The president wants Senator Majority Leader McConnell to give away his biggest tool if/when he is in the minority for a $5 billion appropriation and little else.
A statement by the President: pic.twitter.com/FBuoHj4sDD
— Real Press Sec. (@RealPressSecBot) December 21, 2018
Tierney-Sneed at TPM makes the immediately relevant point:
$5 billion in wall money for the elimination of the biggest obstacle to Dems’ legislative agenda if they win back White House and Senate seems like … kind of a good deal for progressives?
— Tierney Sneed (@Tierney_Megan) December 21, 2018
We can be fairly certain that after 1/4/19, there will be no more wall appropriations going through the House. A working 51 vote Senate will only pass bills for the White House to sign that Nancy Pelosi approves.
One of the major discontinuities in legislative procedure is that enacting administratively complex programs that have major policy imperatives in it currently are not able to go through reconciliation. These bills can be fillibustered and stopped with a 41 vote minority. Medicare for All and/or the Affordable Care Act, the Green New Deal, the new Voting Rights and Civil Rights Acts that are all on the Democratic agenda’s first page once they get a trifecta currently require sixty votes in the Senate. The major Republican policy priorities of confirming Federalist Society judges, and upper income tax cuts can be passed with fifty one votes in either regular order or reconciliation. Additionally, fifty one votes is all that is needed to defund major programs as we saw with Skinny Repeal, Graham-Cassidy, AHCA, and BCRA.
Trading a $5 billion appropriation for a wall that will slowly if ever be built in order to get a 51 vote Senate is a very good deal for Democrats and liberals especially if they aren’t being blamed for the nuclear option. It takes away some of the counter-majoritarian and anti-democratic structures that limit liberal and urban power and opens up opportunity space.
Anyone who thinks about the structure of American politics will see this in under three sips of coffee. And that is why I have no expectation that the Senate Majority Leader will burn one of his most effective tools he used as a Minority Leader for effectively piffle.