Bored with winning: New spending bill has no money for the wall, no cuts to sanctuary cities, funding for Planned Parenthood


urveying the total fiscal wreckage of this deal, Philip Klein comments that it’s what you’d expect if Democrats controlled the White House and both chambers of Congress rather than the GOP. If you think that’s an exaggeration, spend some time with Bloomberg’s report and take in the full extent of this defeat. A blockquote can’t do it justice.

If Boehner had negotiated this deal, right-wing media would destroy him for it. If Ryan had negotiated this deal under Obama, right-wing media would destroy him for it. But because Trump’s going to sign this deal — I assume — and call it a “victory” since it avoids a shutdown until September, we’re looking at half a day of grumbles. Maybe.

GOP leaders eager to focus on health-care and tax overhauls bowed to Democratic demands to eliminate hundreds of policy restrictions aimed at curbing regulations, leaving the Trump administration with few victories…

The White House sought funding to begin building the border wall, as well as $18 billion in cuts to domestic agencies, and both demands were rebuffed. The spending deal includes money for Planned Parenthood, despite Republican demands to defund the group over its provision of abortions…

Trump will get $1.5 billion for border security, but it can’t be used for the border wall or additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, according to one congressional aide. There are also no new restrictions on money going to so-called sanctuary cities that don’t fully enforce federal immigration laws…

The Environmental Protection Agency, which Trump has sought to shrink dramatically, would receive a 1 percent reduction of $81 million in funding and no staff cuts.

“Overall,” Bloomberg sniffs, echoing Klein, “the compromise resembles more of an Obama administration-era budget than a Trump one.” The bill even allows DHS to increase the number of H-2B visas through September, for fark’s sake. As for the scant Republican “victories,” most of them also represent climbdowns from what the GOP was initially demanding. Trump got $15 billion more in defense spending, but that was less than what he asked for; he got $1.5 billion for border security, as noted above, but that was half of the $3 billion he requested and comes with the limitations described by Bloomberg. The only clear win, it seems, was striking a permanent rather than temporary deal on health care for retired coal miners, although I’m sure that was a fight Democrats were happy to “lose.” They need to rebuild their party among working-class whites. That’s something they can point to.

Why wouldn’t Trump at least insist on some showcase concession on immigration that he could tout to his base as proof that this deal was worth doing? Shutting down the government to fund the wall would have been dicey, but he could have gone to the mat on cutting funds to sanctuary cities and/or on adding funds for new Border Patrol agents. All he’s left with, really, is defense spending. If he signs it, it’s another blow to his already wildly overhyped reputation as some master dealmaker. Which element of basic negotiation strategy requires you to bluff ineffectively over and over again and then sign on to a “compromise” in which you give up virtually everything in return for practically nothing?

Daniel Horowitz calls the bill a “betrayal beyond belief.” Is Trump actually going to sign this turd or is he prepared to endure a week or two of “Trump shut down the government!” headlines to block a terrible bill from becoming law?