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Thread: Democrats confident they can block Trump’s agenda after spending-bill win

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Democrats confident they can block Trump’s agenda after spending-bill win

    Democrats confident they can block Trump’s agenda after spending-bill win

    By Kelsey Snell and John Wagner May 1 at 10:30 PM

    Congressional negotiators reached a bipartisan spending agreement late on April 30, to fund the government through September. Here are the Republican and Democratic wins in the $1 trillion funding package. (The Washington Post)
    By Kelsey Snell and John Wagner May 1 at 10:30 PM

    Democrats think they have set the stage to block President Trump’s legislative priorities for years to come by winning major concessions in a spending bill to keep the government open.

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) secured nearly $5 billion in new domestic spending by exploiting disagreements between Trump and GOP lawmakers over spending priorities.

    Democrats’ lopsided victory on the five-month deal, which is likely to be approved this week, means it will be very difficult — if not impossible — for the GOP to exert its will in future budget negotiations, including when it comes to Trump’s 2018 budget blueprint.

    That’s because Republicans are hopelessly divided over how much to spend on government programs, with a small but vocal minority unwilling to support such measures at all. That has forced Republicans to work with Democrats to avoid politically damaging government shutdowns.

    And that means Democrats are in the driver’s seat when it comes to budget battles, even with Trump in the White House.
    Vice President Pence credited President Trump with a key role in the spending deal, but many congressional aides said the president was unhelpful in reaching the agreement.

    “I think we had a strategy and it worked,” Schumer said in an interview with The Washington Post. “Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate were closer to one another than Republicans were to Donald Trump.”

    The extra money for domestic programs will now be that much harder to strip out of future budgets, and Trump’s priorities, such as money for a wall along the border with Mexico, could be more difficult to include.

    “We can’t pass anything without them,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), a top deputy to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said of Democrats recently.

    Hill Republicans remain skeptical of, if not openly hostile to, many of Trump’s plans — including the wall and proposals to slash millions from programs such as the National Institutes of Health and foreign aid.

    Democrats’ gains

    In addition to the $5 billion in domestic spending, the bipartisan agreement released early Monday morning is packed with Democratic priorities, such as protection for funding for Planned Parenthood, a permanent extension of health care for coal miners and money to help Puerto Rico make up a projected shortfall in Medicaid.

    Pelosi celebrated in a letter to House Democrats on Monday, saying that the measure “reflects significant progress defeating dangerous Republican riders and securing key victories for Democratic priorities.”

    “In a defeat for President Trump, the [deal] does not fund the immoral and unwise border wall or create a cruel new deportation force,” Pelosi wrote.

    Republicans argue they were able to wrest several wins in the legislation, including a greater increase in defense than domestic spending and an agreement to provide money for Puerto Rico if it was shifted from elsewhere and not new money. House and Senate leaders also believe that key changes to environmental policy were taken care of through the administrative process and that they can further antiabortion goals through other budget proceedings.

    Nonetheless, Democrats are counting on GOP infighting over spending to guarantee that those parts of Trump’s agenda won’t be funded in the next spending deal, either.

    Republicans could try to craft a new agreement to govern spending after Sept. 30, with domestic cuts and funding for Trump’s wall. But such a measure would probably fail in the Senate, where Republicans hold a slim 52 to 48 majority, short of the 60 votes needed to pass most legislation.

    Or, as they have often done in the past, lawmakers could abandon broad ambitions and decide to simply extend current spending levels, locking in Democrats’ policy victories for another year.

    Republicans in Congress were unusually quiet about the deal. But White House aides sought to put a positive spin on areas where Trump fell short, including the wall.

    “I think it’s great that the Democrats like the bill,” White House budget director Mick Mulvaney told reporters during a Monday briefing. “We thought it was a really good deal for this administration as well.”

    He said the White House agreed not to “push for bricks and mortar for the wall” but to instead focus on fixing existing fencing and installing new lights and sensors on the border. Mulvaney was one of several top Trump aides who insisted that plans for wall construction would soon begin anew.

    “Make no mistake, the wall is going to be built,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said at his daily briefing, adding that there is plenty the administration can do to plan for construction between now and when Trump gets his next opportunity to secure funding.

    But wall construction was one of several areas where GOP lawmakers’ decision to punt this week could doom the president’s priorities for the future.

    Language in the deal explicitly prohibits money for border security from being used for building the wall, for instance. Trump has said he plans to revive the push this fall.

    Both Spicer and Vice President Pence said they considered the $21 billion in additional military spending — $15 billion from an off-budget war fund and $6 billion in budget increases — to be their biggest victory, even though it was about two-thirds of what Trump had sought.

    In addition, there were no reductions in funding to “sanctuary cities”; a federal judge said last week that the Justice Department needed congressional approval to follow through on its threats to cut money for such places, which don’t comply with federal immigration authorities. Nor was there money to fulfill Trump’s promise of a hiring spree to build a deportation force at Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    Trump also agreed to continue paying Affordable Care Act subsidies after his aides threatened last week to use that issue as a bargaining chip. The subsidies, which go to insurance companies, reduce out-of-pocket expenses for low-income people who get coverage under President Barack Obama’s signature domestic initiative.
    President’s role disputed

    Pence celebrated the deal Monday, saying Trump himself played a key role in reaching it.

