Democrats are standing firm in shutdown negotiations


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Friday’s dispatch: Will Democrats hold the line on shutdown talks?

The House of Representatives passed a short-term spending bill Thursday night, and now it’s up to the Senate to either fund the government or shut it down by end of day Friday.

The measure does not include a key provision to find a permanent solution for young undocumented people covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, despite bipartisan support for a DACA fix in both the House and Senate.

Now the question becomes whether or not Senate Democrats will stand their ground and risk shutting down the government over DACA, or whether they will accept the short-term funding measure and kick the can down the road again — a move that threatens to upset immigration activists and the Democratic base.

The current conventional wisdom is that Democratic senators up for election in 2018 in states where President Donald Trump won the 2016 vote will feel pressure to work with the president to avoid a shutdown and seek a compromise. But as the deadline looms more and more so-called “Trump-state Democrats” have held the line and refused to support the stop-gap measure. Last night, even Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who is up for election in 2018 in a state Trump won by more than 20 percentage points, wrote in a post on Medium that the “the short-term — take-it-or-leave-it — budget bill before Congress right now is a disgrace.”

The defiance of Trump-state Democrats like Tester suggest Democrats are finally learning a lesson that Republicans learned a long time ago — the conventional wisdom about compromise is wrong.

For years, Democrats have operated under the assumption that voters in their home states value decorum in Washington above all else. Many Democrats appear to truly believe that process matters and that there are consequences to hypocrisy and grandstanding when attempting to carry out a political agenda. Throughout the Obama administration, Democrats avoided breaking precedent on things like the legislative filibuster and the debt ceiling, even when they had opportunities to change the rules and carry out their agenda. When Trump’s nominees came up for a vote, many Democrats voted in favor of objectionable candidates because of that same sense of decorum and tradition.

But there is little evidence that this is actually true. A year ago, when Senate Republicans attempted to rush the confirmation process for Trump’s cabinet nominees, Democratic senators fought back by circulating a letter that then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote during the early days of the Obama administration decrying the speed with which they were confirming Obama appointments.

McConnell, now the majority leader, simply ignored Democrats hypocrisy troll and oversaw confirmation of Trump’s cabinet.

Democrats attempted the same sort of shaming exercise during the tax debate, pointing out that Republicans who once attacked Democrats for rushing major legislation like the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank bill were now rushing through their sweeping tax reform with last-minute changes and little time to read the bill.

Republicans ignored these complaints and passed their tax bill.

But there is no better example of this principle than the behavior of Trump himself, who has shattered the self-imposed norms of Washington so much that a story about him allegedly paying off a porn star to cover up an alleged affair — a story that might have prompted calls for resignation in any other administration — has become a minor B-plot in the drama of Washington.

The truth is that self-imposed norms are just that: self-imposed. Voters may act like issues of decorum and political process matter to them, but at the end of the day, their support for a politician simply hinges on whether or not that politician supports their preferred policy agenda, and whether they are willing to carry out that agenda by any means necessary. Democrats now have an opportunity to do that, with 87% of Americans supporting a permanent solution for DACA recipients.

Friday in Trump’s America:

Report: Trump’s lawyer used an LLC to pay a porn star: A report in the Wall Street Journal alleges that Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen used a private Delaware LLC to pay porn star Stormy Daniels to keep her alleged affair with the president quiet. The agreement also used pseudonyms, identifying the adult film actress as “Peggy Peterson.”

SCOTUS blocks NC gerrymandering order: The Supreme Court has blocked a lower court order that North Carolina redraw its congressional districts before the 2018 election in a way that does not disadvantage Democrats. The state will now likely be able to use a congressional map more favorable to Republicans.

Mulvaney wants $0 for consumer protection: Acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Mick Mulvaney has requested $0 in additional funding for the agency in the second quarter of 2018. Prior to becoming acting director, Mulvaney opposed the creation of the CFPB.

Under the radar:

Many J20 protesters have felony charges dropped, but some see trial: The Justice Department is dropping felony charges against 129 protesters who were arrested during the Trump inauguration protests one year ago. But a core group of 59 protesters will still face trial.

Trump administration tells Puerto Rico it’s too rich for hurricane relief: Puerto Rico was already being short-changed by the Trump administration who decided to dole out relief money for the island as a loan instead of a grant. Now the administration has decided it won’t even pay out that loan, saying the hurricane-ravaged territory has too much cash on hand.

Today’s Mic Bite:

In 2016, this activist witnessed a protester shot to death at a rally. Now, they’re facing felony charges.

This is the story of Glo Merriweather.