser Stephen Miller, who appears devoted to scuttling any and all policies that could actually prompt compromises but which don’t endeavor to reduce the total number of immigrants in the United States to as low a figure as possible.

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Trump argued that his plan is “straightforward, fair, reasonable and common sense, with lots of compromise.”

This is utter nonsense on just about every level. And the bill itself now proves it.

The proposal on the dreamers was whittled down to the point where it only undoes the disaster Trump himself is orchestrating. The New York Times recently reported that Miller privately “intervened” to ensure that the bill dramatically downsizes the number of dreamers who would get protections. He cut that number from 1.8 million to 700,000 (the number Trump referenced).

The bill text confirms this and illustrates how it was done. It grants three years of protected lawful status plus work authorization only to those who are currently on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, not to all of those who are eligible for it, a much larger pool. It cannot be renewed.

This is a badly truncated version of the Bridge Act, a measure championed by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) that would have granted this status to the larger pool of those who are DACA-eligible. Thus, Trump’s proposal would only restore temporary protections that were already granted and that Trump has tried to take away (his effort to cancel DACA is tied up in court).

Trump lost his leverage using DACA children as hostages on Tuesday when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take action on the DACA appeals pending in the federal courts. DACA program that protects young undocumented immigrants not likely to get Supreme Court review this term:

The Supreme Court is not likely to review during its current term the program that shields young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, leaving in place the Obama-era initiative that the Trump administration has tried to end.

The justices on Tuesday took no action on the administration’s request that it review the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has protected nearly 700,000 people brought to this country as children, commonly known as “dreamers.”

If the court sticks to its normal procedures, that would mean that even if it accepts the case as a later date, it would not be argued until the new term starting in October, with a decision likely in 2020.

Greg Sargent continues:

The new proposal is much worse on asylum seekers than advertised. The bill text explains what Trump really meant when he claimed his proposal would create a “new” way for Central American migrant children to apply for asylum. The proposal actually declares that the only way any of them will be eligible for asylum going forward is if they apply for it outside the United States at soon-to-be-created application centers in Central America, according to several legal experts I spoke with about this.

Those experts point out that this would in effect close off the main avenue for these minors to apply — that is, the right to apply when they enter the United States and are apprehended.

[A]ccording to Philip Wolgin, the managing director for immigration policy at the Center for American Progress, by foreclosing the option of applying in the United States, it would gut the basic values at the core of our asylum program — values in keeping with international human rights norms holding that if people who had good reason to flee horrible civil conditions at home present themselves at borders and appeal for refuge, they have the right to have their claims heard.

Plus, the program actually caps the total who can be annually granted asylum at 15,000. In the last fiscal year, some 50,000 unaccompanied minor migrants were apprehended, and while we can’t be sure how many would ultimately qualify for asylum, the cap itself creates an arbitrary maximum unrelated to the strength of their actual claims, Wolgin notes. And as immigration policy analyst Aaron Reichlin-Melnick points out, once the Department of Homeland Security nixes asylum, under the new proposal it would not be subject to judicial review.

“They’re trying to radically reshape asylum law,” Wolgin told me.

This is nothing remotely like a compromise offer

There is no way this offer represents a compromise, if we conventionally understand a “compromise” to be an agreement in which both sides secure meaningful concessions.

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What’s more, given how radical these proposed changes to asylum law are, it’s precisely the opposite of the spirit of compromise that Trump and McConnell are trying to jam them through under duress — with the gun of a government shutdown pointed at the country, to jam Democratic lawmakers — rather than through a legitimate, good-faith congressional process that would include hearings, fact-finding and deliberation.

Which gets to the biggest sham of all at the core of this whole affair. If the offer by Trump and McConnell really represented something that actually did involve meaningful concessions to both sides, and thus actually could provide the basis for real compromise discussions, then why would they need to keep the government closed while those talks unfolded?

The answer is simple: They know their only hope of getting the concessions they’re demanding from Democrats is to keep the gun pointed at the hostage.

So what is the point of these show votes in the Senate on Thursday? One, it gives Republican senators a chance to vote for Trump’s hard-line position out of fear of his white nationalist base voters in the GOP. Remember, senators all voted for the spending bill unanimously back in December that the House passed in January, the bill that could end this shutdown if these craven coward Republicans had the balls to stand up to Trump and bring the spending bill to a vote. This is squarely the fault of McConnell.

Secondly, the Times report adds:

But there was hope that the votes could usher in a more cooperative phase in a crisis that has so far been marked almost entirely by partisan posturing; if both measures fall short, the votes could add new energy to efforts to negotiate a bipartisan compromise. With the shutdown now in its fifth week, the pressure is growing on both parties to reopen the government.

This is delusional. We are witnessing an authoritarian political party trying to “own the libs” as the conservative media entertainment complex likes to say and to break their political opposition who will give in because they believe in good governance and acting responsibly  to not harm innocent hostages. This is a power play to show that Trump and the GOP are ruthless authoritarians, and the Democrats are a weak opposition.

If the Democrats give in, America will be back here again with the debt ceiling extension and the federal budget.  Democrats need to stand firm now. Public opposition to the Trump Shutdown and the GOP position is growing every day. The weight of public opposition will eventually force them to concede.

And then the public needs to hold Republicans accountable for their criminal behavior in 2020.

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