    “I think this morning’s announcement about reaching a bipartisan deal on the budget says that the American people can be encouraged that Washington is working again, thanks to the strong leadership of President Donald Trump,” Pence said on “CBS This Morning.” “Thanks to his direct engagement with members of Congress, we’re seeing real progress.”

    But Trump’s involvement was seen by many congressional aides as unhelpful to reaching a deal in the bipartisan talks. Negotiators were nearing an agreement on the spending portions and were ready to move on to unrelated policy measures when Mulvaney publicly renewed demands that the bill include money for a wall along the southern border.

    Mulvaney’s demand was out of sync with GOP leaders, who long ago said they wouldn’t seek any funding for a wall or cuts to sanctuary city funding.

    It also came weeks after Schumer personally told Mulvaney that the best way to avoid a government shutdown would be for the White House to stay out of budget negotiations and let Congress work its will, according to two people with direct knowledge of the conversation. Mulvaney nodded, they said, and proceeded to make the demand anyway.

    His office did not return a request for comment on the subject.

    Democrats also think that the White House created a public relations crisis when Trump threatened to end payments for the subsidies, which help cover about 6 million people under Obamacare. The president later withdrew the threat, and the White House decided to continue the payments, in hopes of reducing the number of sticking points in the spending bill.

    But the president put a spotlight on the issue just as public polls were starting to show overwhelming support for the subsidies and the ACA in general. Democrats were thrilled to add the attack on the health-care law to the mix in the spending fight because they thought the public would blame Republicans if a deal couldn’t be reached to fund the government, according to several Democratic aides familiar with the strategy.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/power...=.a634095de74d
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Scott-in-FL's Avatar
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    I'm afraid the authors are probably correct on their assumption. The Democrats have too much going for them. They have the support of the MSM, they're unified and the Republican's fear of being blamed for a government shutdown. The RINOs seem to get what they want as well. Trump should have been tough and stood his ground. Everybody knew that if Obama didn't like what was in the spending bill, he'd veto it. Unfortunately, now the precedence has been set. I think Trump's probably realizing that the job of president is very difficult and he's in over his head.
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  3. #3
    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    Total cave by Republicans. Most in Congress, including Republicans, want to teach the President some lessons. They don't support his agenda, they support their lavish lifestyles, growing their income, power. They support global and foreign interference.

    Repeating myself but the President needs his own legislative group, able to write bills and legislation that leaves out the lobbyists, the snakes.
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    MW
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    Pence celebrated the deal Monday, saying Trump himself played a key role in reaching it.

    “I think this morning’s announcement about reaching a bipartisan deal on the budget says that the American people can be encouraged that Washington is working again, thanks to the strong leadership of President Donald Trump,” Pence said on “CBS This Morning.” “Thanks to his direct engagement with members of Congress, we’re seeing real progress.”
    I didn't care for much for our VP before, now I even care for him less! As we all know, he is an illegal alien amnesty supporter. So to Pence I say, sit down and shut your pie hole!
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    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MW View Post
    I didn't care for much for our VP before, now I even care for him less! As we all know, he is an illegal alien amnesty supporter. So to Pence I say, sit down and shut your pie hole!
    Vice President Pence is on now with Rush Limbaugh. It really is amazing the dance around when Rush confronts him about lack of funding on the border wall and lack of will addressing other concerns his supporters seek. He points out that this budget bill was praised by democrats. Caving, Rush suggests.

    Vice President Pence is cool and spins away. Following the interview, Rush mentions one way to reverse the course is to get rid of donors and close down K Street in reference to Paul Ryan. That won't happen of course.
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    MW
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgiaPeach View Post
    Vice President Pence is on now with Rush Limbaugh. It really is amazing the dance around when Rush confronts him about lack of funding on the border wall and lack of will addressing other concerns his supporters seek. He points out that this budget bill was praised by democrats. Caving, Rush suggests.

    Vice President Pence is cool and spins away. Following the interview, Rush mentions one way to reverse the course is to get rid of donors and close down K Street in reference to Paul Ryan. That won't happen of course.
    Yep, like Kellyanne Conway, Pence is a great spinner. Honestly, I can't stand to listen to him speak because his delivery is so monotone and dry. Of course their job is to have Trump's back on all issues .... that's why he (Trump) hired them.

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  7. #7
    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    Options being mentioned are to veto (if possible - not sign it) the CR or shutting down the government. After the last shutdown the Republicans prevailed during elections. The media and democrats will make hay, scare people, but if the President explained the rationing of keeping promises, etc. he could calm many waters.
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    MW
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgiaPeach View Post
    Options being mentioned are to veto (if possible - not sign it) the CR or shutting down the government. After the last shutdown the Republicans prevailed during elections. The media and democrats will make hay, scare people, but if the President explained the rationing of keeping promises, etc. he could calm many waters.
    Yes, he should veto the bill and then publicly address the nation explaining why. I'm betting almost every single person that voted on him would rally behind him if he took such action.
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